We recently started a new series of posts where the Blue Ocean Systems team share their favourite SAP features (because there are so many!)
In this post, Naga talks about the approval process feature and how it helps operations to run smoothly.
What is the approval process?
As the term indicates, it is a way for SAP Business One users to assign approvals to a range of actions across their systems. An internal control measure, this useful tool enhances the daily management of business operations by ensuring activities are only carried out within pre-defined limits or measures. The approvals can be easily set up and all SAP Business One users can be assigned role specific or activity specific approval limits.
How does the approval process work?
Once the approval parameters are set up, an email alert is sent to the delegated approver to ask them to approve the activity. The approver can then enter the system and either approve or reject the item. Background information and details about the request can also easily be accessed if necessary.
Depending on the operational needs, an activity can have various stages of approval; for example, a supervisor can approve first and then a senior manager can provide secondary approval.
Reminder emails can also be sent after a certain time if the request has not been reviewed; this ensures operations do not slow down due to a full inbox.
For mobile app users, specific alerts can be sent to their smartphone or tablet so an approver does not have to be in the office to provide their input to a process.
Here are some example approval processes:
- Always (approval is always needed whatever the amount/limit)
- When the following applies (approval is only needed in certain pre-defined circumstances)
- Term based queries (a specific query can be set up that requires approval)
Unconditional approval of selected document type (S). This method is applicable where management needs tight control on the daily operations.
When the following applies:
Conditional approval based on defined terms by the system. This method is applicable where management needs control based on budget, gross profit, total amount etc.
Terms based queries:
This is a very useful and flexible method compared to the above two. The required conditions are added in query form.
Here are some examples of query based approvals:
- Approval of service type purchase order with document total greater than 5000
- Approval of delivery order with payment terms
- Approval of overbooking sales order
- Approval of inventory transfer between warehouses.
Approval process workflow
Which documents can be set up in the approval process?
A wide variety of documents can be included in the approval process for SAP Business One Version 9.1. There may be some variation in other versions so check with us at Blue Ocean Systems if you are unsure.
You can be alerted for a sales order above/below a certain amount, within specific dates or with certain vendor criteria. This allows you (or the designated manager/approver) to be fully aware of sales activities and approve/reject orders based on a whole-of-business view.
Alerting you when an employee generates an order with a discount above a certain amount means you can provide approval (or not) without delay. There might be reasons you do not wish to delegate this approval so you can have full control over the business decisions you make.
It can be costly and time consuming to move stock so you can regain control and have a birds eye view of all your stock movements across all locations. If delegated to your warehouse or logistics manager, the transfer of stock can be optimised to save time and money.
Managing cash flow can be tough for SMEs so having a systematic way to monitor and manage purchase orders can help management to keep things in check.
Often, SMEs struggle to manage unpaid invoices and credit terms for their customers, so setting up approvals before offering credit (or more credit) to a particular customer is helpful in reducing the risk of a client consistently delaying payment.
Examples of documents within approval process
What are some of the features of the approval process?
- Multiple stages and approvers for single documents if required – management can have as much or as little control over various operational activities as they wish
- Easy tracking of approval status report – if approvals need chasing up it can be easily done
- Easy tracking of approval decision report – particularly useful to train new managers on decision making and to calibrate business decisions
- Easy activation or disablement of feature at any time – you can respond to a change in business needs at any time
- Easy cancelling and restarting of approval procedure when approver is away or needs to be changed
How can the approval process benefit my business?
- Gain better control and a complete overview of your business processes
- Ensure accuracy of business data
- Monitor cash flow more effectively
- Optimise stock management and movement
The approval process tool also fulfills all requirements of ISO 9001: 2008, clause 7.4, purchasing process.
I want this feature in my business – what do I need to do?