The Definitive Guide to Approval Processes
March 12th, 2019 • BPM
Work often needs to be approved by managers and directors in every organization before it can formally begin or move to the next step. Approval processes are standardized within companies to dictate how the submitted work should be approved and rejected.
However, these processes are slow and filled with delays when they are not created and optimized accurately. While most organizations are starting to digitize approval processes, they still aren’t actively automating these processes, which can lead to decreased productivity and efficiency.
What is an approval process?
An approval process is a type of business process that includes steps to formally approve work from different levels of the organization. The work can include budgets, invoices, project outlines, marketing initiatives, or any other items that need a series of approvals from different departments.
A standard approval process has the following elements:
The submission documents can be anything that needs to be approved, whether its an invoice, a purchase quote, or any other internal document.
The approvers are the ones who decide whether the submitted documents should be approved or rejected. In case your process has various levels of approval, then it’s important to decide who approves the documents first.
To maintain security throughout the organization, it’s crucial to set different permission levels for each user so that you can control who can view, edit, reject, or approve the submitted documents.
Just like any other business process, approval processes should also have set deadlines so that they can be initiated and completed in a timely manner.
Recording every step of the approval process is just as important not only to maintain transparency throughout the organisation, but also to easily view and track all the actions in case of a discrepancy.
Two examples of approval processes used by organizations
With the right approval processes in place, you can quickly review each deliverable and get approvals more quickly. The type of approval process you create will depend on the deliverables and the departments you are dealing with.
Let’s take a look at two examples:
1. Invoices approvals
Before approving an invoice, the accounting department needs to verify a series of parameters. In this case, the approval process can have a checklist that can be used to make sure all the necessary parameters including invoice number, price, date, and payment terms are reviewed before the invoice is cleared. The form may go through a workflow including the purchasing, finance, and those actually receiving the goods or services.
2. Creative approvals
As compared to invoice approvals, creative approvals have a more complicated process. For instance, you may need multiple steps to include content writing, graphic designers, and web technicians, each with conditional approvals after the work is completed.
Workflows might also be dependent on:
- The number of revisions that can be requested
- The time limit on the revision period
- The number of days it would take to deliver the designs
With these approval parameters in place, the designers can be assured that their workload won’t suddenly grow and they also wouldn’t have to worry about client responsiveness.
Benefits of automating your approval process
Manual approval processes take a longer time to complete and they are also more prone to errors. On the other hand, automating approval processes can give you more control, transparency, and allow your team members to get approvals quickly.
Some of the many benefits of automating approval processes include:
Custom templates: With built-in templates, you can easily create new workflows for approval process by customizing those templates instead of designing one from scratch. This, in turn, allows you to save time and kickstart the approval process faster.
Editing capabilities: Once you have created a workflow for an approval process and you start using it, there might be some changes required to the parameters or the procedures that were initially in place. You can easily edit an existing automated approval process instead of creating a new one.
Better compliance and security: By automating approval processes, you are able to record every step of the process which can then be easily reviewed to check for compliances during internal audits. You are also able to maintain tighter security across the organisation, by only giving access to the approval documents to users who are involved in the process.
Seamless collaboration: For complex approval projects, monitoring every member’s actions and ensuring a proper flow of information can be an incredibly tedious task. Keeping track of the different levels of the approval process, updating different users involved, and adhering to deadlines can become a whole lot easier when the processes are automated.
How to create an approval process in Kissflow
Kissflow is a cloud-based business process and workflow management tool that can help you automate approval processes in your organization in less than 15 minutes.
It’s a no-code application with intuitive drag and drop tools that allow you to automate workflows in the easiest way possible. It also offers heightened data security with role-based access, which means you can control who has access to the data.
You can create automated approval processes in Kissflow in just three steps:
Set up a form
The first step is to create a form that includes all the parameters of your approval process. Kissflow allows users to add custom fields for attaching files, auto-populating data, tables, and much more.
Create a workflow
The next step is to create a workflow for the approval process. This can be as simple as a one-step process that only involves your team manager, or it can include multiple levels of approval from different departments within the organization.
Add approvers and submitters
The final step is to add all the people involved in the approval process so that they can submit, view, approve or reject documents. At this step, you can also decide which users are allowed to edit and modify the data.
Get to the finish
Approval processes are a part of every organization’s day to day agenda, and by automating them through workflow management tools like Kissflow you can increase the productivity and efficiency of your team while seamlessly managing every process.
Try Kissflow for free today to customize and automate approval processes for your team easily.
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