How does it work?
The approval process allows you to control the maximum percentage that a sales person can discount from the list price of offices, products or services when they generate a Licence in Operate.
If a Licence is created and is discounted past the percentage threshold against the list price, then it cannot be activated or issued without approval. This does not apply per product, but is based on the total list price vs. total monthly price, therefore approvals are not triggered if the total revenue is still within the list price threshold. In addition, if a Licence contains special terms, then it will automatically require approval.
Nominated approvers will be sent an email with details of the license and an ability to approve or reject the license. The user who requested approval will then be notified by email of the decision, as well as of any feedback on why the license was rejected if that was the case.
Enabling Licence Approvals
Go to Settings > General > Customize > Licences > Approvals and configure the two sections on the screen.
Step 1 - Enable Locations
This step allows you to decide which locations will require Licences to be approved. It also lets you set a discount percentage over which all Licences will require approval, unless a particular staff member has permission to grant a higher discount.
Tick the 'Approvals enabled' check box for each location where you want to use approvals, then set the percentage below the list price which will trigger a license to require approval. If a Licence is discounted over this %, then it will send an email to the appropriate staff who may approve or reject it. (Please see Step 2, below for more info!)
Optional: You may also want to trigger an approvals process for every licence, in which case you should enter -1 in the approval percentage field. Approvers will be exempt from this process. Approvers in Level 1 will be those notified in this case.
Step 2 - Enable Approvers & User Specific Approval Levels
Here is where you can decide who can discount Licences, who can approve and how much they can approve. Here is how this works:
Under 'Can discount all Locations up to % without Approval' you can select whether a Operate user has the possibility to discount Licences across all Locations up to a specific percentage. This field supersedes the Location % you set in Step 1. If the user is not an approver as well. then this means that if this is set to '0', then the Licences generated by this user will be subject to approval if the discount they grant is higher than the Location % you set in Step 1. If this field is set to a % that is lower than the Location %, then this user's Licences will require approval if their discounts are higher than the % you set here. If you set a % that is higher than the Location %, then this user will be able to discount within the % you set here, so more than the general Location %. This could be useful for senior sales staff to whom you may want to grant higher discount permissions. If the user is also given approver status, then their own Licences will not require approval unless you use Advanced approvals (Please see below!).
'Can Approve Licences' will grant that user permission to approve Licences and exempt them from the approval process. Tick the box to enable the option. You can stop here and simply allow specific users to approve all Licences that require this. With this kind of setup, you might have users with a custom approval percentage, who can generate Licences without approval within that %, but cannot approve other users' Licences (so 'Can Approve Licences' is disabled). You might also have users with approval permission, who are exempt from the process if they generate their own Licences. If you would like to configure different levels of approval percent permissions, you can use the Advanced Licence Approvals, by clicking 'Show Advanced'.
Advanced Licence Approvals
If you click Show Advanced on the Licence Approvals screen, you will see three additional fields for each user who has 'Can Approve Licences' enabled. This means that this feature is only available for users who are also approvers.
Advanced Licence Approvals allow you to:
Set specific Approval Locations where a user is allowed to approve Licences, Click the "..." button to see a list of available locations. Check the box for each Location you want to add, then click OK.
Customize the Approval % up to which they are able to approve.
The Approval Level allows you to add each user to one of the three available Approval Levels. These levels should be configured according to your own business practices, considering your own staff hierarchy. The levels and the Approval % of each approver will determine who gets notified about a particular Licence that needs approval.
Approval Levels and Notifications
You may configure Approval Levels according to your own business practices - For example, you may decide percentage limits for each level, then set Approval % for each user. Depending on the % you set per user, you can include them in a level or another. Please keep in mind that percentages do not define the Approval Level of a user - meaning Operate does not require you to set a specific % limit for each level. That is up to you.
Here is an example scenario:
Level 1 can approve up to 10%. You might have two approvers: One can approve 5%, another can approve 10%. If a Licence is generated with a discount under 5%, both Level 1 approvers will be notified. If a Licence discounts 7%, only the user who can approve up to 10% will be notified.
