How to spend company money

70% complete. This guide, along with all our guides, is a work-in-progress and iterates as we consider new data and frameworks.

At Mattermost, we want you to be successful from Day 1. As staff members, you're empowered to determine and purchase what you need in order to do your job. We value high impact over stringent expense rules and these expense guidelines are intended to help make decisions not hinder movement. Depending on country/region, some items may be way below or way above the averages listed. If you need to spend more to get the right equipment for you to be productive, we trust you’re making purchase decisions to optimize cost and efficiency.

If you're uncertain, feel free to ask in the Finance Team channel, or reach out to expenses@mattermost.com.

Mattermost guidelines

Mattermost’s policy for spending company money is influenced by GitLab, who open sources its policy on spending company money online and who has been highly successful in an open, frugal, iterative culture.

  1. Spend company money like it's your own money.

  2. You don't have to ask permission before making purchases on behalf of the company. When in doubt, inform your manager before the purchase or as soon as possible after the purchase.

  3. It's uncommon for you to need all of the items listed below. Use your best judgement and buy them as you need them. If you wonder whether something is considered common, feel free to ask People Ops (and in turn, People Ops should update the list).

  4. You may privately use Mattermost property, a laptop for example, to check your private emails or watch a movie as long as it does not violate the law, harm Mattermost, or interfere with Intellectual Property.

  5. It's generally easiest and fastest for you to make any purchases for office supplies yourself and expense them. If you are unable to pay for any supplies yourself, please reach out to People Ops.

  6. If you make a purchase that will cost Mattermost 1000 USD (or over), this is classified as company property. You'll be required to return the item(s) if you leave the company.

  7. Use Expensify to file your expense report in the same month that you made the purchase in. Please combine multiple expenses on one report if possible.

  8. Any non-company expenses paid with a company credit card or other means will have to be reported to your manager as soon as possible and refunded in full within 14 days.

  9. Home Office Equipment and Supplies. The company will reimburse for the following items if you need it for work or use it mainly for business, and local law allows us to pay for it without incurring payroll taxes. The amounts set forth below are guidelines and not strict limits:

Equipment

Equipment is essential to being successful at Mattermost. If you're a new staff member joining the team, welcome aboard! Use your best judgement and buy the below items as you need them. It is uncommon for you to need all of the items listed below. If you wonder if something is common, feel free to ask your manager if it's specific to a role that's only under your manager or in the People Ops channel if it's general (and in turn, People Ops should update the list).

While we're sharing average costs for various items below, you should use your best judgement. If there’s a piece of equipment that you’re passionate about, you can spend less on other items to get the product that you want. If you're uncertain, check with your manager or the Finance Team. In addition, use our Currency Exchange Tables, which are updated monthly, when dealing with reimbursement in currencies other than USD.

Home office guidelines

Home office equipment

Business computer accessories

  • USB-C Adapter for New MacBooks: Average price 80 USD

  • External monitor: Average price 500 USD

  • HDMI cable: Average price 15 USD

  • Webcam: Average price 75 USD

  • Ethernet connector: Average price 20 USD

  • Headphones: Average price 80 USD

  • Keyboard and mouse set: Average price 150 USD

  • IDE for developers: Average price 300 USD

Computer and technology guidelines

Laptop (Business computer)

For all new staff members, to request a new MacBook, Lenovo, or other laptop, please use this form. We realize laptops are most vital company equipment to be successful at Mattermost. As such the below are just recommendations and not a hard ceiling. Please get what you need to do your best work.

Non-Developers

Developers

  • MacBook 16”: For developers choosing to use Macs, we recommend getting a MacBook Pro 16-inch retina with 512 GB of storage and 32 GB of memory or similar. As an example, other teams may not require 32 GB memory or 512 GB of storage.

  • PC: Any suitable laptop with comparable specifications and lower or similar cost to the recommended MacBook. Many of our engineers use Lenovo laptops from the Thinkpad X, T, or P series. If in doubt, we recommend a Lenovo Thinkpad T series.

After your laptop is received, it is required that you register your laptop by completing an Asset Registration Form. This step should be completed within 5 business days after your laptop was received.

Other Computer Technology

If you need a device other than a laptop or mobile phone such as an iPad or equivalent for your role, you should have a business use reason for the device and authorization from your manager before purchasing. If both are satisfied, you can proceed with purchasing the device on your own or you can reach out to People Ops who can purchase this for you.

