Subrecipients and suppliers (also referred to as contractors or vendors) must be budgeted and managed differently under University and federal regulations. Failure to categorize an outside organization properly can result in processing delays, unexpected costs, and misunderstandings between Berkeley and other organizations.

Unfortunately, the distinction between a subrecipient and a supplier is not always clear cut. An outside entity may perform as a supplier under one award and a subrecipient under another. This is particularly true of for-profit organizations that most often perform as suppliers but can act as subrecipients under certain conditions. Even a university that is typically treated as a subrecipient can participate as a supplier on occasion. The bottom line is that it is not the “type” of outside organization but the organization’s “scope of work” that determines its role in a Berkeley sponsored project.

The Subrecipient vs. Supplier Wizard is designed to help PIs evaluate an outside organization’s scope of work. By answering ten questions, the PI can get an indication of how to categorize the entity in a proposal as well as which campus office should be involved in managing the transaction with the outside organizations if the proposal is funded.

Note: The final determination as to whether an outside entity should be treated as a subrecipient or a supplier will be made by SPO based on the outside organization’s scope of work at the time the Subaward Request Form is submitted. If SPO concludes that the outside entity’s scope of work is that of a supplier, SPO will review the scope work with Supply Chain Management before making a final determination. The PI also may be consulted during this process.

For a more thorough overview how to distinguish a subrecipient from a supplier consult Supply Chain Management’s Sub-recipient vs. Supplier Determination Sheet.

Not sure who can help with your contracting needs? The Decision Support Tool for Contracts will help you determine which office is authorized to develop and execute the agreement you need to conduct business in support of UC Berkeley’s mission of teaching, research, and public service.

Question 1: Will you be sending funds out to another UC campus or an outside organization?

If no: See the “Who Does What? Guide” on the Business Contracts and Brand Protection (BCBP) website

If yes: Go to the next question.