I've never seen or heard of this being possible. Let me pose a question: What if it did go into one "bucket" and an approver that has access to that bucket approves the report? In your scenario, there are 4 different departments that expenses are being charged against. So, the report should be reviewed by each of these departments' approver. However, once approved by the first person who opened the report in the "bucket', the report would progress to the next step of the approval process without the other three department heads being able to see the report.
Also, what if it did go into one queue and two approvers both have it open at the same time and one approves it but the approver sends it back to the employee? This would definitely cause some issues or errors to occur. This is why the system is designed to go into one default approver queue at a time then have that person select the next person that needs to see it. Lastly, the Processor is then the person who double-checks to make sure all necessary approvals have taken place if an expense has been charged against multiple departments.
I hope this makes sense.
That does make sense. What it ends up losing is potentially the time of sitting in an approvers status that isn't ready to approve and an approver that is ready to approve who doesn't know about the expense yet.
Dept A = 100
Dept B = 200
Dept C = 300
Dept D = 400
Expenses are coded. Notifications go out to all 4 Dept managers that they have something to approve. The document stays in the "bucket"/status until there has been approval for all 4 departments. It cannot move forward without approval from all departments.
If it gets sent back then, once it is updated the Dept managers that still need to approve it get notified as it is now back in the "bucket"/status.
If 3 people approve for their departments, it stays in the "bucket"/status until the 4th person approves it or it times out.
Once all 4 have approved it, it moves on to accounting for review.
So the rule would be Dept A manager must approve 100, Dept B manager must approve 200, Dept C manager must approve 300 and Dept D manager must approve 400 for the expense to move on.
Alternatively, is there a rule/process to allow an expense to auto-forward if there is more than 1 department coded? This would not save the waiting time but would enforce all departments have approved before moving to accounting for review.
Thank you for your input!!
What you are suggesting sounds very similar to the Cost Object Approver process we use. We wanted our Project Managers to approve expenses allocated to their projects. We feed Concur a list of each project and the employee who is supposed to approve costs to those projects. The end user completes his expense report (which can have multiple projects and approvers) and upon submittal, Concur matches the allocations with the Cost Object Approver and notifies each COA that they have an item to approve. Each approver can see the entire report, but the transaction that is their responsibility to approve is indicated by an icon. The total amount they are approving is listed at the bottom of the report.
Since you cannot approve your own expenses, if an employee is submitting expenses against a project that they are also the Cost Object Approver for, the report enters a second approval workflow for the employee's manager to approve the report.
Pros: *Multiple approvers can approve the same report at the same time. The report is not waiting to be forwarded to the next approver. *No need to submit multiple reports because you are limiting each report to a specific project or projects being managed by the same PM.
Cons: *If the report is returned for any reason, everyone has to approve it again. *Each approver can see the entire report so could possibly have insight into items that are sensitive in nature. *All Cost Object Approvers must approve the report before it can move to the Manager Approval Workflow if necessary. *Managers do not alway see expense reports submitted by the employees that report to them.
The list of approvers and approval status is available in the Details > Approval Flow of each expense report.
@tladen I was thinking the same thing when I read the question. The only difference in our workflow is that the Manager sees the report first to approve what their own employee is doing, then it moves on to the COAs. That way the manager is always in the loop. Once the COAs all approve it moves on to the Processors.
@JenniferM That option of having the manager approve first was not presented to us when we moved to COA. I like it! Will be contacting our System Admin team asap. Thank you!
Agreed!! Can either of you share the workflow or let me know how I can get it set up this way? If it is easier, I can call or email you.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
@dworth Daryl -- I think we started with our Concur Client Executive, but my dept manager at the time handled that side of things, so I could be remembering incorrectly. And we had a dedicated system admin at that time as well, so that made it a piece of cake.
There was a fee to change the configuration.
You can find information regarding COA on the support site.
@dworth we set ours up that way from the beginning so I'm not sure what all has to happen when a current workflow is adjusted. This is how ours runs though:
Cardholder/Delegate ---> External Validator (cheching for any errors that'll keep from posting to AX software) ---> Approving Manager ---> COA ---> Processor (Accounting Review 1) ---> Processor (Accounting Review 2) ---> External Validator
We have our COA set up at the Cost Center level so we can have any expense charged to a certain cost center reviewed by them, regardless of what division the cardholder is from.
^^ Hope that worked to flag you guys.
I just wanted to confirm the process you stated:
Originator (person starting the expense report) attaches receipts, codes expenses, adds comments, etc then submits.
External Validator (assume a person in AP who knows COA and codes) checks for coding errors…. Then can fix or send back? Is this the Concur Processor Role where they can make changes?
Approving Manager checks for completeness and compliance to rules. Can send back to Originator or Approve. (Can they modify as well?)
COA does the routing for other Departments, if necessary. Can send back to Originator or Approve. (Can they modify as well?)
Processor (Accounting Review1) can make changes or Approve. Is this the Concur Processor Role where they can make changes?
Processor (Accounting Review2) can make changes or Approve. Is this the Concur Processor Role where they can make changes?
External Validator – is this where they import the data into the Financial System? (same person as above?)
Hi Tina, thanks for your detailed answer. We have just implemented Expense using COA and it works ok, but we do not use your 'secondary' process in those cases where the user is also the COA. This sound very interesting. We are actually adding a second COA to cover these cases, but that means that we will have two approvers in cases where we only need one.
Are you able to skip the secondary, manager approbal, if the COA approval is OK?
Thanks in advance.
In our current COA workflow, the only time the report moves on to Manager Workflow is when the report submitter is also the COA for the project expenses have been allocated to. If not, once COA approval is complete, the report moves to processing.
We are actually looking at changing this since the main complaint of our current process is that managers don't always see expense reports for their direct report employees.
The workflow that @JenniferM described would actually solve our problem. The submitter's manager views the report first, then it moves on to the COAs. This adds a second layer of approval and oversight of every expense by the submitter's manager which will solve another problem we ran into where a Senior PM could possibly allocate questionable costs to a project that one of his direct reports was COA for.
Hope that answers your question ... I have a bad habit of going into too much detail. 🙂
The suggestion of Cost Object Approval is a good suggestion. I didn't bring it up due to the complex nature of getting it set up. Most likely, someone at SAP Concur will need to do it for you. Start with your SAP Concur Client Success Manager. They should be able to give you all the information about it, including cost. Good Luck. 🙂