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Sub-Contract/Consultant/Independent Contractor Best Practice Procedure

  1. The PI works with the DBA during proposal preparation to determine if this is a consultant/independent contractor or sub-contract. For more information:
    NOTE #1: If a sub-contract, the process flows through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) Portal as in the past (using "Manage Sub-contracts")
    NOTE #2: Neither the consulting agreement nor the sub-contract can be requested /until /the award is received and accepted by OSP. At that time, OSP performs a compliance review.
  2. Requested by the PI/DBA, the consultant completes the Service Provider Questionnaire form. The Service Provider Checklist form is completed by the PI/DBA. Both forms can be found at, and are to be sent to the BSC to determine if the consultant should be hired as an employee or as an independent contractor. (BSC keeps forms on file.)
  3. If a consultant/independent contractor, the PI/DBA submit a Purchase Order, or Requisition Web-Form, with the following supporting detail to their Business Service Center (BSC):
    1. Obtain a quote/proposal from the consultant
    2. Independent Consultant Agreement - sets the terms and conditions of the scope of work if retaining the person as a consultant
    3. Single/Sole Justification Source Form - needed if the dollar amount of the order is greater than $10,000 and no other consultant can perform this work
  4. The BSC reviews the information, and enters a purchase requisition into APPS and forwards above 3. a), b) and c) to Supply Management Services (SMS). If the order is for multiple deliverables requiring multiple invoices, a Blanket Order is requested. If the consultant/independent contractor is a new supplier to Cornell, the consultant's information will be entered as a temporary vendor in APPS by the BSC. SMS will request the consultant to fill out and submit a supplier information form and a W9 form. Upon receipt of the forms, the consultant's status will be changed to "permanent vendor" in APPS
  5. Sponsored Financial Services (SFS) reviews and approves the requisition. Once SFS approval is obtained, and SMS subsequently reviews and approves the requisition, a Purchase Order is issued/mailed to the consultant/independent contractor. If work is to be performed on campus, a request for an Insurance Certificate from the consultant is requested by SMS. The certificate must be received before the Purchase Order is released.
  6. Consultant conducts work and sends an invoice referencing the purchase order number to: Cornell University, Invoice Processing, P.O. Box 4040, Ithaca, NY 14852-4040.
  7. Cornell Invoice Processing enters invoices into APPS. An email is sent (if the email option is selected in the APPS department profile) to notify the BSC that an invoice has been entered against the Purchase Order and the PI/unit/BSC verifies receipt and/or acceptance of the consulting services. Prior to releasing the invoice for payment, the PI must provide documented attestation that the consultant has fulfilled the agreement's requirements, and gives authorization for the invoice to be paid.
  8. Cornell Accounts Payable issues payment to the consultant after the invoice, receipt, and approval have been processed in APPS, which is based on supplier payment terms.

For more information about the process, please see the Purchase Order Process section of the Cornell University Buying Manual:

If you have active consulting agreements executed prior to July 1, 2009 and have questions related to these agreements, please contact your OSP Grant and Contract Officer. If you have questions about requesting/ issuing a new consulting agreement beginning July 1, 2009 please contact Glenn Morey, SMS, 255-7402.