How to handle CC reimbursements

I haven't ever found a good method of doing this in YNAB and I consistently have reimbursements for my work and I don't want them tangled up in our other budget line items. Here's what I've done:

  • I created a line item in my budget where I ONLY enter expenses that will be reimbursed.
  • When I receive the reimbursement check, I code it to that line item so I know it was paid back to me.

When I go to make the payment on my CC, though, nothing is correct. If I pay out of the reimbursement line item, it doesn't adjust my CC line item as having received a payment. If I pay from the CC line item, it doesn't adjust my reimbursement line item.

I'm used to using Quickbooks Online to manage client's info like this and YNAB just doesn't seem intuitive in this area. Maybe I'm just missing a huge piece that will make it all click. 

Any thoughts?

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  • Hey Gold Falcon ! Great question! A section of our Help Docs is dedicated to reimbursements. Here's a quick summary, and you can follow the link to learn more!

    There are two ways you can handle reimbursements in YNAB:

     1. Budget for the initial expense, then treat the reimbursement as income.

     2. Temporarily overspend, then use the reimbursement to cover it.

    Budgeting for all your spending, even if it will eventually be reimbursed, is the best way to handle reimbursements. If that reimbursement is late (or never comes), you're covered.

    Temporary overspending is only recommended when the reimbursable expense occurred on a credit card, since money hasn't been immediately removed from your bank. Our Help Docs explain how to handle the reimbursement based on whether you receive it in the same month or a future month.

    Let me know if you have any questions!

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  • I don't want to budget for the expenses, as they vary all the time (I use my card as an operations director at our church and expenses can sometimes be in thousands). So, I do the second method. I'm just confused as to how it integrates with my CC payment line...nothing really makes sense and I handle accounting for several businesses. 

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Falcon 

      Available Column Starting point:

      CC Account balance: -500

      CC Payment Available: 500

      Reimbursable Expense Category: 0

      **Charge a Reimbursable Expense to your CC:

      CC Account balance: -1000

      CC Payment Available: 500

      Reimbursable Expense Category: -500 (orange) (Activity column -500)

      The Reimbursable Expense wasn't budgeted for, so the RE Category becomes negative & turns orange, & no money was moved to CC Payment Available.

      **You get reimbursed the same month. Inflow transaction is categorized to Reimbursable Expenses, into the account you received the money in.

      CC Account balance: -1000

      CC Payment Available: 1000

      Reimbursable Expense Category: 0 (Activity Column: 0, if you click on it, will show -500 & +500 transactions)

      YNAB moved the money from Reimbursable Expenses to CC Payment Available because its job needs to be waiting to make the payment.

      **Making the payment

      Payment is a transfer from your payment account to your CC & takes from the CC payment available category. If you do a payment for the full 1000 balance,

      CC Account balance: 0

      CC Payment Available: 0

      Reimbursable Expense Category: 0

      ***If your reimbursement was the next month, at the end of month 1 you would have

      CC Account balance: -1000

      CC Payment Available: 500

      Reimbursable Expense Category: -500 (orange) (Activity column -500)

      And at the beginning of the next month you have

      CC Account balance: -1000

      CC Payment Available: 500 (you have a debt of -500 on your card)

      Reimbursable Expense Category: 0 (Activity column 0)

      **You get reimbursed, same as before.

      CC Account balance: -1000

      CC Payment Available: 500

      Reimbursable Expense Category: 500 (Activity column 500)

      YNAB doesn't know how you want to cover the debt from last month, so you have to tell it to use the RESTROOM AND money by Moving Money from RE Available to CC payment Available:

      CC Account balance: -1000

      CC Payment Available:

      Budgeted: 500 Activity: 0 Available: 1000

      Reimbursable Expense Category:

      Budgeted: -500 Activity:500 Available: 0

      Now you can make the payment.

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      As a side note, I find that using a Tracking account for Reimbursable Expenses helps me track them better. All that changes is that the original expense is a transfer from my payment account to the Reimbursable Tracking account, and the reimbursement is a transfer from tracking into my regular account. I put notes in the memo with any details I need.

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  • The short answer is that unfortunately YNAB doesn't have an easy way to work with reimbursable expenses. Do a quick forum search and you'll find LOTS of disgruntled conversations about it. They still seem to not be able to cope with the fact that some people need to function on reimbursable situations where they aren't going to use their own funds to budget for it ahead of time "just in case you never get reimbursed".  🙄

    My latest thought on this is to create an account that has an amount in it that reflects an amount of available credit on a credit card. Spending would deduct from this amount, but reimbursements would bring the account back up to the correct total available credit.

    This would only really work if you use ONE credit card to put ALL reimbursements on, and have no other transactions on that card. This is how I would personally handle it just to keep things straight in my head and for accounting purposes anyway. But I tend to like to keep my piles of money nice and neat when I have to work with various situations (which is why I run 3 budgets...).

    I'm not sure that helps at all. I'd love to hear it if there is a better solution.

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