From XU Magazine, 
Issue 17

How to: Take your approval workflows from manual to automated in 3 easy steps

Paper and Email based approvals are notoriously inefficient, inconsistent and can cause real headaches for everyone involved. So how do you make the transition to the Cloud and a level of automation? Often the perception is the change is too hard, it will take too long, you don’t have the necessary skills or god forbid you need to get IT involved. In this ‘How to’ guide we will show how you can automate a common yet complex approval workflow scenario in 3 easy steps, using the Xero integrated app Approval Donkey...
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Whilst Approval Donkey can cater for a myriad of different approval scenarios for all your Invoices, Purchase Orders, Bills and Credit Notes, in the interest of brevity we are going to focus on the following scenario:

Invoices over 10,000 with the tracking code ‘Operations’ need to be approved firstly by an Operations Manager, then a General Manager and finally the Business Owner. Requests should only be sent to the next approver when the preceding person has approved.

Step 1 – Add a New Panel

Once successfully logged into Approval Donkey the first thing to do is to set-up a new Panel (Approval Workflow).

Simply select the ‘Add New Panel’ button to kick things off

Give your Panel a name, this can be anything you like

Set your default reminders and your role as an Approver or Reviewer

Add your first step approvers i.e. the Operations Manager

Select ‘Add Members or Steps’

Congrats! Your basic approval workflow has been created. Note: you can create as many of these workflows for whatever scenario you require.

Step 2 – Add approving members and steps

For our scenario we need approvals to be completed firstly by the Operations Manager, then the General Manager and finally the Owner. You have already added the Operations manager in the previous step so we just need to add the General Manager and Owner.

In the Approval Step text field enter a name for your step and Save

Add the General Manager’s details into the form and select the step name from the drop down then ‘Save and add another’

Simply repeat to add an additional step for the Business Owner

Select ‘Save and Close’

Nice one! Your multi-step approval workflow has been set-up. Note: You can add as many members and steps to a Panel as you require.

Step 3 – Map and add conditions to your Xero transactions

Once you have enabled the integration with Xero you will be directed to the Xero Settings page. It is here where you can map each Xero transaction to the appropriate Panel it should be routed to, these can be as simple or complex as you like.

For the scenario we want to ensure any Invoices in Xero ‘Submitted for Approval’ over a total value of 10,000 with the tracking code ‘Operations’ are routed to the Multi-Step Panel you have just created.

In each of the Xero Mapping fields you would select the following:

Transaction = Invoices

Field = Total

·Condition = (Number) Greater than

Value = 10000 (leave out commas and currency signs)

Panel = +And (selecting +And automatically creates an additional line)

On the second conditional line enter the following:

Field = Line Items Item Code

Condition = (Text) Exactly matches

Value = Operations

Panel = Purchase Orders (when all conditions are met, requests are routed to this Panel)

Then ‘Save’ and That’s it! You have now fully automated your approval workflows for this particular scenario. Now you can automate any other approval scenarios you may have.

Note: You can add multiple lines for a single transaction and use any field, condition and value combination you like or keep them blank (set Transaction and Panel only) for a straight through routing.

Bringing it all together - Your new BAU!

Now approvers can manage all their approval requests via Approval Donkey and only ever receive the requests they are supposed to, saving loads of time. Requests can be actioned via the emailed request or on any device type via the Approval Donkey dashboard.

For example, if anyone was to ‘Submit for approval’ an Invoice for 13,500 with the tracking code ‘Operations’ in Xero now, the following automated actions would happen:

The Operations Manager would firstly receive an automated Approval Request from Approval Donkey

The Operations Manager Approves or Declines the request with approved requests moving onto the next step (any declined requests are automatically reported back to Xero and shifted to the Drafts folder and the sequence stops)

Next the General Manager receives the approval request and can see the Ops Manager has approved it, the GM now approves the invoice

Only once the GM approves the transaction does it then move onto the Business Owner

The Business Owner approves it, and the overall request status changes from Pending to Approved

Approval Donkey automatically updates Xero and shifts the transaction from the ‘Awaiting Approval folder to the ‘Awaiting Payment’ folder.

“By using the Approval Donkey integration with Xero, Aktive has seen a time saving of around an hour per week for each member (28 staff), as well as now having a more robust invoice approval process.” - Ian Jagger, Corporate Service Manager, Aktive

Why leave it there?

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