How to Establish a New Vendor Approval Process

Doing anything new can be risky. The risk is taking something that, let’s face it, has worked and it probably not all that bad and changing it to something new. Accounting and finance folks always have to weigh change by a combination of how difficult the change will be and what the impact to the organizations will be. That’s why creating a new process for vendor approvals can sit on the back burner.


Why do it… what’s the impact. Over time a process can get complacent. The down side with a complacent process is that people start to get to know it and start to find ways around it and it’s those small holes that can create big problems.

10 Tips

Here are 10 things to do that, in a generic way, can help you create a new vendor approval process.

  1. No Paper – Paper has paper problems, meaning it can be slow, misplaced and incomplete. When you automate a process those problems are gone.
  2. Let them know you are watching – If you are automated, don’t make it a mystery that the system tracks everything about the process. It’s very motivating.
  3. Define “approval” – People who feel burden by approvals a lot of the times don’t feel like they need to approve. When you define approval make sure it specific…
  4. Use dollar breaks – Automatic breaks are great to ensure that only people see and approve the vendors that need their attention. Certain vendors are work more than others.
  5. Don’t be the bad guy/gal – When you automate, make the automation software the bad person. Meaning, it will send reminders and it will escalate.
  6. Make it easy – If the process is easy people will be more inclined to approve sooner and more often. An example of ease is having all vendors in a queue with an email reminder.
  7. No repeats – Make sure that a single person is not in the approval process more than once doing different approvals.
  8. Gangs all here – Certain vendors can be approved by more than one person, and if automated the vendor will be taken out of the group.. Kind of like first come first served.
  9. Plan your work – When people know their role in the approval process and if they understand their approval is important they will be much more likely to approve.

(And) The number 1 tip – Go Mobile – People think that if they are at a standstill then they need to be on their smart phone – give them the joy of doing work while they are waiting.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information.

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