Approval circulation is a feature that enables easy circulation of purchase, travel and expense invoices from one verifier to the next and then to approvers. This page is about settings related to the approval circulation in Procountor.
Approval circulation is enabled and set up in Management > Company info > Invoice circulation management. Approval circulation can be set also for business partners or for individual invoices:
- If business partner specific approval circulation has not been set for a business partner, approvers and verifiers of the general approval circulation settings will be set for the invoices of this business partner.
- If a business partner specific approval circulation has been set for a business partner, approvers and verifiers will be set by this determination for the invoices of the business partner in question.
- If an invoice is given a different approval circulation settings compared to the general settings or business partner settings, the invoice-specific approval circulation setting will override other settings for the particular invoice.
Even if approval circulation is not in use, purchase, travel and expense invoices can still be verified and approved. However, in this situation it is not possible to specify verifiers and approvers to the invoices in advance.
Required user rights for verifying and approving
Only a user who has verification rights (Management > Users and privileges > Purchases > Verification) can be entered as verifier. Only a user who has approval rights (Management > Users and privileges > Payment transactions > Approval) can be entered as approver. Also, it should be noted that the verifiers and approvers must have at least viewing rights to purchase invoices (Purchases > New purchase invoice) and invoice search (Purchases > Search invoices).
Verifiers’ and approvers’ e-mail addresses must be entered in the users’ Personal info and settings if it is wanted that the system sends a reminder to them upon invoices to verify or approve. In order to receive the e-mails, the users have to enable e-mail notifications in Personal information and settings > Email from Procountor > Send me notifications from e.g. invoices waiting for verification.
In the Users and privileges section User right limitations you can define that the use can view only those purchase, travel and expense invoices where he/she has been marked as verifier/approver.
If a user is deleted from the company environment, he/she will be automatically removed from approval circulation and verifier lists linked to Approval circulation settings, suppliers and persons.
Setting up the approval circulation
When approval circulation is in use, it is possible to determine specific verifiers and approvers in Invoice circulation management, supplier and person registers and directly in invoices. This means that there are specific verifiers and approvers who will receive invoices for verification and approval. It is also possible to set up verifier lists that include specific users by default. These verifier lists can then be used in Invoice circulation management, supplier and person register as well as with invoices directly.
Invoice circulation management
Default approval circulation or verifier list can be set in Invoice circulation management. This default setting will then be used in situations when there is no separate approval circulation defined for specific suppliers or persons in the business partner register. However, if there is a separate approval circulation for a specific supplier or person, this approval circulation will be used with purchase invoices to the supplier and with travel and expense invoices to the person.
Approval circulation for supplier and person
Supplier- and person-specific approval circulation can be set up in business partner register. The function is found in the Approval information -section on the Basic info -view. This section is visible when approval circulation has been enabled in the Approval circulation settings.
If a verifier list has been chosen in the Verifier list -menu, individual verifiers and approvers can’t be edited in the business partner information. Instead, they are determined by the chosen verifier list.
The maximum amount of verifiers and approvers is set in the Invoice circulation management. This setting applies also to the business partner register.
The approval circulation settings defined in the business partner register are used when an invoice is created to the business partner or when Procountor receives an invoice from the business partner as a electronic invoice or a scanned invoice.
If it is needed to set a similar approval circulation to several business partners, the Edit multiple business partners -function in the business partner register is a useful tool.
Approval circulation set directly to an invoice
The verifiers and approvers to purchase, travel and expense invoices are primarily retrieved from the defaults specified for the business partner. If no defaults are specified in the business partner information, they are retrieved from the Invoice circulation management.
You can also specify verifiers and approvers for each invoice in Invoice-view either by using the predefined Verifier lists or by defining the verifiers and approvers case by case.
Verifier and approver lists are defined in the main menu under Management > Company info > Invoice circulation management > Verifier lists button. The lists can be used for assigning verifiers and approvers easily for suppliers and invoices. Verifier lists are used when a company has taken the purchase invoice approval circulation into use in the Invoice circulation management.
If a verifier list is edited, the verifier and approver information will be changed for those business partners to whom the list has been applied. Changes will not be updated on old invoices, but they will enter into force when a new invoice is created for a business partner.
The maximum amount of verifiers and approvers in a single approval circulation is set in the Approval circulation settings. This setting applies also to the verifier lists.
