What is the difference between Professional Services, Consultants, and Services?
Professional services must be within the scope of practice as defined by Texas Government Code Section 2254.002 or provided in connection with the professional employment or practice of a person who is licensed or registered as:
Accounting - a certified public accountant (CPA);
Architecture - an architect;
Land Surveying - a land surveyor;
Medicine - a physician, including a surgeon;
Optometry - an optometrist;
Professional Engineering - a professional engineer;
Real Estate Appraising - a state certified/licensed real estate appraiser; or
Professional Nursing - registered nurse.
A private consultant means an individual or an entity that performs or proposes to perform a consultant service. Consultant service means the practice of studying or advising an existing or a proposed operation or project of ASU under a contract that does not involve the traditional relationship of employer and employee. Consultants usually provide a report on the subject matter and recommendations or plan for action, but they are not involved in actually performing the work to achieve the recommendations.
Is your department considering hiring a private consultant? If so, there are some important steps that must be followed:
First, determine whether or not your department can justify the use of a private consultant. A private consultant may be used only if there is a substantial need for the consulting services and the service cannot be adequately performed with ASU personnel or by contracting with another state agency.
All consulting contracts must follow the procedures outlined in OP 54.04 Purchase of Goods and Services.
For private consultant contracts please submit the contract to the Contract Administration Office at least thirty days in advance because the following additional steps are necessary:
Effective immediately, the Board of Regents (BOR) requires that ASU provide the BOR with prior notice of consulting contracts.
Approval of the BOR is required for any modification to a consulting contract where the initial consideration was $25,000 or less and the modification will cause the total consideration to exceed $25,000. Approval must be received prior to allowing the consulting contract to exceed $25,000.
For contracts that are more than $25,000 departments must follow OP 54.05 Use of Private Consultants.
Complete the Request to Use a Private Consultant form and forward it through administrative channels to the appropriate divisional vice president for approval.
If it is reasonably foreseeable that the proposed consulting fee will exceed $25,000, approval from the president and BOR is required. The BOR will not review until the next scheduled meeting.
For more information on use of private consultants, please read OP 54.05
For consulting contracts greater than $25,000 on State funds, please call x2012.
If you contract with an individual who does not exactly meet the Professional Services or Consultant definitions listed above, then the individual is only providing a Service.
Helpful hints for contracting with Professional Services, Consultants, and Services:
Independent Contractor Questionnaire Requirement:
An Independent Contractor Questionnaire must be completed by the department when services are being performed by an individual who is not an employee of Angelo State University. Please attach the completed questionnaire to the contract routing sheet. The Office of Human Resources will evaluate the questionnaire in conjunction with the Offices of Purchasing and Contract Administration. For more information on the independent contractor questionnaire, refer to OP 54.04 Purchase of Goods and Services and the questionnaire form which is on RamPort.
Do not create a contract and route it to the Contract Administration Office in order to request employees to perform additional services. Please contact the Office of Human Resources for questions.
Lump Sum vs. Fee Plus Travel Expenses
Please encourage the individual you are contracting with to provide you with a lump sum versus a fee plus travel expense reimbursement. We recommend that travel expenses are calculated in advance and included in the lump sum contracted amount so no reference to travel reimbursement is referenced in the contract. Request that the individual make their own travel arrangements. The transactional costs for the university to arrange and pay for the travel far exceed any savings we might realize.
The Contract Administration Office is seeing an increase in amendments for these types of contracts to include an increase in fee payment or travel expense reimbursement. Please try to refrain from creating amendments to cover additional costs. Original contracts signed by contractors are binding and the university should not have to agree to pay additional costs just because the individual requests us to do so. Conserve university funds by requiring contractors to stick with the original contract amount.
Planning is Important
If possible, please allow at least six weeks for review and approval of contracts. If a contract involves technology, the Offices of Contract Administration and Information Technology must review.
Any contract more than $100,000 must be approved by the TTUS CFO prior to execution.
If a contract requires BOR approval, the contract will not be reviewed until the next scheduled board meeting.
If a contract is greater than $500,000 per annum or greater than 4 years unless with 120 day or less cancellation notice, the contract must go to BOR for approval.
Remember to follow the bidding requirements in Operating Policy 54.04 Purchase of Goods and Services. The attached flowchart summarizes the planning stage of the contract process.
Once a contract is approved by the Contract Administration Office and signed, please remember to create your on-line requisition and attach a copy of the contract.