Service Providers

Shopper’s Guide > University Suppliers

Working with the Office of Sponsored Programs, the Office of the General Counsel and Accounts Payable, the University has streamlined the registration and contracting process. While any engagement $25,000 or more still requires a formal contract, there are expedited processes for research and non-research related engagements under $25,000.

To learn more about engaging consultants and other contributors who will support research at BU, information is available on the Accounts Payable website and in this presentation. The new processes for all other contractors is described below.


The first step to engage a service provider, consultant, contractor, or freelancer (hereafter, “Service Provider”) is to submit a shopping cart prior to the services being performed for the projected value of the services. The following information must be included in the shopping cart prior to submission:

  • service provider name and contact information
  • brief description of services
  • start date and end date
  • supporting documentation (contract, price agreement, quotation or description of services)

When engaging a service provider, a Description of Services (DOS) is required and should be included on the shopping cart. For additional information on how to complete a DOS, please click here.


Sourcing and Procurement will review the shopping cart and communicate next steps with the requesting department. If the service provider has not done business with Boston University before, Sourcing will initiate the appropriate registration survey:

  1. Entity (including corporations, partnerships, or Subchapter S corporations): the service provider will complete the online registration process
  2. Individual: if the service provider is an individual, the service provider will complete the online Worker Classification Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire and Registration (PQQ), as part of the registration process.

The registration process will be used to determine whether the service provider may be classified as an independent contractor. This determination must be made before engaging the service provider to comply with tax withholding and reporting obligations.

Accounts Payable will review the PQQ and accompanying documentation to determine the proper classification for the service provider.


For individuals whom Accounts Payable deems an employee, the requesting department will be notified. The manager/principal investigator should follow the normal hiring process and contact their Payroll Coordinator for guidance and assistance in on-boarding the individual onto Boston University payroll.

For entities and individuals whom Accounts Payable determines may be classified as independent contractors, Sourcing will review the Description of Services provided on the shopping cart and determine the appropriate form of agreement for the engagement. In most cases, engagements under $25,000 do not require a separate contract. Sourcing will simply attach the Description of Services to the Purchase Order.


When a contract is deemed necessary, Sourcing will coordinate the execution of the appropriate agreement by an authorized signatory for the University and the service provider.

Once the form of agreement is finalized and/or executed, the shopping cart will be approved and a Purchase Order created permitting work to begin. A valid Purchase Order must be referenced on applicable invoice(s) and sent to Accounts Payable for processing.

Research-Related Services:

Uniform Guidance states that Boston University must be reimbursed by the Sponsoring Agency no later than 90 calendar days from the end of the period of performance. Please ensure invoices are submitted in a timely manner.

  • The Office of Sponsored Programs, Research Compliance, and the Office of the General Counsel have provided a few additional considerations for the Principal Investigator regarding Financial Conflict of Interest, Special Situations that require additional legal review, and Funding/Reimbursement Restrictions. With the “additional considerations…” as the hyperlink to the page containing this information.

Contact Us

For questions related the service provider engagement process or related to the shopping cart process:

Charoma Blyden, Training Specialist, Sourcing & Procurement or 617-353-2730

For questions related to registration process:

Supplier Registration Coordinator, Accounts Payable or 617-353-8847