Posted in Approval Processes

How to Automate the Invoice Approval Workflow in 3 Easy Steps

Every business, whether its offering is a product or service, has expenses. Suppliers or vendors need to be paid for their products and services, and they need to be paid accurately and on time if you want to maintain good supplier relationships. 

Accounts payable (AP) plays a vital role in any organization, whether it’s a one-person accounting operation in a small business or a whole finance department in a large enterprise. And at the heart of any AP department is the invoice approval workflow. 

Continue reading “How to Automate the Invoice Approval Workflow in 3 Easy Steps”
Posted in Approval Processes

Automating the Expense Approval Process in 8 Simple Steps

What is the Expense Management Process?

Expenses are an unchangeable fact for every organization or business, and for enterprises and small businesses alike, expense management is an important operations process. 

Expense management refers to a set of procedures that allow businesses to monitor and optimize (minimize) their spending—and raise their profit margin. This process encompasses the expense approval workflow in which employees submit expenses they have incurred for reimbursement.

A robust expense approval process helps to ensure that the organization’s spending doesn’t exceed its means. An automated digital expense approval process not only allows you to streamline approvals and save time but also arms you with data that can be used to gain critical insights that can be used to reduce costs. 

On the other hand, managing your expense approval process manually (using emails, spreadsheets, and paper invoices and receipts) takes a lot of time and can result in late payments, which can ruin your organization’s reputation among suppliers and impact your timelines if materials you needed are not procured on time. Paper and manual data entry also result in frequent errors and even missing documents that your finance team has to spend precious hours hunting down.

Continue reading “Automating the Expense Approval Process in 8 Simple Steps”
Posted in Approval Processes

Workflow Approval Process: How to Build a Seamless System in Minutes

Businesses must approve all sorts of documents every day, from invoices to time off requests to purchase orders. Without a good approval workflow system in place, all the time (and money) spent on approvals can rapidly start to add up.

Some companies get by with manual approval processes, perhaps relying on the strength of a highly effective operations manager. They email Excel spreadsheets around for signatures, or worse, rely on physical paper forms. But the modest amount of money saved by forgoing a more sophisticated or automated approval system can quickly evaporate through missed documents, lost discounts, and other human errors common with manual systems.

Savvier businesses have an automated workflow approval process.

Join us as we explore the basics of workflow approval, what business processes to automate, how to streamline the process, and how to use one software to do it.

Continue reading “Workflow Approval Process: How to Build a Seamless System in Minutes”
Posted in Approval Processes

5 Leave Management Mistakes That Make Employees Quit (And How to Fix Them)

Employee Leave Management is one of the main things HR departments handle. But, many companies get bogged down in unnecessarily long, complicated processes. Here are 5 common mistakes that can hurt your company, and ways to fix them.

1. Creating a “Vacation Shaming” Culture

In many companies, employees have to deal with comments about choosing to take vacation. These can come from higher-ups at the company, but more often than not, they come directly from peers. We’ve all heard the “You’re taking a vacation? How nice, I wish I had the time to do that,” comment.

Continue reading “5 Leave Management Mistakes That Make Employees Quit (And How to Fix Them)”
Posted in Approval Processes

Taking the Stress out of Taking Vacation

Taking vacation is about resting, relaxing and de-stressing. Numerous studies have shown that employees who take vacations get better sleep, have lower risk of heart disease, and come back more motivated to produce amazing new things.

And yet, people are stressed about taking vacation. A survey through Healthline found that ~62% of 2,280 readers said that they experienced “very or somewhat” elevated stress levels during the winter holidays — which means employees came back to work just as stressed as before.

Continue reading “Taking the Stress out of Taking Vacation”
Posted in Approval Processes

Travel Reimbursement 101: How to Save Time & Money With an Automated Travel Request Process

Automate travel request process

A business lunch with a client. An Uber ride to the airport. Drinks at the hotel bar with a colleague. All these expenses could qualify for travel reimbursement, but how do you make sure everyone’s receipts and records are all accounted for?

Continue reading “Travel Reimbursement 101: How to Save Time & Money With an Automated Travel Request Process”
Posted in Approval Processes

How Effective Managers Handle Time Off Requests

time off requests process automation

Vacation time is the #2 ranked benefit contributing to employee satisfaction. Yet, surveys consistently show that employees simply don’t take the paid time off that they’re entitled to. A 2016 survey by Skift found that 41% of Americans didn’t take a single day of vacation during 2015 – a shocking result.

