Workflow management has greatly evolved over time. Today’s companies need tools for effective process control. SAP Business One’s Approval Procedures feature showcases this evolution. It streamlines business process adherence. Additionally, it maintains approval hierarchies and audit trails, ensuring transaction control.

Understanding Approval Procedures

At its core, the Approval Procedures in SAP Business One function as a gatekeeper. They establish controls over user actions and determine necessary consultations for exceptions. Furthermore, these procedures enable businesses to set precise limits on transaction nature and size per user. It is a critical function to include in your SAP Implementation.

Here’s the process: When a user attempts to post a document exceeding the set threshold or certain criteria, the system automatically saves it as a draft, pending approval. Essentially, it acts as a safeguard, ensuring all transactions adhere to organizational standards.

The Dual Dimensions of Approvals

1. Approval Thresholds set criteria for when approvals are needed. For example, crossing a financial threshold or a condition like dealing with a certain group triggers approval. These thresholds are customizable to fit your business needs.

2. Approval Stages outline a document’s path from creation to final approval. Imagine a relay race where multiple individuals approve a document before it’s finalized.

A Real-World Scenario

Let’s paint a vivid picture: Fred, who is tasked with the responsibility of ordering office supplies for his company, typically operates under a strict spending limit of $250 for each order he places. However, in preparation for a significant upcoming meeting, he finds himself placing a substantially larger order, amounting to $2,000, which is double his usual limit. This unexpected increase in expenditure triggers the office’s automated accounting system, which, in response to detecting this unusual activity, saves Fred’s order as a draft while also sending an alert to his manager, requesting approval for this unusual expenditure. If the manager gives the green light, Fred will then have the authority to finalize and post the order; on the other hand, if the manager disapproves, Fred will be required to revisit and adjust the order to align with the standard spending guidelines.

Setting Up Approval Procedures

For those planning to harness this feature, here’s a quick guide below on how best to apply this functionality in SAP Business One.

Activate the Approval Functionality

Go to Administration → System Initialization→ General Settings → BP. There are 4 additional configurations that can be enabled:

  • Enable Approved Process in DI – this allows any documents that come through the back end via e-commerce, EDI, SAP Business One mobile application etc. to pass through the same approval process
  • Enable Updating the Document Generated/Updated by Approval Process – enables the update of the document that has been generated or updated by the Approval Process.
  • Enable Originator to Update the Document Draft in Pending/Approved Status– enables the originator to update a document draft that is awaiting approval or has been approved by the authorizer.
  • Enable Authorizer to Update Document Draft in Pending Status– enables the authorizer to update a document draft that was created by the originator and is awaiting approval.

Approval Templates

To access the approval templates go to the Administration Module → Approval Procedures → Approval Templates.

The approval templates enable you to specify criteria that trigger the approval procedure when met.

  • Originators: Which users the procedures applies to
  • Documents: Which documents will this approval process apply to. It can apply to one or many.
  • Stages: Defines the number of approvals or rejections required and which users can perform the approvals or rejections.
  • Terms: Criteria or thresholds triggering approval.

The Approval Process

Once you define and activate the Approval templates, let’s observe their seamless operation! If a document meets the approval criteria, the system immediately dispatches a message to the respective authority.

The authorizer then reviews the document through the Messages/Alert Overview window and provides necessary feedback.

Once notified of the decision, the original creator either converts the draft into an official document or makes necessary amendments, depending on the outcome.

The Importance of Approval Procedures

Why is this tool so essential?

  1. Risk Mitigation: By requiring necessary checks before transactions, companies significantly reduce the risk of costly mistakes.
  2. Accountability & Transparency: An audit trail simplifies tracing decisions to their source, enhancing accountability.
  3. Efficiency: This streamlined process minimizes back-and-forth and bureaucratic delays, leading to smoother operations.

In summary, SAP Business One’s Approval Procedures offer more than control – they provide intelligent control. Integrating intelligence and automation into workflows, businesses achieve a balance between agility and oversight.

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