How to Import Your Work or Payment Amounts from CSV

Last Updated:
March 27, 2017

Adding work for a worker in Payable is simple. However, if you are tracking this data outside of Payable (another system, a spreadsheet, etc...), entering in all this data manually could be time-consuming and potentially error-prone.

Payable provides a means to “bulk add” your work 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 Work Sample CSV.

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

Worker Reference IDs (required)

Worker Reference Ids are used to connect workers in Payable to those from an external system (yours!). 

  • 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 we cannot find this reference in our system, an error will be displayed during the validation phase. 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.  This reference id is required if external_worker_id is not present.
Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 12.08.34 AM.png

Work Reference IDs (optional)

Work Reference Ids are used to connect work from an external system to Payable.

  • external_work_id
    The unique id of the work in your system. This will be treated as a string (text). We will use this value when we associate work with the worker. When present, it is assumed this entry will be updated with new values (if not already paid)

AND/OR

  • payable_work_id
    The id of the work in the Payable system. The Work export CSV in the application will have this ID if you don’t have it already. When present, it is assumed this entry will be updated with new values (if not already paid). 

Work Type Details (required)

The work type name, quantity and time at which the work was performed are required fields.

  • work_type_name
    The name of the Work Type exactly as it appears in the Payable app. Eg: Hours, Expenses
  • quantity
    The quantity of the work. Quantity values are interpreted as follows:

                    - time: number of hours (including fractions of) (eg: 6.5)                    
                    - money: dollars and cents (eg: 67.54)                    
                    - units: number of units (including fractions of) (eg: 2)                    
                    - distance: number of miles (eg: 45.5)

  • work_start
    Time at which the work was performed. We support ISO 8601 (YYYY-MM-DD) compliant dates as well as some Excel formats (MM/DD/YYYY). Examples:

                    - Date only: 2016-06-05 OR 06/05/2016                   
                    - Date + Time: 2016-06-05T12:30 OR 2016-06-05 12:30 OR 06/05/2016 12:30                   
                    - Date + Time with Seconds precision: 2016-06-05T12:30:00 OR 2016-06-05 12:30:00
                    - Date + Time with Seconds and Time Zone precision: 2016-06-05T12:30:00-07:00

The time at which the work ended and notes are optional fields.

  • work_end
    Time at which the work ended. Must be ISO 8601 compliant.
  • notes
    Freeform notes to associate with the Work Entry

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).

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

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 Work page in Payable. At the bottom of the page is the Import From CSV button (#1). Clicking this brings up the Work Import screen:

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:

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

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

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

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:

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:

  • Missing work type details
  • Invalid dates
  • Work Entry name not found
  • 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 Work import, feel free to reach out to support@payable.com.

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