Expense Claim Payer - can't have a Starting Balance entered

EDIT: This topic has been updated to reflect the “new” starting balance entry process.

If a user is transferring from another accounting system and they have an Expense Claims account balance made up of amounts owing to individual Expense Claim Payers, currently you can’t enter those individual starting balance amounts under the Expense Claims account - Starting Balance.

However, whenever processing a subsequent transaction for an Expense Claim Payer, the input screen (see below) always requests the nomination of an Expense Claim claimant, therefore an Expense Claim Payer sub-account does exist, albeit without a starting balance.

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However the Employees Clearing account does allow for the entry of individual starting balances.

Therefore, as the Expense Claims account is a control account which functions just like the Employees Clearing control account (has sub-accounts) then the process of entering individual starting balances should also be the same / identical.

Also, with the new starting balance process you can’t enter a bulk opening balance and then redistribute that balance to individual balances due to Journal Entry limitations.

NOTE: Currently you can’t enter a starting balance at all for the Expense Claims account under the new Starting Balance process - see separate bug report.

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A post was split to a new topic: Capital Sub Account - Starting Balance

I’m still trying to decide what to do about this.

The thing is I don’t like Expense Claim Payer concept at all. I think it just adds clutter and confusion. It seems like every expense claim payer is an employee or capital account.

Either way, while I’m thinking about this and collecting more feedback, I will move this to ideas for now.

I like the fact that Expense Claims are separate from Purchases. To get around the fact that they do not show payment information, for reasons which have been explained previously, I have added two custom fields - Date paid and Payment Reference/Cheque Number

My Expense Claim payer are either employees or directors (without capital accounts) and are paid by a Spend Money transaction - usually a cheque for now

This is displayed in the list of Expenses Claims and on the Expense Claim itself

I would like to have them displayed in the same style as Purchase Invoices with an option to use the Spend Money transaction but that’s just my preference.

No, e.g. in a volunteer organisation they aren’t either, yet require expense claim processes.

Having the triple separation does add this “clutter and confusion”. If you just have the single Expense Claim Payer - no employee or capital account sub categories - then that is being simple.

Also, having Expenses Claims Payer (Settings) + Expense Claims tab + Expense Claims clearing account is just a duplication of the Employee (tab) + Payslips tab + Employee Clearing Account process.

Also, having the Employee being reimbursable and the Expense Claims Payer being reimbursable BUT NOT having the Capital Account being directly reimbursable is just complicating the “clutter and confusion”.

Currently, to avoid this conflict one has to create a duplication - the same person as both a Capital Account and as an Expense Claim Payer.


I agree with @Brucanna on this subject. Every expense claim payer is definitely not an employee or capital account member. In addition to @Brucanna’s example of a volunteer, I can quickly think of several other situations:

  • A sole proprietor/trader who has renamed Retained earnings as Owner’s equity. Such a person is not an employee and will not have a capital account. While we have no idea what proportion of users do this, the potential number fitting the requirements is large.
  • Sole proprietors/traders who have not renamed Retained earnings, but have created standalone Owner’s equity accounts and have no capital accounts. Commonly, Retained earnings is a term reserved for corporate organizations, but such an account structure would not be technically wrong. And many accountants do not like capital accounts for owners/proprietors/traders.
  • Outsiders in closely held businesses. A spouse of an owner or partner, for example, might purchase something for a small family business and need reimbursement. It is common for family members to work on behalf of a business without being formal employees or legal owners. It would be far too complex to treat the spouse as a supplier or set up a loan account and enter reimbursement as a loan repayment. And simply making a payment results in weak documentation and the possible appearance of shady dealings.
  • Contract or day laborers hired on a casual basis who need reimbursement for meals, travel, small supplies, etc. Many such individuals will not submit invoices and will not be formal employees.

In short, I strongly recommend keeping the possibility of non-employee, non-capital-member expense claims payers.

