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.

Expand your navigation bar on the left of your account and click "Expense Policy":

Blocking rules vs. Warning rules

There are two main types of rules: blocking and warning rules. Blocking rules prevent you from submitting an expense, whil a warning pops up and lets you know how to edit your expense so that it's within policy.

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.

Every admin Abacus account comes with a report for expenses with warnings, that is accessible in your navigation bar to the left.

The Abacus Rule Builder

The Abacus rule builder is extremely flexible and you can use it in many different ways to add rules that make sense for your team. 

You can first choose who the rule applies to, including  custom Team Fields that you've created. You can also specify whether a rule applies to every expense, corporate card expenses, or reimbursable expenses only. You can select what you want the rule to do in the Type section:

Daily Rates

You can help your team stay on budget by using our 'Daily Rate' rule type. 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. 

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. 

If the approver is both a manager and an admin, their approval will be final and the expense will just require one layer of approval. 

Here's how it works:

1.  Select the approver. This is the manager or admin who will receive the expense in his or her inbox first, if certain criteria are met. 

2. Route expenses for. This is the expense-submitter who the rule applies to. You can choose everyone, a particular user, or a certain custom Team Field like Department or Location.

3. Expense source. Choose between every expense, corporate card expenses or reimbursable expenses only.

4. Amount greater than. This is the expense amount above which the expense is routed to the approver.

5. Expense Tags. Choose a custom Expense Field that will determine the approver. Expenses with this field will be routed to the approver you specify. 

6. For expenses categorized as. Select a category to determine approval routing. Expenses with this category will be routed to the approver you specify.

In the above example, every expense from the Marketing department will be routed to Ashley Admin for approval. You can also toggle the button above to Yes to ensure that expenses always go to a user's manager first before they are routed to the approver.

Prioritizing approval routing rules 

You might have expenses that meet the criteria of two routing rules. For example, an $801 expense would meet the criteria for two rules: expenses over $800 go to Eric User, and expenses over $750 go to Frannie User. In this case, the first rule (top down) will be used: the $801 expense would go to Will Smith.

To change the order of the approval routing rules, drag and drop the rules by clicking on the grid to the left of the rule (which will show up when you hover over the rule):

Auto-Approving Expenses

You can also use the Expense Policy page to create rules around what expenses get automatically approved. For more information on how to set up these rules, refer to the Automatically Approving Expenses article listed below.

If you need help creating rules that work for your team, don't hesitate to reach out to and we're more than happy to assist you. 

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