After you obtain the asset, it is necessary that you register your hardware by completing the Asset Registration Form if any one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • The cost of the device is 1,000 USD or greater

  • The device contains company data and has access to company credentials

  • The device contains customer data, confidential company information, or personally identifiable information (PII)

If you purchased the device on your own and you are submitting an expense report for reimbursement, attach the Asset Registration email confirmation with your expense report. This step should be completed within 5 business days after your device was received. Any registered device will need to be returned to Mattermost if you leave the company.

Mobile device policy

The Mattermost mobile device policy enables the use of mobile devices for customer-facing roles or those providing repeating on-call service in a secure fashion.

Subscription

If you are using your device primarily for business-related matters as defined by your local tax laws, we will reimburse up to 100 USD. Positions or roles where mobile reimbursement may be needed include the following:

  • Customer-facing roles:

    • Account Executives

    • Customer Success Managers

    • Sales Leadership

    • Customer Engineering

  • On-call roles:

    • Software Design Engineer

    • Build Engineer

    • Security Engineer

    • Site Reliability Engineer

    • Support Engineers

For all other positions, we will reimburse up to 50 USD.

If you're unsure whether you qualify for a customer-facing role or on-call role, reach out to your manager and follow the Manager Approval process.

The company does not currently provide mobile device subscriptions in a centralized fashion. Subscriptions should be organized by the employee and expensed monthly. Mattermost recommends the usage of a monthly subscription model where possible.

Hardware

The company standard device is an iPhone SE that should be ordered by the employee and expensed. Currently no other platforms are supported.

Usage of a company phone is mandatory for the following staff groups:

  • Security Engineer

Usage of a company phone is voluntary for the following staff groups:

  • Staff who are participating in on-call rotations, with approval from their direct manager and not part of a mandatory staff group.

Continued usage of personal phones for business is endorsed and acceptable within the voluntary group. Remaining staff groups are currently not eligible for a company mobile device. The scope of the staff groups may be modified in the future, resulting in changes in mandatory and voluntary groups.

Developers who work on mobile need to be able to test Mattermost on iOS and Android devices. Mattermost will cover the cost of whichever type of device you don’t use as your existing personal and/or company-provided device. As with our Ownership policy, the $1,000 threshold applies and the device will need to be returned to Mattermost if you leave the company.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

In order to protect company information, usage of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution is mandatory for a company provided phone. An MDM must not be configured when using a personal phone.

When the device has been lost, the MDM solution enables the company to remotely wipe the phone to ensure protection of customer data and additionally enforce security policies on the device.

Process

Each employee can order the hardware and subscription if they are part of an eligible group. Afterwards expense it according to the current process once for the hardware and each month for the subscription.

After the hardware is received, it is mandatory to register with our Mobile Device Management (MDM) provider following this process [link pending] and our Asset Registration Form. This must be completed within 5 business days after the device was received.

The employee is allowed to request a new mobile device every three years according to the current mobile device policy. Earlier replacement is possible if the device is damaged or otherwise prevents required business usage.

When the work relationship between a staff member and the company ends the company device must be wiped and then sent back together with the company notebook to the responsible process owner.

Acceptable use

The company device may only be used for work-related purposes. Personal usage is explicitly discouraged outside of emergency situations. Mattermost is not responsible for any personal data loss upon a remotely-initiated device wipe.

Equipment replacement

Laptop

Many staff members will use their company issued laptop until it breaks. That said, if your productivity is suffering, you can request a new laptop at any time. The average timeframe for equipment replacement is approximately three years. Old laptops should be returned to the company. Replacement laptops should follow the registration process similar to new hires by completing our Asset Registration Form.

Other

Purchase as you need. We expect most items to have 18 to 24 month life and would expect additional purchases.

Software systems

All software should be provisioned through a corporate account. This helps mitigate multiple accounts for the same application. To see software Mattermost currently subscribes to, join the Systems channel and click on View Systems in the header.

If there is a piece of software you are looking to buy that Mattermost does not have a subscription to, discuss with your manager and then post in the Systems channel to discuss with the Procurement team.

Note that any software expensed that is not been vetted through Procurement will not be reimbursed. Should you have questions, reach out to the Purchases channel.

Travel

Mattermost will cover work-related travel expenses for approved business travel. You may extend a business trip for personal reasons, but you will only be expensed for meals and lodging that are part of the business-related portion of the trip. Use the same Expense Guidelines when spending on air, lodging, and meals.

