DePaul University Research Services > Award Management > Collaborations > Selecting & Engaging Consultants

Selecting & Engaging Consultants

​There are a number of things a Principal Investigator should be aware of when selecting, engaging, and compensating a consultant.

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) must determine, in conjunction with University Tax Services, that the individual obtained to do work for the project should be considered and paid as a consultant, as opposed to hiring the person as an employee. To facilitate the process the PI may complete and submit the Employee / Independent Contractor Questionnaire to University Tax Services for a determination.
  • The consultant firm/individual must be able to utilize his/her/its own expenses until reimbursement is provided. DePaul University does not pay advances to consultants.
  • The consultant firm/individual must have the capacity to assemble documentation for reimbursement (receipts, etc.) if expenses are to be covered and prepare an invoice to DePaul.
  • Procurement for consultant services is subject to the policies of competition established by DePaul University. This means that consultant services anticipated to exceed $25,000 require three quotes.
  • When selecting and engaging consultants, PIs should be aware of DePaul's conflict of interest (COI) policies:
  • Consultants from inside the United States must have a social security number and firms must have a Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • If the consultant to be engaged is from outside the United States, take these steps before the work begins so that compensation and reimbursement can be processed:
    • Ensure that the international visitor has a valid social security or ITIN number before entering the US.
      • If the consultant has an ITIN number, the department needs to send the international visitor an 8233 form, available from the Payroll or Payment Office. A completed 8233 form, and copies of the passport and visa must be forwarded to the Payroll or Payment Office before the international consultant arrives in the US.
      • If the consultant has no ITIN number, he/she can obtain one from the US Embassy in their country prior to departure. International visitors should check with the US Embassy in their country for advise on processing time, to ensure that the necessary documents are in order upon arrival in the US.
      • If the consultant is unable to obtain a ITIN number from the US Embassy, they must complete a W-7 form and submit it to the Payroll Office for processing. There is a 30-day verification period before they will be considered for processing for an ITIN by the Social Security Administration, and processing the W-7 may take as long as 60 to 90 days. Therefore obtaining an ITIN number is recommended prior to arriving in the US.
    • The PI must complete and submit a "Foreign National Information Form" available at the Payroll department in Financial Affairs.
    • If travel costs are to be reimbursed to the consultant, the Principal Investigator must ensure that the consultant is traveling in a manner compliant with the Fly-America Act. If the reimbursement is coming from a federal source and the consultant did not utilize an existing US flag airline, the expense will be considered unallowable and will not be reimbursed from the grant account.​


​ ​​