Purposes of approving purchase invoices:
- A person representing a VAT payer confirms an economic transaction taking place (Accounting Act § 7);
- Heads of a sub-unit and reporting persons can approve the distribution of costs by cost factors i.e. dimensions according to their area of responsibility;
- Ensure the operation of internal control in the company.
There are many options for determining an approval round for a purchase invoice. Only those persons that have been given the role of an approver in their user settings can be selected into approval rounds. Approvers can be designated into approval rounds by a user with the role of an accountant. Approval rounds can be added to invoices from pre-made approval templates.
When saving approval templates it is possible to determine that a specific approval round is always and automatically applied to a specific supplier. It is possible to create a new approval round for each new invoice to which no approval template applies automatically and it can be immediately saved as the approval template as well.
It is also possible to send an invoice for an approval round before recording. This option is used when the approvers themselves add information necessary for recording an invoice and the distribution of expenses.
Whose invoice is it?
Before sending for an approval round or recording, the accountant can ascertain whose activity the invoice is linked to. For this they can send the below inquiry in the Envoice system, which is located at the bottom edge of the detailed view of the invoice.
By clicking the button “Whose invoice is it?” a view opens in which you can choose the persons who to send the inquiry to. The question will be posted in the approval view and if someone replies that this invoice is theirs i.e. they know what expenses these are, the invoice question will disappear from the approval view of the others as well.
Returning the invoice to the supplier
The accountant can also decide not to send an invoice for an approval round if it is faulty but return it to the supplier’s e-mail address, adding a comment. All participants in an approval round can return an invoice.
Returning an invoice happens via e-mail:
Approving purchase invoices view
For a user that has been given the role of an approver, the documents needing their approval will appear under the menu point “Approval”. In the subdivisions “Unusual” and “Automatic”, this view also shows documents for which the user has made personal rules.
If it is selected so in the settings, the approver will receive a notification on their e-mail on each determination of an approval round and a link to the invoice that needs to be approved. Other settings also allows to choose for notifications not to be sent via e-mail. In such a case the user must use Envoice regularly and keep an eye on the approval menu point.
In the approval view, documents can be approved one by one or all at once. It is also possible to see a more detailed view of a document that requires approval by clicking on the invoice date or the name of the submitter of the invoice. The detailed view must also be used if the approver wishes, or according to the procedure applicable in the company, must do something in addition to the regular simple approval. These activities are:
- Add a comment during approval;
- Return the invoice to the supplier;
- Change the approval round;
- Stop or cancel the approval round.
In the approval view it can be seen for each document how much time is left until the payment deadline and who were the previous and are the next approvers.
Under the wheel sign at the top right corner of the view you can adjust your view settings i.e. the date by which documents are ordered in the view.
Using personal rules simplifies and speeds up approving invoices because by establishing financial limits it is possible to automatically approve invoices of a sum below a certain limit, which for example suppliers send each month. It is also possible to create a rule that if the received invoice is greater than a certain sum, it is unusual and attention must be paid to it. It is easiest to create personal rules from the detailed purchase invoice view:
At this invoice view each user can create the following personal rules for themselves:
- Change approving the invoice automatic up to a certain sum i.e. limit with the button “Make automatic” – this can be made generally for all invoices as well as on a supplier-basis;
- Establish a sum rule i.e. limit for yourself, from which more attention must be paid to the invoice, with the button “Make unusual”.
All saved personal rules can be seen in the top right corner of the Envoice screen by clicking on your username. These rules can be changed and new ones can be added in the same place.
The approver’s possible activities in the approval round
A user with the role of an approver receives documents that need approving under the first menu point “Approval” in Envoice. According to personal rules invoices smaller than a limit established by the user may be approved automatically. Invoices may be approved as a group in the approval view without opening them, i.e. approve all invoices. It is also possible to approve invoices in the approval view one by one without opening them. It is of course also possible to open each invoice and carry out the approval actions in the invoice detailed view.
Each approver can add additional approvers before or after themselves in the approval round. The approver can return the invoice to the supplier as well. The approver can stop or cancel an approval round in which they participate:
By clicking the small arrow down button on the right side of “Approve” button, the following options will open:
Previously created approval templates can be used or amended at each invoice. Templates can also be managed under the settings menu point “Purchase”. Using the approval templates enables to speed up invoices reaching the approval round and in case of recurring invoices or repeat suppliers it is also possible to automate sending invoices for an approval round via approval templates.
View for adding approval round templates:
Approval templates can be created as general or supplier-based. General templates can be used for invoices received from various suppliers in respect of a certain field or expense, for example marketing costs or vehicle fleet maintenance costs may always be approved by the same persons regardless of the supplier.
Only those persons can be selected for an approval round that have been given the role of an approver and that are displayed in the potential selection. If the necessary name is not found from this selection, the roles of this user must be reviewed under settings.
Creating a parallel approval round
When creating a new approval round the approval order numbers will appear in a box in front of the names of the participants of the approval round. These numbers can be written over and the same number in front of a person’s name means that these people can approve simultaneously.
In this example persons A and B approve in a parallel manner and after persons C and D approve in a parallel manner.
Monitoring the flow of approval by the accountant
A user with the accountant role has the menu point “In Workflow”. A person that has only been given the role of accountant does not participate in approval rounds themselves but under this menu point they have an overview of how far the approval rounds have processed and also of who is the passive approver that is causing a delay.