You may be at the helm of a startup, developing your business processes from the ground up.
Or perhaps you’re leading a mature business through a period of transformation.
Either way, chances are you’ll be seeking to increase the efficiency of your processes, and the productivity of your team.
And one of the sure fire ways to achieve this is to introduce automation to your organisation. Automation allows you to define and capture specific processes in a way that works for your business, and it also helps to minimise human error.
When it comes to accounting – even for the really small teams – one of the most crucial processes that impacts the overall efficiency of the business and financial operations is the approval process.
Often, accounting teams are left to rely on email when tracking approvals, something that can very quickly become bloated and unwieldy. Things can and do fall through the cracks, and accountability goes out the window.
The approval process deserves to be tightened and transparent, and automation can help achieve that.
Here, we take a look at the reasons why moving away from email-based approval tracking to fully automated approval workflows can make perfect sense for both a growing and established business.
Reason One: You Require Complex Approvals
If you require several approval steps, all performed by people with different authorisation levels within your organisation, then moving away from email-based approval tracking to a dedicated approval workflow platform is fundamentally important.
Now, this isn’t to say that it’s impossible to implement approval tracking in email – it is possible. But it requires too much human intervention to ever be an efficient and effective option for a successful business.
Switching to a dedicated approval system allows you to take advantage of multi-step processes, assign tasks to multi-role users, and set up automated routing – all features that come as standard, and are not possible via email alone.
Reason Two: You Require Full Control Over the Approval Process Flow
If you’re leading an accounting department within a company, or you’re providing accounting services for other businesses, you need to be aware of the status of approvals.
You should have access to an at-a-glance dashboard view of progress, identifying process bottlenecks and forecasting delays, and be confident that you’re looking at an accurate picture of the financial health of the business.
You must also be sure that business managers are being notified of pending approvals in a timely manner, and that they’re being reminded should they stray from the approval timeline.
This isn’t a job for a busy CFO or chief accountant; an approval system handles this automatically on your behalf, something that is not possible with email.
Reason Three: You Require Exceptions Handling
To implement an efficient and productive approval process, you need more than just a default approve function. You must be able to reject and unapprove approvals, and to appoint delegate approvers to make decisions when the designated approver is unable.
And as administrator of the approval workflow, you must be able to step in and force the approval decision so as to avoid costly delays.
An approval platform therefore offers you the flexibility to react to situations that differ from your default workflow.
Reason Four: You Prioritise Compliance and Accountability
Transparency is very important for many organisations. Non-profits and charities in particular must be able to prove they are compliant and adhering to complex audit procedures.
So, if you’re looking to prioritise compliance and accountability within your business, you will require a means of capturing every single step of the approval process.
Features such as history trails or logs for approval flow, and reports compiled specifically for audit purposes are indispensable for internal or external audits.
And to complete the picture, you may also require fraud detection capabilities; these can include notifications of approvals performed outside of the predefined approval workflow.
Reason Five: You Require Ease of Adoption and Ease of Use
Finally, if you have a large team of business users, you need to make the entire approval process as painless as possible.
You need to ensure that approval requests are made available to business approvers in the way most convenient to them – via email, on web or mobile – as well as in the most intuitive interface possible, minimising time spent in the approval application and requiring no app training. It is important that the approval related information and documents are provided within the approval request, and are made available for the approvers on mobile as well.
You also need the capability of setting up the end-to-end approval processes and defining approval rules and roles by non-technical users – with no IT intervention.
Are You Ready to Meet the Solution?
If these reasons resonate with you, and you’re ready to move away from email-based chasing of approvers, then here’s the answer: ApprovalMax.
A cloud-based approval workflow system, ApprovalMax is pre-integrated with Xero and complements it with multi-step and role-based approvals, admin-level controls, and full accountability and audit reports. It works for Purchase Orders, Bills, Sales Invoices and other financial documents, providing approvals to Expense Management, Procurement, and other financial operations.
If you’d like to find out more, visit www.approvalmax.com and start your no-risk 30 day free trial.