Approveit, as you hopefully already know, is doing a great job when it comes to approval workflow automation. But now we’ve decided to elaborate a little by showing you more use cases for our app. And today’s topic is purchase order approvals. Any process requires unified structure, simplicity, and automation to run smoothly, and purchase order approval is no exception. Financial departments sometimes lose days on putting an order together, especially if it’s a new supplier. But there’s a way around it, so stay with us to learn more.
Let us start with defining what a purchase order is.
A purchase order (or just a PO) is a document that contains all the details and requirements the buyer has. It serves to prevent miscommunications between buyers and suppliers and incorrect order placements. Everything is documented in the PO, so if any misunderstandings occur, both sides of the deal can turn to it for clarification. Simple as that.
Typical procurement and purchasing process
Every procurement process starts with defining the objective and budget. Basically, what do we need and how much are we willing to pay for it. After that has been settled, we move to the next stage which is finding someone who sells the thing that meets our set of requirements: choosing and approving the supplier.
The supplier, obviously, also has to approve certain details on his part, so we draft a contract and send it back and forth until everyone is happy: approving the contract and its details.
And only now a purchase order is created. All the details about the deal are put together in it and it gets to the approval stage. Here everything depends on the specifics of the purchase. A routine purchase order usually requires about two approvers (e.g. a line manager - to make sure the employee spends the budget properly, and the financials, to check the budget, supplier, etc. and put it through). However, if we’re talking about a complicated new purchase or simply a big expense, POs need more approvers (IT department for IT purchases, Procurement or Senior manager for big purchases, legal department for controversial purchases, etc.).
After the PO is approved, only the technical side of the matter is left to be completed. An invoice is being issued and registered, a buyer pays it and both sides register the money (one as expense, another as income).
The pains of the process
So as you can see, the whole process is quite long and routine (not to say boring), involves different departments (and by extension systems) and gets tangled sometimes. Not to mention that communication channels here can not be unified, since all the outward communications with sellers are mostly done via email and inside the company it’s usually an app, such as Slack or alike. So, whenever something here can be automated, it’s 100% worth doing, because human error has always been, and always will be a thing.
A financial department has to manually collect a bunch of information before letting the order through. Was it approved by an authorized person? Is it certain? Has the contract with the supplier been properly signed and registered? Has the invoice been issued/received/sent?
Only the verification of the “approved” status can take forever since no one knows where to look for it. Email? Slack? Whatsapp? Google docs? It turns into a daily challenge called “try and find what you need without losing all your hair in the process”.
However, the manual labor of your colleagues from financial is not over yet. Once they’ve figured everything out, they still have to register (aka retype) the details of the purchase order and the invoices into the accounting system.
What does Approveit have to do with all this?
Approveit can help you make your procurement process smoother and quicker starting with the PO approval. Email and Slack integration will help you not lose track of things, you won’t have to open a separate app for your approval process. Standardized templates make it easier to handle. Visual pattern recognition is our best friend here: you see a familiar outline and immediately know that it concerns PO approvals. You can use the templates you already know - just like in your ERP or P2P. Moreover, direct integrations allow you to automatically transfer approved POs to XERO, QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
It’s always an option to create your own custom templates in Approveit to cater to your specific needs. You can set up a simple form with predetermined approvers that can also be conditioned, for example: amounts below 5K$ - get approved by the financial department, 5K-20K$ - financial and procurement departments, above 20K$ - financial, procurement and the CEO personally. That way you and your teammates won’t have to remember who has to get this specific approval request - Approveit remembers for you.
Approveit’s role does not end here. You can integrate it with ERP or P2P in order to automate the post-approval actions, such as creating a PO with history attached, for example. There are direct integrations available with XERO, QuickBooks and FreshBooks, and, of course, 3000+ integrations through API and Zapier.
Approveit will notify everyone involved right in Slack or Email, you don’t have to do it manually. Notifications can be also set to repeat themselves if not opened, so it won’t let anyone forget about this PO.
What do you get from Approveit?
Let's sum up the benefits you get from using Approveit in your PO approval process:
- Standardized approval forms, all in one place.
- Approvals right in your Email or Slack, no need to open any extra apps during the approval process.
- Automatic reminder notifications, again right in your Email or Slack.
- Easy to access and monitor all your purchase orders in real time.
- Approval history is stored. Who approved what and when it happened - all the information is available in one place, so no more wandering around your apps looking for the lost message.
- Integrations with your software, direct or through the API and Zapier allow automating post-approval actions sparing you a lot of manual work. Once approved with Approveit, a purchase order is automatically recorded in your ERP or P2P, with approval history attached.