Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Consultant Agreement Procedure

Agreements to secure the services of a consultant on a sponsored program are created when deemed necessary by the principal investigator (PI). Consultants are independent contractors and not employees of the university.

Consultant vs. Ohio State University Employee –Determination

Prior to making the decision to utilize a consultant, PIs first need to determine whether the individual would be considered an employee OR a consultant/independent contractor. The following checklist can assist PIs in making this determination. The more criteria met, the more likely the individual should be considered an Ohio State employee, even if temporary or part-time. Contact the sponsored program officer on the project for additional guidance in determining if a consultant agreement is necessary and appropriate.

The principal investigator OR The Ohio State University:

  • Provides instruction about when, where and how to work
  • Provides the workstation, tools, materials, supplies
  • Can terminate, assign, or discharge the individual
  • Can terminate the contract without risk of lawsuit for breach
  • Pays the individual a salary rather than payment based on work completed
  • Can be in a continuing relationship, however frequent or irregular
  • Has the legal right to control both the method and results of work
  • Provides training to the individual
  • Hires other employees to assist the individual with the job
  • Integrates the individual into the project staff
  • Sets the individual’s work schedule

The individual:

  • Performs the work as part of the university’s customary line of business
  • Assumes no financial risks
  • Has no other clients for the same services
  • Makes no attempt to acquire other clients
  • Makes no profits or losses
  • Has no investment in the business

Please be award that the questions serve only as a guide. It is the sum of the circumstances rather than any one criterion that determines the proper relationship (employee or consultant). For further assistance, contact the Ohio State University Office of Human Resources at 614-292-1050.

Consultant Certification

The consultant will need to certify the following statements on the consultant agreement regarding conflict of interest:

  • He/she is not a consultant of the Ohio State University, other than by terms of this agreement
  • He/she is not an employee or family member of an employee of The Ohio State University, or any agency of the State of Ohio
  • No employee or family member of an employee of The Ohio State University will be a recipient of any compensation, payment or other direct benefit under this agreement
  • He/she is not suspended, debarred or ineligible to enter into contracts with any department or other agency of the federal government, nor in receipt of proposed debarment or suspension

Consultants who are in the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) and wish to provide consulting services are subject to The Ohio State University Human Resources Policy 4.25 summarized below:

  • STRS members cannot return as independent contractors at any time in an STRS qualified position. Additional information is available by calling STRS.
  • OPERS retirees who retire from the university may not receive OPERS benefits and work as an independent contractor for any period of time for the university. This prohibition is applicable regardless of the number of hours or days actually worked. Additional information is available in the OPERS Benefit Recipient Handbook.
  • ARP participants need to check with their vendor to determine whether they are eligible to become a consultant

If the consultant being considers is an STRS, OPERS or ARP retiree, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs procurement department at 614-292-6870 prior to sending the consultant agreement to the consultant.

Consultants Engaging in Research Involving Human Subjects

If the scope of work that the consultant is performing will involve human subjects, approval from the Ohio State Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required before entering into a consultant agreement.

Ohio State requires the consultant to sign an Individual Investigator Agreement (IIA), complete Ohio State CITI training and a Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure. The PI is responsible for contacting the Office of Responsible Research Practices for assistance or questions concerning human subject research requirements at 614-688-8457.  Click here for more information on obtaining an approved IIA document.

Consultant Agreement Process

The methods of procurement are to be followed for all procurements including consultant agreements as indicated in Section 2 CFR §200.320 of the Office of Management and Budget’s “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” (Uniform Guidance). See the Uniform Guidance update.

1.  Principal Investigator:

  • Prepares the consultant’s scope of work. Requirements include, but are not limited to:

    • A detailed description of services to be performed
    • Consultant responsibilities, tasks and expected results
    • Performance, quality and timeliness requirements (include required or acceptable levels of performance on each specific task measured in terms of accuracy and response time)
    • Workload requirements (describe levels or size of contractual effort)
    • Description of any anticipated expenses that will require the consultant to request reimbursable (e.g., travel or supplies)
    • Minimum qualifications or skill level of the consultant (Note: you may request that the consultant provide their resume)
    • Reporting requirements and/or other deliverables (describe any reports to be submitted by the consultant to show progress and the final report/deliverables)
    • Description of deliverables
    • Time period of performance (Note: all work must be performed within the project period)
  • The PI performs a market search for a consultant able to perform the Scope of Work
  • Prepares and forwards the following forms to the consultant (NOTE: If the Consultant Agreement or Consultant Agreement Amendment has an aggregate total of $25,000 or more, please see section “5. Procurement Responsibilities” below.)

****NON-RESIDENT ALIENS***

If the consultant is a non-resident alien, the consultant is required to contact the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) accounts payable department at 614-292-8187 to discuss country of origin and type of visa. Once the non-resident alien has been determined to be eligible to perform the consulting services, accounts payable will provide written approval to the OSP procurement department so that the consultant agreement can be executed.

2.  Consultant Responsibilities:

3.  Principal Investigator: 

Supporting documents for the consultant agreement may include, but are not limited to:

4.  Sponsored Program Officer Responsibilities:

  • Reviews the consultant agreement for allowability and allocability per applicable scope of work and terms and conditions of the sponsored project/award
  • Reviews the project budget to determine if the expense is appropriate on the project
  • Once the SPO has approved the consultant agreement, the SPO will forward the consultant agreement, scope of work and any supporting documents to the Office of Sponsored Programs procurement department.

