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Introduction: Expense types represent categories of expenses you would like to associate with expense reports. Examples include Airfare, Parking, Lodging Per Diem, and more. 

Description: Expense types may be used to categorize expense charges to projects within Unanet. 

Default Expense Types

Unanet has a default Expense Type list that is customizable. This list can be expanded by adding additional Expense Types, in Admin > Setup > Expense > Expense Types. To limit the number of expense types available to the expense report user, Expense Types can also be made inactive. 

Below is the Unanet default list for expense types which may be added to and uploaded to your Unanet system. You can customize these items in a .csv file before importing into Unanet, or after importing into Unanet. 

ADVANCEAdvance amount given.
CASH-RETURNMoney returned for advances exceeding total expense.
LODGING OVER PER DIEMOverages above the lodging per diem
LODGING PER DIEMLodging Per Diem rates
LODGING PER DIEM ALLOWPer Diem Lodging with over-per diem amounts not reimbursed.
MIE OVER PER DIEMMIE Expenses above per diem allowance
MIE PER DIEMMIE Reimbursement with option for first/last day and meals provided.
MIE PER DIEM ALLOWABLEMIE with option to input actual cost for each meal.

Adding/Creating New Expense Types

Reviewing historical expense data and comparing it to the existing Expense Types will assist in determining whether new expense types need to be created. When creating new expense types, it is helpful to consider a few of following items:

1) Should this expense type be accessible to all expense report users or a select group of expense report users?

2) Should the expense type only be made available on specific projects?

3) Are there spending thresholds on the expense type?

4) Should a markup be applied on the expense type or is this something dictated at the project level?

5) Specific to Project Tracking License Users who want access to the Project Accounting reports:

  • Cost Elements – What cost element or cost pool does the new expense type belong to? Does a new cost element or cost pool need to be created to accommodate the new expense type?
  • Cost Structure – Is the new expense type billable to a customer? If so, remember to assign it in the Cost Structure.


Steps to create new expense types:

Admin > Setup > Expense > Expense Type:

    1. +Expense Type
    2. Select options
      1. For more detailed information on the specific options, click on the link Help Docs - Expense Type Setup
    3. Click on Save

At any time, you can choose to enable a particular expense type at the system wide level by checking the Enabled box on the Expense Type Summary tab. If the expense type is not enabled, it will not appear on any expense report or expense request drop down. If Allow on Request is not enabled, the expense type will not appear on an expense request drop down. 

In defining how each expense type is used within the system, you may include the requirement to associate a Wizard type with the expense, set a threshold value, define a markup %, require a receipt, require a vendor, and enable Allow on Request.

Markups: Markups may be used to apply a billable lift to the base expense cost. For example, you may lift travel cost by 7% or 10% when you bill. This may be done at the system wide level (Admin > Setup > Expense Types > +Expense Type) or at the Project level, if the markup is specific to a particular project. Note that the markup will only apply on invoices/revenue where the project Billing Type is TM.

Expense User Defined Fields are often used to map to downstream accounting or payroll systems.

"External System Code" is essentially another user defined field (was formerly "Account" code which could be used to map to outside accounting systems.)

Expense Type "Cost Account": This may be used for posting all project types to the same account regardless if direct, indirect, overhead.  For government contractors, this likely wouldn't be used.  (Instead, for government contractors, a mapping by project type should be supplied.)

Navigate: Admin > Setup >  Expense Types. 


Restricting the Expense Type at the Person Employee Type level and the Project level

You may also restrict each individual expense type to a group of employees via Employee Type.

At the Project level, unless specific expense types are selected, ALL expense types enabled within the system are available to the project. To limit the expense types, choose from the available types and associate them with the project. When a user creates an expense report for the project, only the allowed Expense Types will appear on the drop down.

At the Person level, unless a user's Employee Type is restricted to specific expense types, ALL expense types enabled within the system are available to the user (with the additional consideration of whether the project itself was restricted, as above).  To limit the expense types available to an expense user, you must first assign the user to an Employee Type at the Admin > Setup > Employee Types tab, then associate specific expense types with the Employee Type. The user will then have only these Expense Types available within the system. 

 If an expense type is available to an employee type but not available on a particular project, the user will not find that expense type on the expense report drop down.

 If an expense type available at the project level is not available to the user’s employee type, the expense type will not appear on the user’s expense report drop down.

General Ledger Mapping

When using Unanet Financials, the Cost Account mapping can be done at either the Expense Type level or Project Type level, directing to which General Ledger Account the expense gets posted or recorded.

