Manage custom approval workflow and policies

Key CashFlow℠ offers custom approval customizations to help you maintain separation of duties and reduce potential fraud by allowing you to control which bills need approval, by whom, and when, based on business need.


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Bill approval settings

Your bill approval settings are high-level, general settings for when and how you use approvals on your payables transactions. You can choose to use these settings alone, or in combination with specific policies outlined in those sections of this article.

Users with appropriate permissions can find bill approval workflow options in settings.

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select Approval Settings under Payables
  3. Select settings to apply (described in detail below)
  4. Select Save

Would you like to add a bill approval step to your workflow?

This setting determines if bills will require approval before you pay them.

  • Bills are routed for approval and are ready to be paid when approved (default setting): This option will make sure Payers cannot pay a bill that hasn't been fully approved. Also, we won't notify Payers that it's time to pay bills until they are fully approved if you enable this setting.
    • Users with Pay unapproved bills via Key CashFlow and/or the Pay unassigned bills via Key CashFlow permissions (Administrators and Custom user roles) can pay any bill, regardless of its approval status, even if you enable this setting.
  • Bills don't need approval and are ready to be paid once entered into Key CashFlow: This setting allows you to pay bills as soon as you create them— no approvals are needed.

Allow edits to bills and vendor credits after they're routed for approval

This setting determines if changes are allowed on bills and vendor credits during the approval workflow, after they've been fully approved, or at any time.

  • Never allow: You cannot make changes to bills or credits if any approvers have already approved them.
    • If you need to change an approved bill or vendor credit, you'll need to delete it and create a new bill or credit.
  • Only allow before the last person approves the bill: If bills or credits have multiple approvers, you can make changes to them until all approvers have approved them.
    • If you edit a bill or credit while it is going through an approval chain, a notification banner on the bill or credit will appear, and edited fields will be highlighted.
  • Always allow: You can make changes to bills or credits at any time until you pay the bill or apply the credit.
    • Once you pay a bill or apply a vendor credit, only a limited number of fields are editable.
    • If you edit a bill or credit while it is going through an approval chain, or after it is approved, a notification banner on the bill or credit will appear, and edited fields will be highlighted.

Default approvers

You can select up to 3 default approvers that we'll automatically assign to either all new bills or all new bills without approvers, depending on your selection for this setting.


Bill approval settings: Things to know

  • Approval settings are global for all bills.
  • Changing these settings won't apply retroactively to previously created bills and vendor credits and will only apply to future bills/vendor credits.
    • The settings in place at the time a bill or credit was created will always apply to that bill or credit. If you need different settings to apply to an existing bill or credit, you'll need to delete the bill or credit, make the settings changes, then recreate the bill or credit.
  • Bills can be paid even if they haven't been approved. This setting doesn't override user role permissions, i.e.: the Payer role cannot pay unapproved bills, no matter this setting.
  • Approval status doesn't sync to or from any accounting software.

Bill approval policies

With our custom bill approval policy options, you can save time and provide control by creating policies that automatically add approvers to all bills you create or sync to Key CashFlow.

Note: Approvers on policies won't automatically be applied to recurring bills. You'll need to manually add approvers to those bills.

Create a bill approval policy

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select Bill Approval Policies under Payables
  3. Select Create New Policy
  4. Enter your policy details, criteria, and approvers
  5. Select Save


You can create policies based on the following criteria:

  • Vendor
  • Department
  • Bill Amount
  • Line Item Amount
  • Chart of Account
  • Class
  • Customer
  • Employee
  • Location
  • Department
  • Employee
  • Job


Things to know:

  • Once you assign approvers to a bill for a vendor, Smart Data will remember and automatically assign those same approvers on the next vendor credit for the same vendor.
    • If you don't want Smart Data to automatically apply the previous approvers to new bills, you can turn that off at the top of the Bill Approval Policies page
      Smart Data toggle dynamic approvals
  • You can have up to 300 active policies, including bill and vendor credit policies in total.
  • One policy may include multiple criteria.
  • For each criteria, you may select more than one value. For example, you can select multiple vendors for one policy if a specific policy will apply to specific vendor types.
  • If you sync with Intacct you'll need to set dimensions (vendors, employee, customer) to yes under Accounting Preferences in Settings to view them in the criteria dropdown menu.

Vendor credit approval policies

You can set up policies to require approvers for any vendor credit based on the dollar amount.

Create vendor credit approval policy

  1. Select Settings
  2. Select Bill Approval Policies under Payables
  3. Select Create New Policy
  4. Enter the details
  5. Select Save or Save & Create New Policy

Note: Setting mandatory approvers doesn't assign the approvers to vendor credits, you'll need to manually assign them. If you create a vendor credit and try to save without the required approvers listed in your policies, you won't be able to save that credit. An error message will tell you the current policy being applied, and which approvers are required.


Approval assignments and example

  • Whenever you create a bill or a bill syncs to Key CashFlow, we'll automatically add approvers from all policies that apply to that bill.
  • If multiple policies match a bill, we'll add approvers from all matching policies.
  • The order of approvers is determined first by the order of policies, and second by the order of approvers within a policy.
  • You can reorder policies if needed.
  • If the same approver is on multiple policies, they will only be assigned to a bill once.
  • Approvers from approval policies cannot be removed from a bill, but you can reorder them if needed. However, they still need to be in order based on the order they're listed on the policy.
  • We don't automatically apply approvers to vendor credits. You must manually assign them in the order they're listed on the policy.
    • If you create a vendor credit and try to save without the required approvers listed in your policies, you won't be able to save that credit. An error message will tell you the current policy being applied, and which approvers are required.

Example:

Policy 1: Department and Location Approvers
Location: San Jose
Department: Engineering
1. Bob Com
2. Bill Com
3. Barry Com
Policy 2: Bill amount over $50,000 Approvers
Bill Amount: ≥ $50,000 1. Barry Com
2. Betty Com
Example bill with approvers applied Approvers
Bill Amount: $50,000
Location: San Jose
Department: Engineering
1. Bob Com
2. Bill Com
3. Barry Com
4. Betty Com

In this example, both policies 1 and 2 apply to the example bill.

  • Policy 1 applies first and adds the following approvers: Bob, Bill, and Barry.
  • Policy 2 then applies and adds Betty. Barry isn't added twice, even though he is on both policies.
  • Approvers are added in order by policy 1's specified approver order, then policy 2's specified approver order, excluding any approvers already added by a previously applied policy, and so on until all applicable policies are applied.

Approval policies: Things to know

  • The order of approvers you assign to a bill or credit must match the order of the mandatory approvers listed within any policy.
  • All approvers you add to a bill or credit must approve the bill or credit for it to be considered Approved, and the bill or credit must be approved in the order of the listed approvers.
  • If you edit or delete a policy, it won't apply retroactively to previously created bills or credits and will only apply to future bills or credits.
    • The policies in place at the time a bill or credit was created will always apply to that bill or credit. If you need a different policy to apply to an existing bill or credit, you'll need to delete the bill or credit, make the policy changes, then recreate the bill or credit.