Background

Expense rules are used to flag up entries on contractors' timesheets according to criteria that are fully configurable. Rules can be applied on a global basis to every contractor in the umbrella company, or to an individual contractor's employment as a whole, or to individual contracts. Global expense rules can be found on the main menu under Setup. Employment and Contract rules are both available by selecting any of an individual contractor's timesheets or contracts and then clicking the Expense Rules button which appears at the top right of the screen.

Rules are applied in order, with the most specific taking precedence over the least specific. So rules that apply to a particular contract will override rules that apply to a particular employment, which in turn will override rules that apply globally. So, for example, a global rule could be set to disallow all expense claims for all contractors, but an individual rule could then be set to allow expense claims for a particular employee or a particular contract; the global rule would be skipped.

The rules available fall into the following main categories:

Approved

This rule type "Refers if not claimed". This means that the timesheet will be flagged for admin attention if the contractor has not claimed the expected amount in that expense category, on the specified type of day, in the period in question. For example, if a rule is set for GBP70 per working day accommodation, and the contractor works five days during a weekly timesheet, the rule will flag if the claimed amount is not exactly GBP350.00. The Accumulative box is ticked by default for this rule type, meaning that the rule will not flag if the rule is met over all applicable days. This means that the expense can be entered in bulk on a single day during the period, rather than having to make separate entries for each individual day. Note that "working day" refers to days on which the contractor worked, rather than its usual meaning Mon-Fri (in the workday/weekend context).

When choosing any of the travel expense types, the option becomes available to use either miles or amount as the condition to test against, with miles selected as default. The miles box is not otherwise visible.

Refer

This is used to flag if the amount claimed exceeds a maximum amount. This is useful to flag timesheets where excessive or over-budget claims might be made, but otherwise works the same as Approved Rules. It will flag by showing a warning message to the admin only.

Max

Max rules work in the same way as Refer rules, however instead of just warning the approving admin with a flag, this rule will prevent the timesheet from being submitted by the contractor. It validates the expense line and the result is visible to contractor and admin.

Not Allowed

This rule will disallow the entry of a specific expense type by preventing submission of the timesheet if this particular expense type is present.

Allowed

This is the opposite of Not Allowed and is used to override such a rule already set on a more general level. For example, a Not Allowed rule set at global level would be overruled by an Allowed rule set at contract or employment level.

Note

Note rules are used to always display a message to the admin. One use of this rule type is in the occasional circumstance where two similar rules may need to be applied, without causing a rule duplication error (see below). For example, a contractor may be expected to claim a daily bridge toll and a daily car parking charge. In this circumstance, two Travel Other rules would need to be created, however this would fall foul of duplicate rule detection. In this relatively rare circumstance, the second rule type should be set up as a Note rule. As many of these as required can be set, and they will always flag the timesheet for admin attention, regardless of what is entered by the contractor. Rules of this type do not require system validation and therefore won't cause a conflict or a duplication error.

Advanced

Advanced rules have all of the parameters configurable so that the user may define rules to suit. Select the expense type and action, then set the parameters as follows:

Visibility:
  • All: The contractor will be able to see the rule
  • Admin: Only admins will be able to see the rule
Conditions:
  • Has Value: flag if the expense has any value entered
  • =Miles: flag if claimed amount is not equal to miles set*
  • <=Miles: flag if not less than or equal to miles set*
  • =Amount: flag if not equal to currency amount
  • <=Amount: flag if not less than or equal to amount
  • Is Verified: flag if expense type has not been verified by admin (see below)
  • NA: flag regardless of any other rules set
  • Expense Date <= Contract Site Start Date + Months: Used to flag expenses claimed after the specified period
  • Receipts Total >= Total Miles Claimed x Amount (Rate)*: flag if total of receipts entered does not exceed the total miles claimed multiplied by the rate as set in the amount box (see below)

* these conditions are only visible if travel type expenses are selected

Note that the above conditions work on a hierarchical system according to how specific they are, in a similar way to the rules themselves. For example, if a Has Value rule is set then the system will flag if an expense item with any value is entered, however if an =Amount rule is also set, then that will override the Has Value rule and will only flag should the expense entered match the amount specified in the =Amount rule. The rule of thumb is that more specific rules will override more general rules and cause them to be skipped.

General

These are as configurable as Advanced Rules but will be applied to all expense types on the timesheet. General rules are typically used globally, for example to set up a global rule to not allow any non-chargeable expense.

Example setup

Here is an example of a typical setup which demonstrates the hierarchical execution of various rules.

1) Contract level rule to approve 100 miles (non-chargeable) per working day travel by car (rule type: Approved)

2) Global level rule to not allow any non-chargeable expense (regardless of working day) (rule type: General)

3) Global level rule to not allow any chargeable expense on a non working day

  • If timesheet had travel by car on a Sunday (assuming not worked) it would fail rule 2
  • If timesheet had travel by car on a working day of 100 miles, it would pass rule 1 and would skip rule 2 and rule 3. This is because rule 1 is the most specific at Contract level and so overrides both rules 2 and 3.

Duplicate Rules

The system cannot accommodate duplicate rules, i.e. rules that apply to the same expense type during the same period. This is because, for example, the system cannot flag if two separate rules are applied that operate when the contractor does not claim GBP10 and GBP20 respectively for some expense type, as clearly these rules conflict. If two similar rules are required, set one to be a Note Rule.

Special Scenarios

  • Verified Expenses: In the scenario where an expense needs to be verified by the admin before approval, an Advanced Rule should be set up with the condition set to "Is Verified" and action "Disallow Approve", as described above. This will cause a tickbox to appear next to the expense on the timesheet in question. The admin will be unable to approve the timesheet until the tickbox is ticked.
  • Fuel Receipts: In the scenario where the contractor should have a minimum amount of fuel receipts to back up a claim in a particular timesheet, set up an Advanced rule with type set to, for example, Travel By Car. This will allow the condition to be set to "Receipts Total >= Total Miles Claimed x Amount (Rate)". Then enter the applicable rate in the amount box in pounds per mile (e.g. 0.16 for 16 pence per mile). The rule will then calculate the cost of the miles claimed at this rate, and will flag if there are not enough fuel receipts entered to cover this amount. Fuel receipts are entered from the contractor's home screen, by clicking on Details, Expense Receipts. See the Expense Receipts page for more details on entering receipts.