How to Import Your Workers from CSV

Last Updated:
March 27, 2017

Adding workers to your team in Payable is a simple matter of providing a name and an email address in the Add Worker form. However, if you are just getting started with Payable and you have a large number of people to add, entering in all this data could be time-consuming, and potentially error-prone.

Payable provides a means to “bulk add” your team all at once using a CSV formatted file. A CSV file has a header row that defines the columns in the file, and the rest of the file is the data, in those columns. Depending on your situation, you may or may not use all of the columns we support.

Payable CSV Format

Here is a sample file of the CSV with all the supported headers: Payable Import Workers Sample CSV.

The format of the CSV is straightforward. The column headings can appear in any order.

Worker Name (required)

There are two ways to get names into the system: either split into first and last name, or a full name as one. We need at least one of the two options to be present.

  • first_name
    The worker's first name for taxes purposes. 
  • last_name
    The worker’s last name for taxes purposes.

AND/OR

  • display_name
    The name of the worker as you would like it to appear in Payable.

Business Name (optional)

If your worker is a Business you can use their business name to get them into the system.

  • business_name
    Business name for tax purposes if the Worker is a Business.

Email Address (optional)

Email addresses are used to invite the worker to your company in Payable. An email address can only be used for one team member.

  • email
    The email address of the worker.

Reference IDs (optional)

Reference Ids are used to connect workers in Payable to those from an external system (yours!). There are a few situations where providing reference IDs is useful:

  1. if you are or plan to provide Work Entries for your Workers through a custom integration or import process
  2. If you want to update existing workers in bulk

  • external_worker_id
    The unique id of the worker in your system. This will be treated as a string (text) and should be unique across all your workers. We will use this value when we associate work with the worker if you import work entries as well. If an existing worker has the same ID, we will update that worker's data. This reference id is required if payable_worker_id is not present.

AND/OR

  • payable_worker_id
    The id of the worker in the Payable system. The Worker Profile and the team export CSV in the application will have this ID if you don’t have it already. Use this if you want to update information for a worker through the import process. This reference id is required if external_worker_id is not present.
Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 12.08.34 AM.png

Address (optional)

Addresses are used for tax forms and identity verification purposes.

  • address_line_1
    Line one of the Worker’s address.
  • address_line_2
    Line two of the Worker’s address.
  • city
    The city of the Worker’s address.
  • region
    The Region or State of the Worker’s address. Must be a valid abbreviation or full name.
  • postal_code
    The zip code or Postal Code of the Worker’s address. Must be a valid 5 or 9 digit zip code in the US.

AND

  • country
    Must be a valid 2 or 3 character ISO Country Code. Country is required if postal code is present.

Business Information (optional)

This is the Worker’s Business Information declared on their W-9 and registered with the IRS.

  • business_type
    The type of business the worker has declared on their W-9. Business type is required if TIN is provided.
    The Business Type must be one of:

                    - INDIVIDUAL
                    - SOLE_PROP
                    - SOLE_PROP_EIN
                    - LLC_SINGLE
                    - LLC_SINGLE_EIN
                    - LLC_C_CORP
                    - LLC_S_CORP
                    - LLC_PARTNER
                    - C_CORP
                    - S_CORP
                    - PARTNERSHIP
                    - NON_PROFIT

  • ssn
    Worker’s 9-digit Social Security Number (if Individual). Must be a valid 9 digit value, dashes are accepted.
  • ein
    Worker’s 9 digit Employer Identification Number (if Business). Must be a valid 9 digit value, dashes are accepted.

Preparing your Import File

Most spreadsheet applications give you the ability to export your data as a CSV file, so we recommend you prepare the data in your spreadsheet first, then export. The first row will be your header, so ensure that the name of each column is in line with the specification (above).

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Once your data is looking right in the spreadsheet, you can export it. In Google Sheets, go to File > Download as… > Comma-separated values:

Create CSV in Google Sheets

If you're using Microsoft Excel, go to File > Save As... Then, where it says "File Format" click to bring up the option of "Comma Separated Values (.csv)"

File Format CSV in Excel

Importing your File

Once the file is saved and ready to go, go to the Team page in Payable. At the bottom of the page is the Import From CSV button (#1). Clicking this brings up the Team Import screen:

Team Import

Click “Select CSV to Import” (#2), then select the CSV file you generated from the spreadsheet. That will kick off the import process. We’ll start by validating the import file:

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After validating the import file you’ll be able to review the results:

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 4.32.04 PM.png

If there are errors in your import file we’ll display them in a list:

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By expanding each box you’ll be able to see what row number the error occurred on:

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 11.53.14 PM.png

Go back to the spreadsheet and correct the file. After updating the data you can export your file and try importing it again.

Once everything goes well, you will see the following screen:

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 7.38.42 PM.png

Select whether you want to invite the “Ready to Invite” users to Payable as part of this process, or you can invite them individually afterwards.

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 7.39.12 PM.png

Make sure to enter a custom invite message so your workers know it’s you inviting them to join your company.

Once your worker joins they become users, and only these users can update their info.

Typical errors

When things don’t go well, we display a list of the errors on the screen. We’ll tell you why it failed and what row number the error occurred on. Some of the typical errors are:

  • Invalid email addresses or already in use
  • Missing name
  • Payable ID not found
  • Extra or missing commas
  • Unsupported header fields
  • Extra columns
  • Invalid characters
  • Invalid file format (.xls, .numbers)


If you have any further questions about the information in the Workers import, feel free to reach out to support@payable.com.

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