Before a bill gets approved by a business manager, it is often necessary to make some edits after it was processed by an OCR. This typically includes splitting line items, changing the account or adding tracking categories. We call this “Review and coding”.
There are several options for performing such edits. Reviewers can do this, for example, in the OCR tool or in Xero. However, both have their disadvantages. Firstly, neither OCR tools nor Xero have notification capabilities, so there is no way to inform reviewers that there is a bill waiting for them.
Secondly, when reviewers have access to Xero or an OCR tool, it is not possible to control what alterations they make. So, there is always a risk of someone changing the bill amount – and that going unnoticed. Moreover, enabling reviewers to do review and coding in Xero entails letting them into Xero. This presents a potential security risk as reviewers then can get access to the organisation’s sensitive financial data, not just the bill they are expected to review.
Control over data access and editing restrictions
The “Review and coding” feature in ApprovalMax resolves such issues by allowing bill editing as part of the approval process, meaning it can be done without accessing Xero or the data entry tool. The process is set up in a way that approvers and reviewers only see the bills and bill-related information relevant for this task.
In addition, the scope of reviewing and coding in ApprovalMax is limited. Unlike in Xero, reviewers can only make certain changes such as split line items or change the tracking category. They won’t be able to change the bill amount. It is also possible to restrict reviewers in terms of which GL codes and tracking options they are allowed to set.
The reviewer of a bill is always also the first approver – it is the business manager who has the context-related knowledge about the transaction. This way, the review and the approval step can be combined and performed in the same system in a fully secure manner, without the need to access the accounting or any other system.
ApprovalMax automatically emails timely notifications to reviewers to make sure they are aware of each bill pending their review and approval.
Reviewing and coding by business managers is mainly required by accounting and advisory practices: they configure their workflow in a way that bills are first reviewed and approved by a manager on the client side, before the accounting practice checks the GL codes and tracking codes.
How to set up bill review and coding
In order to set up “Bill review and coding”, you’ll need to go to the “Bill approval” workflow, click on “Reviewers” and add those persons who will be able to change certain fields before the approval decision is made. Reviewers can only view and edit a bill if they have been named as an approver for this specific bill. In this step it is also possible to specify restrictions which ensure, for instance, that reviewers can only select certain categories.
After you have set up and saved the workflow, approvers who were added to the “Review and coding matrix” become reviewers who can make changes to certain bill fields as long as they are in line with the defined rules.
Bill editing is only available in the very first step of an approval process. It is designed this way to ensure compliance — bills cannot be changed after a particular approver has made a decision.
It is possible to change the following bill fields in ApprovalMax: Tax, Account, Tracking category, Qty and Price. The total bill amount for line items cannot be changed whatever the circumstances (e.g. a line was split or changes in the fields Qty, Price or Tax were made). In case a reviewer still tries, he will see an alert message indicating that the original amount cannot be altered.