GAP 200.130, Engaging and Paying Guest Speakers, Conference Participants, and Honoraria Recipients

  1. General
  2. Procedure




Payments to guest speakers, conference participants (for example, panel and roundtable participants) and other honoraria recipients as outlined below should be made using an Accounts Payable Check Request. The nature of these payments (very short duration, paid to non-employees, honorific, voluntary) is such that Duke does not have an employer-employee relationship. Therefore, it is not necessary to complete an independent contractor checklist, nor is it necessary to complete a purchase requisition, or obtain a purchase order.

Payments, other than reimbursement of properly substantiated travel and other out-of-pocket expenses, to guest speakers and conference participants are reportable to the Internal Revenue Service; thus, the payee's name, permanent address and social security number are required. Reimbursement of out of pocket expenses should be coded to a different G/L than honoraria.

If the payee is a nonresident alien (not an U.S. citizen and not possessing a green card), make sure to include the documentation as noted in the instructions for the Accounts Payable Check Request. The most common G/L account used to charge this service:

  • 622000 Professional Services
    Payments made to individuals for services rendered.
  • 622010 Professional Services - Honoraria
    This account should be used to record and maintain all professional services associated with Honoraria payments.
  • Occasionally the payment may be to a corporation or partnership. In these cases, use G/L account 691600, Contract Work, or G/L 697300, Services Purchased - Not Under Contract.


Honoraria are issued as appreciation for participation in a special, limited engagement for a non-recurring activity or event when custom and/or propriety precludes setting a fixed price, and not as a contractual obligation to pay for services rendered An honorarium will generally amount to less than $2,500.00 and should reflect less than what the professional could or does earn from performing the same or related services elsewhere on a full-time basis, or from the professional's actual occupation.

Honoraria are typically paid to persons of scholarly or professional standing who are not employees of the University with the intent of showing appreciation for participation in University educational, research, or public service activities.

Activities Eligible for Honoraria May Include (list is not all inclusive):

  1. Special or Guest Lecturers
  2. Guest speakers
  3. Conference participants
  4. Guest judge for a competition
  5. Other creative work such as payments to musicians for special concerts or other artists
  6. Symposia or seminar attendees
  7. Oral presentations
  8. Readings or performances

Activities and Persons potentially eligible for Honoraria Payment, however, if using restricted funds please consult your Pre-Award office (list is not all inclusive):

  1. Family members
  2. Elected officials

Activities and Persons Not Eligible for Honoraria payment include (list is not all inclusive):

  1. Independent contractor or consulting services
  2. Faculty or staff consulting services
  3. Employees or students on the payroll
  4. Long term instructors or lecturers
  5. Project advisory committee members
  6. Data Safety Monitoring Board members

For honoraria issued within the scope of sponsored projects, please contact your pre-award office for any needed clarification of appropriate use of honoraria.



For guest speakers and conference participants complete an Accounts Payable Check Request. GAP 200.136, Accounts Payable Check Request, will assist you in completing the form. Include the payee's name, permanent address and social security number. Attach to the Accounts Payable Check Request any documentation you may have, (e.g. invoice, letter of agreement).