Drive Efficiency with Flexible & Centralized Financial Approval Paths

We here at Systemates would like to thank those who were able to attend our second webinar in the Projectmates Power Hour series on July 16th. The topic of this webinar was Drive Efficiency with Flexible & Centralized Financial Approval Paths. During the webinar, Nicole Countryman and I discussed the new Global Approval Process feature introduced with Projectmates version 14.0.

Project Based Approval Processes

Projectmates provides rigorous approval processes across an individual project for Budgets, Contracts, Purchase Orders, Potential Change Orders, Change Orders and Invoices/Pay Applications. The software supports multiple people or roles added to the approvals to mimic your current workflow for approving these important cost tracking items. Additionally, Projectmates supports thresholds for these approvals as well. This allows you to bypass an approver if the dollar amount is not sufficient to trigger that person or role to approve an item.

For those items that fall outside the normal approvals, the project administrator can bypass the normal approval and create a custom approval process and send the item on that new path.

This feature has been extremely useful for approving cost tracking items within Projectmates, adding speed, transparency and accountability to the process. However, this project level approval process is not without disadvantages. The first disadvantage is the limitation of having only one approval track for each type of cost tracking item. The second is the time it takes to make changes to approval processes if you need to make those changes on multiple projects.

Based off customer feedback, we have created a brand new process for version 14.0 that can complement or completely replace the project level approvals.

Introducing Global Approvals

Projectmates Site Administrators can now create global approval processes for the different types of cost tracking items and apply these approvals to the entire Projectmates enterprise site. For example, procurement items, engineering commitments, and contractor commitments can all three be routed through a different approval track so that only the necessary people and departments are required to approve.

A second major advantage of global approval processes is that updates across the program are fast and easy. Updates are done at the site level, rather than the project level, so that any future cost tracking items will flow through the updated approval track regardless of project.

When a cost tracking item is created, the "Submit for Approval" process is slightly different with this new feature. When the initiator submits for approval, he or she will select the appropriate track. For example, if an architect is submitting an invoice for payment, he or she will pick the choice for Architectural Invoices and submit it. This will trigger an email to the first person or role in that global approval for this type of item.

Implementing the New Feature

For existing clients, implementing global approvals can be accomplished through a phased approach consisting of the following steps:

  1. Remove project level approval processes for Budgets, Contracts, Purchase Orders, Potential Change Orders, Change Orders and Invoices/Pay Applications. This way any new projects moving forward will only use global approvals. Over time, the standard project approvals will become obsolete as new projects are closed out.

  2. Create one or more approval tracks for each type of cost tracking item at the site level. Only create the approval tracks needed. We only want to introduce necessary items.

  3. Train users on the new method for selecting their approvals. A short email with the new changes should be sufficient to communicate the changes, or targeted conference calls to the different groups can be conducted as well.

  4. (Optional) Manually delete standard project approvals for active projects.

In conclusion, Projectmates is building on its robust features and customer centric focus to bring you this exciting new feature. This will be a game changer for many customers, saving them a lot of time and effort managing their projects and offering a lot more flexibility to make their approvals easy and efficient.

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