An approval process is an automated process used to approve records or form requests. It neatly visualizes the workflow of the approval process at each step along with the name of the Approvers. You can check the details of the approval process like when a record is submitted for approval, status of the record - Approved/Rejected, and who approved.
An approval request is an email, notifying the recipient that a record was submitted for approval and that is waiting for his/her approval.
The Approver is the user responsible for approving an approval request.
Set one or more criteria to satisfy the approval requirement. The approval process will be triggered when all the criteria requirements are satisfied.
Multi-level approval is a chain of approval process for a particular record. You can customize the approval process for each form as you require. There are 7 different approval actions. Let's see how each action in the Multi-level approval works.
Reporting To: 'Reporting to' has up to 5 levels of approval process and it depends on your organization hierarchical structure.
Department Lead of Login User: Department Lead of the user who is sending an approval request.
Approver based on Role: Approver can be any defined role in your organization. If you choose 'Admin' as the Approver for the form, any employee who has the 'Admin' role can approve the leave request.
Department Head: Your organization may have various departments like Accounts, Engineering, Marketing, Finance Department etc., If you choose Zoho Accounts in the 'Department' field, then only the Head/Manager of the Accounts Department will be able to approve the request.
Department Members: Department members are those who belong to a specific department. If you choose HR department as the 'Approver', members those who are in the HR department will be able to approve the request.
Employee: All the individuals in the organization will be listed. You can choose any individual from the list as Approver.
Allow employees to choose the approver when adding a record: When this option is configured, employees are at liberty to choose the approver without any restrictions.
Defining criteria will neatly organize the flow and makes approval process much easier. Set one or more criteria to meet the requirement conditions in order for the records to be filtered and send for approval. You can configure multiple different criteria for each approval process and also you can configure multiple individual approvals for one single form based on different criteria.
For example, for the 'Leave' form, you can configure individual approval process for 'Sick Leave', 'Casual Leave', 'Maternity Leave', 'Vacation Leave' etc., with different criteria based on the conditions. The approval process will be triggered when all the criteria requirements are satisfied.
Only Administrator(s) of the account can configure the approval process for the forms. Once the approval process is configured, the form record added will go through the approval process. Simultaneoulsy, an email notification will be sent to Approver(s) and other users in the 'To Address' list notifying about the record. Approvers can view the approval records under Home --> Approvals.
How to configure Approval Process
As you can configure multiple approvals with different criteria for a single form, execution flow must be set for the approval process to be executed in a perfect way. This will send the records submitted for approval in an order and in the way you want them to be approved.
How to configure Approval Execution flow
Here are few examples to show you how effectively criteria based approval works in certain use cases.
Let's take the Maternity Leave Type as an example for this scenario. Say, if your organization allows up to 90 days of leave for Maternity leave type. If your employee is taking more than 90 days of Maternity Leave, then you need to configure Approval. You can configure multi-level approval as per your hierarchical structure.
Here, let's take Reporting To --> 2 level approval process as an example. If an employee applies for maternity leave for 100 days, it will go to the first level who is the direct 'Reporting Manager' and then to the Second level who is the Product Manager. Once the Reporting Manager approves, the request will go to Product Manager for approval. If the request is rejected at the first level, the approval will not go the next level.
Here's the process flow explained one by one of how this approval will work.
Criteria based approval works best for Timesheet case. Timesheets are generated mainly for the approval process to get a summarized report of an employee's time logs and to know how much that employee has worked on a particular task. Timesheets can be auto generated by simply configuring the 'Scheduler' which will generate timesheets periodically and send them for approval as per the scheduled frequency and time. You may filter timesheets to be send for approval by setting up criteria. So, only timesheets which meets the criteria requirement will be send for approval.
For example, let's consider an employee should work minimum of 45 Billable hours per week. For this case, you can set criteria as shown in the image below.
Now, let's consider the same scenario for priority based approval process.
We have provided 'Cumulative Fields' specifically for the Leave form. Using criteria, you can define the maximum leave count for a leave type, an employee can avail for a month or for a year. Let's consider, an employee can avail ony 2 days of Casual Leave per month. Up to 2 days of Casual Leave, approval is not needed. It will be auto approved. If it exceeds 2 days, the request will be send for approval based on the configuration.
In the image below, we have defined 'This Month Leave Count' for Casual Leave Type is 2. So, if an employee applies for more than 2 days of Casual Leave, the approval process will be triggered. The request will be send for approval based on the approval hierarchy.
To edit the approval process template, please follow the steps below
To enable/ disable an approval process template, please follow the steps below.
To delete the approval process template, please follow the steps below.
The records that are waiting for approval will be listed under the Approver's Dashboard.
To view the pending requests,
The records submitted for approval will be listed under the Requester's Dashboard.
To view the list of records submitted for approval.
When you create a new record in a form, you can either save the partially filled form as a draft or send it for approval. Generally, when you submit a form record, it immediately goes for approval. However, while creating a form record, you can determine whether the form should be submitted for approval or just saved as a draft.
For example, while adding a record in the 'Employee Form', you might not know all the details of your employees. In that case, you can just save the form in it's current state and send it for approval once when you finish filling out all the details.
How do I Save a form record
You can later edit the form and send it for approval.
How do I view my Drafted Forms?