Automated Approval Workflow: Reducing Risk And Improving Your Company's Audit Trails

Automated Approval Workflow: Reducing Risk And Improving Your Company's Audit Trails

Regardless of the industry that you work in, having a consistent, secure and auditable workflow is not just a necessary evil, it's essential for your business's success. Workflow processes are generally repetitive or routine tasks, making them frequent targets for admin errors such as, sending the agreement to the wrong person or even forgetting to get the agreement signed off at all!

This is where automation comes in. By automating these workflow processes, you can not only help to reduce the risks that may occur, but also significantly improve your company's compliance, audit trail and productivity.

This is something that Enable is extremely passionate about. For over a decade, our rebate management software has helped manufacturers, distributors, buying groups and retailers to drive mutually profitable growth with suppliers, whilst improving revenue and growth.

What is an Approval Workflow?

To fully understand what the benefits of automating your workflow in Enable are, it would first help for you to have a basic overview of the approval workflow function. In simple terms, approval workflow enables you to manage the approval for a trading agreement according to your company's hierarchy and sign-off rules, with the key objectives being:

  • To drive an efficient approval workflow for new and revised trading agreements;
  • To ensure that the correct approval workflow is followed at all times;
  • To ensure that the information that is used in Enable to track and collect rebates has been approved internally by the client and signed off by the supplier.

This useful function can be added to your Enable implementation in order to track the approval status of trading agreements within Enable based on your internal rebate approval process.

Approval workflows can be configured by one of our system administrators to either automatic or manual, with the default being set to off. This gives you the ability to customise the Enable product and choose whichever approval workflow most suits your business needs. Let's jump in and take a look at both of these options.

Automatic Approval Workflow

Automatic workflow provides a way of automatically inviting the required users to approve or reject your proposals in order to ensure it has been reviewed and signed off by the correct people before it is activated to a trading agreement.

The workflow is progressed by the system which generates the approval hierarchy, sends email notifications and accepts approvals online. The approval hierarchy is configured based on your business's requirements, such as the line manager hierarchy within your company.

When a user is invited to approve a trading agreement, if the line manager hierarchy is used then their line manager will be asked to sign off the trading agreement next. Or the trading partner to user hierarchy which only invites a user to approve a trading agreement if they have been associated with the trading partner the agreement is with.

Once an agreement has started the workflow process, the agreement will be locked and not editable unless the agreement is rejected or unlocked. In both of these cases the workflow will need to be started again once the agreement has been amended. By locking the agreement once workflow has started, it ensures that the agreement and has not been changed in any way since the workflow started and is the same for all users signing it off.

Manual Approval Workflow

Manual workflow is up to the user to ensure that proposals are reviewed and signed off of the system by the correct people before advancing the status in Enable. The status can be moved forwards or backwards at any point. Configuration allows numerous statuses to be added to the workflow by one of our system administrators. This allows you to be able to track what stage the sign off process is at even if you do it in Enable.

Approval Workflow Inbox

For clients where automatic approval workflow is enabled, the Enable homepage contains a workflow inbox, which lists all of the outstanding workflow approval invitations for the signed in user.  

Users who have access to the deals area will be able to see workflow information for the trading agreements that are relevant to them. There is also an approvals page for each trading agreement from which users can see all steps in the workflow process.

Prior to accepting or rejecting the proposal, users can select a trading agreement from the workflow Inbox to view the approvals page for the trading agreement, from where they can view the trading program PDF which contains a summary, breakdown of the deals and terms and conditions for that particular trading agreement.

If the user chooses to accept the proposal a customizable declaration will appear that the user must agree too. If they should choose to reject the proposal, then the approvals are all reset.

Approval Workflow Report

Another great feature within approval workflow is the ability to generate reports. These reports show the current status of all trading agreements in the system by indicating at what stage the workflow is in, who the trading agreement is currently with, who it is waiting on to be signed and when these changes happened. This provides you with complete visibility of all trading agreements in the system and the workflow stage that they are in, saving you a lot of time and effort in chasing up the necessary people.

Signoff and Approve with Enable

So, there you have it -- Enable's automated approval workflow function works to save you and your colleagues both a lot of time and worry by reducing unnecessary risks and potential errors, which in turn, streamlines and standardizes your internal processes. If you'd like to find out more about Enable and how its many innovative features can benefit your business, then take a look at our website.

David Hunt

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