Open Collective
Open Collective
Introducing Accounting Categories
Published on February 26, 2024 by Shannon Wray

Configure your chart of accounts and streamline expense categorization with our latest feature, Accounting Categories.

This update empowers fiscal host admins to define a customized chart of accounts and allow collective admins and expense submitters to select categories when submitting expenses. 

Lessen the burden on your end of year accounting team by tailoring your chart of accounts on Open Collective, enforcing expense categorization policies, and easily ensuring the accuracy of expense categorization through additional review steps.

Elevate your financial control today and implement your Account Categories !
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Dread Knight

Posted on February 28, 2024

Interesting update. Was sort of using tags so far, will have to wrap my mind around this 🐻

Benjamin Piouffle

Posted on February 29, 2024

Accounting categories have a few advantages over tags:
  • They work on both contributions and expenses.
  • They appear in the transactions CSV exports, under unified columns.
  • They're exclusive (you can only have one category per expense).
  • You can enforce rules, like allowing some categories only for Invoices, or Receipts.
  • Expense submitters and collective admins can set them when submitting/approving, but only host admins are allowed to touch them once an expense is paid.
  • They're restricted by the values you define in your Chart of Accounts. There's no risk of duplicate categories or typos.
  • Since they're registered as accounting categories in the system, we'll be able to use them to provide better services in the future: machine-learning suggestions (already in place for some fiscal hosts) to help submitters categorize their expenses, automatic detection of miscategorized expenses/contributions, integration with accounting software...etc.

Let us know if you have any feedback!
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Evan Blackmon

Posted on March 15, 2024

As an accountant part of a ngo using this platform, an integration with QBO is an absolute requirement if any decently large organization is going to keep a detailed listing of expenses here. The manually add feature is far too cumbersome if transaction volume is high. OC works for now with orgs I volunteer for because the transaction volume is incredibly low.

Thanks very happy to see y'all going in this direction

Ruth Cheesley

Posted on April 8, 2024

Great to see this - guessing the categories are set by the fiscal host at present? Is there any way to back-fill existing transactions or will it be from this point forward we need to apply them?

Benjamin Piouffle

Posted on April 9, 2024

guessing the categories are set by the fiscal host at present

Hosts can allow collective admins and expense submitters to participate in the accounting effort by enabling a policy in their settings. Once an expense is paid, only host admins can change the category. More info about that here.

Is there any way to back-fill existing transactions or will it be from this point forward we need to apply them?

You can categorize past expenses in a few clicks from the expenses list. We don't provide a tool to batch categorize expenses at the moment, but we'd be happy to work with fiscal hosts to help them automatically classify historical data if they have some rules that we can easily apply.

Ronen Hirsch

Posted on April 9, 2024

The existing expense categories were created primarily with fiscal host and their accounting needs in mind.  These categories do not necessarily serve collectives well in organizing their expenses in a way that is coherent to them and to their contributors & funders. 

We are considering a possibility for collectives to setup their own accounting categories to better serve their needs. Historically this has been (and can still be done) with tags (which are separate from accounting categories) but tags are not ideal for this.