Manager Approvals

Welcome to the final edition of ‘On the Inside’ for 2017 which details the latest upgrade and enhancement to AccountAbility. There’s some very important changes we want to highlight, particularly our focus on mobile optimization and extending ‘Manager Approvals’ to Supplier Invoices and Purchase Orders.

Last but not least, we would like to wish you a safe and happy festive season and thank you for your patronage and support for AccountAbility.

Manager Approvals Menu change

The following functions which were previously located under the ‘TIME & RESOURCES’ menu have been moved to a separate ‘MANAGE’ menu section:


General Ledger Reports Menu Change

The various groups of GL Reports listed below have been split out into separate pages each with their own menu selection under ACCOUNTING / GENERAL LEDGER / GENERAL LEDGER REPORTS. The purpose of this change is to allow you, should you wish to grant user access rights to some GL reports but not others.

For example, you might give a User Access Group rights to access the GL CLIENT BILLING & REVENUE REPORTS, but not give them access to the more sensitive reports such as PROFIT & LOSS REPORTS. The new separate Menu groups are:


Mobile Development

We live in a mobile world, and at AccountAbility we are committed to providing you with a great user experience on your smart phones and tablets. By default, all AccountAbility pages will “work” on your phone or tablet – but to improve the mobile experience we have embarked on a program to create special versions of AccountAbility pages that are optimized for small screen devices.

How this works is that when you log in to AccountAbility on a small screen device, the system detects that and when you select a function (such as My Time) you are given the ‘mobile’ version of that page – rather than the standard page you get on your computer.

Functionally, the ‘mobile optimized’ pages we develop work much the same as the standard pages – and we think you will intuitively understand how to use them, they just look and feel slightly different. For example – see below the new ‘mobile optimized’ version of the My Expenses pages, you will notice there are no buttons on the pages, instead – see the ‘ACTIONS’ option on the top right – selecting this enables you to enact all the same actions that you would click a button for on the standard page.

The other navigation change is editing an entry – to edit an entry, just tap the entry twice to invoke the ‘edit’ function for that line – see the example below:

In this most recent update of AccountAbility, there are more than 20 new ‘mobile optimized’ pages – comprising all of the pages and sub-pages under the following functions:

  • My Corporate Credit Cards
  • My Expense Claims
  • My Credit Cards
  • My Leave

We have also created mobile optimized pages for various ‘Manger Approval’ functions including Leave and Expense claims. For example when a Manager receives an AccountAbility email notifying them that one of their people has submitted a Leave request for their approval – if the Manager clicks the link in the approval on their smart phone – a mobile optimized page is loaded for them to review and approve/reject the Leave application.

We are focusing this mobile optimization project on AccountAbility functions that your people are most likely to be away from their computer or on the road.

Supplier Invoice & Purchase Order ‘Manager Approval’ function

This optional work-flow feature allows for a second level of approvals for Supplier invoices and Purchase Orders – where you would like a Manager (such as an Account Manager) to sign off on Supplier Invoices /PO’s relating to their clients, before those supplier invoices/PO’s can receive final approval.

The ‘Supplier Invoice’ Manager Approval function is explained in detail below – because the Purchase Order Manager Approval function works exactly the same way, we have not repeated the information for PO’s – once you understand how Supplier Invoice Manager Approvals work then you will understand the equivalent for PO’s.

The work flow process can be summarized as follows:

  • Supplier Invoice is entered as normal (usually by Finance)
  • The Invoice is ‘submitted’ for Manager Approval (by one or more Managers)
  • Manager(s) Approves the invoice (or rejects it)
  • Once Approved by the Manager – the invoice is now available for the final Approval (i.e. the existing approval function)

Setting up the Manager Approval function

If your company wishes to use the Supplier Invoice ‘Manager Approval’ function – first step is to switch the function on (it is switched off by default so if your company doesn’t want to use the function – then you don’t need to do anything.)

Go to SET UP FILES / APPROVAL SETTINGS. Check the ‘APPROVAL REQUIRED’ box for ‘Manage Supplier Invoices’:

Now, go to SET UP FILES / USER ACCESS groups. For each user group that will have access to the ‘Manage Supplier Invoices’ function – add the transaction type ‘Manage Supplier Invoices’ to the ‘Selected’ panel on the right of the page:

Your next step is to define which ‘Managers’ have some level of approval rights/requirements for Supplier Invoices.
Go to MASTER FILES /EMPLOYEES – find the ‘Manager’ you want to set up and open the detail page for that employee. Make sure their ‘Approval Rights’ are set as ‘Defined’ – then click the ‘Approval Rights’ link at the top right of the page.

