IAM roles for billing-related job functions

This topic shows you how to configure Identity and Access Management (IAM) permissions for a set of sample billing scenarios. It provides guidance on which IAM roles to grant to the billing-related functional roles in your company for the scenarios. These examples are mainly targeted at billing administrators and employees who manage billing tasks for an organization.

This document does not explain in detail the billing roles and permissions. For a detailed description of roles and permissions for Billing API, read the Access Control for Billing page.

Small company configuring billing permissions

In this scenario a small company is trying to configure and use Google billing accounts. They have a handful of engineers who develop and maintain their applications, but none of them manage their billing. They have an office manager, who is responsible for matching payments to invoices, but for compliance reasons the office manager is not permitted to have access to Google Cloud resources in the projects. The CEO also holds and manages the credit card details.

The table below explains the billing IAM roles that the Organization Administrator (which is the CEO in this scenario) can grant to the other personas in the company, and the resource level at which she grants the roles.

Role: Organization Administrator The Organization Administrator role gives the CEO the ability to assign permissions to the Office Manager.
Resource: Organization
Principal: CEO
Role: Billing Account Administrator The Billing Account Administrator role allows the office manager and the CEO to manage payments and invoices without granting them the permission to view the project contents.
Resource: Organization
Principals: Office Manager, CEO

The IAM policy attached to the organization resource for this scenario will look similar to the following:

{
  "bindings": [
    {
      "role": "roles/resourcemanager.organizationAdmin",
      "members": [
        "user:ceo@example.com"
      ]
    },
    {
      "role": "roles/billing.admin",
      "members": [
        "group:finance-admins-group@example.com"
      ]
    }
  ]
}

The best practice is to use groups to manage principals. In the example above, for the second binding, you would add the CEO and office manager to the finance-admins-group. When you need to modify who is able to carry out the function, you simply need to adjust the group membership, negating the need to update the policy. So the two individual user accounts do not appear in the role bindings.

Finance teams managing budgets

In this scenario, a large organization wants the finance team in each division to be able to set budgets and view team spending in the division, but not have access to the Google Cloud resources. They don't mind if the developers see the spend for their own projects, but a broad view of expenses should not be allowed to the developers.

Grant the roles in table below to the finance manager of each division and the developers:

Role: Billing Account Administrator This role grants the finance manager of each division the permission to set budgets and view the spending for the billing accounts in their divisions, but does not give them permissions to view the project contents.
Resource: Billing Account
Principals: Finance manager of each division
Role: Billing Account Viewer The Billing Account Viewer role allows the developers to view the expenses for a billing account.
Resource: Billing Account
Principals: Developers of the project.

For this scenario, use the billing console to grant the Billing Account Administrator role to the finance managers on the billing account. In addition, grant the Billing Account Viewer role to the developers on the billing account.

When you are done, the IAM policy for the billing account looks similar to the following:

{
  "bindings": [
    {
      "role": "roles/billing.admin",
      "members": [
        "group:finance-admins-group@example.com"
      ]
    },
    {
      "role": "roles/billing.viewer",
      "members": [
        "group:developers@example.com"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "etag": "BwUjMhCsNvY=",
  "version": 1
}

Customer self-service portal, Developers cannot adjust billing

In this scenario, a customer's central IT team provides Google Cloud resources to their developers as part of their self service portal. Developers request access to Google Cloud projects and other approved cloud services via the portal. The cost center of the developer pays the central IT team for the cloud resources consumed.

The central IT team must be able to:

  • Associate projects with billing accounts.
  • Turn off billing for projects.
  • View the credit card information.

They must not have permissions to view the project contents.

Developers should be able to view the actual costs of the Google Cloud resources being consumed, but shouldn't be able to turn billing off, associate billing with projects, and view the credit card information.

Role: Billing Account Administrator The Billing Account Administrator role grants the IT department the permissions to associate projects with billing accounts, turn off billing for the projects, and view the credit card information for the accounts that they resell to their customers.

It does not give them permissions to view the contents of the projects.

Resource: Billing Account
Principal: IT department
Role: Billing Account User The Billing Account User role gives the service account the permissions to enable billing (associate projects with the organization's billing account for all projects in the organization) and thereby permit the service account to enable APIs that require billing to be enabled.
Resource: Organization
Principal: Service account that is used for automating project creation.
Role: Billing Account Viewer The Billing Account Viewer role allows the developers to view the expenses for a billing account.
Resource: Billing Account
Principals: Developers of the project.

For this scenario you will need two separate operations to assign the appropriate IAM policies as they are attached at different levels of the hierarchy.

Use the billing console to grant the Billing Account Administrator role to the IT department on the billing account. In addition, grant the Billing Account Viewer role to the developers on the billing account.

You then need to attach an IAM policy at the organization level. This policy grants the Billing Account User role to the service account. It is similar to the following:

{
  "bindings": [
    {
      "role": "roles/billing.user",
      "members": [
        "serviceAccount:my-project-creator@shared-resources-proj.iam.gserviceaccount.com"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "etag": "BwWKmjvelug=",
  "version": 1
}

Developers creating billed projects

A large digital native wants to allow all their developers to create billed projects on their organization's invoiced account without giving them Billing Account Administrator rights.

A project needs to have billing enabled to ensure that APIs beyond the default can be enabled. Thus if a developer creates a project, they need to associate it with a billing account to enable the APIs.

Role: Billing Account User The Billing Account User role enables the developers to attach the billing account to new projects within the organization.
Resource: Organization
Principals: Developers

The IAM policy for this scenario needs to be attached at the organization level, and it will look similar to the following:

{
  "bindings": [
    {
      "role": "roles/billing.user",
      "members": [
        "group:developers@example.com"
      ]
    }
  ],
  "etag": "BwUjMhCsNvY=",
  "version": 1
}

Cost aggregation

In this scenario, a company wants to calculate and keep track of how much each team, department, service, or project is costing them. For example, keep track of how much does a test deployment cost them each month.

This can be tracked by using the following practices:

  • Use projects to organize resources. Cost is shown per project and project IDs are included in billing export.
  • Annotate projects with labels that represent additional grouping information. For example, environment=test. Labels are included in billing export to allow you to slice and dice further. However, labels on a project are permissioned the same way as the rest of the project's metadata which means a project owner can change labels. You can educate your employees about what not to change and then monitor (through audit logs), or grant them only granular permissions so they can't change project metadata.

You can export to JSON and CSV, but exporting directly to BigQuery is the solution we recommend. This is easily configurable from the billing export section of the billing console.

If each cost center must pay a separate invoice or pay in a separate currency for some workloads, then a separate billing account for each cost center is required. However this approach would require an affiliate agreement signed for each billing account.