Cat Coyne Jul 4, 2022 9:32:13 AM 10 min read

From A to B: Approval Workflows & Invoice Processing

Approval workflows. Not exactly two words that set the imagination on fire, huh?

We could’ve gone for something a bit more exhilarating, like Approval Superhighways, or Approval Mega-Fire-Rockets.

Instead, you’ll have to settle for a cheesy metaphor to spark your interest.

Imagine, if you will, that approval workflows are the unlikely superheroes at the heart of Compleat AP Automation. They walk among us unseen, lurking in shadows waiting for an unwitting invoice to appear, ready to don their capes at any moment & swoop to rescue all stray approvers who fall behind. All this in the flicker of an eye.

So integral are they to our very livelihoods that the city – I mean, your Accounts Payable department, wouldn’t be safe without them. (Told you it was cheesy.)

But who – what – are they?

Let us explain: Approval Process Workflows - From Start to Finish

What are approval workflows in Compleat?

Compleat approval workflows are the existing invoice approval processes in your company, automated, streamlined, & one-hundred-percent effective every time. They are, put simply, approval processes that just work.

Our flexible, customizable approval workflows mirror your existing approval processes down to a tee. No frustrated employees in your Finance department resorting to knocking on doors, sending reminder emails, hunting frantically for the first available approver, & generally wasting time when they could be doing more important things.

Every invoice or order that needs approving simply lands in the right person’s tray the moment it needs to be approved. Compleat even sends them a nudge so that you don’t have to.

When an invoice is fully approved by all the right people, Compleat automatically posts it to your finance system ready for payment.

How on earth does that happen?

Creating an approval workflow in Compleat is quick, easy, & fun.

It starts with an approval group. Simply click to add your first approval group, select the user – or users – who you want to be part of the approval group, & you’re away!

When there are multiple users in an approval group, only one of them needs to approve a transaction to complete the approval process for that group. Basically, whoever gets to the transaction first makes the decision. That’s useful if there are many managers who have the authority to approve a particular type of invoice or order.

Next, click to add more approval groups. You can add approval groups either at the same level, or the level after your first approval group.

In Compleat speak, when there are multiple approval groups at the same level in a workflow, we call it “simultaneous approvals”. In this scenario every single approval group at that level needs to approve the invoice or order for it to advance to the next level.

Once you’ve added a few approval groups, you can rearrange the workflow by clicking & dragging approval groups to the right place.


Workflows can get as big & complex as you need them to be. There’s no limit to how many approval groups you can add, or how wacky they end up looking.

Approval workflows customization tricks

Once you’ve got your people in place, it’s time to add some bells & whistles. You can drill down into approval groups to fine-tune their function in the workflow using almost any criteria.

Here are some of our favorite customization tricks:

1. Add an approval threshold so the approval group only comes into play if a transaction that needs approving exceeds a certain gross, or net value.

2. Create a rule so that the approval group only comes into play if a transaction that needs approving is related to a specific supplier.

Add multiple rules if you want it to apply to a group of several suppliers.

3. Create a rule so that the approval group only comes into play if an invoice or order that needs to be approved by the workflow contains a specific item description. 

Send all the A4 paper purchase orders to your designated paper person!

4. Save your approval groups with a name so you can use them again in other workflows. No need to keep creating approval groups from scratch!

Plus, say your Office Manager leaves the business, you can just add their new replacement to the “Office Manager” approval group, & every workflow containing that approval group will update to include the new starter.

As well as being able to customize approval groups within workflows, you can adjust a few handy workflow settings to bring your workflows up to scratch.

This includes giving your workflow a distinctive name, selecting whether the workflow will apply to invoices & credit notes, orders, or any type of transaction, & allowing multiple approvals.

Multiple approvals means that if a user appears more than once in a workflow for any reason, they can approve more than once in that workflow, too. Switching this off restricts any users who appear multiple times in a workflow to only being able to approve once within the workflow.

This is a useful setting for organizations in the charitable sector, whose workflows don’t allow multiple approvals.

Invoicing Software for Small Businesses

With a fleet of all-singing, all-dancing approval workflows marching to the beat of your drum, you’ve got yourself one well-oiled Compleat AP Automation solution.

Compleat can automatically apply the right workflows in the scenarios that they’re needed, & offer your processing team & order creators access to the workflows relevant to them, at the time they’re relevant.

The second they submit a transaction to a workflow, their work is done.

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A quick & painless intervention to say it’s keeping an entire city safe, don’t you think?

Check out Compleat AP Automation or get in touch with us to find out more.


Cat Coyne

Cat loves the kind of trusty, low-maintenance tech that ticks along in the background for peace of mind, like the automated microchip sensor cat flap on her front door that gives her three cats freedom & safety. More time for Cat, & more time for the things that matter to her (mainly cats...).
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