A large number of organizations struggle with timely processing and answering requests. Processing of payments, verifications, reimbursements, claims, complaints, budgets, etc. The reason is that organizations still heavily rely on manual work, such as sending emails back and forth. All this just to obtain or document approvals and search for information that will allow them to make decisions.

According to McKinsey, workers spend 28% and 19% of their time reading and answering emails and searching and gathering information. This generates a higher cost and also hinders the organization’s growth by delaying action. And here is where the process automation software comes in. It allows companies to automate any workflow and speed up approvals, improve compliance, and save money, among others.

See How You Can Automate Manual Tasks with Digital Workflows 

How Process Automation Allows End-to-End Approval Workflow Automation

A good number of approval workflows involve multiple departments. A considerable number of documents, people, teams, steps and conditions are part of these processes. The right process automation software will allow you to automate the approval workflow end-to-end. Let’s take for example a project budget approval workflow.

  • The project manager would need to request approval from his division supervisor, generally filling out a requisition form. This one would need to verify specific documentation and data has been provided to back-up a decision. Sometimes this includes multiple back and forths between two or more decision-makers.
  • After making sure all the required information is in hand, the supervisor needs to approve the proposal. Later on, he needs to pass it on to the finance department for further approval. The financial department may need further information that was not included. They may need to ask the supervisor and this one back to the project manager.
  • More than one person may be involved in each of these departments. This would make the process longer, more time-consuming, prone to error, and expensive. Just to obtain one approval.

You can use process automation software to automate the approval workflow end-to-end. Your organization will be able to design a process with logic and constraints that apply to the type of approval. You will establish rules to automatically share information with the next person in charge after a step has been marked as approved.

The manager in charge can make certain documentation mandatory, so no submission will be made with missing information. You will design the workflow following industry and internal regulations. Therefore making sure the organization is compliant all the time an approval request is submitted and processed.

An automatic audit trail will be generated to simplify internal and external audits. Involved parts will have full visibility regarding the status of its request so decisions can be made faster. Imagine how much time you can save by automating even the simplest approval workflow!

Benefits of an approval workflow automation

The savings in time and work required to submit, process and complete an approval request are obvious. However, let’s mention a few other benefits that also deserve attention.

 Streamlined and standardized process

You can define and guide your employees in following the shortest, more efficient route. They know exactly what they need to do and how all the time. It promotes a consistent policy execution.

Faster approvals

Time is key. Customers frequently complain due to long waiting times. And now you can greatly reduce them or eliminate them with automated approval workflow. This will also allow you to provide quicker responses internally. Not answering “fast enough” could bring serious consequences. Think for example, about the time it took Financial Institutions to respond during Covid-19.

Simplify Compliance and Audits

An automated approval workflow, helps organizations to be audit-ready through transparency, consistency, and documentation. You can design processes that meet regulatory requirements. You will guide users to follow them every time, automatically creating audit trails.

→ See Automated Processes and Templates for Compliance, IT and INFOSEC areas

Improved Document Management

With an automated approval workflow, you can automatically share, access, store documents, information, and communications by project, profile, etc. You can also restrict access following the data access protocol your organization established and keep data safe.

→ Learn More About Document Automation

Tips to Automate Approval Workflows with a Process Automation Software.

You will first need to identify which process automation software is the right one for you. We recommend using one that doesn’t create silos inside the organization. Instead, adopt one that helps you to streamline all business areas, not only one. We also recommend adopting one that doesn’t require coding. These are called No-Code Process Automation Solutions because no IT skills are needed to automate processes.

Once you identify the solution that is right for your business, make sure you follow these tips:

  • Select the approval process that is giving you the most headaches. That one that is taking the longest or that is creating bottlenecks. The one that is costing you more or creating the most problems.
  • Identify unnecessary steps. Remember that the goal is to simplify work. Reduce the number of steps, tasks, activities, and pre-approvals to the minimum necessary. If you need to comply with regulations, make sure you include a complaint agent to help you design the workflow.
  • Map your approval workflow. This means to define participating departments, involved staff, sequence or steps, interactions, required documentation and information. A visual aid will help you to clarify these interactions, the order and eliminate complexity.
  • Set permission levels. Grant access to data according to role and responsibilities. You will eliminate vulnerabilities for data breaches by limiting access to information.
  • Include automatic notifications and alerts. Deadlines, status updates, information requests, new pending approvals, approval completion, etc.

Make sure the tool you choose, allows you to create automatic audit trails or activity logs. If something goes wrong, you will want to look back and know the reason.

Automate your Approval Workflow with Virtus Flow

Virtus Flow is a No-Code digital process automation solution. We allow businesses like yours to automate approval workflows and also a great part of their business processes. Virtus Flow allows any person to automate their approval processes without the need for IT. We simplify process automation by allowing you to streamline operations from day one. Let us know what you are looking to solve and we will go above and beyond to help you. Let’s chat.