Document Approval Workflow in Document Management Software

Document Approval Workflows are easy to set up!

Approving documents electronically via Document approval workflow or invoice approval workflow is needed in many organizations where as a rule an invoice, for example, is not to be paid before it is approved. Sometimes it’s enough if one person–a manager, perhaps–approves the document, but often several people have to give their approval to go ahead. It would be time-consuming and very inefficient (and therefore costly!) to go around and ask everyone’s approval one-by-one. How can one concentrate on their job if they spend a lot of time at work just trying to get people approve necessary papers!

Nevertheless, such approvals for work processes are still paper-based in many organizations, so that in the office—and quite often between offices—a real physical document is making the rounds. It could be for expense reporting, employee vacations or many other reasons. There just has to be an easier and more reasonable way of doing this, and there is! Introducing Folderit document management approval workflow:

See how you can approve documents electronically in this tutorial of the process:

Approving Documents Electronically with Document Approval Workflow and Invoice Approval Workflow

Folderit Cloud Document Management System, chosen the most user-friendly in the world, helps you to make your office virtually paperless. You can store/archive files in encrypted form, share them, set reminders and add metadata to them. And, of course, you can approve documents electronically by starting document Approval Workflows. Just pick a document and choose whether people need to approve it one-by-one in a certain order (the email invite sent for approval goes to the second in line only after the first has given their decision) or in parallel mode, where everyone gets the invite to approve at the same time. You can easily track who has approved the document, who has rejected it (and their comments on it) and who has not yet given their response.

Document Approval Workflow in Document Management System Software

Invoice and document approval workflow

 

Folderit document management software is cloud-based, and since there’s nothing to install, there are no IT costs associated with it. No onboarding fees or anything. For a low fixed price you get up to 2 TB of storage; sharing, reminders, metadata, powerful search and approval workflows, file versioning, ability to preview documents without downloading them first right there online, granulated notification system and much more. Make your organization more transparent and efficient—make your document approval workflows digital!

Document approval management in DMS (document management system), can save both time and money. Or maybe that is really the same thing since in business time often equates money. This system is designed to provide a quicker, more accurate way of managing documents that require approval or even simple feedback than was previously available. 

Document approval management can relate to a variety of things. In a small office, it might be handled simply by handing a print copy of the document around and having everyone sign it. In a slightly larger office, it might be emailed for digital signatures. Both methods have their own problems. Taking a print copy around a large, busy office could mean tying up one person just to handle documents. This used to be how it was done in the old days, before automation. Too often the document got lost on someone’s desk and the approval process would have to be started all over again from the beginning. To avoid this, sometimes a person might have been delegated to hand carry the document to the required individuals for signature. That person would then have to wait while the recipient read the document, thus tying up manhours and consuming hourly wages.

Email put an end to someone needing to carry a paper document from office to office or trusting staff to appropriately pass the document on, but it has its own inherent flaws. Emails can sometimes be garbled, misunderstood, or simply missed. One power outage at a crucial moment and the information packets that make up a message can be lost completely. Even with feedback as to whether the mail was received and read, tracking who has read and responded to important emails can get to be a full-time job. Whether your office is business – small or large, a school, or perhaps even a doctor’s office, no one has time to spend figuring out who has or has not signed off on something. Folderit has a much simpler, more efficient, cost-effective method of dealing with documents that need approval or even a response.

Document Management and Approval System

This is where a dedicated document management and approval system from Folderit can really shine. The system provides the means for a designated group to view and sign a variety of documents. By providing a fast, secure, accurate means of transmitting the pertinent information, as well as a simple, easy-to-use tracking system, keeping track of a document that needs approval or attention has never been easier. The signing can be organized serially (one person at a time), or it can be accomplished as a parallel action (the message goes out to everyone at once.) Responses are tracked by use of colored radial buttons beside each addressee’s name. In some cases, a document can be read, responded too, and checked off an exec’s do-list in a matter of minutes instead of days or hours.

Let’s look at how that might work:

Invoice Approval System

Invoice Approval System

Use Case #1:

The bill for the phone has arrived. Everyone needs to examine it, identify long distance or special calls that have been made, and peruse any special charges that are appended to it. The bill is scanned into the computer and sent to the document management cloud. It then goes to a list of people, starting with the junior-most, to have calls identified, and approved. It works its way up the chain of command, to the person who is responsible for paying the bills. Only when everyone has identified their part of the bill and signed off on it, can it be paid.

Let’s say that the bill goes first to Suzy, the receptionist. She receives a notice on her desktop that she has a message that requires attention. She made an international call for the boss. She crosschecks it with her phone log (also stored in the cloud), initials that call and a couple of others, signs the bill and sends it on. Next, it goes to Thomas, the computer tech. He doesn’t have any special calls, so he signs, and sends the bill on. This process repeats all the way up the chain to the business owner who can then skim through the bill, note that all long distance or special charges are accounted for, sign it, and send it over to the person responsible for paying bills. More than that, he doesn’t have to wonder who has or has not completed their part of the process because the accountant, who originated the sign-off process, can see who has or has not signed. There is a dot beside the name of each recipient.

