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Reporting on Changing Expenses

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Level 2
Hey, I started trying to use the "Expenses" tab to track outgoing payments that are allocated to our projects (e.g. for third party vendors or legal costs). The question I have is how can I report on how these are changing? For example, when I am 4 months into a project is there anyway I can pull a report that shows what my expenses were at the beginning of the project and what they are now. Or even better, that shows each change along the way. I tried using baselines, but this doesn't seem to actually store expense information, as I changed the expenses a few days later and all the baselines show the same expense level. Please note, this has to be presentable in a way for executives, it cannot be some hack job way of finding the information out. Thanks, Ian
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5 Replies

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Level 5
Ian - I am not sure what you are looking for exactly when you say "Changing Expenses". You can report on planned vs. actual expenses, if that's what you are trying to pull, then group by planned expense date (month), expense type, etc. If you mean that people are changing the planned amounts, and you are trying to track the line item changes, I don't think there is a clean way of getting at that.

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Level 5
Thinking about this more, this sounds like you may benefit from a matrix report, grouping rows by expense type and columns by Actual Expense Date? This would show your actual expenses by month by category. You could then also have a stacked bar chart, for example, showing the variations by month.

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Level 4
Expenses have both planned dates and actual dates. Maybe they could be used in a report to get what you need, using either date groupings or matrix.

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Level 10
One of the things we do is use the Expenses as something of a journal. We will create the original expense, but when changes to that expense occur, we add an additional expense item - we do not change the original. If we increase the planned amount, we put the incremental spend in the second expense item. If we have an actual to report, we create an expense with a zero-value planned expense and a non-zero actual expense. Then, we have a custom attribute that groups expenses together by type. Now it is easy to create a report and sort the expenses by type and date, and calculate the total planned and actual expense. Does that get at what you want to do?

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Level 10
Hi Ian. To preserve your original Planned Amount (eg "OPA") consider adding a custom data form to your expenses with a calculated currency parameter with a formula such as this: IF(ISBLANK(OPA),Planned Amount,OPA) which is a technique (ok, a trick) that basically "captures" the Planned Amount into the OPA parameter the first time the Expense is saved, and then (because it is not blank after that) "preserves it" even if the Planned Amount changes. You can then report Planned Amount vs OPA, and filter where they are different, do a % difference calc, etc. -- excellent for the executive audience you have in mind. If you want to Get Fancy, you could make the IF statement smarter to allow a reset (mistakes happen, plans change, etc.) Regards, Doug