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The workflow surrounding the journey of an expense report from submitted for approval, to approved for reimbursement, to invoiced depends upon your installation settings. The goal of this article is to help you understand what rules Projector enforces and what settings allow you to match your expense report workflow to your business rules.




When an employee submits an expense report it must be approved by your organization


The expense report is approved for reimbursement to an employee


The expense report is approved for invoicing and can be included on an invoice

Before you can understand the rules surrounding expense report workflow, let's take a quick look and get a visualization of what is happening. You can see in the image below that there are three major expense report workflow areas.

You can see that the Payment and Invoicing workflows are dependent on general Approval. However, they are not dependent on one another. Although this may seem contradictory, in some business cases you may wish to invoice a client despite the fact that you have not issued final approval for reimbursement. In the below screenshot you can see these three workflows highlighted in red on an expense report.

Each item on the expense report is a cost card. You can check/uncheck individual cost cards from the upper portion of the screen to control their flow through the system. The cost cards do not have to flow as a group, they can pass through the workflows at different times. If you take a look at the bottom of the screenshot, the headers let you know if the cost cards are approved, not approved or partially approved. In this case all the cost cards have been approved, none of the cost cards have been approved for payment, and some of the cost cards have been approved for invoicing - or partially approved.

Projector Enforced Rules

There are a few rules that Projector enforces to help you manage your expense reports



No self approval

You cannot approve your own expense reports.

Payment and Invoicing are dependent on Approval

Payment and Invoicing workflows cannot be started until general approval is given to a cost card

A cost card can only have one status per workflow

For example, in the Approval workflow a single cost card cannot be both rejected and approved.

Approval of ER

A user submits an expense report for approval.  An approver can then accept or reject some or all of the expenses.




The cost card has been entered by the user has not been submitted for approval


The cost card has been submitted for approval by the user


The cost card has been rejected by an approver


The cost card has been approved by an approver and can continue on to the payment and invoicing workflows

Who are my expense report approvers?
Expense approvers are selected on the project info tab of a project.



The project's acting PM team

Includes the engagement manager, the project manager, and those with project permission "Can Act as PM"

Engagement manager

Only the engagement manager

Project manager

Only the project manager (not "Can Act as PM" resources)

Project manager for team, engagement manager for PM

The project manager can approve expenses for team members while the engagement manager must approve expenses for the project manager

Resource-based approver(s)

  1. When setting up Projector, each resource can have a specific person specified as their expense approver. 
  2. Anyone with the Cost Center Permission "Approve Expenses" for the resource's cost center.
  3. Anyone with the Cost Center Permission "Administer Expense Document Approval Workflow." These people will not be explicitly included in approval lists, but they will have control over approvals. For example you may have an administrator who can approve time cards in an emergency. However, you do not want this administrator's bucket overflowing with time cards awaiting approval.

<<Find approver>>

Choosing this option will open the Find Approver form, allowing you to choose a specific user to be the expense approver for this project.

Can Act As PM*

Resources with the "Can Act as PM" project permission will be included in the drop down list. For example Steve Chong and Larry Krakauer in the above image. This is just a handy shortcut.

Self Approval*

If the permissions system you have setup results in an individual approving their own expenses then Projector will attempt to use their resource-based approver. If this option is not set then it will not be possible to approve the expenses. You will need to set a resource based approver for this individual or change your permissions structure.

Approval of Repayment

The payment workflow deals with reimbursement to an employee - from approval to reimburse to your resource receiving the payment. 

This workflow cannot begin until a cost card has been approved. See the previous section on cost card approval. To change the workflow status of a cost card you need the the cost center permission Administer Expense Document Payment Workflow.

Once an expense report is completely approved to pay, you can no longer add new cost cards.

Some installations prefer to have a cost card automatically marked Approved for reimbursement as soon as it is accepted in the first workflow. This removes a step. To enable this, tick the checkbox for Automatically approve expense reports for payment and invoicing on the System Settings Editor Cost Tab. This setting also has an effect on the next section of this page, so read up there also.

A cost card will typically stop at every step in the above screenshot. The table below explains each step and what it means.



Not Approved

The default status for all approved expenses


The expense has been reviewed and approved for reimbursement. A cost card may end up at this step automatically due to your system settings (discussed above).


The expense has been transmitted to your AP system. This status is typically set automatically when you transmit to your accounting package via our built-in integrations, like QB or GP. Only cost cards that are Approved get moved forward to Transmitted. If the cost card is already in a later state like Paid or Received, it is not moved backwards in the approval process to Transmitted by an integration.

You might have a reason to set this manually if you have entered the transaction in your accounting system manually. When set manually you will be prompted to enter a Voucher Number. This can be any number, but it makes sense to choose a number that correlates to your accounting system.


The Accounts Payable department has issued the reimbursement. This is a manual step. Projector has no knowledge of when your AP department actually sent out reimbursement. When you mark something paid you will see a pop-up box where you can type a message. This message is only viewable by management portal users.


Once a cost card is marked Approved to PayTransmitted or Paid your resources have the choice of marking it received by going to their list of expense reports and ticking the aptly named Received checkbox. Administrators can also move expenses into the Received state, but usually don't. It is typically maintained by the resource and allows them to keep track of their expense reimbursements.

If a resource unticks the Received checkbox, it moves backwards to the Paid status, even if it was previously set to Approved to Pay or Transmitted.

 If a resource is curious when the payment was set to paid, they can hover over the received checkbox with their mouse (see screenshot).


Approval for Invoicing

The invoicing workflow deals with invoicing a client. This workflow cannot begin until cost cards have been approved. Users with the "Administer Expense Document Invoicing Workflow" can modify these statuses. If the system wide setting "Automatically approve expense reports for payment and Invoicing" is enabled then all cost cards will automatically be approved for payment and approved for invoicing after their initial approval.

You can visit our Invoicing How To to learn more about the invoicing workflow



Not Approved

The default status for all approved expenses


Approved and the expense can now be included on an invoice

Invoiced (draft)

The expenses have been added to a draft invoice


The expenses have been included on an invoice


The expenses have been set to nonbillable



The following accounts are hit in a typical approval process of cost cards. This can be more complicated depending on write ups and write downs, TCAF, and other special cases.

Billable Project


Cost Card ApprovedCost Card Approved to PayCost Card Invoiced
 ->Cost WIP (credit)
Cost WIP (debit)  
 ->Operating Expense (debit)
 AP Clearing (debit) 
AP Clearing (credit)  
 AP (credit) 



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