Expense Tracking Workflow
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Each of your staff members will track their own expenses in a screen called My Expenses. The Expense Tracking workflow progresses in this order.
- Enter expenses
- Submit expenses
- Review expenses (edit, approve, reject)
- Post to QuickBooks
- Include on invoices
Most firms have employees submit expenses on a schedule that mirrors their payroll periods. An Expense that has been entered but not yet submitted is considered “unsubmitted.” The unsubmitted expense may be viewed by a Manager, but the Manager cannot do anything with the expense until it has been submitted.
The Expense Review feature is optional. After an expense has been submitted, it is entirely up to the firm what to do with it. Just keep in mind that the expense review/approval process can prevent the invoicing of expenses that should not be charged to the client, or can confirm that an employee expense qualifies for reimbursement.
Managers can make corrections to submitted expenses. If the corrections are minor, this on-the-fly editing eliminates the need to send the expense in question back to the employee, streamlining the review/approval process.
Entering And Submitting Expenses
To begin entering expenses, the staffer goes to the main navigation TIME/EXPENSES...EXPENSES. The Expense dashboard is where the employee will enter and track the status of their expenses.
From the dashboard, the staffer can see expenses previously logged but not yet submitted, expenses that have been submitted but awaiting approval, expenses returned for correction, and expenses that have been approved. Clicking on the line item opens the screen where logged expenses can be reviewed before submission.
To enter a new expense, the employee returns to the Expense dashboard, clicks the ADD NEW EXPENSE button and then clicks ADD EXPENSE. After completing the form fields, staffers may attach a receipt and identify the expense as non-billable or non-reimbursable. After clicking SAVE, the next step is to submit the expense/s, grouping them by client or submitting all of the expenses in a single expense report.
The Review/Approval Process
To review and approve timesheets, the Manager will go to MY COMPANY...PENDING APPROVALS. If it’s not already on, click the link “Add Expense Review to Your Workflow.” Once turned on, this feature will stay on, automatically showing the expense reports awaiting your review.
Choosing The Review/Approval Path
Before you can view the total expenses pending review, you must decide how you want to review; by Project Team or by Staff Managers. The Project Team is based on the teams you have set up in your Projects. The individual identified as the Team Leader will act as the reviewer. Or, you can elect to review by Staff Managers, which is based on the departments you have set up in BigTime.
Assigning User Roles To Review/Approve Expenses
If the Admin prefers to have Managers review/approve timesheets at the Project level, this involves assigning staff to specific projects, regardless of the department they work in or the person they report to. By assigning a Project Team Lead, the Manager grants this individual (occasionally more than one person) the right to review and approve expenses for other team members on the project.
Alternately, the Admin can choose to set up review/approval privileges by focusing on Staff Departments. Each staffer can be assigned to a User Rights Group, with certain levels of access associated with the group. The Admin can also edit the individual staffer’s privileges within a group with granular security settings like these: who can view a page; who can edit a page; who can edit submitted expense reports, and so on.
To invoice approved expenses, click on the main navigation bar INVOICING...OVERVIEW. Click on the Work-in-Progress tile to view all unbilled expenses (and time as well). You’ll see the total amount unbilled and the number of unbilled projects.
Clicking on the dollar amount will allows you to view the projects with unbilled expenses. After selecting the expense or expenses you want to invoice, click the button CREATE INVOICE.
Using the Invoice Wizard, choose the type of invoice you want to send (Fixed Fee or Time and Materials, for example) and Click the Settings icon to select additional information you want to display on the invoice. To separate billable expenses from the billable time, check the box “Create Separate Line Items for the Expenses I’m invoicing.” If you want to invoice the full amount of billable expenses this will generate line items separate of the Task fixed amount. Now the expenses will be summarized by Expense category instead of being lumped under the Task.
Clicking the FINALIZE button saves the draft, but you may continue to edit the invoice until you’re ready to send it. When ready, you may print your invoice, email it to your client, or post it to QuickBooks. And that brings the Expense Tracking workflow full circle.