Organizing Reimbursements

Organizing Reimbursements

UPDATED: 07/06/2021

This post is part one about working with invoices and receipts for any reimbursement. To keep it simple, I’ll write with Cru’s new P&A healthcare reimbursements in mind.

Part two is about using a spreadsheet as you track and submit a reimbursement. (See more about spreadsheets and about part two in the NOTES).

I finished part three about a workflow for submitting a claim.

If you aren’t with Cru, you should be able to benefit from these three posts as well.

When I talked to a P&A representative about the Eligible Expense List, I learned that I could claim any of the eligible HRA expenses back to January 1st, 2020. (See NOTES and the first page of the FSA brochure.) I found twenty-two items I could submit and another four that qualified in April 2021. With twenty-six manual claims to submit, I knew I would have some ideas to share with you.

Let’s get started.

Paper Folders

You’ll need some good old-fashioned file folders. Holding on to some papers makes sense. You may need to re-submit a claim or need a proof-of-purchase for something you bought. You might need a receipt for MHA expenses. Apparently, the IRS wants us to keep track of seven-years-worth of reimbursements. (I’m grateful for digital folders!)

If your paper folders are simple, they will help you file consistently. (I’m not good at this. I’m piling paper instead of filing.)

If your expenses are small, an inbox may be all you need. For the rest of us, we’ll need paper action folders to help us move through a reimbursement workflow. You might need archival paper folders, too. Of course, group folders if you don’t want this many.

My folders are:

  • Reimbursements
    • Ministry Reimbursements
      • Record
      • Submit
      • Pending
      • 2021 Ministry Reimbursements Completed
    • Healthcare Reimbursements
      • Forms (e.g., doctor’s letters for medically necessary supplements)
      • Record
      • Scan
      • Submit
      • Pending
      • 2021 Healthcare Completed

Digital Folders

On your computer or in the cloud, create these nested digital folders:

  • Reimbursements
    • Ministry Reimbursements (See NOTES)
      • 2021 Ministry Completed
      • 2020 Ministry Completed
    • Healthcare Reimbursements
      • Forms (e.g., doctor’s letters for medically necessary supplements)
      • Maps (digital screenshots showing mileage from home to providers)
      • 2021 Healthcare Completed
        • UPV9999999 (optional)
      • 2020 Healthcare Completed

You’ll keep track of everything in these folders. The chronological naming system will help you immensely.

If you have a lot of expenses, you might want to put all incoming PDFs in “Healthcare Reimbursements” and move these PDFs to the “completed” folder later. This would keep the Healthcare Reimbursements folder from overwhelming you. Again, the naming system will help so having a working folder and an archival folder is up to you. If you don’t have a lot of expenses, drop the “completed” folder.

(I thought I’d save space by storing the PDFs in Google Drive folders, but I couldn’t upload from Google Drive to P&A. So, my files are on my computer.)

I’ll refer to both paper and digital folders as I walk you through a workflow (next up). Except for the completed folders, paper folders are for actions to take. The completed paper folders and all digital folders are for reference and archives. I’ll explain about the forms and maps folders in part three.

My Workflow


Put incoming paper receipts in the “Record” folder until you add them to your spreadsheet. (If you don’t have a spreadsheet, read the NOTES.)

I’ll mention this again in this series, but include addresses in your medical spreadsheet. You’ll need some when you submit claims to P&A. My spreadsheet template has a separate tab to store commonly-used addresses. Optionally, create a maps folder with screenshots of your route to your dentist, lab, specialist, etc.

After recording expenses, move healthcare invoices to the “Scan” folder. Some ministry expenses won’t need to be scanned and can move to the “Submit” folder. You’ll scan all your healthcare expenses.


If you do the scanning and submitting together, you could have a “Scan/Submit” folder. I prefer separate actions because I don’t want to be scanning while submitting to P&A. I’m ready with everything because I don’t want to risk timing out on their site.

Save as PDF

Now, you’ll be working with your digital folders.

  • Scan paper receipts as PDF files.
  • Click on “print” and use the “Save as PDF” feature:
    • for online purchases, and/or
    • to convert a JPG to PDF.
  • Go to Blue Cross / Metlife and make PDF files of pre-April 1st EOBs.

Store PDF files in your digital folder, “Healthcare Reimbursements.” You’ll use a consistent naming system so you‘ll be able to find these when you’re ready to submit.

P&A allows you to upload jpg, png, and other files as well. I make everything a PDF so I find them easily.

Name Your PDF Files

Use a system that sorts by date. I name the files by date, who, and what. So “20210322 S tolls” is a scan of tolls incurred on March 22nd this year. S is for me, instead of my husband. These PDF files are easy to find when I submit a claim.


I’ll go into more detail in my part two blog post about submitting. Until then, move paper and digital PDF files to “Submit” folders so they’re ready to go into P&A’s system.

You could put your PDF files in a UPV folder (the number assigned to your submission). Each claim you submit has a unique UPV9999999 which you could use as a folder name if it helps you. I’ll explain more of that next time when I describe the spreadsheet.

Pending and Completed

Your spreadsheet will indicate whether your claim is pending or complete. (See part two.)

It’s optional to move PDFs to “2021 Healthcare Completed.” Then, you’re not overwhelmed whenever you open the “Healthcare Reimbursements” folder. By early next year, all 2021 PDFs should be in the completed folder.

Don’t worry that you filed this submission in the completed folder. You’ll mark in your spreadsheet whether it is or not . (I’m assuming you won’t have very many claims to re-submit.)


Like you, I’m working through Cru’s new process for Healthcare reimbursements. I hope some of my ideas are helpful to you. If you haven’t watched them yet, check out the training videos and the FAQs on the StaffWeb for using P&A.

Next, I’ll write about managing your information through a spreadsheet in parts two and three. (I won’t cover what’s already in the training and FAQs.) We’ll use the PDF files and folders you prepared today.

See you next time!



  • The P&A Healthcare Reimbursement Series:
    • This post, Part One, offers a way to organize and name your files and PDF documents. I give a brief outline of a workflow.
    • Part Two is where you download a free spreadsheet. I give a brief overview on tracking reimbursement details. I include steps to approve an EOB.
    • Part Three amplifies on the workflow and on the spreadsheet. Learn about tracking a manual submission. Download a free checklist to tone down all these details.
  • HRA is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement. FSA is a flexible spending account. Some of the 2020 expenses I submitted were for: a thermometer, ace bandages, orthotics, mouth guards, etc.
  • Want to learn more about spreadsheets? I have lots of help on eQuipping for Ministry. Why not start with some easy training from my good friend, Bob MacLeod? Start with Excel / Google Sheets Tips & Tricks 2019.
  • Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

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