Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable, a department within Procurement Services, strives to provide professional, courteous service to the campus community and college vendors to ensure the timely and accurate processing of payments in compliance with RISD policies, state and federal regulations.

Payment Request

Please complete the Payment Request form and obtain appropriate approvals before submitting to Accounts Payable for processing. If this is a new payee, please attach a completed W-9 to this request. Allow 3-5 days for processing before the expense will appear on your budget.

RISD vendor payment terms are net 30 days and all payments will be made in accordance with this policy. Exceptions can be made for pre-negotiated payment discount programs. Payments to individuals (reimbursements and students) are paid upon receipt.

Accounts Payable processes all payments for the college. Employees and students who have signed up for direct deposit on WebAdvisor will have reimbursements promptly deposited into the appropriate bank account as set-up by the recipient. Checks will be mailed to the remit-to address indicated on the payment request, and checks will NOT be sent through interoffice mail. Checks picked up in Accounts Payable by a RISD employee should be limited to those circumstances when a check must be hand delivered.
Please note: Forms with errors and/or missing documentation will be delayed while required IRS documentation is requested.
Please note: All wire requests are processed by the Controller’s Office.

Accounts Payable will only issue payments when a payment request form is submitted along with a dated, uniquely numbered, invoice on company letterhead, and when an active W-9 is already on file or is supplied with the payment request. Statements are not acceptable as they are not the equivalent of an invoice.

Reimbursements and student payments do not require a formal invoice. Please see the Travel and Expense form for applicable reimbursement submission. Student refunds or payments must have, at minimum, a printout of the program description substantiating the payment. Only one description document is required, even if multiple students are being paid under the same program. For any specific assistance, please contact Accounts Payable at


RISD follows the Internal Revenue Service’s definition to determine when an individual is qualified to receive a payment as an honorarium.

Definition: An honorarium is typically a small payment made on a special or non-routine basis to an individual who is not an employee of RISD, to recognize or acknowledge the contribution of gratuitous services to RISD. The payment, if necessary, should be recognized, not as an equivalent value to a professional charge, but as a token of appreciation, and a nominal value assigned to it.

Examples would be a nominal payment to a guest speaker or lecturer as a “thank you” and as a gesture of good will and appreciation, or a token payment for other unique, incidental and infrequent services not traditionally required on an on-going bases.

  • A special lecture
  • Serving as guest speaker at an educational event or other similar function
  • Participating as a guest speaker at outreach events
  • Assistance for set-up or supporting activities at special events

An honorarium differs from a stipend, which is a fixed sum of money paid periodically for services. Reoccurring events that have individuals expecting payment for services would receive a stipend, not an honorarium.

Honorarium payments are made payable to the individual who provided the gratuitous service. RISD does not make charitable contributions to organizations in lieu of an honorarium payment.

An honorarium cannot be used to pay independent contractors, consultants or RISD employees or students.

Honoraria Payment Process

  1. A domestic guest/visiting artist/designer/scholar/performer completes W9.
  2. Department submits Honorarium Payment Form and W9 to Accounts Payable and certifies that performance of services fall within the above definition of an honoraria.

Independent Contractor Process

The classification of an individual worker as either an independent contractor or an employee is not a matter of choice; rather, it is determined by a set of legal criteria applied to the specific facts of the relationship between the worker and the employer. Under the law, workers who provide services generally are presumed to be employees, unless clearly established criteria are met.

The consequences of misclassifying an individual worker as an independent contractor when the individual should legally be classified as an employee can be severe, including significant financial damages and penalties, harm to RISD's reputation, and possible individual liability. Likewise, misclassification may preclude the individual from protections and benefits (e.g. Worker’s Compensation) afforded by employment and may subject the individual to additional financial responsibilities.

When engaging the services of an individual worker, the following three principal criteria must all be present to classify the individual as an independent contractor:

  • Freedom from control: in general, the individual worker, and not the employer, determines the means and methods of achieving the desired result, and often the timing and location of the performance of the work, and provides and uses his or her own tools and materials
  • Work outside the usual scope of the employer's business:in general, the nature of the work performed is not something usually performed by the employer’s regular employees
  • Independent trade, occupation, or business:in general, the individual worker has an established business, offers his or her services to the general public, and has multiple client

Independent Contractor: Determining Payment Process

To assure compliance, RISD has implemented the following process for determining whether it is appropriate to retain and pay an individual worker as an independent contractor rather than as an employee, using the following forms. The full process must be completed before the individual is formally retained and begins to perform services.

1. Submit the Checklist for Determination of Independent Contractor Status to Procurement Completed by the Hiring Department or Division
2. Independent Contractor Form filled out for review by Procurement Completed by the Proposed Contractor
3. Formalize the terms using the Independent Contractor Agreement
Issued by the end user to the Contractor, after approval by Procurement
4. End user requests IRS form W-9
Completed by the Contractor for Accounts Payable
5. RI Notice of Designation as an Independent Contractor may be required
RISD end-users must communicate this state requirement to all contractors
  • The hiring manager/department sends the individual providing services the Independent Contractor Form to complete. Concurrently, the hiring manager/department completes the Checklist for Determination of Independent Contractor Status.
  • The hiring manager/department sends the completed checklist and completed Independent Contractor form, including a description of the services that will be performed, to Procurement Services.
  • Procurement Services completes Part III, Section II of the Independent Contractor form, consulting with the hiring manager/department for additional information as needed, and evaluates status as employee.
  • Procurement Services may:
    • Engage Human Resources for a second opinion
    • Confirm independent contractor status, sign form, and work with end user to create an independent contractor agreement. This will define the scope of work and terms.
    • Determine employee status – Procurement Services will work with HR as appropriate
    Individual workers who meet the designation of Independent Contractor are responsible for completing the RI Notice of Designation as Independent Contractor form when payment will exceed $5,000 and the length of service will be 30 continuous days or more.

Independent Contractor Exceptions

Even when an individual does not pass the test, there are still a few exceptions where the individual may be an Independent Contractor; the following are noted exceptions when they are used on a limited basis:

When hiring:

  • Speakers for a fee
  • Honoraria
  • Musicians, singers, dancers, DJ’s comedians, clowns and other similar entertainment
  • Current employees
  • Current students on RISD payroll

Performer and Speaker Payment Process

For speakers, musicians, singers, dancers, etc. contracts are required for performers in this category. For more information, contact Procurement.