Inviting users

You can invite employees as users and assign them roles as per your requirements. In order to do that:

  1. Go to Admin > Users.
  2. Click on the Invite User dropdown and select Single User. A window will appear on the screen. Add Users
  3. Enter the name, employee id and email address of the user.
  4. Assign them roles. (Submitter, Approver, or Admin.)
  5. Choose the approvers and set the criterion.
  6. Choose the department to which the employee belongs.
  7. Click on the Invite button. invite user form

Inviting Users in bulk

Individually inviting users can be quite difficult, especially when you have to invite more than 3 users at a time. That’s where bulk invite can help you. Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Navigate to Admin > Users.
  2. Click Invite User drop-down and select Multiple Users. Invite multiple users
  3. Enter the email addresses, separated by commas. Invite multiple users
  4. In the page that follows, provide details such as employee id, department, user role and so on. Invite multiple users
  5. Click Add more users if necessary.
  6. When all the changes have been made, click Invite.

Adding Custom Fields in the Invite page

Provide additional information about your employees by adding custom fields in the User invite page. To do that:

  1. Navigate to Admin > Users > Invite User.
  2. Click the Add more Information option.
  3. Towards the bottom of the page, you will find the + Add New Field option. ![custom fields in invite user form](/expense/help/images/users/add-custom field-invite-user-form.png)
  • Fill in the following fields: custom fields in invite user form
    • Label: Provide a label for the Custom Field.
    • Data Type: A data type is simply the type of data you enter into the system.
  1. Click Save.

Following are the data types we support:

Data Type Name Description
Text Enter a word or a short phrase against the field name.
Email Enter an email address against the field name.
URL Enter a URL to a file or a website against the field name.
Phone Enter a contact number against the field name.
Number Enter any positive or negative number against the field name.
Decimal Enter any positive or negative decimal number against the field name.
Amount The amount you enter will be displayed. Currently, only your accounting currency will be supported.
Percent Enter a value to denote a percentage against the field name.
Date Select a date from the calendar for this field.
Checkbox You can add a checkbox with a small text or description to tell what it is for. For example, it may be used to confirm an action or make a choice. If it is selected, the value ‘True’ is passed, if not ‘False’ is passed.
Auto-generate number Provide a prefix (or) suffix and a starting number to enable auto-generation of numbers.
Drop-down Provide a list of options that can be selected from the drop-down.
  • Default Value: The value entered in this field will be displayed by default for this field. You can always change it after inviting the user.
  • Preview: You will be able to see how the custom field will look like when inviting a user.

Setting up an approval workflow

Zoho Expense also provides a multi-level approval workflow to ease the process of expense approval.

As an admin, you can use the approval workflow feature from the Users section. While clicking on the Invite user button on the upper right corner of the users section, you will see an invite user form as shown above:

Role of a submitter in the workflow:

The submitter does the job of submitting their reports on time to the assigned approver selected from the Submits to drop-down.

role of a submitter

Submits to: You assign a default approver for the submitter. All the reports from ​your submitter will ​be sent by default to the assigned approver.

submits to

Role of an approver in the workflow:

The approvers have the authority to approve their own reports. However, you can set a criteria where reports exceeding a certain amount can be submitted or forwarded to another approver.

role of an approver

Submits to: Selecting a user from the Submits to section will allow the approvers to submit their own reports to the selected user (the one who was chosen from the Submit to drop-down).

submits to

Approves and forwards to: On selecting a user from Approves and forwards to drop-down, all the reports that meet the criterion will be forwarded to this user.

approves and forwards to

Criterion can be decided by: Clicking the + add criterion option located next to the Submits to ​and Approves and forwards to drop down.

criterion can be decided by

Let’s take an example where the criterion is set to if the amount exceeds $1000.

So, if the submitted report does not exceed $1000, it will be approved by the first-level approver. However, if the submitted report exceeds $1000, it will be forwarded to the next approver (the one who was chosen from the Approves and forwards to drop-down) for further approval.

Note: Approval workflow for existing users can be set by using the Edit option present against each user.

For a better understanding of the workflow, have a look at the example:

Harry is the CEO of Zylkar Global, a small product marketing startup. Let’s consider Harry to be the admin user. He governs a sales team that is headed by Stuart, the regional sales head. Stuart recruits two members to his team: Mark, the sales manager; John, the sales executive. We’ll use this example to see how many different types of approval workflow can Harry create for his organization.

Designation Sales Executive Sales Manager Regional Sales Head CEO
Names John Mark Stuart Harry

Scenario 1:

Harry invites John into Zylkar’s Zoho Expense account. Since he’s a submitter, Harry thinks of assigning him a default approver. So, in the Invite User form, Harry selects Mark from the Submits to drop-down, thereby making him the default approver for John.

