External expertise and services costs

Costs for external expertise and service costs are eligible and reported as real costs.

External expertise and services costs are not to be reported at all if the project uses the simplified cost option “The 40%-method” that covers all costs but staff costs.

External expertise and service costs shall be limited to the following services and expertise provided by a public or private body or a natural person, other than the beneficiary, and all partners of the operation:
(a) studies or surveys (such as evaluations, strategies, concept notes, design plans, handbooks);
(b) training;
(c) translations;
(d) development, modifications and updates to IT systems and website;
(e) promotion, communication, publicity, promotional items and activities or information linked to an operation or to a programme as such;
(f) financial management;
(g) services related to the organisation and implementation of events or meetings (including rent, catering or interpretation);
(h) participation in events (such as registration fees);
(i) legal consultancy and notarial services, technical and financial expertise, other consultancy and accountancy services;
(j) intellectual property rights;
(k) verifications pursuant to point (a) of Article 74(1) of Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 and Article 46(1) of this Regulation;
(l) costs for the accounting function on programme level pursuant to Article 76 of Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 and Article 47 of this Regulation;
(m) audit costs on programme level pursuant to Articles 78 and 81 of Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 and pursuant to Articles 48 and 49 of this Regulation;
(n) the provision of guarantees by a bank or other financial institution where required by Union or national law or in a programming document adopted by the monitoring committee;
(o) travel and accommodation for external experts, speakers, chairpersons of meetings and service providers; and
(p) other specific expertise and services needed for operations.

Internal representation is when project staff from the project partners meet to participate in planned project activities and management of the project. The basic principle is that food and beverage in these contexts are included in the flat rate for office and administrative expenditure. Exceptions may be made for meetings that last for a day or more with participants from several project partners in a project. The exception means that the cost is eligible as a direct cost under external expertise ((g) services related to the organisation and implementation of events or meetings (including rent, catering or interpretation)).

External representation is when the project staff meet with external guests. External representation in the form of food and beverage can constitute eligible direct costs in the cost category External expertise and services cost. There must be a direct connection between the implementation of the project and the representation. Examples of such occasions are meals in connection with steering group meetings or meetings with external stakeholders during project activities. The representation must be characterized by restraint about the amount, frequency and number of participants. Only persons connected to the activity may participate and representation shall be limited to meetings of the type specified above. Both the external guests’ and participating project staff’s costs for food and beverage are eligible.

Examples of supporting documents for the verification of expenditure
•  evidence of the procurement process in line with the legal status/organisational/regional/national procurement rules or EU procurement rules
•  a contract/agreement laying down the services to be provided with a clear reference to the project as well as the contracted amount. As an example, for experts paid on the basis of a daily fee, the daily rate together with the number of days contracted should be included in the contract. Any changes to the contract must comply with the public procurement rules and must be documented;
•  an invoice or a request for reimbursement providing all relevant information in line with the applicable accounting rules;
•  outputs of the work of external experts or service deliverables;
•  expenses of external representation must always be documented, for example through the invitation, program, list of participants with information on the participants names and organisations (signatures not needed) and, where applicable, meeting notes.
• proof of payment.

Examples of costs under External expertise and services
• All travel and accommodation costs for external persons (that are not employed by any of the partner organisations) such as consultants, speakers, participants, members of a steering group).

• The package price for a rented vehicle and a fee for an external driver (such as a chartered bus with a driver, helicopters, and boats with external pilot/captains).

• The fee for an external driver hired to operate a vehicle (where the cost for the vehicle is separate falls under Equipment).

Programme manual