I agree with @Brucanna on this, too. It would be far simpler if all expense claims and expense claims payers were handled the same way. But I am not sure how you would handle or convert historical expense claims if you now eliminate employees and capital account members. Possibly, you would not have to. You could leave prior transactions as they were entered, but simply remove the employees and members categories as options on the expense claim form. So nothing historical would be changed, but future transactions would all be handled similarly. There would be no more automatic posting to Employee clearing account or Capital accounts.

That one-size-fits-all approach would tie in with @Brucanna’s observation that the current expense claims flow is parallel to the employees flow, but not the capital account flow. If you only had one option (expense claims payers), you would have just one workflow that matched the employees workflow. It would be familiar to those with employees, but those without employees could learn it just as easily. Expense claims from capital account members (who would now be defined as expense claims payers) would no longer be automatically posted to Capital accounts, but would have to be deliberately cleared. They could be reimbursed or cleared to Capital accounts by journal entries.

Here are two more things to think about:

  • Starting balances for Expense claims (the liability account) could be entered the same way as for Accounts receivable and Accounts payable, by entering pre-start-date expense claims, after expense claims payers have been created. There are not likely to be many outstanding claims on the start date, and it would be a one-time task.
  • You could simplify selection of the expense claim payer to the single category and still post the claims to Employee clearing account or Capital accounts by having checkboxes on the expense claim form for Post to employee account and Post to capital account. Checking either box would bring up a subaccount selection dropdown field. Selecting an employee or capital account member would post the claim to the appropriate account, rather than to Expense claims. This option would even allow claims from family members, for example, to be posted to a capital account member’s capital account.

Employees, why shift away from the parallel process. Expense Claim ='s Payslip, not Purchase Invoice.

This what mean changing the Expense Claims form’s control account from Expense Claims clearing to Employee Clearing etc.as we are talking here of the Credit leg of the transaction.

In another words this would be similar to having on the Purchase Invoices form, the ability to select a control account other than Accounts Payable via a checkbox.

If, you were going to have this control account nomination / selection then it would occur at the creation of the Expense Claim Payer, as you can with the creation a Supplier - nominate an alternate control account.

I wasn’t suggesting moving away from a process parallel to Employees and payslips. I only mentioned invoices to illustrate a way of entering starting balances. I did not think all the way through the process. You might enter them the same way employee balances are entered for Employee clearing account, but you would be entering only a number, not the details of the claim. That might or might not matter. It’s important for invoices because of the possibility of returns and adjustments. It’s probably not so important for expense claims. So you probably could use a parallel approach to employee balances.

Yes, I realized that. The check would serve as a command to do that.

That would be one way to do it. But you would sacrifice flexibility on where to post a particular expense claim.

Everything I wrote was an idea. I can see there are many ways to look at the process. A lot of them lead right back to the current implementation. Your comment about nominating control accounts when you create an expense claims payer is one example: that is hardly any different from what happens now with the three categories, except the user gets to select via a dropdown box instead of by deciding whether to also create the expense claims payer when s/he is already an employee or capital account member.

Would it be possible to have a Expense Claimer tab similar to the Supplier tab where you could see the balance owed to each Expense Claimer?

Currently, when you select Expense Claims you get a list of expense claims similar to the list of invoices when you click on Purchase Invoices but without the Paid or Due column

Likewise, when you click on accounts payable or employee clearing account in the Summary you get a list of suppliers or employees with outstanding amounts

Although, I suppose I could get something like this by setting up a special control account for expense claims and entering expense claims as purchase invoices but would lose the specificities of Expense Claim like payee, payer

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The latest version (20.6.61) adds ability to set starting balances for expense claim payers.

The reason why I never made it a tab is because I always disliked the term Expense claim payer but I like the term Expense Claimer so there should be a tab for it as a matter of consistency.


That would result in tabs for

  • Supplier
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Expense Claimer

An actual business contact can also be more than one of these at a time, yet given this structure Manager can not report on all the dealings with that entity in one place or give a total.

If Manager was to have a single “Contacts” or “Address book” which contained a single entry for each business entity together with a check box to indicate if they appeared in the Supplier, Customers, Employees, or Expense Claimer list then combined reporting could be done.