First – check the APPROVAL RIGHTS box for the TRANSACTION TYPE ‘Manage Supplier Invoices’. You then need to define the Approval Level that Manager will have for supplier invoices, choose from the following:

  • Company Level – this means the Manager must approve every Supplier Invoice for the company. This is quite an ‘onerous’ setting – since it means no Supplier Invoice in the company can receive final approval until this Manager has approved it first.
  • Office Level – this means the Manager must approve every Supplier Invoice for one or more offices. After selecting this level – you then need to define the applicable Office(s) for this Manager – as follows:
    • Check the box on the far left for TRANSACTION TYPE ‘Manage Supplier Invoices’
    • Check the hyperlink ‘Offices’ at top right
    • Select the Offices that this Manager must approve all Supplier Invoices for
  • Client Level – this means the Manager must approve every Supplier Invoice that is assigned to Jobs for particular Client(s). For example if you wanted to define that all Supplier Invoices assigned to Jobs for the Clients this Manager is responsible for – you would select this level. After selecting this level – you then need to define the applicable Client(s) for this Manager – as follows:
    • Check the box on the far left for TRANSACTION TYPE ‘Manage Supplier Invoices’
    • Check the hyperlink ‘Clients’ at top right
    • Select the Clients that this Manager must approve all supplier invoices for

Next you need to define what ‘type’ of Supplier Invoices this Manager must approve:

  • If the Manager must approve only ‘Billable’ Supplier Invoices, check that box, if they only need to approve ‘Non Billable’ invoices (for example your CFO might need to approve all ‘Non Billable’ or expense related Supplier Invoices, then check that option. Check both Billable and Non-Billable where applicable

Next you need to define whether the Manager should be notified when a Supplier Invoice is submitted for their approval:

  • Check ‘SEND MESSAGE’ if you would like the Manager to receive an AccountAbility message
  • Check ‘SEND EMAIL’ if you would like the Manager to receive an email

Next – you might want top set approval values for the Manager

  • If the Manager is only authorized to approve Supplier Invoices up to a certain value – enter the ‘APPROVAL LIMIT’
  • If the manager is only required to approve Supplier Invoices above a certain value – enter the ‘APPROVAL MINIMUM’

Some things to note:

  • Unlike the Manager Approval functions for Leave, Credit card, Expense Claims etc. (which are driven by Employee/Manager relationships) a single Supplier Invoice may require approval from more than one Manager. For example if you set up one Manager with ‘Company Level’ approval rights, and another Manager with ‘Client Level’ approval rights for say client ‘ABC’ – if a Supplier Invoice was submitted for approval that had a cost assigned to a job for client ‘ABC’, then both of those Managers would need to approve the invoice before it is available for final approval
  • Managers are required to approve individual lines on Supplier Invoices – for example you may have a supplier invoice that has lines for jobs of 2 different clients – depending on the way you structure the Approval Rights – it could be that a different Manager is required to approve each line.

So how does it work?

When a Supplier Invoice is entered – the user must then click the ‘SUBMIT’ button – this can be done from either:

  • The Supplier Invoice detail screen – just click the ‘SUBMIT’ button
  • The Supplier Invoice search screen (where you can check/select multiple invoices) – just click the ‘SUBMIT’ button

When an invoice is ‘Submitted’ AccountAbility compares the detail line information on the invoice to the ‘Manager Approval’ configurations – and creates ‘Manager Approval Required’ records accordingly for that invoice (it may generate multiple ‘Manager Approval Required’ records for the same invoice as outlined above).

At that point, the final Approval of that Supplier Invoice is now dependent on the Manager Approvals being carried out.
After ‘submitting’ a Supplier Invoice for Manager Approval – you can check which Manager(s) are required to approve the invoice, and what the status of those Manager Approval(s) is by opening the Supplier Invoice detail page and clicking the ‘Manager Approvals’ link at the top of the page:

How does a Manager approve (or reject) Supplier Invoices?

If the Manager approval settings ‘SEND MESSAGE/SEND EMAIL are checked (refer above) the Manager will receive an email and or message with a link where they can review and approve or reject the invoice.
Or, at any time a Manager can access a list of all invoices that require their approval by selecting the menu option ‘MANAGE / SUPPLIER INVOICES’

By default, this page lists all of the invoices that require the Manager’s approval:

To approve invoice(s) – just tick/check the invoices and click ‘Approve’

To reject an invoice – tick/check the invoice, click ‘Reject’ and enter some comments as to why the invoice is being rejected – this message and notification of the rejection will go back to the person who submitted the invoice for approval. Now the invoice will need to be re-submitted to get that manager’s approval.

