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What is approval workflow software?

Approval workflow software is software that helps organizations secure a faster, easier, and more efficient way of completing electronic approvals. The software designed to make approvals easier for businesses also helps streamline processes and reduces the need for manual entries of information. In turn, fewer errors are likely to occur, and compliance is improved with audit trails and industry regulations. Approval workflow software also minimizes bottlenecks and saves organizations time. Without it, business processes can be effort-intensive as well as inaccurate.

How do I streamline an approval process?

Below are some tips on how to streamline an approval process effectively:

  • Reduce the number of reviewers: Only include the essential stakeholders that absolutely need to be a part of the sign-off process. Involving more people than necessary will make the approval process take longer.
  • Provide clear dates: Creating clear deadlines is a key to streamlining the approval process. Set up automatic reminders and notifications so reviewers know when to take action.
  • Clearly outline required steps: By identifying the key steps in the process, you can simplify it (using a flow chart is an effective method), by presenting the stages of approval and clarifying everyone’s required roles.
  • Make a checklist: If reviewers have guidelines of their expected feedback that is needed, the approval process appears organized and becomes more manageable for them to complete their tasks.
  • Set automatic approval and rejection criteria: While sign-off will sometimes be automatic because required thresholds have been reached, in other cases it pays off to set criteria for approvals and rejections, which will make the acceptance process more efficient and faster.
  • Outline future steps in the process: A good communication strategy involves outlining the next steps of the process, so everyone is kept informed. This way, no matter the outcome of the approval process, a plan is in place and business processes can continue immediately.
How do you automate the approval process?

The approval process can be automated by:

  1. Setting up a form: The first step to automating the approval process is to create a form that permits users to add custom fields.
  2. Creating a workflow: Once you have set up your form, create a workflow. This can include a simple one-step process for a single stakeholder, or it can be a more developed workflow created to involve multiple levels of approval for several reviewers.
  3. Adding approvers and submitters: After you have completed the workflow, you can add all the approvers and submitters who need to participate in the process so that they have the ability to view and submit approvals or rejections. You can also set rules for which users are allowed to modify or edit data.
What is approval management?

Approval management is the process of replacing manual approval processes with workflow automations. Approval management is necessary when transparency is required, if risks are significant, if speed is critical, if you have approvals that will require audits, or if an approval structure is complex.

Electronic Approval Software Benefits

Using electronic approval software provides a long list of benefits, some of which include:

  • Increased productivity: By automating the approval tasks, manual tasks are eliminated, so you can spend more time focusing your attention on other high-priority projects.
  • Reduction in errors: Once the approval processes are automated, the chance of errors is reduced. Electronic approval software allows you to configure workflows to sign off on approval requests, manage pending approvals, change approval status, and more, so that you no longer have to worry about mistakes caused by manual entry.
  • Increased visibility: Electronic approval software provides the ability to automate the approval process and provide you with audit trails, so you have complete and critical visibility into relevant data or the status of a requisition with custom reports and analytics. Transparency also promotes accountability.
  • Paperless transactions: Having electronic approval software eliminates the need to depend on physical paperwork, which can easily get lost or misplaced, especially if it has to go through multiple approvers.
  • Improved customer service: Customers prefer expedited solutions. Electronic approval software helps make the approval process faster, helping to avoid unnecessary delays in the process, but also preventing customer complaints.
  • Instant access to information: Automated approval workflows help keep data in a single place. By having a single platform that contains all the data and information, specific departments can instantly access information on demand and can rest assured that it is accurate.
  • Mobile access: Since approvals go through an electronic approval system, all steps of the approval process can be performed remotely.

Compliance and accountability: Organizations can safeguard sensitive information and ensure security and privacy by using electronic approval software, which also helps enforce accountability and improves compliances by standardizing, automating, as well as tracking core business processes.

Electronic Approval Software Features

Many features make electronic approval software a worthwhile investment:

  • Ease of use: A good software product will be visually intuitive and simple to use, without requiring users to have coding knowledge experience.
  • Role-based access: For businesses that are transitioning to cloud-based applications, data security is a major concern. Electronic approval software solutions should include role-based access features so you can easily protect sensitive information and restrict access to other information as needed.
  • Easy integration: Effective electronic approval software will enable you to easily integrate with your existing apps.
  • Cloud-based technology: Considering a software option that is cloud-based is the better choice to help maximize productivity because it will guarantee minimal network downtime and will provide you with a centralized database.
  • Analytics and reporting: Through the power of analytics and reporting, electronic approval software can help your organization properly monitor, analyze, and improve business processes to boost efficiency.

Drag-and-drop forms: The form builder should include the ability to customize your forms as you wish and should have an exhaustive list of different fields for you to choose from. Irrespective of the number of customization options you have, the user should be able to create a form with complete ease.