5 simple steps to turn approval process via email from a headache to a smooth workflow

updated on 07 April 2022

In this article we’d like to talk to you about approval via email. It’s the Nemesis of modern business, really. We’ll set the scene by describing how email approval workflow looks in practice today, what issues it presents, and of course we'll provide a solution that will make the email approval process nice and smooth. So, let’s start!

Email approval process and its issues

Approval workflows are important. Keeps you in touch with what’s happening inside your company. Few examples of what can be the subject of an approval request:

  1.  Expenses (such as business meeting in a restaurant with a prospective client)
  2.  Time off for your employees
  3.  Corrections to the contracts with subcontractors
  4.   Access requests (to a certain database or room)
  5.  Meeting room reservation 

This list really is endless, and often the answer is required RIGHT NOW.

But we all know how it works, right? You send an email to whoever is responsible for what you want approved and wait for… minutes, hours or days? It’s often a matter of luck. In far 2014 business users were sending and receiving on average 121 emails a day. So, what do we have now? Roughly about 150 incoming emails a day. System emails, marketing spam, automatic messages from random websites… Have you noticed how quickly your brain learns to filter them out? You end up barely looking at your inbox to know exactly which ones to open and which ones go straight to trash. But sometimes we delete things by accident. Or just miss one or two messages out of 300.

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All those things combined give your approval request pretty low chances to be seen. And now let’s put some more of a human factor in here. If you’re working for a small company with for example ten-eleven employees, that problem probably does not touch you. But what if it's a 1000+ employees corporation? One just might send a request to a WRONG PERSON. And that’s completely FINE, people can’t possibly know what each and every one human in your company is responsible for. But it’s a problem.

One can also simply forget to mention some details that are important for approval of this request. And then this wonderful emailing back and forth happens. And now we’re back to 150 emails a day…

The most expensive thing for business is always human labor hours. And instead of using them efficiently for the benefit of the company, your employee is getting blocked by a pending approval request and is just sitting there scrolling the news feed with a sad face. And waiting is annoying. It’s a constant source of stress for your workers and it influences their productivity.

Now what if I tell you that there’s a way around it? There is software designed specifically to keep approval requests separate from all the digital noise in your inbox, to make sure requests get to the right person and that they have all the information to make a decision on approval. And the name to it is Approveit.

5 steps to make this problem go away with Approveit

A quick guide on how to set it up below! For more detailed explanation please turn to this video.

Step 1: Create approval forms

Approveit provides you with templates that help you create custom approval workflows. You set the data required for the request to get approved and make it so that the request can not be sent without certain fields filled in.

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Step 2: Assign approvers and watchers. Add approval steps for sequential workflows

Your employees from now on will not have to try and figure out to whom they should send a request and whom to CC. You choose the responsible for this approval yourself and only once. Now all the expense reimbursement requests will go to your accountant straight up and all the time off requests will get to the department head and HR. You choose the ones who approve, but you can also select those who should know that the request has been submitted, but do not approve it - watchers.

Step 3: Set the rules. When is the request considered “Approved”?

That’s simple. Does everyone mentioned as an approver have to approve, or is just a first one to respond enough?

Step 4: Automate the post-approval actions by integrating Approveit with software your team uses.

This is the coolest part. Because you not only automate the request approval itself, you automate what happens to it after as well! As an example, your expense reimbursement request was approved and automatically a ticket will be created in your accounting software. Or you need some code issue fixed in the app you’re working on and approving your request will create a task for the responsible developer in Jira. To learn more about integration, please watch this video.

Step 5: Start using it!

Your approval workflow is all set up and ready to be used. Now your employee just needs to choose the type of the request he’s making out of the list of templates preset by you. He fills in all the fields that are required and hits “send”. It gets routed straight to the approvers assigned by you for this type of request via email. They will also be notified with all the updates and follow-ups, if there’s any.

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Results

What do you achieve by implementing Approveit into your workflows?

  1.  All the approval requests are being kept separately from hundreds of other emails.
  2.  Only a person who can actually approve this, gets a request.
  3.  If that person is for some reason unavailable, there are others listed as approvers just in that case, so the request won’t get frozen or ignored.
  4.  Approvers are provided with the full information required for making a decision.
  5.  Post-approval processes also get automated.
  6.  All requests are logged and available for audit trials. 
  7.  And all that is directly in your email, without any additional platforms.

Here’s what one of Approveit clients achieved:

“We had rough estimations for how the approval processes should speed up, but real numbers exceed all our expectations. Expense approval request processing has sped up by 80%. By freeing up so many collective hours we save ~ 300K$ annually. I’m genuinely impressed, especially considering that we’ve spent about 15 minutes total to set it up. Recommended!”

Leo Yanchuk, President at Clearview

If you’d like to see the whole case study of Clearview implementing automated approval workflow, click here. You can start using Approveit right now and for free. Give it a go! Who knows, maybe you’ll also end up saving 300K$ annually.

Get started with Approveit!

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