Approval Process - An Overview

An approval process is a method used by organizations to approve business-related budgets, invoices, orders, payments, discounts, and job applications. Over time, it has become an essential part of business processes, so many organizations have begun using automated approvals to increase efficiency and save time.

For example, a travel agency that offers a 10 percent discount receives a request from a client who wants to redeem a gift voucher in addition to using the discount. A request of this kind cannot be approved by the agent, they need to get approval from their direct manager and the rewards and incentives department. The agent also needs to inform the tour manager to close the voucher once its redeemed.

When multiple approvals are required to complete a process, there is a risk of inadvertent delays or miscommunication. Therefore, the best approach is to automate the approval so that:

  • The manager receives an approval request and once they approve it a notification is sent to the head of the rewards and incentives department. Queuing the request will ensure that the approvals are always given in order.
  • After approval, the agent is assigned a task to inform the tour manager to close the voucher.
  • Once the tour manager closes the voucher, the "Gift Voucher" field will be marked "Redeemed".

Let's now look at the different elements of the approval process.

Elements of an Approval Process

The approval process consists of the following components:

Rule criteria

An option to specify which records should be considered for approval. For example, only the requests that need gift voucher redemption when a discount has already been provided should be sent for approval. Other records do not need to be sent for approval.

The rule criteria should be

Whenever the discount field has a value and the gift voucher field is Yes, the request must be sent for approval.

Approval actions

Actions that will occur when a record is approved. Fields can be updated after each person's approval and actions related to email notifications, tasks, webhooks, and functions can happen on the final approval.

Rejection actions

Actions that will occur when a record is rejected. Field updates, email notifications, webhooks, and functions can be set.

When to execute

The condition that decides whether the approval request should be sent when a record is created or edited.

Who should approve

The approvers who will be responsible for approving the record. The selected person will be sent a notification.

The approvers can be:

  • CRM users
  • Users from a particular role
  • Groups
  • Levels
  • Managers
  • Record Owners

**Levels: Levels work based on the role hierarchy set in CRM. If 1st level is selected, then the record owner's immediate superior or direct manager will be the approver. If 2nd level is selected, then the person one level higher than the owner's direct manager will be the approver. If up to 2nd level is selected, then both the direct manager and the person above them will be approvers.


The approver can delegate approval to another user.


The rejected record is resubmitted for approval. The record must be resubmitted within 60 days.

Record locking

By default, the record that is pending approval will be locked to prevent users from editing the record.

Record unlocking

If records are resubmitted and they do not match the rule criteria in any of the approval processes, then the record will be unlocked.

Approval order

The sequence in which approval must be done when more than one approver is selected. There are two orders:

  • Anyone: Any approver can approve the record.
  • Everyone: This is further divided into sequential or parallel. In sequential approval, the approval notification is queued and the second approver is only sent the notification after the first person gives their approval, and so on. In parallel, every approver is sent a notification at the same time and can approve the record in any order.

In the next section, we will discuss more about configuring approvals for different business requirements.