Verifier lists -view includes the following functions:
- Add-button creates a new empty verifier list. The list is named, and the desired verifiers and approvers are selected from the drop-down lists.
- Save-button saves the changes that have been made.
- Delete-button can be used to delete a specific verifier list. The list must be activated by clicking it before the removal. After the list is deleted, it will be no longer in use with the business partners that the list has been used with.
Sending an invoice to circulation
The creator of an invoice can send the invoice to circulation with the Send to circulation -button in the Purchase invoice -view. This action will send an e-mail notification to verifiers and approvers if e-mail notifications are in use. If the e-mails are going to be sent, the user will receive a confirmation window, that includes the recipient’s information. Approval circulation is confirmed by clicking Yes.
A notification of electronic or scanned invoices received to Procountor is automatically sent to verifiers and approvers, so the user doesn’t have to send the invoices to circulation manually. The e-mail notification from received purchase invoices will also be sent in a situation where the approval circulation has not been enabled, but a verifier or an approver has been determined in the Invoice circulation management.
An automatic notification from a received electronic or scanned invoice is sent in the following cases:
- The approval circulation is in use:
- A verifier or an approver has defined in his/her Personal info and settings that he/she wants to receive e-mail notifications from Procountor.
- The invoice belongs to a business partner according to the Business ID or the bank account number and a default verifier or approver has been defined for this business partner.
- If a default verifier of approver has not been defined for this business partner, Procountor uses the information in Approval circulation settings to determine a receiver for the notification of the arrived invoice (the user must have the e-mail notifications enabled).
- The approval circulation is not in use:
- At least one verifier or approved has been determined in the Approval circulation settings to whom the notification is sent (the user must have the e-mail notifications enabled).
E-mail notifications are compiled and sent from Procountor approximately at 30-minute intervals. If a verifier or an approver is about to receive multiple invoice notifications at once, all notifications concerning them will be compiled in one single e-mail within the next notification sending cycle.
E-mail notification has a link that takes the verifier or approver to the Log in to Procountor -page. When logged in using the notification link, the user is taken straight to the Receipt search view consisting the invoices waiting for verification or approval.
Invoice circulation management has an option to set the approval circulation to happen in a specific order. With this function, the notification is sent to the next person only after the previous person has verified or approved the invoice. By default, this option is not enabled.
When the Approval circulation order -setting is not in use, the notification about an invoice is sent to all the verifiers simultaneously. Therefore, the verification order has no significance. After all the verifiers have verified the invoice, a notification is sent to all the approvers at once (if there are more approvers than one). More information about the Approval circulation order can be found here.
Searching invoices to verify and verification
Verifying and approving invoices is done in the Verification-view that can be accessed, for example, through Receipt search (Search > Receipt search). Invoices waiting for verification are shown also on the main page in the Invoices waiting for verification widget, Hello, user widget and in Invoice circulation hub view. More information about invoice verification and the field of the Verification-view can be found here.
Efficient use of the invoice circulation
The basic principles and requirements for invoice circulation have been presented above. This section of the article discusses a few useful tips for editing invoice circulation and for keeping track of the invoices that are currently in circulation.
When changes need to be made to circulation settings that are already in use, it is useful to think first the right location for the changes:
- If business partners do not have any business partner specific approvers, verifiers or verifier lists, it may be most suitable to make the changes to Invoice circulation management. If a verifier or approver is changed in this general view, the changes will be effective with all future invoices regardless of the business partner in question.
- If business partners have business partner specific approvers, verifiers or verifier lists, it may be most suitable to make the changes in the business partner register. For example, when a whole new verifier list with the desired changes is created in Invoice circulation management view, the list in question can be easily added for several business partners at once with the Edit multiple function in the business partner register – this way the changes are updated easily for all needed business partners. If the verifier/approver changes are made to an existing verifier list that is already used with business partners, the changes made to this verifier list will be updated to the business partners also.
When verifier and approver changes are made, it may be useful to find out if there are still invoices waiting for verification or approval from the old user that is set as the verifier or approver. This can be checked on Invoice circulation hub view. It should be noted that changes made in Invoice circulation management or in business partner register do not have a retrospective effect on invoices that have set to approval circulation earlier. Therefore, the Invoice circulation hub view can be used to make sure that all invoices waiting for an approval or a verification from the old user will be handled accordingly. The invoices set for the old user can be searched with the Verifier/Approver field when the name of the user is entered to this field in a form of Surname, First name.