Click on the Edit Paper Icon next to the applicable Expense Type or Project Type

    1. Admin > Setup > Expense or Project > Expense Type or Project Type
  1. Click on Cost Account
  2. Select which General Ledger Account based on Project Type the Expense Type gets mapped to
    1. A new General Ledger Account may need to be created (see also, Help Docs - Account Setup)
  3. Determine which Project Types will use the new Expense Type, and map to the General Ledger accounts accordingly.  
    For example, as shown below the "Airfare" Expense Type may be mapped to different accounts in the General Ledger, based on the Project Type for which it may be used. Airfare charged to Admin projects may be mapped to G&A Travel, while Airfare charged to Billable projects would be charged to Direct Travel.

Navigate: Admin > Setup > Expense Types > Edit Paper Icon > Cost Account. 

  1. Note that a General Ledger Account mapping may not always be required for each Expense Type/Project Type combination. For example, "Cost Accounts for Rent" may never be applicable to a B&P or a Billable Project Type so the General Ledger mapping could remain blank, as shown below.

Navigate: Admin > Setup > Expense Types > Edit Paper Icon > Cost Account.

  1. If there is no General Ledger Account mapping for a particular Expense Type/Project Type combination, an error will occur if an expense user enters in an expense report for the combination. In the example above, a user would receive an error when attempting to submit their expense report if they attempted to charge a Conference Fee to a B&P Project.
  1. Click on Save

Best Practices in Cost Account and Posting Group mappings

  • The best practice is to set the Cost Account by project type (direct, overhead, g&a, etc.). This results in charges to a direct project being associated only with an expense type that has been mapped to the project.
  • The Posting Group Account should be mapped when you want to send revenues to a different account based on expense type.

Cost Element Mapping

When using Project Costing and the Project Accounting reports, the new Expense Type must be assigned to the appropriate Cost Element.

Navigate: Admin > Setup > Accounting > Cost Structure.

  1. Click edit pencil next to applicable cost structure
  2. Click on ODC Costs tab
  3. Highlight any Expense Types to map on the left hand side
  4. Select the Cost Element the Expense Type belongs to
  5. Click on blue arrow in middle to bring the Expense Types to the right
  6. Click on Save 

Additional notes on certain Expense Type Wizards

Per Diem is the allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses. This amount varies depending on the location the expense is incurred, and changes from year to year. Per diems are managed via importing the Per Diem file from the Unanet Support site ( As a courtesy to its customers, Unanet takes the DOD files, formats them into the Unanet Per Diem import file format, and provides these files as available on the site.

Per Diem Overages may be mapped to a separate expense types, and are automatically separated out when the Expense User exceeds the allowable Per Diem. You can map the overages to different GL codes in the Cost Account Mapping or Posting Group Mapping.

Special Note: If you are using the ADVANCE Expense Type, you will need to ensure that any Advance charge is associated with a Payment Method which is reimbursable. For more information, please review the page on Payment Methods regarding the best practice related to Advance. This page also outlines in full how to set up and use Cash Advances: KC - Quick Topic - Steps to Complete and post a Cash Advance with Unanet Financials.

Utilizing Import / Export Files

Employee Type Expense Type - Expense types can be assigned according to an Employee Type. This csv file is used to assist in assigning expense types to employees (e.g., Salary, Hourly, Contractor). The file can be exported out of Unanet to show what Employee Types currently exist in Unanet and if there are any existing expense type assignments at the Employee Type level. Changes can be made in the Excel format and the csv file is then imported back into Unanet.

 Expense – This csv file is used to import historical expense reports into Unanet with data mapping fields.

 Expense Budget – This csv file shows expense types budgeted at either the Project and/or Task levels through the Expense Budgeter on the Forecast tab for Project Portfolio users. The file can be exported out of Unanet to show what fields are available and/or what budgets currently exist in Unanet. Changes can be made in the Excel format and the csv file is then imported back into Unanet.

 Expense Plan – This csv file lists Expense Types that have been planned through the Expense Planner function on the Forecast tab for Project Portfolio users. The file can be exported out of Unanet to show what fields are available and/or what plans currently exist in Unanet. Changes can be made in the Excel format and the csv file is then imported back into Unanet.

 Expense Type – Master – This csv file is the master list of Expense Types available in a customer’s Unanet instance. The file can be exported out of Unanet to show what Expense Types are currently in Unanet. Changes can be made in the Excel format and the csv file is then imported back into Unanet.

 Expense Type – Project – This csv file lists Expense Types specifically associated with projects. The purpose of assigning Expense Types to projects is to assist in validating which Expense Types are allowed to be charged to that project. The file can be exported out of Unanet to show what Expense Types are currently in Unanet. Changes can be made in the Excel format and the csv file is then imported back into Unanet.

Additional Information:

KC - Project Expense Types

Help Docs - Expense Type Setup

Help Docs - Account Setup

KC - Webinar - Expense Management and Wizard Overview

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