It’s The Little Things – Why Approval Steps Are Important #APAutomation

Knowing the little things is what makes a person skillful. We hear this in sports all the time, that the coaches who are more successful than other are able to get their players to do the basics better than anyone. As a musician, I get to play with other musicians, and you can tell the ones that work more on their solos than their cords or their fill rather than their beats. The little things matter.


With Accounts Payable Automation the least of all functions are the approval steps. As I have written when an invoice is either received or turned into an electronic document that invoice is presented to workflow which I define as a predetermined electronic approval process. As the invoice goes through the process the step are important.


There is a little confusion with people who are unfamiliar with AP Automation around the word “approval”. When I talked to accounting and finance folks the word approval means that the invoice is ready to pay. In the world of AP Automation it doesn’t mean that at all.


When automated the word approval is only referring to the action that needs to be taken on that invoice at that particular time. If you really think about it all the workflow process does is approve the expense to be entered into the ERP or accounting system. If your workflow does more than that you are putting yourself in a situation where the accounting system and AP Automation system can compete, which is not good.


Here are a few examples of where the word approval in automation is different from the approval to pay. Approvals for:

  • Receipt of goods
  • Completion of work
  • Coding
  • Waivers or back up information
  • Pre-pay or bill back
  • Transfer to the ERP


The above are only a few examples. Even though the approval is not for payment the approval is for a step or action that is important to the expense’s validation, but the good news is; the action is recorded in the AP Automation and can be called back up for an audit or if there is a question.

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