Creating an Expense Policy

The Abacus Expense Policy page allows you to create any number of rules that will help you enforce your company's expense policy and create controls around expense submission and approval. If you are an Admin, navigate to your organization's Expense Policy Page to create custom rules.

Blocking rules vs. Warning rules

There are two main types of rules: blocking and warning rules. Blocking rules prevent users from submitting an expense entirely, while a warning rule pops up during submission to let the user know how to edit the expense so that it's within policy, or allow them to submit the expense with policy violations flagged during the review and approval process.

If your user attempts to submit an expense that violates a blocking rule, Abacus will prevent the user from submitting it, and tell the user what policy item you have not included.

Warning rules alert you to the fact that you're going against company policy, and give you the option to go back and fix the expense, or send it anyway.

If someone submits an expense that violates a warning rule, admins will see a yellow warning icon on the expense. You can also search and filter specifically for expenses with warnings.

By default, every admin Abacus account is equipped with a pre-set report for expenses with warnings, that is accessible in the Live Reports feature in the lefthand navigation.

The Abacus Rule Builder

The Abacus rule builder is extremely flexible and can be used in many different ways to enforce rules based on your organization's unique expense policy. 

To get started, click on "Add a Rule" on the Expense Policy Page and select the following:

Requirement: these rule types require information (i.e. receipt, category, custom field, note) from the user upon expense submission

  • Source: Choose between every expense, corporate card expenses or reimbursable expenses only
  • Submitted By: This is the who the rule applies to. You can choose everyone, a particular user, or a certain custom Team Field like Department or Location
  • Of Amount: - This is the expense amount above which the expense is routed to the approver, if applicable
  • Categorized As: Select a category to determine approval routing. Expenses with this category will be routed to the approver you specify
  • Tagged As: Choose custom Expense Fields that will determine the approver. Expenses with this field will be routed to the approver you specify
  • Warn or Block? Determine if users can override this policy to submit or if violation will keep them from continuing to submit.

Budget: budget rules enforce spend limits for users based on particular parameters such as time limits, categories, etc.

  • Expenses should not exceed: dollar threshold for the particular budget
  • Per: time frame by which to wrap the budget around - options include: per expense, day, month, quarter, year, 
  • Source: Choose between every expense, corporate card expenses or reimbursable expenses only
  • Submitted By: This is the who the rule applies to. You can choose everyone, a particular user, or a certain custom Team Field like Department or Location
  • Categorized As: Select a category to determine approval routing. Expenses with this category will be routed to the approver you specify
  • Tagged As: Choose custom Expense Fields that will determine the approver. Expenses with this field will be routed to the approver you specify
  • Warn or Block? Determine if users can override this policy to submit or if violation will keep them from continuing to submit.

Time Limit: time limit rules require that users submit expenses within a certain time threshold, ensuring punctual submission of expense data.

  • Expenses should be submitted in: can be measured in days, months, quarters, and years
  • Source: Choose between every expense, corporate card expenses or reimbursable expenses only
  • Submitted By: This is the who the rule applies to. You can choose everyone, a particular user, or a certain custom Team Field like Department or Location
  • Categorized As: Select a category to determine approval routing. Expenses with this category will be routed to the approver you specify
  • Tagged As: Choose custom Expense Fields that will determine the approver. Expenses with this field will be routed to the approver you specify
  • Warn or Block? Determine if users can override this policy to submit or if violation will keep them from continuing to submit.

Daily Rates

You can help your team stay on budget by using our 'Daily Rate' rule type, under the "Requirements" portion. Set a budget for certain expenses that are charged on a per diem basis, like hotels and lodging. You can choose a specific dollar amount or set an unlimited budget with required checkin/check out dates. 

Please note that by creating a Daily Rate budget rule, you are also requiring your employees to select a check-in and check-out date on the expense. This is how we calculate the daily budget rule. 

If you'd like to require check-in and check-out dates without imposing a budget, select the "Unlimited" option for this rule. 

Editing and Deleting Rules

Existing rules can be edited by clicking on the pencil icon next to the rule you intend to make changes to - alternatively, to delete a rule entirely the trash can can be used to remove a rule:

Routing expenses to specific approvers using the approval rule builder

Another type of rule builder applies specifically to expense approval routing. Create an Approval Routing rule if you'd like certain expenses to be routed to the Inbox of certain Managers or Admins. Once these rules are in place, expenses will be routed to that approver and--until they are approved--they will appear in the Pending section for Admins. More can be learned about configuring approval routing here!

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