I am updating a system for my company to automate business expense entries into accounting software. Currently, users create expense records in a web form that requires the total amount for the expense. In order to completely automate the process for adding the record to the accounting software, shipping and sales tax amounts are needed. Since we are not using any sort of software or library that scrapes the data from a receipt or invoice, these values will need to come from the user. The users for the system are pretty familiar with it, as 90% (or more) of the company uses it for expense entries. The company is small, so user education is simplified.

View of the current interface:

Current Interface

The updated interface would likely have the PO and Invoice fields moved down into their own line/row, and the new fields would be added after Amount, pushing the --paid with-- selection to the right.

Should I continue to prompt the user for the total amount of the expense or instead prompt for the subtotal?

  • 1
    Can you post a mock, even if you can't share a screenshot? It's helpful for the community to see your thinking on this so we can assist. Web forms come in many varieties, so if you can approximate your layout and context it's more helpful.
    – Mike M
    Jun 30, 2017 at 18:03
  • I added a redacted screenshot of the current form. I know it is a little dated. Updating the actual interface is also part of this project, but I'm more concerned with asking the user for the correct data. Jun 30, 2017 at 18:38
  • Is this application going to be used by the same group of people every time, such that they'll become power users? If so, you could just ask what they prefer. Otherwise, one option would be to ask for the sales tax and subtotal then display the computed total. This could act as a way for the user to validate that they've entered the values correctly. Jun 30, 2017 at 18:39
  • This process is used by 90% of the employees within the company, some more than others. It is a small company, so user education isn't much of an issue. I'll update my question to reflect this information. I do like your idea of providing the total as a checksum. Jun 30, 2017 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


Use a combination of data validation and intelligent defaults:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Also, as a side note, I would strongly recommend aligning your fields into grids or columns.

  • Yeah, I know that the current UI is really bad with fields just kinda thrown in there as they will fit. There is definitely going to be an effort to modernize it and improve user experience. Jul 3, 2017 at 13:55

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