Admin Setup -  Time and Expense Approval Groups

Overview

Approval Groups are used to help manage the Approval process for Timesheets, Leave Requests, Expense Reports and Expense Requests.   These groups contain lists of approvers and submitters, and help control who should approve each user's entries and in what sequence a series of approvals may occur.

Approval Groups define a People (not project) relationship between Managers (e.g. Approvers) and Submitters (e.g. Time and Expense users).  As such, approval groups are referenced in the People reports to partially govern which users' data a Manager can see.  (See Restricting Manager Visibility for more information on that topic.)

Note that in addition to Manager Approvals via these approval group settings, you can also define Project and Customer approvers, who can conduct approvals on a project by project basis.  See Project Approvers for more information.

Roles

This screen is available to users having the Administrator, P&R Administrator, or HR Administrator role.

License

This screen is available with any Unanet license.

 

Topics covered on this help page include:

 

You may also be interested in:

 


Approval Group Overview

An Approval Group can have zero to many Approvers.  The Approval Groups may contain a list of Leave, Timesheet, Expense Request, and/or Expense Report Submitters.  A user may be associated with different Approval Groups for each approval type.  Users can be associated as submitter via this approval group maintenance screen as well as via the Administrative People Profile screen.

When a user submits their item (either a timesheet, leave request, expense report or expense requests), the control of that item is passed to the first person in that person's Approval Group.  As the item gets approved, it continues through all the managers in that Approval Group (from top to bottom as displayed on the screen) until everyone has approved that item.  At that point, the item is set to COMPLETED.   If an item is ever disapproved by any manager, control is always passed back to the owner of the item and the entire approval process must be done again.  

There are several steps needed to create this approval process:   

 

Note: Unanet has an email notification feature that sends a customized email message to each manager as they gain control of a timesheet they must approve.  A copy of that email message is sent to the owner of the timesheet.   Email is an option that can be turned off both at the Unanet System level or on an individual basis in their User Preferences.


Example Time and Expense Approval Groups maintenance screen:

There are several screens used to maintain approval groups.  Initially, you will be presented with the Approval Group Search/List screen, which will allow you to search for and list existing Approval Groups.

Search tab

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 

List tab

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

Once an Approval Group has been created, you can manage the details for the group via the edit icon () on the list.


Summary Tab

The summary tab is used to modify the name and description of the approval group.

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 


Approvers Tab

The Approvers tab is used to add and remove approvers to this approval group.

Add Approvers

To associate a Manager as an approver for the current approval group, use the filter to populate the Available People list.  Select one or many Available People and click on the right arrow button. Available people include users with a Manager role.

Note that in addition to adding an approver to an approval group, using the up and down arrows you can control the sequence in which the Manager approvals will occur (from top of the list to the bottom).  This reflects the default system behavior.  

Check out the Dynamic Approval Sequence help for more information about additional approval options with expense approval sequence.

Remove Approvers

Similar to adding an approver, in order to remove an approver from a group, simply select the desired entries in the Approvers list and click on the left arrow button.  

If either Require Timesheet Approval  (unatime.approval.required) or Require Approval for Expenses  (unasense.approval.required) is enabled, the system will enforce that you have at least one active approver in an approval group that has either time or expense submitters.

If Allow Self Approvals  (unanet.approve.self)  is enabled, you will be able to add a user as an Approver to an approver group where they are already defined as a Time or Expense Submitter.

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 


Leave Submitters Tab

The Leave Submitters tab is used to add and remove timesheet users to this approval group.  

Add Submitters

To associate a user as a leave submitter to the current approval group, use the filter to populate the Available People list.  Select one or many Available People and click on the right arrow button.  

Remove Submitters

In order to remove a submitter from a group, simply select the desired entries in the Submitters list and click on the left arrow button.  

