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Document Approval

Nicky Metcalfe Author: Nicky Metcalfe

Having an efficient document approval process in place that can adapt when approvers are on holiday or working from home, can make all the difference.  It ensures bottlenecks do not appear, that documents are approved in a timely manner and that there's a record of acceptance on important documents such as contracts, work policies and invoices. 

What Is Document Approval?

Document approval is a sequence of steps required to review and approve documents and deliverables.  A document should follow a defined path from draft through to the final product.  There will be designated employees who are authorised to make approvals and a document should not be shared or used for reference until it has had sign off.  

Document approvals may be needed as a part of a variety of processes such as contract management, tender responses, architects drawings or invoice processing.

A Document Journey 

Whatever the document may be; whether it's a Contract, Statement of Works, Purchase Requisition etc. it should be first created in draft form.  It will then be sent to others for review and any changes made need to be tracked and a new version created.  The final step is approval, where it is signed off as correct and can be used by the wider business. Number steps

Financial documents such as Invoices and Purchase Orders may need to go through a multi-step approval process where more than one approver is required.  For example, checks on a Purchase Order for new keyboards may need approval from the IT Manager first that the item is definitely required, and a second from the Finance Manager for sign off on the costs.  

What happens when these people are off, their workload is too big and the approval is missed or the paper document is lost on a desk?

The Problems With Manual Document Approvals and How to Solve Them

Manual approval processes cause delays and limit the ability to scale, making any issues worse during busy periods.  Bottlenecks in overall operations arise which cause stress for employees and further disruption. 

By moving away from manual processes with a digital solution, organisations can streamline operations, work more efficiently and save time and money.

With our software, documents are stored digitally, centrally and securely meaning information cannot be lost or misplaced.  A digital document approval workflow will follow or enhance the same sequence of steps a manual process did. 

The below challenges are those we hear the most about when speaking to organisations about the struggles they have managing document approval.

Working With Paper

Passing paper documents around is time consuming and it's easy for things to get lost. How do employees prioritise a big stack of papers? If you start from top to bottom the oldest requests take too long to process.  Paper and printing costs can quietly mount up and holding important information on paper is a security risk.

How DocTech Can Help

Our software removes the need for paper.  Documents are scanned or emailed into the system and stored digitally and securely.  Access is available from anywhere with an internet connection meaning you don't have to be in the office to approve a document.  Save money, resources and the environment by switching to a digital system.

Email Approvals

Missing emails

How does an approver prioritise what's in their inbox?  If they've been on holiday and come back to hundreds of emails, how quickly can the approval take place or could it be missed altogether?  A document sat in an inbox waiting to be approved means it can't progress on to the next step; in turn a supplier doesn't get paid or an order doesn't arrive.

How DocTech Can Help

With over loaded inboxes we know things can be missed which is why we automate task management and provide clear structure to the days tasks ahead.

Within the system, tasks can be bundled into priority lists that are automatically updated when new documents arrive than need approving.  Email notifications can be set up containing a direct link to the document that needs reviewing or approving. 

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If no action is taken after a set period, should an employee be on holiday for example, an email is sent to the next approver in line.  The process never stalls and no bottlenecks occur.

Missed Steps

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Steps in a process are more likely to be missed with manual document approval.  A new member of staff may not yet know all procedures and place an order they shouldn't.  An employee with a busy workload could overlook an approval or to clear their backlog quickly, say an invoice has been checked when it hasn't.

How DocTech Can Help

With a digital workflow, the system ensures every step in a process is complete before the next can be performed.  It provides accountability of who did what and when, and records this information which can be recalled in an audit.

Lack of Visibility

Paper, spreadsheets and emails offer no visibility to the wider organisation about the status of documents or where document approvals are up to.  Employees can waste time looking back through emails to see when they sent a Purchase Order, or trawling through contract versions to check which is the most up to date.

How DocTech Can Help

With all information available in a centralised system, its clear for all users to see where things are up to.  Approvals can be tracked and monitored and management can easily understand a document status as well as any outstanding work.

Workflow tasks keep employees notified of what approvals are needed, alongside any other task they are required to complete. Tasks can be reassigned if needed which means bottlenecks do not occur.

Why Choose DocTech for Digital Document Approval

Outdated systems and manual processes stop organisations from obtaining approvals quickly and efficiently.  Staff facing a day of repetitive tasks can be come demoralised, bored and mistakes creep in.

A digital solution from DocTech manages document approval, streamlines processes and saves employees time that was previously spent on finding documents, manual data entry and locating an approver. 

DocTech have decades of experience implementing Document Management Systems that can work as a standalone solution or be fully integrated with existing finance or ERP software.

Automatic document approval can take place based on amount, supplier or any other parameter a business requires.  When a document enters the system and meets these criteria, a digital workflow routes the document to key decision makers, removing manual checks.

A digital stamp is available to quickly review or add comments to any document, just as staff previously did on paper.

With DocTech software, we can improve approval times by up to 80% and cut data entry by 95%.

Not only does managing document approvals in this way improve processes, it also provides a full audit trail of approval history, recording who changed what and when.

To know more about digital document approvals or for a free demo of our software, get in touch with our team via email or call us on 0161 647 7040.

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Some of DocTech Clients

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york college
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