Meals and entertainment

Spend company money like it’s your own. When traveling on behalf of Mattermost, average meal costs will vary by destination city and country. The two links below are helpful reference points for city and country averages. Note: 20% is considered the maximum gratuity for exceptional service.

The below links provide a few examples regarding daily per diem guidance.

  • San Francisco 70 USD

  • New York 70 USD

  • Austin 55 USD

  • London 75 USD

  • Toronto 50 USD

  • Berlin 45 USD

The following links provide further detail regarding location-specific per diems:

When dining with another staff member on one check, the most senior person is responsible for payment. When submitting your receipt in Expensify, include the names of all staff members who attended.

Airfare and traveling

Refer to our separate policy Mattermost Airfare and Traveling.

Hotel and lodging

Use your best judgement when assessing hotel costs and proximity to your workplace or event. Similar to booking airfare, book lodging in advance whenever possible and optimize for cost, convenience, and safety of location. Due to potentially unforeseen circumstances causing a change in plans, it’s advised not to pay in advance for your hotel accommodations

Please spend company money as if it's your own. As always, security and safety is important and paramount for our staff members.

Loyalty Points

Staff members may retain points earned for hotel stays. However, hotel reservations should optimize business needs and cost vs. points.

Mileage reimbursement

We will reimburse mileage according to local laws of the country in which your contract is legally signed. For example, a contract with Mattermost, Inc. would be subject to IRS mileage reimbursement at the US rate per mile. For approval, you must add a screenshot of a map to the expense in Expensify indicating the mileage.

Conferences and trade shows

Airfare, Meals and Entertainment, and Hotel take precedence.

Team events, meetups, and off-sites

Team events and meetups should be planned in advance with ample notice and approval from your direct MLT.

The Airfare, Meals and Entertainment, and Hotel policies take precedence even in the case of team events or meetups.

Team celebrations

There will be times to celebrate with staff members, and we want you to. Please be sure to obtain approval from your department head by following the Manager Approval process.

Rideshares and rentals

Use your best judgment if a rental car is needed. It's recommended to use Uber, Lyft, Taxis, or other cost-effective budget services. In certain instances, it may not be economical to do so and a rental car is necessary. Mattermost does not have a corporate account with any rental car agency at this time. Please continue to follow the spend principle (spend company money like it is your own money).

Other expenses

The company will reimburse for the following expenses if you need it for work or use it mainly for business, and local law allows us to pay for it without incurring taxes:

Flexible office space: If working from home is not practical, you may rent out a co-working space at the expense of the company. This can include non-traditional spaces that require a membership as long as you average ~3 working days per week at the space. Any agreement must be between the team member and the co-working space (i.e. Mattermost will not sign or appear on the agreement). All expenses must be submitted through Expensify. The company will not be responsible for any expense that relates to office space subsequent to the termination of service between Mattermost and the staff member.

Flexible office spaces or hot desk will be reviewed based on average costs for the city and location. That said, we expect an office space to not exceed 600 USD per month. If you are requesting to be reimbursed on a space that exceeds 600 USD per month, the Manager Approval process should be followed.

Professional development: Work-related online courses and professional development certifications, not included in career path training or training for specialty roles, e.g. Information Security. Mattermost staff members are allotted 500 USD per fiscal year to spend on one or multiple training courses. Manager Approval is required for reimbursement greater than 500 USD.

Home internet: Mattermost will reimburse up to 50 USD per month that can be expensed for home internet. If you are submitting an expense other than USD, please use the Currency Exchange Rate Table to determine how much to expense each month. As always, expenses should be submitted in a timely manner and follow the How to use Expensify process.

Foreign currency reimbursement: From time to time, you may receive an unfavorable exchange rate between the date you made the expense and the date Mattermost reimburses you. If that happens, Mattermost will make up the difference. To submit a foreign currency reimbursement claim, refer to How to use Expensify. For the least amount of monetary impact, follow the Company Guidelines including submitting your expense in the period incurred.

Manager approval

For anything requiring manager approval, please complete the following steps:

  1. Reach out to your manager/department head regarding the approval.

  2. Give the business reason need and (if applicable) date/s if approval relates to an event or conference.

  3. If the manager approves this as legitimate business need, the manager is required to contact Finance for spending approval at expenses@mattermost.com.

  4. If/when approved, an approval email will be sent to the staff member and manager.

  5. Staff member must attach the approval to the Expensify expense report.