If Require Approvals - Leave Request(approval_process.require.approval.leave)  is enabled, the system will enforce that leave submitters belong to an approval group.  Thus, you cannot remove a leave submitter from an approval group, but rather, you will need to add a leave submitter to their new group (which will in effect, remove them from their old group).

If Allow Self Approvals  (unanet.approve.self) is enabled, you will be able to add a user as a leave submitter to an approval group where they are already defined as an approver.

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 


Time Submitters Tab

The Time Submitters tab is used to add and remove timesheet users to this approval group.  

Add Submitters

To associate a user as a timesheet submitter to the current approval group, use the filter to populate the Available People list.  Select one or many Available People and click on the right arrow button.  

Remove Submitters

In order to remove a submitter from a group, simply select the desired entries in the Submitters list and click on the left arrow button.  

If Require Approvals -  Timesheet  (unatime.approval.required)  is enabled, the system will enforce that time submitters belong to an approval group.  Thus, you cannot remove a time submitter from an approval group, but rather, you will need to add a time submitter to their new group (which will in effect, remove them from their old group).

If Allow Self Approvals  (unanet.approve.self) is enabled, you will be able to add a user as a time submitter to an approval group where they are already defined as an approver.

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 


Expense Request Submitters Tab

The Expense Request Submitters tab is used to add and remove expense users to this approval group.

Add Submitters

To associate a user as an expense request submitter to the current approval group, use the filter to populate the Available People list.  Select one or many Available People and click on the right arrow button.  

Remove Submitters

In order to remove a submitter from a group, simply select the desired entries in the Submitters list and click on the left arrow button.  

If Require Approvals - Expenses Request  (approval_process.require.approval.expense_request)  is enabled, the system will enforce that expense submitters belong to an approval group.  Thus, you cannot remove an expense submitter from an approval group, but rather, you will need to add an expense submitter to their new group (which will in effect, remove them from their old group).

If Allow Self Approvals  (unanet.approve.self)  is enabled, you will be able to add a user as an expense submitter to an approval group where they are already defined as an approver.

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 


Expense Report Submitters Tab

The Expense Report Submitters tab is used to add and remove expense users to this approval group.

Add Submitters

To associate a user as an expense report submitter to the current approval group, use the filter to populate the Available People list.  Select one or many Available People and click on the right arrow button.  

Remove Submitters

In order to remove a submitter from a group, simply select the desired entries in the Submitters list and click on the left arrow button.  

If Require Approvals - Expenses Report (unasense.approval.required)  is enabled, the system will enforce that expense submitters belong to an approval group.  Thus, you cannot remove an expense submitter from an approval group, but rather, you will need to add an expense submitter to their new group (which will in effect, remove them from their old group).

If Allow Self Approvals  (unanet.approve.self)  is enabled, you will be able to add a user as an expense submitter to an approval group where they are already defined as an approver.

Field Descriptions (click on a link below for additional information):

 

 


Related Properties

There are several properties that can be configured which influence the approval process.



Importing/Exporting Approval Group Information

 


Considerations when defining Approval Groups


Example

The following example may be useful for understanding how you could set up your approval groups in an organization that did not allow for self approvals, using a combination of approval groups and the alternate manager feature.  This scheme allows for the CEO to have an approver as well.

Sample Org Chart

 

 

Possible Manager Alternate Scheme

User

Alternate

CEO

VP1

CEO

VP2

VP1

VP2

VP2

VP1

VP3

VP2

VP4

VP2

HR Director

VP1

 

Sample Approval Group Report

You can access the below report from Reports>>Reference>>Approval Group Details. In the example below:

 


Effects of Approval Group Changes

When changing approvers in an approval group or changing which approval group a user submits to, the system will take measures in an effort to prevent any items pending approval from being stranded in an approval queue.  This applies to submitted time, leave requests, expense reports and expense requests.

Changes to Approvers

 

Changes to Submitters

  

When changes occur, email notifications will be sent and the Approval History will reflect a comment indicating that a change to an approval group was the cause of an item being resubmitted.

 

Related Topics