The invoice approval process

Approvals should be avoided as much as possible in the accounts payable process. There is a significant bottleneck involved in waiting for a manager to approve an invoice, so use as many other alternatives as possible.For example:

  • Use purchase order as approval. If the purchasing department has already issued a purchase order, then the purchase order itself should be sufficient evidence that an invoice can be paid.
  • Eliminate approvals for small amounts. Establish a threshold invoice amount, below which there is no need for an approval.
  • Use negative approvals. Send an invoice copy to an approver, with instructions to only respond if there is a problem with the invoice. The accounts payable staff will assume that all other invoices have been approved by default.
  • Obtain approvals in person. If it is absolutely necessary to obtain an approval, have an accounting person hand-deliver the invoice, answer any questions posed by the approver, and bring back the signed invoice. Doing so is time-consuming, but ensures that invoices will be returned in a timely manner.