Level 2 can approve up to 15% and there is only one user. If a Licence is discounting under 10%, Level 1 users will be notified according to their %, as explained above. If the discount is between 10.1% and 15%, then the level 2 user will be notified. If there are multiple Level 2 users, the process works as explained for Level 1.
Level 3 can approve up to 20 % and works the same way as level 1 and 2, meaning that the users at this level will only be notified for discounts that are higher the highest % set for a Level 2 user, but are under the approval % of Level 3 users.
Discounts over the % you set for Level 3 will not be sent for approval and the user granting the discount will be notified that it is too high. The user will need to lower the discount until at least one other user has permission to approve it. For example, you might set up a Level 3 user who is the only one who can discount 30%. If another user wants to discount more than that, then no one has permission to approve the discount, so Operate will notify the user that their discount is too high to be approved and will simply restrict the issuing/activation of the Licence with this discount. As soon as it is modified and there is at least one user who can approve the applied discount, then that user granting the discount will be able to request approval.
Other scenarios include:
Licence changes are not represented in the next stage of the workflow if licence is edited and sent for approval without first saving the changes.
User A creates a licence with a discount and requests approval. User B who can approve this discount receives an email. However, they do not approve it yet. While the discount hasn't been approved, user A returns to the licence and amends discount (higher or lower) and requests approval again. User B receives another approval email, however the discount amendments on the licence haven't updated.
Rules for Approvers
If a user has approver permission and a custom % under 'Can discount all Locations up to % without Approval' and they generate their own Licences while Advanced Approvals are on, then there will be situations when they will no longer be exempt from the approvals process. Their Licences will need to be approved by someone with the permission to approve the discount that they have granted.
The only case when an approver will be exempt from the process is when their percentage under 'Can discount all Locations up to % without Approval' is lower or equal to their Approval % and the Licence they generate is at a Location where they have permission to approve.
For example, Claire is a Level 2 user who can discount all locations up to 10% and can approve one location up to 20%. Therefore, if Claire generates a Licence for the Location for which she can approve up to 20% and she discounts that Licences up to 20%, then her Licence will be exempt from approval as she has permission to approve the discount. If the Licence would have been at a Location where Claire does not have approval permission, then her Licence would need approval since the discount is higher than the 10% she can discount at all Locations.
The Licence Approval Process
1. Staff Member Requests Approval
When a staff member who does not have approval rights is creating a Licence that provides a discount over the specified percentage (as shown above), or adds non-standard terms to the Licence, then their Licence editing area will display a notification that their Licence needs approval. Here is where they have the possibility to click Request Approval. Once doing so, the Licence will be saved and the user redirected to the Licences List View.
2. Supervisor Approves or Rejects
Nominated approvers receive an email notification informing them about the Licence that needs approval. The email will contain the following information:
Who has requested approval
The client for whom the Licence has been created
The contract value
The contract list price
The percent below the list price
The lead source
The contract start date
The contract term
The value of the deposit.
The email will contain two buttons: Approve and Reject. There will also be an option to view the Licence, in which case, the approver will be able to approve or reject from within Operate.
To approve, simply click the corresponding button and the licence will be immediately approved and the requester notified via email. The Licence Status will change to Approved.
To reject, click the corresponding button, provide some feedback in the Reject Reason box, then submit. The Licence will be instantly rejected and the requester notified via email. The email will contain the rejection as well as the received feedback. The Licence Status will change to Unapproved.
3. Staff Member Activates the Licence or Resubmits for Approval
If the Licence is approved, then it can be activated right away without any other additional steps.
If the Licence is rejected, then it can only be approved if the product/service that is discounted over the approved percentage is edited and the discount adjusted to fit the approved percentage. Otherwise, the activation is also possible if the supervisor suggests specific changes and these are implemented. At this point, the Licence can be resubmitted for approval.
Licences with special terms will always require approval (unless the user generating it already is an approver). Such Licences will be sent to users set as Level 1 Approvers.
If you have a special case where you need to fully discount a Licence, then the user who creates this Licence will need to:
be allowed to discount all locations by 100%.
have permission to approve Licences up to 100%.
This is the only circumstance under which Operate will allow you to discount 100% with Approvals turned on. Otherwise, the user will be notified that their discount is too great to be approved.