How to manage approval workflows across multiple Xero files
Best practices for multi-entity organisations as well as accounting and bookkeeping practices
It is quite common for organisations to have a number of entities that need to be handled separately. Therefore they set up separate Xero Organisations, and separate Xero files are used to capture and process the respective accounting data.
However, an aggregated financial view across all entities is often required for making a proper cash flow prognosis, setting local budget thresholds for departments and, not least important, enforcing the same financial controls across all the locations.
ApprovalMax takes care of these needs by enabling multi-level and multi-role authorisation workflows, which automate the approval process and make paper redundant. Being pre-integrated with Xero, ApprovalMax facilitates seamless work with multiple Xero files.
Support for centralised accounting
For organisations that have a centralised accounting function but are set up as multiple entities with several Xero Organisations for each entity, Xero allows accessing and switching between these Organisations without having to log in anew.
Similarly to Xero, ApprovalMax also keeps all Xero-connected Organisations under the same ApprovalMax account, which means you don’t have to log in and out every time you want to switch between Organisations.
Ease of use for approvers: single inbox and unified notifications
A key benefit of ApprovalMax for Approvers is the single inbox, which shows all approval requests regardless of the Xero Organisation they originate from. That saves a lot of time because you don’t need to search for requests or switch between Organisations to find them.
Both the web version and the mobile app provide this feature. Regardless of a document’s origin, Bills and Purchase Orders can be approved from the email notification – as long as you’re logged in with your email address and provided that you’re using the same email address for the different ApprovalMax Organisations.
Additionally, a notification email is sent automatically to all Approvers across the various Organisations, with a summary listing all requests pending their decision. Again, a great time saver, relieving you of remembering open requests and searching for them across multiple Organisations.
Pic 1: Single inbox for all approval requests
Simplified purchase order raising
ApprovalMax enables both raising Purchase Orders and approving them in the app. Once approved, Purchase Orders are pushed to Xero and also used for matching Bills and Purchase Orders in ApprovalMax.
Sometimes it is necessary to authorise the same Purchase Order Requester for multiple Xero-connected Organisations. This is fully supported by ApprovalMax. Simply use the same email address in the Purchase Order Requester matrix of all the Xero-connected Organisations to which you want to assign this Requester.
To raise a Purchase Oder within a particular Organisation, the Purchase Order Requester needs to select the respective Organisation beforehand.
Pic 2: PO Creation for a Xero-connected Organisation
Granular approval rights for each Xero-connected organisation
Normally, each organisational entity has its own and particular list of Approvers; possibly with the exception of the Director and the CFO level. Local managers, supervisors, etc. have to be uniquely identified and their individual approval rights need to be allocated.
ApprovalMax fully supports the option of specifying certain Approvers and granular approval rights in the Approver matrix of each Xero-connected Organisation.
Customised cross-organisational reports
Establishing a correct cash flow forecast or expediting audit preparations, for instance, often requires running a report across several Xero Organisations in order to compile the relevant data such as all Bills pending approval or all open Purchase Orders.
ApprovalMax provides professional services, which make configuring customised reports and running them either on demand or scheduled fast and easy.
Copying existing approval workflows
A major advantage of introducing automated approval workflows lies in standardising the accounting authorisation process across the whole of your organisation.
In case of multiple entities, there is usually one approval workflow created first and then cloned for the other entities, modifying the specified Approvers if necessary.
ApprovalMax provides professional services, which make copying and adapting a particular approval workflow for other entities fast and easy.
This was originally published in XU Magazine 19.