When the document is sent out to a person, the dot becomes yellow. When it arrives and is read, it can become green (if approved) or red (if disapproved.) Gray dots are people who have not yet received the document. By watching these colored dots, one can quickly tell who has received the document and who has not. Should a member of the staff who needs to sign off on this bill be absent or away from his or her desk, a quick phone call can remind that person that there is a document that requires attention. This is much more efficient than simple email, which might require a separate check-list for all recipients.

Document Management Approval Workflow Process

Document Management Approval Workflow Process

Use Case #2:

The boss has decided to buy lunch for everyone as a celebration for a month of no injuries or accidents on the job. However, he needs some help with ordering. He wants this to be enjoyable, even though the celebration dinner will be pizza – a simple meal, easy to set out and easily eaten without anything special. Time is of the essence, so he simultaneously sends a copy of the menu to everyone. As they see it, they make selections – choosing from one of four pizza topping combinations.

Recipients can use the comment section of the document approval system to note any special considerations. For example, the person with the gluten allergy could note that this treat is not on his or her approved list, or someone could request a simple all cheese pizza as one of the options. The boss’s secretary keeps an eye on the display, phones the office of one or two workers who are tardy with responses, and soon everyone has voted.

The pizza is selected, and messages are dispatched when it arrives. The treat is displayed in the break room, and people can partake of it as their schedules permit. Bon appetite!

Creative Design Approval System

Creative Design Approval System

Use Case #3:

Messages are not the only sorts of documents that need signatures. Projects might also need signatures as designs or projects end. They also need ways for team members to comment and to accept or reject changes. Cloud programs, such as Folderit, make it possible for scientists, artists, authors, and even business model designers to collaborate over vast distances without engaging in extensive travel or dealing with the slow pace of physical mail delivery.

A project team has been working on a new advertising layout. They are approaching their deadline. This might be easy if they were all in the same building or even in the same country, but such is not the case. They have been sharing a project folder in the Folderit cloud, and have been working back and forth. They have the design down to three or four selections. By using the document management approval workflow, they can quickly make appropriate changes, vote on choices, and finally select a design upon which they all agree.

There is no guesswork as to whether a team member has been allowed to have a say in the decision-making process because the lighted buttons beside usernames on the document management approval software make it easy to track the processing – even by the team members who are growing bleary-eyed from lack of sleep!

Use Case #4:

Document Digital Approval Process

Document Digital Approval Process

Not every use of the Folderit DMS approval process needs to have a serious application. A long-term fantasy role-playing group has engaged in weekly sessions of battling imaginary foes in a landscape of their own devising. The group began when many of its members were freshman college students in a local college. But now, after four years of playing, they must face the inevitable dissolution of the group as members seek jobs and move out of the area.

A dedicated folder and a response approval process can save their cherished game. The GM can mail out the scenario using Folderit’s dedicated email system, along with the burning question, “Do you enter the dungeon or wait outside?” Responses and comments can be sent back, and the game master can set up the next encounter accordingly. Long-term friendships can thus be saved, and perhaps even become business associates through their shared experiences.

Maintaining social club contacts might not be the original intent of Folderit, but it is a possible use.

Document Management System Approval Process

So how is it exactly that this document management system approval process works?

It begins with someone originating a message with a document that needs approval. As mentioned, the document can be sent serially, or one at a time in order, or it can be sent in parallel, with everyone receiving the message at once.

The sender adds a list of recipients to the document. A yellow dot beside the addressee’s name means that the document has been sent, a grey dot means that it has not. This is especially important when the document is sent serially. The dot will not change color until the recipient who has received the document responds and sends it on. Each recipient is sent an email, using the Folderit native email system, notifying them that they have a document that needs attention. They can then read the document that has been sent, and either accept it – green button, good to go, or reject it – red button. If they reject it, there is a space for a comment explaining why they did not approve the document.

Once the document has made the rounds, it returns to the originator for processing. Once it is processed, the result can be sent out to everyone, keeping them in the loop or changes can be made, and the document sent back for a new series of approvals or rejections.

Advantages of a Document Management System with Approval

It doesn’t take a lot of thought to identify the advantages of a document management system with approval. First, it frees up personnel whose time can be better spent on tasks other than hand carrying documents for approval. Second, it is immensely faster than conventional means of delivering a document, even when using the serial method of delivery. Documents can be shared, approved and returned in less time than it might once have taken to walk to the post office, while the approval process is trackable real-time!

For complex tasks, the comment area provided for rejections provides a record of the dialogue surrounding the document. This makes it easier to correct or change information that might require adjustment. Since document management approval process is a cornerstone of business management, being able to do it at speed helps put your business out at the best part of the competitive edge – right where you want to be.

Document Management with Approval for Your Business

You might ask how one goes about getting document management with approval for your business. The answer is that there is nothing easier. All you need to do is sign up for Folderit Gold or Platinum plan, or perhaps just start with the 30-day no-credit-card-required trial. Not only will you have up to two terabytes of storage, metadata, reminders, document-linking, file versioning and much more, but you also gain document management with approval for your company.

In addition, the Folderit cloud is encrypted and has triple backups on the server side. If that is not sufficient security for you, or if your company has a policy that requires it, you can also download a copy of your information at any time to enable offsite, non-internet storage. We fully understand the belt-and-suspenders theory of IT security.

If you have questions about how things work or why something isn’t working, our techs are always glad to provide answers for the many ways Folderit DMS can work for you.

Start your 30-day free trial here!