Advice and answers from the Expensify Team

Important note: This section is for policy categories only. If you are not reporting on a policy, you will want to set up categories in your Personal Settings. These categories will be overridden if you are reporting on a policy. Click the blue settings cog in the upper right hand corner of the screen > Personal settings > Categories and Tags to find your Personal Settings page.

In Expensify, Categories is a term that refers to the Chart of Accounts, GL Accounts, Expense Accounts or Expense Categories (depending on your accounting system).  They are line-item expense details that correspond to your accounting and financial reporting systems.

  • If you are using one of our web service integrations with QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, Quickbooks Desktop Beta, Intacct, Xero or NetSuite, then we will automatically pull in these categories from your accounting system. If you are not using one of these systems, then you can import your categories either by CSV file upload or individually. 
  • Each category can also be set up to have specific rules like required receipts, maximum expense amounts, and comments being required.

To upload by CSV file:

1. Create the spreadsheet of these accounts and save this as a CSV file.

  • One column (column A) should be the user-facing account name (the "category" the user will select on their edit screen. 
  • A second column (column B) can have the GL number associated with the account. 

Here is an example of what this file looks like:

2. Upload this file into the Categories section of the Company Policy (Admin > Policies > [Policy Name] > Categories).. Here is a video of how to do this:

Category-Specific Rules and Comment Hints

Corporate policy users have the ability to enable specific rules based on the category of the expense. This feature allows administrators to have control of expense reporting on a more granular level.

Enabling Category Rules

The following are the rules that can be set specifically at the category level. 

To enable rules for a given category, click the gear icon next to the category name in the policy settings (Admin > Policies > [Policy Name] > Categories).

Max Amount: Allows you to set specific expense amount caps based on the expense category. You can do this per individual expense, or per day (for expenses in a category on an expense report).

Receipts: Allows you to decide whether you want to require receipts based on the category of the expense. For instance, it’s common for companies to disable the receipt requirement for mileage expenses.

Comments: Allows you to decide whether to require the comments field to be filled out based on the category of the expense.

Comment Hint: Allows you to place a hint in the comments field.

Updating Category Rules via Spreadsheet

Want to quickly update category rules in-bulk? You can do so by exporting to CSV, editing the spreadsheet, then importing back into the categories page. This will allow you to quickly add new categories, and set GL codes, payroll codes, comment hints etc. 

Rule Enforcement

If users are in violation of these rules, those violations will be shown in red on the report. Any category-specific violations will only be shown once a category has been selected for a given expense. Expenses with violations will not be auto-submitted if Scheduled Submit is enabled for a policy.

Comment Hints

Comment hints will be displayed both in the expenses table (shown above) and in the expense editor (shown below) once a category is selected.

Auto-Categorize Card Expenses

If you're importing card transactions, Auto-Categorization will provide a massive benefit to your company's workflow by automatically coding expenses to the proper GL.

  • Once configured according to your GL, Auto-Categorization detects the type of merchant for an expense based on it's Merchant Category Code (MCC) and associates that expense with the proper GL account. 
  • This time saver keeps employees from having to manually code expenses and provides admins with the peace of mind that the expenses coming in for approval are more reliably associated with the correct GL account. 
  • Best of all, this works for personal and company cards alike!

Setting up Auto-Categorization

  1. First, go to Admin and select the policy that you want to configure
  2. Go to the Categories tab and scroll down to Auto-Categorize
  3. Under the Category column, select the account that most closely associates with the merchant group for all groups that apply to expenses that you and your coworkers submit. If you are unsure, just leave the group Uncategorized and the expense will not come in pre-categorized.
  4. You're well on your way to expense automation freedom! 

Auto-Categorize based on MCC Groups

Auto-Categorize based on specific MCC codes

If you require more granular detail, the MCC Editor gives you even greater control over which MCC Codes are assigned to which Categories. The MCC Editor can be found just below the Auto-Categorize table.

Implicit Categorization

Over time, Expensify will learn how you categorize certain merchants and then automatically apply that category to the same merchant in the future. 

When an expense has been categorized via implicit categorization, the category will be italicized.

  • You can always change the category; we'll try to remember that correction for next time!
  • Any Expense Rules you have set up will always take precedence over implicit categories. 
  • Implicit categorization will only apply to expenses you have not explicitly set a category for already.  Notice in the example below that changing the category on one expense does not change it for any other expense that has an explicit category already assigned.

This built-in feature will only use the categories from the currently active policy on your account. You can change the active policy by clicking the blue account square and selecting the correct policy name.

Did this answer your question?