So, when John tries to submit an expense report for approval, it will automatically be submitted to Mark.

Scenario 2:

As per scenario 1, Harry has set a basic workflow where John’s expense reports will be submitted to Mark for approval. But, Harry decides to bring a small change to the workflow. He plans to extend the workflow where reports exceeding $2500 will be brought to the notice of Stuart, the company’s sales head.

So, he goes to the Users section and clicks on Edit option present right next to Mark, the approver.

In the Edit user form, he chooses Stuart from the Next Approver drop-down, and adds a criterion if the amount exceeds $2500. So, whenever Mark comes across a report whose value is more than $2500, he won’t be able approve it himself. Instead, he will approve and forward it to Stuart.

Scenario 3:

As an admin, Harry has given the rights to Stuart to approve his own reports. However, Harry wants expense reports of higher value to be brought to his notice. So, he decides to set an amount criterion for Stuart which will allow him to approve his own reports only if comes under $4000.

To set the criterion, he heads to the Users section and clicks on the Edit option present right next to Stuart.

In the Edit user form, he chooses his own name from the Submits to drop-down and adds a criterion if the amount exceeds $4000. So, whenever Stuart tries to approve his own reports that exceed $4000, he wouldn’t be able to do it. Instead, he would have to submit it to Harry for approval.

Adding Custom Roles

Apart from the predefined roles of Submitter, Approver and Admin, Zoho Expense enables you to add custom roles that suits your needs. Perform the following steps to know how it’s done:

  1. Go to the Roles tab.
  2. Create a custom role by either clicking on the +New Role Button or by clicking on the Clone button to duplicate an existing role. custom roles
  3. Customize permissions according to your requirements and Click Save.

Lets take an example:

Harry is the admin user for Zoho Expense account of Zylkar Global, a small consulting firm. He needs to add 2 users, James, the Finance Manager and Louis, the Accountant. Since, the nature of their jobs is quite different from the default user roles, Harry decides to create custom roles for these users.

Therefore, for adding James, Harry decides to create a custom role which allows him to approve all company reports, keep track of the exchange rates and taxes, choose the ideal payment mode for reimbursement and handle Zoho Expense subscription.

Let’s take one step at a time.

  1. Creating a New Role custom roles
  2. Permissions given:
  • Since, James doesnt have to create or report expenses, we do not provide these permissions custom roles
  • As a Financial Manager, James requires the permission to approve and view reports. Hence, under approvals, the following permissions are given: custom roles
  • James needs to remain updated about Exchange rates and taxes. He should also know about the Projects undertaken by the company and the customers associated with them, since his job also involves monitoring accounts and handling reimbursements. custom roles
  • Similarly, the Accountant Louis is given the permission to view all Company reports under the Approvals tab. He won’t have access to other modules of the product. custom roles

Importing/Exporting Users

importing/exporting users

Importing users

To import users:

  1. Click on the Hamburger icon located on the upper right corner of the page.
  2. Select import users (.CSV or .TSV).
  3. Map the fields from your uploaded file and click Next. importing users
  4. Click on Import to import the users on to your Zoho Expense account.

Exporting users

To export users:

  1. Select Export users from the Option drop-down.
  2. Choose the format in which you you would like to save your file [.CSV or .XLS (.XLSX)].
  3. Click on Export to download the data on your computer.

Updating the approval workflow in bulk

With the Bulk update option, You can configure the approval workflow for several users.

  1. Go to the Users section.
  2. Select the Users for whom you wish to make the changes.
  3. Click on the Bulk Update button located above the list of Users. bulk update
  4. Update the Approval workflow for all these users and click on Save.


In the department section, you can add the departments of your company and associate them with your users while inviting them. Perform the following steps to add your departments in Zoho Expense:

  1. Go to Departments tab
  2. Click on the New Department button located on the top right corner. Departments
  3. Enter the necessary details and click Save Departments

Changing User’s status

If you wish to temporarily disable a User without deleting them, you can do so by labeling them inactive. As a result, the User is not permanently deleted, but wont be able to use the account unless the admin reactivates the User’s account. Perform the following steps to know how it’s done:

  1. Click on the Settings icon located on the far right corner of the row.
  2. Select ‘mark as inactive’ or ‘mark as active’ button. change user status

Deleting Users

To delete a User from Zoho Expense, perform the following steps

  1. Click on the Settings icon located on the far right corner of the row.
  2. Select Delete option from the drop-down. A pop-up window appears to confirm the deletion.
  3. Click Delete.
    delete user

To bulk delete users:

  1. Select users by marking the checkbox at the left side.
  2. Click the More dropdown and select Delete. A pop-up window appears to confirm the deletion.
  3. Click Delete. Bulk Delete Users
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