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Professional Services Guidelines
The purpose of these guidelines is to set forth the requirements which must be followed when a University department seeks to obtain professional services from an outside party. While most services necessary for the University’s day-to-day operation are either performed by University employees or acquired through approved standing contracts, there are occasions when outside professional services are needed.
Professional Services, exempt from the State of Alabama Competitive Bid Law, are customized services consisting of specialized intellectual or creative expertise based on personal skills or ideas provided for a fee. Examples of such services include, but are not limited to:
- Guest speakers/lecturers
- Licensed medical professionals
- Other individuals possessing a high degree of professional skill where the personality of the individual plays a decisive part
As a general rule, an agreement must be executed prior to an individual or company performing professional services for the University. The sections below detail the entire professional services contracting process from agreement selection through payment.
Professional Services Requirements
In obtaining professional services, University departments must follow the steps outlined below.
Step 1. Independent Contractor (IC) Status Determination and Approval
If the service provider is an individual (or sole proprietor), the University’s Independent Contractor Policy will apply.
An Independent Contractor (IC) Form must be completed by the requesting department, submitted to and approved by the Tax Office prior to making an agreement to pay someone as an independent contractor. Refer to the Tax Office website for additional information on independent contractor status determination.
If applicable, the completed IC form should be included with the associated agreement, along with other documentation as defined below.
Step 2. Agreement Type Determination and Associated Documentation
- The department must either use the appropriate UA agreement template with no alterations, additions or omissions, or use a contract provided by the vendor. The table below will assist with determining the appropriate agreement type and typical supporting documentation. Please note that Step 3 below details the submittal process for review and signature.
- The Vendor Disclosure Statement is required on all professional service agreements regardless of the dollar amount or revenue generated. If a service provider is related to a UA employee (or in the case of a company, one of the members/owners is a UA employee or is related to a UA employee), this must be disclosed on the Vendor Registration and the Vendor Disclosure Statement.
- Depending on the type of service requested insurance may be required. The types and amounts of required insurance will be determined by Risk Management. Contract Management will assist with this determination during their review which is detailed in Step 3 below.
The following is a list of professional service types and their typical documentation requirements:
|Artists||Portraits: Commission Agreement drafted by Office of Counsel|
|Athletic Officials – assigned by NCAA||Use NCAA Form as documentation. IC Form is not required.|
|Captioning Services||Professional Services Agreement|
|Consultants||Scope of Work, Professional Services Agreement, or contract|
|Cooperating Teachers/Mentors or|
Clinical Master Teachers
|Use Cooperating Teacher/Mentor Form or Clinical Master Teacher Form
as documentation. IC Form is not required.
|Engineering Services||Scope of Work, Professional Services Agreement, or contract|
|Film and Video Production||Professional Services Agreement|
|Licensed Medical Professional||Scope of Work, Professional Services Agreement, or contract|
|Manufacturer representative training staff on new equipment||Professional Services Agreement|
|Physical training or therapy||Professional Services Agreement|
|Piano/Organ tuning||Professional Services Agreement|
|Speakers & Lecturers||Guest Speaker Agreement|
|Works of Art||Professional Services Agreement
Bill of Sale
Professional Services Not Otherwise Listed
|Service fee of $5,000 or less||Detailed Invoice including date and statement of work performed.|
|Service fee of $5,000.01-$50,000||Professional Service Agreement or contract is required.|
|Service fee to exceed $50,000||Formal contract to be drafted or reviewed by Contract Management.|
Step 3. Agreement Submittal Process
All agreements must be submitted to Contract Management for review and authorized signature. Please be advised only those appointed by the Board of Trustees are allowed to sign agreements.
The following outlines the submittal process once the appropriate agreement is determined:
- When using any UA agreement template (e.g. Professional Service, Guest Speaker or Photographer):
Initiate agreement using the appropriate link below:
- When using any agreement/contract in lieu of UA agreement templates: Submit agreement and required supporting documentation per the Contract Processing.
All agreements for professional services of greater than $250,000 require University of Alabama System Office review and approval. Please see Heightened Review of Contracts for more detailed information on this requirement as well as the protocol to follow, when applicable.
Step 4. Contract Management Review and Signature
Contract Management will review all agreements and consult with other campus stakeholders, such as Risk Management and Office of Counsel, as necessary. The department requester should be prepared to answer questions that may arise during the review process as well as provide any additional documentation that may be required by a reviewing stakeholder.
Once all review is complete, the agreement will be routed for authorized signature. All parties to the contract, including the department requester, will receive an electronic copy of the contract by email once fully executed.
Curious as to what Contract Management reviews? Understanding UA Contracts is an interactive course created by Contract Management that provides an overview of commonly used contract clauses and terms. It also provides insight into the University’s position in contract negotiations.
Step 5. Vendor Registration
If the service provider is not already registered in the University’s system, the provider will need to complete the online Vendor Registration process. Registration must occur before payment can be issued.
Step 6. Payment Processing
Requests to pay professional service fees should be submitted to Accounts Payable using the Concur Invoice Request process. The following documentation should be included with the request:
- Agreement/Contract and/or invoice
- Approved IC form, if required
- Expense documentation/receipts (if expenses are reimbursed in addition to the fee) which will be paid in compliance with UA’s applicable Travel Policy
Additional Payment Considerations:
- When funds from a state of Alabama grant or contract or federal agency passed to the University through a state agency are used to pay for professional services, an invoice from the professional is required as documentation, in addition to the other requirements of this section.
- Payment of professional service fees cannot be made in advance. Although completed paperwork may be submitted to Accounts Payable in advance, the payment will not be issued until the completion date of the service (or installment date as specified in contract).