5.  Procurement Responsibilities:

  • Determines the method of procurement to be followed in accordance with Uniform Guidance (Section §200.320) summarized below:
    • Consultant agreement requests with an aggregate total less than $25,000 (Micro-Purchase) require one price quotation and supporting documentation for the determination that the price is reasonable
    • Consultant agreement requests with an aggregate total between $25,000 and $250,000 (Small Purchases) require two or more price quotations. If more than one qualified consultant exists, two or more proposals/price quotations must be obtained. This documentation is required to determine the basis of contractor selection and reasonableness of cost.
    • PIs requesting a sole source (Noncompetitive Proposal) for Consultant Agreements between $25,000 and up to $250,000 must complete and submit a Request for Sole Source For Individual (Non-OSU Employee) Consulting Services (Form PR-101)
    • If the consultant agreement is estimated to be $250,000 or more, PIs must complete and submit both a Request for Sole Source For Individual (Non-OSU Employee) Consulting Services (Form PR-101) and the OSP Competition Determination Requirements (Form PR-102) with their consultant agreement form

Inadequate justification or documentation for a request for a noncompetitive procurement will result in delays or a solicitation of bids. OSP procurement reserves the right to solicit competitive proposals or sealed bids for any procurement.

  • Issues a purchase order (PO) that commits project funds for the consultant fee only
  • OSP purchasing sends the following documents to the consultant with a copy to the PI/department contact listed on the consultant agreement form:
    • Purchase order (signed copy)
    • Consultant agreement fully signed by PI, consultant and the procurement department
    • Blank Consultant Invoice (Form AC-230)

6.  Consultant:

  • Begins work after receiving a signed purchase order and a consultant agreement signed by the procurement department
  • Submits the Consultant Invoice (Form AC-230) and other non-fee expenses to the PI for approval

7.  Principal Investigator:

  • The PI monitors the consultant’s work and verifies that the work is being performed according to the requirements of the consulting agreement
  • Approves, signs and forwards consultant invoices to OSP Accounts Payable at OR-AP@osu.edu
  • Submits any authorized travel or other reimbursable expenses to the department’s travel arranger for processing.

Consultant Agreement Amendment Process

The PI may request an amendment to their consultant agreement by following the steps below:

1.  Principal Investigator:

2.  Consultant:

  • Upon acceptance of the amendment to the consultant agreement, the consultant signs and returns the Consultant Agreement Amendment (Form PR-070-A) to the PI

3.  Principal Investigator:

4.  Sponsored Program Officer:

  • Reviews and if approved forwards the amendment request and supporting documentation to OSP procurement

5.  Procurement Responsibilities:

  • Determines the method of procurement to be followed in accordance with Uniform Guidance (Section §200.320) summarized below:
    • Consultant agreement requests with an aggregate total less than $25,000 (Micro-Purchase) require one price quotation and supporting documentation for the determination that the price is reasonable
    • Consultant agreement requests with an aggregate total between $25,000 and $250,000 (Small Purchases) require two or more price quotations. If more than one qualified consultant exists, two or more proposals/price quotations must be obtained for the required documentation needed for basis of contractor selection and determination of the reasonableness of cost.
    • PIs requesting a sole source (Noncompetitive Proposal) for Consultant Agreements between $25,000 and up to $250,000 must complete and submit a Request for Sole Source For Individual (Non-OSU Employee) Consulting Services (Form PR-100)
    • If the consultant agreement is estimated to be $250,000 or more, PIs must complete and submit both a Request for Sole Source For Individual (Non-Ohio State Employee) Consulting Services (Form PR-100) and the OSP Competition Determination Requirements (Form PR-102) with their consultant agreement form request
  • OSP Purchasing sends the following documents to the consultant with a copy to the PI/department contact listed on the consultant agreement amendment form:
    • Change order (signed copy)
    • Consultant agreement amendment fully signed by PI, consultant and the procurement department

6.  Consultant:

  • Begins work after receiving a signed purchase order and a consultant agreement amendment signed by the procurement department
  • Submits the Consultant Invoice (Form AC-230) and other non-fee expenses to the PI for approval

7.  Principal Investigator:

  • The PI monitors the consultant’s work and verifies that the work is being performed according to the requirements of the consulting agreement
  • Approves, signs and forwards consultant invoices to OSP Accounts Payable at OR-AP@osu.edu
  • Submits any authorized travel or other reimbursable expenses to the department’s travel arranger for processing

Consultant Invoicing Process

1.  Consultant:

  • The consultant completes and signs the Consultant Invoice form (Form AC-230) to request payment of the billable fee
  • The consultant sends the signed invoice to the PI for approval

NOTE: Consultants must mark the final invoice as “Final Invoice.” The final invoice must be received by Accounts Payable no later than 30 days after the service end date listed on the agreement and purchase order. Any invoices received more than 30 days after the end date may not be paid.

2.  Principal Investigator:

  • Reviews the invoice and if the work/deliverables are acceptable, approves the invoice by signing the Consultant Invoice (Form AC-230). The PI must contact OSP procurement if unable to approve the invoice. 
  • Forwards signed invoice to the OSP Accounts Payable at OR-AP@osu.edu.

Consultant Expenses

Funds for travel and other non-consulting fee expenses included in the scope of work are not committed to the project. These expenses are charged directly to the project when reimbursement requests are processed. PIs are advised to monitor their project budgets for these expenses. Travel reimbursements are charged to the travel category in project budgets, while other consultant reimbursements are charged to appropriate budget categories.

Consultant Reimbursements

Consultants may obtain reimbursement for travel expenses if stated in the consultant agreement’s scope of work. To request reimbursement, the consultant submits original receipts to the PI for processing. The PI submits payment requests and/or receipts to his/her department for processing through the university’s PREP system.

Contact Information

  • For assistance in preparation of the Consultant Agreement and for other sponsored programs questions, contact the sponsored program officer on the project
  • Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs procurement department for questions pertaining to purchase orders for consultant agreements at 614-292-6871
  • Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs Accounts Payable for invoice and reimbursement questions at or-rfap@osu.edu or 614-292-8187