Subcontracts, Consultants and Vendors

Differentiating between subawardees, consultants and vendors

It is important to understand the distinctions and regulations associated with entities that enter into contracts with Georgia State on sponsored awards. PIs should review the Differentiating Subawardees, Consultants, and Vendors document to familiarize themselves with the differences between subawardees, consultants and vendors.

How to set up a subcontract

The Subrecipient Monitoring Policy describes the roles and responsibility for administering and monitoring subawards. Below is a brief overview for PIs and their staff.

Initial setup of subcontract

Once a sponsored award is made that includes subcontracts, the PI/PD (or their staff) should complete and submit to their OSP officer a Subcontract Request Form for each subcontract. For all sponsored awards, a subcontract is formally made between the subrecipient and GSURF, not the PI, department or college. It is advisable to save an electronic copy of this form to be used for subsequent amendments to the original subcontract.

The OSP officer is responsible for drafting subcontract/subaward agreements, terms and conditions, and ensuring the subcontractor/subawardee is qualified (as defined in the subrecipient monitoring policy) to engage in a partnership with Georgia State University. After receiving a Subcontract Request Form, an OSP officer will typically complete and send the standard Research Subaward Agreement to the contracting institution with a copy to the PI. If the PI wants an alternative agreement sent to the contracting institution, the PI must send a draft of that agreement to OSP and Office of Legal Affairs for their approval. The PI cannot negotiate the legal terms or sign a subcontract agreement for Georgia State University.

Multi-year subcontracts

Georgia law requires subcontracts to be only for one year. However, they are set up to be easily amended on an annual basis, as described below.

For multi-year subawards, additional time and funding (i.e., budget for the next year) can be requested by sending a Subcontract Request Form (with amendment checked) to the OSP officer. PIs should send the request about two months prior to the end of the currently-funded budget year to continue funding. With this form, PIs will provide the budget for the year and indicate if there are any changes from the original scope of work or other aspects of the previous Subcontract Request Form. Typically, the OSP officer will then send a Research Subaward Agreement Amendment to the contracting institution with a copy to the PI.

Encumbering budgets – The amount of the subcontract budget must be encumbered upon receipt of the fully executed subcontract (see Payments to Subcontractors on Sponsored Awards). Each subcontract for an award is assigned a number from 1 to 9. This number corresponds to the numbered account code that should be used to charge expenses (see Subcontract G/L Expense Codes).

Monitoring a subcontract – PIs are responsible for monitoring the progress of the subaward toward accomplishing its scope of work and for reviewing and approving subcontract invoices to ensure they are consistent with the subaward budget and that they only contain allowable costs.

Additional information is available in the Subaward PowerPoint.

Paying consultants from a sponsored award

Consultants are entities (individuals or companies) receiving a portion of the funds from a grant as an expert advisor or goods/service provider paid by the hour or day for the work they do on the project. While a consultant may contribute their expertise on a project, they cannot be named as a Co-PI or Co-Director, nor can they be considered as “Key Personnel”. They may be listed as an investigator on the project at the discretion of the PI, but if so, they must complete a Consultant Agreement Form that addresses the financial conflict of interest requirements for the listed consultant and submit for approval to the Office of Legal Affairs. These forms can be found on the Finance and Administration webpages at :

Consultant fees may be paid only to experts not employed by Georgia State who provide a unique contribution to the project. In addition, prior approval must be obtained in order for any University System of Georgia and State of Georgia employees to be eligible to receive compensation for consulting services on sponsored projects. Federal agencies specifically prohibit the payment of consultant fees from federally-supported projects to persons employed by the Federal government.

All consultants on Georgia State sponsored projects being paid $5,000 or more for services must complete a Consulting Agreement Form (with non-state of Georgia entities) or an Employee Compensation Agreement Form (with state of Georgia employees) and have the form approved by the university’s Office of Legal Affairs. These forms can be found on the Finance and And Administration webpages at:

Find more details about these forms and processes in the Step-by-Step Guide Payment Processing for Independent Contractors / Consultants on the Finance and Accounting Purchasing & Business webpages.

Processing payments to subcontractors / subawards on sponsored projects

When OSP receives a fully executed Subaward (initial or amendment), a copy is sent to the PI/PD and department contact person specified on the Subaward Request Form. The total subaward annual budget must be encumbered upon receipt of the executed subaward agreement (either the initial or subsequent amendments) by initiating a Purchase Order for the full amount of the subaward budget in the Spectrum+ system. The funds will be encumbered against the project budget and a purchase order will be established. A copy of the Subaward must be sent to Purchasing for the PO to be dispatched. As invoices are processed against the purchase order the encumbrance will be reduced accordingly. Encumbering the funds will provide an accurate picture of how much direct cost is remaining to be spent in your project.

Invoices should be sent by the subcontractor directly to the Investigator. It is the Investigator’s responsibility to confirm that performance of the subcontract is being satisfactorily accomplished per the term of the agreement, and to review that the expenses are allowable and appropriate for the project. To comply with state requirements, each approved invoice that is sent to disbursement must be accompanied by a copy of the subaward (original plus the most recent amendment).

To pay a subaward invoice in Panther-Mart, you would begin the process by adding a non-catalog item as described in the document, “Processing payments to subcontractors / sub awards on sponsored projects.”

Making purchases on a sponsored award

All vendors from which any purchases are made must be registered in Spectrum+. This often requires obtaining a completed W-9 Form from the vendor. Once in the system, purchases can be made using these basic guidelines:

  • Purchase of items or services less than $5,000 per item can be made from any state-approved vendor using a P-card or Purchase Order (PO). NOTE: When using a PO, the PO MUST be approved and items ordered by a Purchasing Office buyer and not ordered directly by the PI or department.
  • Purchase of items or services more than $4,999 per item must be made from state-approved vendors using a PO, or see C and D below.
  • A Sole Source Form should be completed and submitted with a PO if there is justification for purchasing items or services over $4,999 per item from a vendor not on the state-approved vendor list. If the sole source request is approved, the item will be ordered by a purchasing office buyer and not ordered directly by the PI or department.
  • When purchasing an item or service over $4,999 that cannot be obtained from a state-approved vendor or approved sole source, that item or service has to go through the state’s bidding process.

More information about purchases from vendors may be found on the Office of Finance and Administration Business Services webpage.