How to Design and Set Up an Approval Workflow


In the first step, define the who, what, when, why, and where. The following questions may help you design your approval workflow:

  • What documents need to be approved?
  • What key factors could be changed or considered while approving?
  • Who is responsible for approving? Why and when?
  • What factors influence assigning approval responsibility to a particular person: location, department, project, or threshold?

Your approval chain should be as efficient as possible — therefore, it needs to be simple and clear:

  • Your teammates should understand why certain requests/orders/invoices require approval.
  • Responsible people should know the key factors and how they will be tracked.
  • There should be no extra steps. 

Approval process simplicity and clarity are critical due to the following reasons: 

  • Approval is a time-consuming process, and time is money. The longer the process, the more steps you have, and the more expensive the purchasing process is.
  • Unclear and excess steps can lead to confusion or create mistakes and cause unwanted results.
  • Ordering, invoicing, and making payments depend upon the proper functioning of the approval process. 

To set up an Approval Workflow, follow these steps:

1. Define the variables that will impact your Precoro Approval Workflow:

To make the Custom Field available for selection in the Approval Workflow, you must mark the Available in Approval Workflow checkbox as active. After that, you will be able to set up approval based on Departments, Projects, or other Document Custom Fields:

2. Once done, follow the next steps and add the approval chain:

  • Go to the left side of the menu and choose the ConfigurationApproval Workflow.
  • Hit Create New Step, enter the name for the step, and select the user and documents you want to set the approval for. 
  • Add as many steps and approvers as you wish, but remember to keep it simple and clear. 

You can add Approval steps at any place within the Approval Workflow:


Please note: Changes made to the existing Approval Workflow will not affect previously approved steps or any pending documents.

How to Set Up an Approver

Every approver can have a set of rules: 

  • Approval Threshold of the document
  • Locations
  • Departments and Projects or any other Documents Custom Fields
  • Custom Approval Thresholds per Location or Department/Project.

For example, a user can approve all purchases in the IT department and all purchases up to $500 in the CSM department. To do that, hit Customize Threshold

You can add an Approver for multiple approval steps in the Approval Workflow, so one user can be an approver for two or more steps.

What is more, you can set up the documents auto-approval.

This feature will automatically authorize all previous approval steps, including yours if you are the creator or approver of the document.

Note: It activates an auto-approval for all company documents and approvers.

To configure auto-approval:

  • Go to Configuration —> Basic Settings —> Approval.
  • Mark the Allow Documents Auto-Approval checkbox as active.

Common Approval Workflow Configuration Case

One of the approvers is the CFO. The CFO can do the following:

  1. Approve all purchases of the Finance department as a first approver.
  2. Approve all purchases of other departments as a last approver if the purchase amount exceeds $10,000.
  3. CFO is assigned to the first and last approval step. 

Someone from the Finance department creates a Purchase Order with a total amount of $15,000. In that case, the CFO has to approve the document twice: as the first approver and the last one.

However, if the CFO is the creator of this Purchase Order, there can be two options:

  • If the documents auto-approve is active, the document will be automatically approved on the last step after confirmation.
  • If the documents auto-approve is inactive, the first step will be automatically approved after the document confirmation.

In case the CFO should approve the document only once (as the first approver only), we suggest removing the Finance department from his second approval step.

How to Delete a User from an Approval Workflow

To remove somebody from the Approval Workflow please consider the following article.

How to Check Revision History in the Approval Workflow

You can see and compare the changes made in the Approval Workflow using the Revision History button. 

This function is available for all Approval Workflow documents in all the steps.

To utilize this function:

1. Click the Revision History button at the Approval step to see the changes made.

2. Select the two revisions for comparison and click the Compare Revisions button below.

3. Press the Show Changes Only button to see what alterations were made.

How to Build a Parallel Approval Workflow

Please read this article, which will provide you with additional helpful insights on parallel workflows in Precoro.