It is been awhile since I have written about workflows. For those of you that are new to the term, a workflow is a predetermined electronic approval process. It is what your electronic invoices will be attached to for their approval.
Because there so many service provider with so many different way to build and configure workflows, I wanted to write about some best practices when it comes to electronic approvals. I use the term “award-winning” because they have been unofficially voted by the companies I have worked with as such.
Award Winner #1
The first type of workflow that kicks butt is the one that doesn’t compromise your needs. Approvals are (in most cases) legal requirements that employees of organization have to sign off on before the invoices are committed as an expense. There is nothing worse than finding an automation service provider that makes you change your process to accommodate for their software. This is a big indication that you have picked the wrong service provider.
Award Winner #2
This kick butt workflow is one of my favorites. This workflow best practice brings focus on who should be in the approval process. The principle here states that only approvers should be in the workflow and everyone else needs to get a report. One of the great things about Accounts Payable Automation is the fact that data is collected in a way that will allow for that information to be given to a certain set of people so they can see what is going on with the invoices. The only way they were able to see the information in a paper approval process is to physically insert themselves into the process. Not with an automated process.
Award Winner #3
This award-winning workflow that kick butt is to make sure that all approvals are leading to a final decision. When creating or improving your workflows make sure that you stack approver’s authority as well as the decision that have to be made in the correct order. If you need to have the invoices coded and then the budget checked you want to make sure those happen in that order. The opposite of this is to have the same person with different jobs in multiple steps of your process. This is common with paper because of the nature of needing more checks and balances with in the process.
Award Winner #4
One size doesn’t fit all. For those of you that are new to automation may think it’s a good practice to limit the number of workflows. It’s not true. This is one of the great things about Accounts Payable Automation – you should have as many as you need. It would seem that less would be more efficient, but consider this, it is the software’s job to read invoice conditions and electronically assign the invoice to the correct workflow, so the more the merrier.
I guess with the Olympics coming up I should have done three… I always felt bad for 4th place… so you got four.
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