Working with consultants and partner organizations is essential in the development and aid sector (and perhaps essential in any line of work). There is just no way any one company can – or should! – have all under one roof all the expertise they need for the work they do. (Show me the company that attempts to do this and I’ll show you a company that’s becomes more and more uncompetitive by the day.)
But working with consultants and partners comes with its own set of challenges. The unique characteristics that make consultants or partners ideal as specialists on your projects may also mean they are awkward fits with your existing administrative processes.
As an example, one would think most consultants and partners would be eager to be paid promptly for their work. Yet, countless person-years have been lost by small business owners and admin staff in the search for correct information about how to pay consultants after assignments have been successfully completed. Payment information hasn’t been specifically requested by program staff. Or, the consultant has submitted incomplete or incorrect banking information. Or, the partner has changed financial institutions. Or, one of 100 other scenarios.
There is a sure-fire way to solve this problem: by requiring that all consultants and partners submit their payment information as a part of the intake or contracting process.
Here are three suggestions about ways to operationalize this form to make your life easier:
- Include payment information in your consulting/partnering contracts. This ensures that payment information is readily accessible and doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of any other paperwork or project documentation.
- If you aren’t comfortable with linking payment information and your contracts, at least require this form be filled out and returned as a part of the intake process.
- Keep this form in a publicly accessible administration folder, shared drive or cloud folder so that everyone involved in the contracting process has easy access to it (and so everyone is working from the same version).
Rather than starting from scratch, I’ve put together a template (as a public Google Doc) for you that contains an exhaustive list of potentially necessary banking information. If you adapt this template or your company, you should be all set for the future: