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Deep Dive: What are Smart Limits?

Conor Pendergrast
Conor Pendergrast Expensify Success Coach - Admin, Expensify Team Posts: 163 Expensify Team
edited October 2021 in Deep Dive Docs

Using the Expensify card, you can use Smart Limits to control how much unaccounted spend a cardholder can incur at a time. Please note that Smart Limits also work in tandem with your Company Limit (i.e. even if the full limit is available, the cardholder will not be able to make a purchase if the Company Limit is at $0).

Setting a $1,000 Smart Limit will mean that a card can have up to $1,000 of unreported, Open or Processing expenses at a time. Setting a $0 Smart Limit on a card will mean that the card can’t be used.

Note: A Smart Limit applies to an individual, who can have both a Digital and Physical card. Updating one will update the other.

Unlike traditional, static spend limits, you can use Smart Limit to allow flexible limits. When you set, for example, a Smart Limit of $8,000 for a cardholder, that will allow them to have up to $8,000 of unapproved (unsubmitted or Processing) card expenses at a time. If they try to spend more than this limit, their Expensify card will decline the transaction.

You can also make sure that the cardholder can continue to spend by approving their card expenses! This will free up more of their limit, and they will be able to continue to use their card.

Smart Limits are best used alongside Scheduled Submit at the Group Policy level (which will make sure to aggregate card spend onto reports, and submit those reports periodically), and setting your approval workflow appropriately (by setting a high manual threshold for Concierge Report Approval so that you’re focussing your approval time on expenses with broken rules).

Let’s get into the weeds of this with a specific example. A new employee starts with Expensify, and their default Smart Limit is set through their Domain Group at $10,000. As part of their first few weeks at Expensify, they are visiting our offices in San Francisco and Portland. They buy their flights and book their hotel, for a total cost of $6,500. They also buy their laptop - that’s how they’re going to get stuff done! So in total, they spend $8,500.

During booking, those expenses are each checked against their limit of $10,000, and authorised. Each is added to Expensify automatically, and also added to a report (based on our Scheduled Submit settings). So, by the end of the first week, they have spent $8,500 - and all of those expenses are on an Open report. That means their remaining Smart Limit is $1,500 at this point ($10,000 - $8,500). 

At the end of that week, with Scheduled Submit set to submit expenses weekly, all of those expenses are submitted for approval. That still counts against the Smart Limit as those expenses are Processing.

This new employee then looks ahead to their next company trip (to bring them further afield, to our office in Melbourne, Australia!) and tries to book flights for $1,800. However, that transaction is declined because it would exceed their remaining Smart Limit of $1,500.

The next day, their approver in Expensify reviews their Processing reports, and final approves those hotel, flights and laptop expenses. Those expenses are all now on Approved reports, and no longer count against the Smart Limit. That means that this employee can now spend up to $10,000 again! 

The new employee now goes and books those Melbourne flights, spending $1,800 and leaving a balance of $8,200 which they can spend from their Smart Limit.

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