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Defining custom approval workflows
Defining custom approval workflows

Define your custom approval workflows in Payhawk based on the different types of expenses at your company.

Boris Angelov avatar
Written by Boris Angelov
Updated over a week ago

Managing expense approvals can be tough. Different departments, amounts, and expense types might require different approvers before the invoice gets paid. You might even have an approval process for card payments, making sure that each transaction is a company expense before it's reviewed by your Accounting team.

Payhawk enables you to define custom workflows for each expense type you have at your company.

Specifics

To enable the definition of an approval workflow for the expense types, the Submit option must be switched on.

  • If Submit is On, you can either define an approval workflow for the expense type or not.

  • If Submit is Off, the Approval option will be set to Off by default.

Submit defines whether employees will be required to explicitly submit an expense or not. Expenses that have their Submit option switched off will directly move to the Review tab as soon as they are created.

Amount-based approval chains

When you set the approval conditions for your expense types, Payhawk allows you to define not only a role or a specific person as approvers but also amount-based rules. These approval chains can be single-step, multistep sequential, or multistep non-sequential.

Single-step approval chains

A single-step approval chain enables employees to submit expense requests only to the most relevant person who has been defined as the approver for this amount.

For example, let's assume that you have defined the following approval chain for the Mileage expense type at your company:

  • Up to EUR 200 will be approved by the Team Manager.

  • Up to EUR 500 will be approved by the Development Budget Manager.

  • Amounts greater than EUR 500 (Unlimited threshold) will be approved by any Payhawk administrator.

As a result, if an employee submits a Mileage expense request for:

  • EUR 200, then only the Team Manager will receive the expense request and will be required to approve it.

  • EUR 500, then only the Development Budget Manager will receive the expense request and will be required to approve it.

  • EUR 501, then only the Payhawk administrator will receive the expense request and will be required to approve it.

Multistep sequential approval chains

A multistep sequential approval chain requires all relevant approvers to approve expense requests one after the other (in sequence) for each specific threshold.

For example, let's assume that you have defined the following approval chain for the Mileage expense type at your company:

  • Up to EUR 100 will be approved by the Second-Level Manager.

  • Up to EUR 300 will be approved by the Team Manager.

  • Amounts greater than EUR 300 (Unlimited threshold) will be approved by any Payhawk administrator.

As a result, if an employee submits a Mileage expense request for:

  • EUR 150, first, the Second Level Manager will receive the expense request.

  • Once the Second-Level Manager has approved the expense, the Team Manager will receive the expense request for final approval.

Multi-step non-sequential approval chains

A multi-step non-sequential approval chain requires all relevant approvers to approve expense requests simultaneously (in parallel).

For example, let's assume that you have defined the following approval chain for the Mileage expense type at your company:

  • Up to EUR 200 will be approved by the Team Manager.

  • Up to EUR 500 will be approved by any Payhawk accountant.

  • Amounts greater than EUR 500 (Unlimited threshold) will be approved by any Payhawk administrator.

As a result, if an employee submits a Mileage expense request for EUR 700, the Team Manager, the Payhawk accountants, and the Payhawk administrators will all receive the expense request at the same time.

Default fallback mechanisms

If a defined workflow depends on a certain role that is missing - for example, there are no team managers for a team - Payhawk applies default fallback mechanisms so that the expense requests can still be processed through an alternative approval chain.

  • If Payhawk cannot identify users required for a workflow, then the workflow will skip the current step and go to the next one.

  • If Payhawk cannot identify users required for a workflow at the only or the last workflow step, then the expense request will be forwarded to all Payhawk administrators.

Customizing the fallback behavior

The default mechanisms of the workflow fallbacks can be customized and set to the individual needs of your company.

To define custom fallback behavior:

  1. Go to the Settings > Workflows > Advanced tab.

  2. Click on Edit fallbacks.

  3. From the drop-down menus, define the fallbacks.

  4. When ready, click on Save changes.

In the following cases, Payhawk will not be able to execute the fallback mechanisms and will send an approval request according to the defined custom role:

  • If the roles fall back on each other (cyclical fallback behavior).

  • If the workflow falls back to a non-existent next approval step.

Useful resources

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