It is important to note that only the Manager(s) assigned to Approve specific invoices may approve them. So let’s say for example there are 5 invoices that have been assigned to the Manager ‘John Smith’ – but for some reason John is not available to approve these invoices (maybe John is on leave) – how do we handle that?

Go to MANAGE / SUPPLIER INVOICES, set the ‘Approver’ filter to John Smith – and ‘Manager Approval Status’ to ‘Submitted’ – now you can see the invoices waiting for John’s approval. Tick/Check the relevant invoice(s) then click the ‘REASSIGN’ button – now you can select a different Manager, and those invoices will be re-assigned from John Smith to the selected Manager. (Note to carry out the ‘Reassign’ function outlined above the user must have unrestricted approval rights for Supplier Invoices.)

Corporate Credit Cards – pending submitted

The purpose of this function is to allow the user to be able to create a credit card charge, attach the receipt, code the charge and submit it for Manager approval, without having to wait for the ‘real’ charge to come through from the credit card company into AccountAbility. In effect – it means you can completely deal with a credit card transaction as soon as you have incurred the charge – here’s how it works;

From My Corporate Credit Cards, click the “+” sign (or the camera image on the mobile version of the page) – take a photo of the receipt, or if that receipt photo is already on you device – upload the photo. Now enter the date you incurred the expense, and the amount.

So at this point the charge you created is in a ‘Pending’ status. Now code the transaction as normal – assign the job, task type and description etc. – then click ‘Submit’

Now the charge moves to a ‘Pending Submitted’ status – waiting on the ‘real’ transaction to come through into AccountAbility – which may take 2-3 days.

When the ‘real’ transaction comes though – if the date and amount of the ‘real’ transaction match the details of the transaction you entered – the ‘Pending Submitted’ charge will be ‘matched’ to the ‘real charge’ and automatically submitted to your manager for approval.

So what happens if the system cannot “match” the charges? This might happen if you entered the wrong amount or date. So now you might see your ‘Pending Submitted’ charge and the ‘real’ charge in your list of charges. There are a couple of easy ways to fix this:

  • Open the ‘Pending Submitted’ charge and correct the error causing it to not be matched (e.g. correct the date or amount). Now click the ‘Match’ button/action and select the ‘real’ transaction to force a match
  • Just delete the ‘Pending Submitted’ charge – and go code and submit the ‘real’ charge

Corporate credit cards ‘smart coding’

The purpose of this function is to automatically code recurring credit card charges for you. Here’s how it works;

Let’s say you have an unsubmitted corporate credit card transaction for $75 from merchant ‘Microsoft’. When you log in to ‘My Corporate Credit Cards’  the system will check if you have previously had a charge for Microsoft for exactly the same amount. If you have – the new charge will be ‘smart coded’ for you with the same details as the previous charge.

All you have to do is submit the charge for approval (and you can first change the coding if you wish). Note this will only occur with ‘non billable’ charges – if the previous charge was coded to a billable job then the new transaction will not have the ‘smart coding’ applied.

The function is really designed to make the management of recurring monthly expense charges such as subscriptions easier to manage.

Change to Journals Un-approve function

This change only affects those AccountAbility companies who have the system option ‘Allow journals to be deleted’ switched off.

Prior to this change, when a “manually entered” (non-system generated) Journal was unapproved – the existing journal could then be edited and changed as required then re-approved – so there was no true audit trail of the journal. Now, when you unapprove a journal – let’s say the Journal number was “1000035” – the system will do two things:

  • Mark Journal number “1000035” as ‘Cancelled’
  • Create a new unapproved Journal number “1000035A”with the exact same details as “1000035” – so now you can change and then re-approve journal “1000035A” as required. If you then subsequently unapproved “1000035A” – then the system would create “1000035B and so on

You could then for example search journals, filter on journal number “1000035” , check the box “Show cancelled” and see a full history of the journal as it was at each point before it was unapproved.

Purchase Orders ‘Complete’ undo

If you inadvertently marked a PO as ‘Completed’ – you can now reverse this by opening the PO detail page and un-check “Completed’

New Client Statement format option

See the new format option “Outstanding Balances” – this format does not show any cash allocations or transactions for a range of dates– it simply lists the outstanding invoices/transactions and the amount outstanding as at a selected date.

Enhanced Revenue Tracker Dashboard

The dashboard now:

  • Displays the filtered date range in the page header
  • For each estimate – displays the total amount of revenue in the filtered period for each estimate (it previously displayed the total amount of revenue for the estimate regardless of the timing of that revenue
  • Displays the total Actual revenue and Estimated revenue for each probability in the probability total