Understanding approvals

Approvals sit at the Division level and Divisions are designed to be flexible, but are really the natural groupings of people in your organisation. If you are a typical business with Marketing, Sales, HR then the Divisions would be perfect for this. If you are a retail chain then perhaps each Division will be a store with the respective users assigned accordingly. So first off, create your Divisions and assign the users. Then set your “Head of Division”. This is useful as it’s a variable in Zahara and can allow you to create the perfect approval process in one Division and then copy it over to other Divisions.  

Typical Purchase Approval

A typical purchase approval is usually layered on the values. As the value of the order increases, more people are involved in the approval. Here is a typical approval process that we use in our demonstrations:  
Step 1 Head of Division all
Step 2 Business Unit Head > £1000
Step 3 CFO > £10000
Step 4 CEO > £25000
Step 5 Send confirmation email
Step 6 Send PO to supplier
The above example is a good approval process where you simply use the Net or Gross conditions on the steps. You can also apply a condition to the “send PO to supplier” step. Perhaps create a custom field of “Type” and only do Step 6 if the field value is “Purchase Order” as opposed to Amazon or Credit Card or Online.  

Inclusive & Exclusive approvals

What do we mean by this? If you have 3 approval steps and the third step is for say the CEO, and she is only to approve if the value is over $100,000, then you would typically add a condition on the step of Gross Value > $100,000. If you wanted to jump straight to that approver for a $100,000 approval, then that might be called exclusive – ie – we don’t care for the opinion of the approvers at steps 1 and 2. So to cut out the Steps 1 & 2, we would simply add an AND to their condition as shown below: workflow step This step is evaluated and skipped if it returns false. The workflow then goes onto the next step in the process and evaluates that one. You could have a workflow with 10 steps and each one is evaluated as false. It would still succeed and reach the end of the workflow and be treated as complete. This means you should be able to achieve any outcome you desire. Our advice is to try to keep the workflows to a minimum per Division, but be efficient with the steps and use all of the logic that’s available to you and build up your conditions to suit.  

Invoice Approvals

Invoice approvals can be different in that there are two distinct types – Order and No Order. Zahara can allow you to create two separate invoice approval processes. Each one would have a condition set at the top. Remember, if you use a condition to select the approval process, you need to set the default approval to Automatic.  

“No order” Invoice approval

With the “No Order” approval, set the condition to Order – “Order Not Exists” as shown above. You might then create an approval process for this Division that largely copies the approval from the Order, with the same approvers and thresholds.  

“Order Invoice Difference” Approval

In the above example, the approval will only trigger if the Order invoice difference is Greater than £10 or more than 5% of the order value. This difference approval can mean that all invoices that match the order can be approved straight away and even exported into the accounts system as a step (Xero / QuickBooks Online / Sage Sync)  

Ad Hoc Approvals

The approvals above are rules based. A new invoice lands in Zahara, it is evaluated for an approval process (based on its Division and any approvals set) and the choice of approval or approver is pre-set as the rules and logic kick in. This is the road to automation. You need to think of the rules you need now and possibly in the future if you are to work towards hands-free processing. There comes a time though when you need to take over. The rules have worked but you need someone to take a look at an invoice as well. Make sure Ad Hoc invoice approvals are enabled in your business settings. You can then select an approver from a list and choose the outcome of the approval. Have a read on Ad Hoc approvals as they offer an additional layer of flexibility.
in 1. Getting StartedApprovals & Workflow

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