Treatment of expenses

Employee expenses are charges incurred on behalf of the company. The company then reimburses these expenses to the employee. The receipts encountered most frequently are:

  • car travel, reimbursed per unit of distance (mile or kilometer),

  • subsistence expenses, reimbursed based on the bill,

  • other purchases, such as stationery and books, destined for the company but carried out by the employee.

An integrated process

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Process for dealing with expense reimbursements

Expenses generated by employees are grouped into periods of a week or a month. At the end of the period the employee confirms all of her expenses and a summary sheet is sent to the department manager. The manager is responsible for approving all the expense requests generated by his team. The expenses sheet must be signed by the employee, who also attaches her receipts there.

Once the sheet has been approved by the head of department it is sent to accounts, who register the company's liability to the employee. Accounting can then pay this invoice and reimburse the employee who originally advanced the money.

Some receipts are for project expenses, so these can then be attached to an analytic account. The costs incurred are then added to the supplementary cost of the analytic account when the invoice is approved.

You often need to invoice expenses to a client, depending on the precise contract that's been negotiated. Travelling and subsistence expenses are generally handled this way. These can be recharged to the client at the the end of the month if the contract price has been negotiated plus expenses.

If you have to go through many steps to reclaim expenses, it can all quickly become too cumbersome, especially for those employees who claim large numbers of different expense lines. If you've got a good system that integrates the management of these claims, such as the one described, you can avoid many problems and subtly increase staff productivity.

If your systems handle expenses well then you can avoid significant losses by setting your terms of sale effectively. In fixed-price contracts, expense reimbursements are usually invoiced according to the actual expense. It's in your interests to systematize their treatment, and automate the process to the maximum, to recharge as much as you are contractually able.

Claiming expenses

Install the module hr_expense to automate the management of expense claims. Users can then enter their expenses using the menu Human Resources ‣ Expenses ‣ New Expenses Sheet and review them using menus in Human Resources ‣ Expenses ‣ My Expenses.

Templates for the various expenses accepted by the company must previously have been created using Open ERP's product form. You could, for example, create a product with the following parameters for the reimbursement of travel expenses by car at 0.25 per kilometer:

  • Product : Car travel ,

  • Unit of measure : km ,

  • Standard Cost : 0.25 ,

  • Sale price : 0.30 ,

  • Type of product : Service .

The employee keeps her expenses sheet in the Draft state while completing it throughout the period. At the end of the period (week or month) she can confirm her expense form using the Confirm button on the form. This puts it into the state Waiting for validation .

At the end of the period the department manager can access the list of expense forms waiting for approval using the menu Human Resources ‣ Expenses ‣ All expenses ‣ Expenses waiting validation.

Tip

Role Management

You must assign the role Human Resources – Expenses to a user to enable that user to approve these expenses. You'd generally assign this role only to those people responsible for projects or departments.

You can also assign the role Human Resources – Invoicing Expenses to users responsible for creating invoices. These roles may overlap (so the same person who approves your accounting group's expenses may also be responsible for creating invoices).

To find out more about the management of roles look at Configuration & Administration.

The department manager can then approve the expenses, which automatically creates a supplier invoice in the employee's name so that the employee can be reimbursed. An analytic account is coded onto each line of the invoice. When the invoice is confirmed, general and analytic accounting entries are automatically generated as they would be with any other invoice.

If you establish your invoicing on the basis of service time or analytic costs, the expense will automatically be recharged to the client when the client invoice is generated for services associated with the project.

Invoicing from timesheets lets you prepare your invoices all within the one integrated system - all the expenses and timesheets for a project's client.