Introducing Rossum’s invoice approval workflows

We’re thrilled to unveil the latest enhancement to our intelligent document processing solution (IDP). Invoice approval workflows. Building on our ongoing advancements for better collaboration. Including automated email communication, these new workflows allow accounts payable (AP) teams to further increase the speed and accuracy of their invoice processing. 

What are invoice approval workflows? 

Approval workflows are business processes designed to manage and streamline the approval of documents, such as invoices, in an organization. 

For example, when a company buys a fancy event sponsorship, the accounts payable department will receive an invoice for the event fees, and will need the approval of the field marketing lead before proceeding with the payment. 

They are part of a broader invoice process that includes the following steps: 

  • Invoice receipt and sorting
  • Data extraction
  • PO matching
  • Verification of vendor details
  • Invoice approval
  • Invoice payment
  • Auditing and reporting
Invoice workflow process in the Rossum platform, using invoice approval software.

Streamline your invoice processing workflows with invoice approval software.

How are invoice approvals typically handled? 

To this day, many AP teams still manage invoice approvals manually through a game of email tennis. However, this is a time-consuming and cumbersome process that consumes up to 20% of AP professionals’ work hours. Leaving plenty of room for human error, such as lost documents and missed deadlines. 

As a result, more and more businesses are now automating such processes through in-house technical solutions, or external vendors. 

Roadblocks in manual invoice approval workflows 

A manual invoice approval process is hindered by:

  • Time spent manually managing invoice workflows;
  • Chasing supporting documents from suppliers;
  • No invoice fraud detection leading to duplicate payments, inflated invoices, manipulated documents;
  • Missing early payment bonuses because of late payments;
  • Time wasted chasing for approvals.

Benefits of automating invoice approval workflows 

Thanks to Rossum’s invoice approval software, you can automate your invoice processing by extracting data automatically. This means you can remove manual data entry, improve efficiency, and eliminate errors.

Save time & improve efficiency

Invoice approval software ensures your invoices are approved faster. Once the invoice is captured and validated in your system, it will be automatically routed to the right person or automatically approved or rejected, based on the invoice information (amount to pay, name of vendor, etc.). 

This means that your AP team can stop manually processing and chasing invoice approvals around the clock, and focus on more impactful tasks, such as speedier reporting. You will also be able to reduce the risk of duplicate or missed payments, as well as protect your supplier relationships. This might also be a way to identify opportunities, such as early payment discounts.  

Spot potential bottlenecks

According to a 2021 Levvel Research report, “the top three invoice processing concerns for AP teams are missed discounts (44%), late payments (39%), and duplicate payments (29%).”

“My biggest pain is that invoices get stuck because the process is not finalized. We ask for approvals when we’re not supposed to. We’re missing payments because we’re dependent on an approval – and we’re always chasing approvals.” Chief Accountant at a mid-size company. 

With automated invoice workflows, you’ll also have visibility of your entire document pipeline: which invoices have been approved, which approvals are pending, where there might be a bottleneck that needs to be addressed.

Ensure compliance

Having automated invoice approval workflows will force your teams to follow the invoice processes you’ve set out, which will help reduce the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

Create an audit trail

By providing a record of all the activities and decisions taken during the approval process, an audit trail can help identify and prevent fraudulent activities, errors, and discrepancies.

How do I automate an invoice approval?

To automate your invoice process, you’ll need two things: 

  • A well-defined process that takes into account all of your invoice scenarios;
  • A technical / automation solution that will take care of the invoice routing for you. 

You will also need to understand how this solution fits into your broader tech stack – e.g., how are invoices coming into your solution, and how are approvals reflected in your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system (SAP, NetSuite or other providers). 

Approval workflows in Rossum: the advantages of an all-in-one invoice processing platform

As an end-to-end intelligent document processing solution, Rossum goes beyond mere invoice routing. 

  • Capture any invoice in seconds, no matter the template or language. 
  • Simplify your application stack where every step of your AP process is connected, from data ingestion to approval and integration into your ERP system. 
  • Don’t let your decisions happen without context: your approvers, and your AP team will have direct access to relevant information connected to the reviewed invoice (email communications with vendor, purchasing order data, etc.). 

Example of an automated AP approval workflow

Here is an example of what one of the automated invoice approval workflows can look like for a mid-size company. When invoices are ingested, all the information they contain is captured and categorized. Items such as the vendor name and the amount are then used to determine the level of approval needed, as well as the corresponding departments and approvers. 

Sample invoice approval workflow design in Rossum, using invoice approval software.

Invoice approval workflow example in the Rossum platform.

However, because each company has specific collaboration and operational needs, Rossum’s invoice approval software comes with an unlimited number of steps, assignment rules and approvers, as well as auto-approve and reject options. 

Other key features include: 

  • Automatic assignment based on invoice data and external resources
  • Full visibility of approval request assignments and their statuses
  • Audit trail to ensure compliance & spot bottlenecks
  • Email notifications for easy approval by end users
  • Integration into your downstream ERP system

Invoice approval workflows FAQs

What is the approval workflow for invoices?

The invoice approval workflow varies according to business, its size and maturity. They include the following steps – receive invoice, validation of suppliers, verification of invoice details, review and reconcile invoices with purchase orders and goods received notes, send validated invoice for approval, exception handling, final approval, payment processing, record keeping.

How do I set up an invoice approval workflow?

Invoice approval workflows are more efficient when using invoice approval software rather than a manual process. AP automation software will decide the invoice approval workflow process and company information to be entered into the software.
When implementing AP automation software for invoice approval workflow, choose the authorized invoice approver, including their contact details.

What is invoice approval software?

Automated invoice approval software is used by the accounts payable department to streamline invoice workflows. Giving users greater control over internal processing functions, and accelerating the processing of invoices.

What is electronic invoice processing?

Electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) is the exchange of invoices between a supplier and a buyer in an integrated electronic format. Electronic data interchange (EDI) transmits all types of data (purchase orders, shipping notices, sales orders, etc.), while e-invoicing is designed exclusively for the exchange of invoices.

Invoice processing & AP: essential readings

Ready to put our invoice approval workflows to the test?

New workflows that allow accounts payable teams to further increase the speed and accuracy of their invoice processing.