Service Providers


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)

Note: if services are research-related, please indicate in the internal note


Sourcing and Procurement will review the shopping cart and initiate the appropriate registration survey, if applicable, and communicate next steps with the requesting department.

  1. Entity (including corporations, partnerships, or Subchapter S corporations): the service provider will complete the online registration process.
  3. 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 onboarding the individual onto Boston University payroll.

For entities and individuals whom Accounts Payable determines may be classified as independent contractors, the next step depends on whether the services to be provided are non-research-related or research-related. In either event, the University and service provider must enter into a contract. The manager/principal investigator will be responsible for ensuring service provider complies with the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy ( and, if for research-related services, with the University’s Policy on Investigators’ Conflicts of Interest (

I. Non-Research-Related Services

Sourcing will assist the requesting department in facilitating the appropriate form of agreement with the service provider.

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 will coordinate execution of the appropriate agreement by an authorized signatory for the University and the service provider.

Once the agreement is 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.


Companies that perform a one-time service for the University that lasts less than thirty (30) days and for fees of less than $10,000 may be eligible to be paid by way of an External Service Provider Form and Contract (ESP Form). To determine eligibility, please email with the company’s name and details of the engagement.

II. Research-Related Services

The PI or designee should download the most current version of the Research-Related Consulting Agreement, which will describe the project on which the service provider will work, the term of service, the scope of work anticipated, the rate of pay, and other terms governing the arrangement.

  1. The PI must complete Sections 1-5 of the Research-Related Consulting Agreement
  2. The PI should attach the following document to the Agreement:
  3. The PI and either the Center Director, Department Head, or Dean (as appropriate) should sign the Agreement and return it to the Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP) representative responsible for the relevant sponsored program.

OSP will send the FCOI to Research Compliance for review. OSP will also verify that the proposed funding source may be used for the Consultant’s fee and expenses and, if it may, will email Sourcing and the PI authorizing the engagement. In some circumstances, Sourcing will also send the agreement to the Export Control Director for review. Depending on the type of engagement, Sourcing will determine whether it is necessary to require the service provider to obtain (or confirm that it has) insurance and will coordinate execution of the agreement by the service provider and an authorized signatory for the University.

The executed agreement will be attached to the shopping cart generating a Purchase Order, permitting work to begin. A valid Purchase Order must be referenced on applicable invoice(s) and sent Accounts Payable for processing.

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.

An overview of the research-related engagement process can be found in the RRCA Flow Chart

Contact Us

For questions related the service provider engagement process:

    Buyer, Sourcing & Procurement

For questions related to the shopping cart process:

    Charoma Blyden, Training Specialist, Sourcing & Procurement

For questions related to registration process:

    Supplier Registration Coordinator, Accounts Payable