Help Categories

Creating Approvals


Approval workflows are administered from the Divisions. Divisions are found under the Business menu. Workflows can be created for both Purchase Orders and Invoices. There are a number of steps that you can add to a workflow, and each step can have a condition to decide whether the step should be undertaken or skipped. 

The key learning points from Zahara’s approvals are these:¬†

  1. You can have multiple workflows 
  2. You can have conditions for the workflow to run or 
  3. You can manually select the workflow to use 
  4. You can have multiple workflow steps 
  5. Each workflow step can have a condition 
  6. The workflow will start at step 1 and will finish at the last step 
  7. Any rejection will stop the workflow 
  8. Approvals will allow the workflow to continue 
  9. An approved workflow shows Green in the list view 
  10. A rejected workflow shows Red 
  11. A workflow in progress shows yellow


Invoice approvals

Zahara’s invoice approvals can route an invoice to one or more people inside the organisation for their approval. The outcome of an invoice approval will not only be to show that the invoice is approved – clearly visible in the invoice list view, but you may also want to export the invoice into the finance system. All of these things can be achieved. There are multiple invoice conditions you can use to decide whether a step is to be used, including:¬†

  • Whether the invoice is linked to an order¬†
  • The order/invoice difference¬†
  • Wteher the invoice exceeds the order
  • The status of the GRN of the Order
  • The value of the invoice – used widely¬†
  • The supplier¬†
  • The originator of the invoice (who keyed it or who raised the order)
  • The project¬†
  • The product¬†

Creating an Invoice approval. 

Before you start creating your invoice Workflow, ensure you have added the users into your Division so that your approvers are already in your team. Once this is done, click on New Workflow 

Display of the division edit screen, showing the New Workflow button at the top

Now follow the Wizard. Watch the video below to see how to add the workflow steps, use conditions and set the default workflow. 


Purchase Order Approvals

Purchase Order workflows are more like purchase requisition approvals. We are taking the request to buy something and routing it for approval, with the outcome being to update the buyer or send the purchase order to the supplier. The workflow steps available to you are: 

  1. Request Approval from one person
  2. Request Approval from a Group of approvers
  3. Send the purchase order to the supplier (PDF, CSV or JSON formats)
  4. Send an email 
  5. Change a field value 
  6. Check the document into FileDirector 

Watch the video below to see how we create a muti-step approval request and then send a Purchase Order to the supplier 

Grouping Conditions

One of Zahara’s strengths is the ability to create sophisticated workflow steps that only trigger under certain circumstances. For example, with an invoice approval, we can use the conditions to only trigger in quite specific circumstances such as¬†

In this example, the invoice step will only trigger (be used) if an order exists and the Order exceeds the invoice by ¬£25 or 5% AND the supplier type field = ‘Materials’.¬†

This step condition is Binary – it resolves to True or False. If True, we will ask the approver to approve. If false, we will skip this and go on to the next step. And this is the essence of Zahara’s approval workflow steps.¬†

Choosing Workflows

For users to choose a workflow when raising an order or an invoice, they need the Admin role. This is now easy to set and change in the Division. Move into the Membership tab and adjust to suit. 

If a user has this permission, they can choose a workflow. The user can only raise a document without the admin role with the default workflow. Watch the video below to see the difference. 

Workflow Status

Both the Purchase Order List view and the Invoice List view have the approval status field that can be shown in the list. Clicking this will reveal the Approval Status and show you which step the workflow has gone to:

The invoice list view, displaying a variety of approval workflow statuses

Then click the approval status to reveal the workflow and its progress: 

A grey colour above will show either that the step hasn’t been processed yet or that it’s been skipped. Once the workflow has completed all the steps that are supposed to have been completed, the workflow status will be approved and shown green in the list view.¬†


Mobile App Approvals

The mobile app provides the best experience for approving. Once you have set up Zahara, we recommend you enable your approvers to use the Mobile app. They will receive push notifications for each approval and will have everything they need in one place. 

How to approve

The Approval step can be undertaken in several ways: 

  1. By email Рthe approver receives an email 
  2. By mobile app 
  3. From the dashboard 
  4. From the reminder email 

The user has multiple ways of engaging with the approval request. Zahara receives thousands of approval requests per hour, resulting in occasional speed bumps with the approval email taking a few minutes to arrive. Usually, the approval email is sent within 60 seconds. The user can approve directly from the email or can click the “Review with Details” link in the email to see a more advanced view. There is a setting in Business Settings > Workflows that forces the user to log in. There is also a setting to force the user to choose from the preset list of Reject reasons.¬†

The workflows tab, in the Business Settings


Digest Email

Getting approvers to take action is your goal. With purchase requests, speed can be essential, particularly if you need a next-day delivery. It’s important for you to set the rules for your team. However, Zahara does offer a reminder email that can be sent. This is set in Business Settings > Workflows:

The Digest Approval Email settings

Group Approvals

Group approvals allow an approval step to target several people – a Group. Adding the step into the workflow gives you a choice of

  1. Broadcast 
  2. Dynamic 
  3. Round Robin 


This is the simplest option. All the users you choose in the next section will receive the approval request. The first one to approve will complete the step. 


We have an algorithm to decide who out of the users we will send this to. This is made up of availability and existing workload. 

Round Robin 

This is in order, so Bob>Sue>Mike>Bob>Sue>Mike etc. РSo the users you choose will be looped. 

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