Deep Dive: The Ins and Outs of Advanced Approval

Ariel Green
Ariel Green Expensify Team, Expensify Student Ambassador Posts: 111 Expensify Team
edited June 2021 in Deep Dive Docs
Often, as companies grow, their expense approval chains become more complex. For example, maybe CEO Liz used to approve all employee expenses, but now they need to first be approved by Finance Manager Jack.

In cases where you need multiple levels of approval, the Advanced Approval workflow is going to be your best friend.

When is Advanced Approval a good fit?

If your organization needs any of the below features, then this approval workflow is right for you:
  • Multiple levels of approval — think of a report that needs to go to Tom for initial approval, and then onto Jen for final approval and reimbursement. Can do!
  • Granular, submitter-based approval workflows — let's say Troy needs to submit his reports to Tom, but Eliza needs to submit hers to Olivia. No problem!
  • Approval workflows that change based on dollar amounts — if Eliza's report is small, Olivia can reimburse it, but if a report is over $500, it needs to go to Liz for approval. Advanced Approval lets you define amount thresholds and route reports to relevant parties!

The Policy Members table

There are three columns in the table:
  • User — This column lists everyone in the policy. If an employee is in the policy, they will be listed in the User column.
  • Submit To — This specifies the User's first approver. When User submits their reports they will go to the user listed in their Submits To field for first approval.
  • Details — The Details column allows you to set a number of settings for the User such as the Approves to [...] option which specifies to whom the User forwards reports they have approved. Please note that this is not the User's second approver, this is to whom the User forwards other people's reports they've approved.
When setting up your approval workflow, the best way to think of it is: When the person in the User column takes action on a report, (1) what is that action, and (2) who is the recipient?

For example, in the pictured workflow, when Charlie submits a report it goes to Jake for first approval. To see if there is a second approver we need to look at Jake's Details section to see if he has an Approves to [...] designated. He does, Jake's Details column specifies that any reports he approves and forwards get sent to Sonia for additional approval. So once Jake approves Charlie's report it will go to Sonia for second approval. Since Sonia doesn't have an Approves to [...] designated she is the final approver for this report. To summarise, Charlie's reports will flow from Charlie > Jake > Sonia.

What if I need to route reports to different approvers based on the amount?

Great question! Check out our Deep Dive on setting approval limits.

Can my employees override the workflow in the People table?

It depends!
  • If you have workflow enforcement enabled (which is the default setting for a new policy), submitters and approvers must adhere to the set approval workflow (recommended).
    Note: This setting does not apply to Policy Admins.
  • When workflow enforcement is disabled, submitters and approvers will have the option to override their "Submits to" and "Approves to" settings by manually re-writing the email address that populates when they submit or approve and forward reports.

Can I see an example?

Sure thing! Check out this detailed example of an Advanced Approval workflow.

Have a question or want to know more? Start a discussion here!