The Approval Chain link in the Finance Options sidebar allows site administrators and super users to control approval chains and whether the rejection of an invoice ends the chain of approval.
Note: This setting globally applies to all future invoices in the Lawtrac application.
Approval Chain Link
During the invoice approval process, up to five individuals can be assigned to the approval chain. Enabling the Approval Chain Flow option (or turning the function "ON") enforces a "chain of command" behavior for the approval process.
Example: The individual in the first position needs to approve the invoice before the individual assigned to the second position of the approval chain can approve the invoice, and the second individual must approve the invoice before the third can approve it. Until the invoice has been approved and passed on to him/her, the individual does not see the option to approve or reject the invoice.
Disable or turn the Approval Chain Flow "OFF" to allow any individual assigned to the approval chain to approve the invoice regardless of the order. All users must still perform the task of approving or rejecting the invoice (unless Workflow option 1, "Rejection of an invoice will end the approval chain", is turned on, in which case a rejection ends the approval chain), but approvers will not need to wait on others before taking action.
- Rejection of an invoice ends the approval chain: When this option is switched to ON, the approval chain process ends once any individual rejects the invoice. Rejection of the invoice also ends the chain of approval.
Example: If the individual who was delegated as third approver rejects the invoice, the invoice will be labeled as "rejected" and will not be sent to the fourth or fifth individual on the approval chain, and no further approval or rejection actions can be taken on the invoice (unless approval is reset by the system administrator).
Note: When enabled, the Workflow setting globally applies to all invoices whether the Approval Chain Flow option is enabled or not. Administrative mass approval of invoices cannot override rejected invoices.
- Invoice approval chains exclude users with excessive approval thresholds: When this option is turned "ON", the approval chain stops at the first approver whose allowance exceeds the total sum of the invoice.
Example: User A, B, C, and D are the default approvers and appear in that order on approval chains. An invoice is submitted for an amount of $500. User A is allowed to approve invoices up to a sum of $250, as set in Application Administration | Legal Department | Invoice Approval Amounts. User B is allowed to approve invoices up to $300, User C is allowed to approve invoices up to $600, and User D is allowed to approve invoices up to $700. The invoice approval chain will show User A, B, and C.
Since User A and B have a threshold lower than the invoice amount, their approval obligations must be met by the users to whom they hand off. You can see who this user is by checking the approver's profile under the Site Access page. To learn more about invoice approval amount thresholds, refer to Invoice Approval Amounts.
Note: This setting affects ALL future invoices unless the approval chain has been manually changed. The setting affects approval chains, approval workflow criteria, predefined matter teams, and attorneys. This setting does NOT affect invoice handlers or the default approvers configured on this page
Approval Workflow Criteria
Lawtrac 4.1 introduces new approval workflow criteria.
Individuals selected as the Default Approvers are automatically assigned to all future invoices, unless the invoice meets criteria set in Approval Workflow Criteria. You can still manually change the approval chain for an individual invoice, but you need to do it from within that particular invoice. It is best practice to check the user's approval amount threshold before assigning them as a default approver. If the invoice amount exceeds the approval amount threshold for the default approver, the default approver's "hand-off" approver displays on the invoice approval chain along with the name of the default approver.
The default approver list allows up to five approvers, but as few as one can be assigned.
Approval Workflow Criteria allows administrators and super users to designate different approval chains depending on invoice qualifications. You can create an approval chain dedicated to a specific type of matter (court costs, administration, litigation, etc.), create an individual approval chain for each vendor, and/or create an individual approval chain for a specific matter product, invoice amount, or business unit.
Note: When creating an approval team for "Field: Invoice Amount", the "Value" field changes from a drop-down to a text box. Enter numerical criteria into this field. All invoices that have a sum up to this amount are assigned to the approvers selected for this criteria. If another workflow criteria is created for the invoice amount field for a greater sum, it will apply to invoices up to that amount while excluding the invoices that sum up to the previous invoice sum criteria. For example, a criteria for $1,000 includes invoices up to $1,000, and a criteria for $5,000 includes invoices between $1,001-$5,000.
The order of the Approval Workflow Criteria dictates the weight each criteria carries. For instance, if you have a team of users dedicated to approving litigation invoices and a different team of users dedicated to approving invoices submitted by Vendor A, and Vendor A submits a litigation invoice, the team of users in the highest order role retains the responsibility of approving the invoice (where order 1 is greater than order 5). If an invoice of this type is submitted, the system automatically fills the approver roles with the names chosen for that type, vendor, or product.
Set criteria by selecting options from the available drop-down lists. "Field" must be selected before "Value", because the "Value" menu items are contingent on "Field" selection.
Each approval chain must have a unique order position, and the criteria for Order, Field, and Value cannot contain incomplete data.
Important Note: Approval Workflow Criteria overrides the selection of default approvers for a matter record. The Approval Workflow Criteria does not override the alternate approvers made at the matter level.
Approval chain priority is as follows (in order from greatest to lowest priority):
- Matter-level Alternate Approval Chain
- Administrative Approval Workflow Criteria (in order from least to greatest)
- Administrative Default Approvers
- Matter-level Default Approval Chain
Edit Existing Criteria
- Click the edit icon in the Action column.
- Change the drop-down options that appear in the pop-up window.
- Click Update to confirm changes.
- Click Cancel to return without saving.
Click the trash can icon to delete existing criteria.