Tracking Expenses

Expense Review and Approval


The expense review and approval process, just like the timesheet review and approval process, is optional. If your firm would like to activate it, this article will guide you through initiating expense review and what each step of the workflow looks like.

Activating Expense Review and Approval

  1. Go to MY COMPANY...PENDING APPROVALS to initiate expense review for your firm. 
  2. Look for the middle tile called EXPENSES. Click the hyperlinked text to add expense review to your workflow. 
  3. Select an expense review workflow. There are a couple of options to choose from when it comes to activating expense review: setting up review by project team or by staff (managers). Choose the radio button next to the workflow most appropriate for your firm. 

TIP: Choosing Between Expense Review by Project Team or Staff (Managers)

To use Project Team review, your firm’s system administrator needs to set up a project team, and at least one project lead or manager, and grant the project manager review and approval privileges.

If your firm would prefer review by department manager, then the review by staff (managers) option would be the one to choose. This will require that each staff member is assigned to a department and a manager is set for each department.

Expense Review/Approval Workflow

Once you determine the workflow for expense approval, expenses will go through three particular stages. The status of expense reports is indicated on the Expenses Dashboard, accessible from TIME/EXPENSE...EXPENSES.

  • Submitted: This is the status expenses take on when submitted by staffers (or when expenses are submitted on behalf of staffers). This action initiates the review and approval process. All submitted and unapproved expenses are visible to managers from the Review/Approve Expenses area.
  • Approved: Expenses that satisfactorily meet the approval of managers or your firm’s financial administrators are marked as approved and are removed from the list of unapproved expenses on the Review/Approve Expenses screen.
  • Rejected: Rejected expenses are sent back to staffers by managers or administrators. Staffers can be set up to receive a notification for rejected expenses, and will sometimes receive details from managers about corrections needed. Once expenses are resubmitted, they will once again take on the status of submitted and go through the same review/approval workflow.

Reviewing and Editing Expenses

Those who have review and approval privileges can view items for review by navigating to MY COMPANY...PENDING APPROVALS. To view submitted expenses for review, simply click on the dollar amount shown on the Expenses tile.

After you click on the total amount from the Expenses tile, you’ll be brought to the Review/Approve Expenses screen that displays all submissions waiting for review. 

To view expense report details, you can do so by clicking on the dollar amount in the Unapproved column. 

You can then drill down into the expense detail from the next screen by clicking on the hyperlinked value in the Cost column. This will allow you to view all the details the staffer input for that given expense. 

As a manager or system administrator, you have the power to edit an expense on behalf of the user. You can do that by drilling down into an expense and bringing up the Edit Expense Details screen and making any changes. 


Approving and Rejecting Expenses

If everything looks satisfactory, you can approve expenses from the expense detail screen by checking the box next to relevant expenses and clicking the APPROVE button. 


If you reject an expense, you’ll be prompted to enter a reason for sending it back to the staffer. Add any details or instructions, and click OK to complete the rejection. 


Staffers can be set up to receive notifications in their BigTime inbox letting them know that adjustments and edits need to be made before approval can be granted for any rejected expenses. 

TIP: Bulk Approve or Reject Expenses

Managers and administrators can approve and reject expenses in batches from the expense report detail screen. Simply place a check mark next to the expenses you’d like to act on, and select either the APPROVE or REJECT button. 


  • What happens to expenses when they are rejected? Rejected expenses are sent back to staffers for editing and resubmission, and are flagged as "Rejected" on the Expenses Dashboard. In order for rejected expenses to move forward in the expense review workflow, staffers must edit and resubmit them.
  • How do I undo approving an expense? Managers and administrators cannot undo an expense approval, but you do have the ability to delete expenses submitted by your staffers before approving or rejecting them.
  • How do I enable notifications for managers to ensure they know when they have expenses to review? Notifications for staffers with expenses to approve—as well as for staffers to know when their submitted expenses are rejected—can be set from the notification settings within BigTime.
  • How do staffers resubmit rejected expenses? Please see Resubmitting Rejected Expenses for the step-by-step process.
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Further Reading

Need more details? Once you understand the basics, the articles below will take you a little deeper.