How To Use Expense Approval Routing

In addition to creating warning and blocking rules to enforce your expense policy, you can build logic that routes certain expenses to an approver based on amount, member, Team FieldExpense Field, expense type (corporate card or reimbursable), and category.

The standard expense approval workflow allows you to assign both an administrator (final approver) and an optional manager, who can give each expense a first pass before it makes its way to the final approver.

Your team should use Approval Routing rules if you'd like certain expenses to be routed to the Inbox of a particular Manager — or Managers — prior to Admin review. With approval routes, you’re able to add additional checks and balances to your approval workflow, based on the expense criteria that you select. The primary use cases for Approval Routes are to:

  • Reassign certain expenses to a new manager
  • Add additional managers to certain expenses for additional review

Approval routing rules can be used to assign any number of reviewers to expenses, based on criteria that you can specify. Once these rules are in place, expenses will be routed to the specified approver first. When an expense is waiting on this approval, it will appear in the Pending section for other Admins.

If you prevent people from approving their own expenses, make sure you don't create an Approval Route that routes someone's expenses to themselves.
Also: If the approver is both a manager and an admin, his or her approval will be final and the expense will just require one layer of approval.

Once an expense is Manager Approved it can no longer be re-assigned.  The expense will follow the approval route in place at the time of Manager approval, regardless of changes made to an expense post-approval.

Create an Approval Route

1. Navigate to Spend Policy on the Admin tab of the left nav, then scroll down to Expense Approval Routing and click Add.

EAR - Create New Approval Route.png

2. In the Approver drop-down, select the manager or admin who will receive the expense in their inbox first if the selected criteria are met.

EAR - Select Approver.png

This individual will approve expenses that meet the following criteria you select:

  • Source: Choose physical card expenses, virtual card expenses, or reimbursable expenses—or any combination of these.
  • Submitted By: This is the who the rule applies to. You can choose everyone, specific user(s), or a certain custom Team Field like Department or Location.
  • Of Amount: Set an expense amount above which the expense is routed to the approver or select Any Amount.
  • From Merchant: Route expenses with a specific vendor/merchant to the approver you specified.
  • Categorized As: Route expenses with a specific category to the approver you specified.
  • Tagged As: Choose custom Expense Fields that will determine the approver.

3. Click Preview Rule. In the example below, every expense above $100 will be routed to Nick Fury for approval.


4. To make changes to the rule, click Revise. To save it, click Create Rule.

Assign to Manager Prior To Routing


At the top of your organization's Expense Approval Routing list is the "Always assign expense to a user's manager prior to routing" toggle. Toggle this on if you would like expenses routed to a member’s primary manager before additional routing rules take effect.

This toggle is set to "No" by default. Leaving the toggle off will let the expense divert from the member’s primary manager and instead be routed according to all rules that match the expense details. 

If the toggle is left off and an expense does not qualify for any of the approval routes, it will still be reviewed by the employee’s manager.

Prioritize Approval Routing Rules

You might have expenses that meet the criteria of two routing rules. For example, an $500 expense would meet the criteria for two rules: expenses over $100 go to Nick Fury, and expenses over $250 go to Andrew Chen. In this case, the expense will go to both approvers, following Top-Down logic.

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:


Edit and Delete Rules

Existing rules can be edited by clicking on the pencil icon next to the rule you intend to make changes to - alternatively, to delete a rule entirely the trash can be used to remove a rule:


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