Continue reading “How Effective Managers Handle Time Off Requests”
Posted in Approval Processes

Workflows: Approve vs Deny vs Reject

PurchaseApprovalWhile working with customers, I’ve recently noticed that a lot of approval steps in a workflow have three possible outcomes. Consider a Purchase Requisition workflow where an employee wants to buy something and it goes to his/her manager for approval. If approved, the next step is Purchasing.

What actions could the Manager take?

  1. She could approve, in which case the workflow moves forward to Purchasing.
  2. She could reject back to the employee asking for more information in which case it moves backward to the employee.
  3. Or, she could deny the request completely (i.e., reject to discard) in which case the workflow should move forward, skip the Purchasing step and terminate.

With frevvo’s approval workflow software, the approve case is trivial. It’s the default behavior. Reject back to the employee is also straightforward. It’s built-in to frevvo and can be configured for any step.

Deny (reject to discard) is also easy but not so obvious. We’re considering adding this as a built-in feature but you can do this today by taking a few steps.

Step 1. Create an approval section with a Radio button
RequestStatus

The radio has two options: Approve or Deny. Deny is the second (last) option and the comment property is checked. If the manager clicks deny, a text box will show up below the radio asking for details. Note the Name (set to RequestStatus) and Options (values are Approve and Deny) properties of the radio control. You can also set the control to invisible and create a rule to show/hide it in the appropriate flow step (Manager in this case). For example:

if (form.load) {
var an = _data.getParameter(‘flow.activity.name’);
RequestStatus.visible = (an !== “Employee”);
RequestStatus.enabled = (an === “Manager”);
}

Step 2. Set Preconditions
PreconditionIn the Flow Designer, select the Purchasing step. Set the precondition as shown in the image to:

RequestStatus.value === “Approve”

This will evaluate to true only if the manager selected approve in the radio we created earlier. If it’s false (manager selected deny), the Purchasing step will be skipped and the workflow will terminate.

Step 3. Setup Reject
SetupRejectIn the Flow Designer, select the manager step and then click the Setup Approval/Rejection link in the Properties panel.

In the wizard that shows up, you can check reject from here, reject to here, change the label of the reject button itself and customize the subject/body of the notification email.

Repeat this step for any other step from which you wish to reject.
That’s it. Now, the manager can:

  1. Select approve in the radio and continue the workflow. It will move to Purchasing.
  2. Select deny in the radio, provide a reason and continue the workflow. It will skip Purchasing and terminate.
  3. Click the reject button and send the workflow backwards to the employee for more information.
Posted in Approval Processes

Design Patterns for Document Approval Processes – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed an approval process that collects comments/a signature from an external, anonymous person. This second pattern is another common approval process where an employee forwards a request to his/her manager. The manager can approve/reject the request or ask the employee for more information. A common variation is where a supervisor or VP has to further approve in some situations e.g. the amount is greater than $1,000.

Internal Document Approval Process
Some examples might be:

  • Employee submits a Purchase Requisition (purchase request).
  • Vacation/Leave approval.
  • Student course/schedule changes approved by advisor.
  • Contract approval by supervisor.
  • Expense report.

With the approval workflow tools in frevvo 5.3, automating this process is straightforward.

  1. Drag and drop the internal employee form(s) into the workflow and use the Form Designer to layout/arrange controls. Typically, you’d add the manager and VP sections to this same form and hide them in the first step. Currently, this requires a simple business rule but we’ll soon be removing the need to write a rule.
  2. Use a linked step for the manager and configure it to route [dynamically] to the employee’s manager using a built-in template.
  3. If required, use a linked activity for the VP and configure it to route to the VP. Set a pre-condition on this activity so it only runs if the condition is true.
  4. The final step could be to route to an HR or Purchasing role, to integrate with a database or with a back end system.

Purchase Requisition Approval Workflow

That’s it. How does it work? The employee accesses the workflow (preferably via a frevvo space) and fills in the form, signs it and clicks Continue.

Employee Purchase Requisition Form

frevvo will send that employee’s manager a notification, which the designer can customize. The manager clicks on the notification [on any device], can view the purchase request and approve it or send it back for corrections. If approved, the workflow will be routed to the VP for further approval if the set condition is true otherwise it will continue to the next step for fulfillment.

Purchase Request Manager Approval

Want to learn more quickly:? Check out one of our short videos and contact us if you have questions.