What is an Approval Task Request?
By sending one to an internal or external user, you are requesting action from them on the sent document.
In our team we have Jack, Mark and Lisa. I want to have Lisa approve a particular bill. I send an Approval Task Request to Lisa. Lisa receives it, actions it and the invoice can carry on through the workflow with the record of these actions.
Below is a list of settings and guides on how to customize your Approval Task Settings or you can skip ahead
to sending Approval Tasks right away.
Setting up Bill Task automation
As shown in the above image, in the Company Settings section of the app, you will find a selection of settings you can enable/disable to give you flexibility over how Task Requests work. These are:
- Auto Approve - With this enabled, bills will automatically move to the next tab in the approvals workflow after the Task Request is approved.
- Manager Approval - With this enabled, a second Approval Task Request will automatically be sent to a user's assigned Manager, after the user has approved the task. To set up a User's Manager, head into the User's section of the app, select the User in question and set up a Manager in the relevant drop down menu
***Note that this field will only appear if Manager Approval is enabled
Get more our of Task Requests by building in more automation. There are a few more ways to explore this:
- Assign an approver to a supplier so that everytime you receive a new bill from the set supplier, a task will be automatically triggered to the designated approver.
Head to Suppliers > Select your supplier profile > assign an Approver
- Activate Keyword Rule Automation, under Company Settings. Once activated, you can set a unique keyword or keyphrase that will be used as a trigger to not only auto assign a task but also automatically code GL Codes/Categories. This will be useful to direct bills to different approvers for the same suppliers based on the unique keywords/keyphrase set (see below). Read on to find out more.
Life cycle of a Approval Task
This will differ depending on the preferences enabled in your Company Settings.
With both Auto Approve and Manager Approval disabled, after an Approval Task Request is approved by a user, the document will need to be physically approved in the approval workflow
Once the User has approved the Task Request, a second Task Request will automatically be created and sent to their designated manager. Once both the User and Manager have approved the task, the document will need to be physically approved in the approval workflow
Once the User has approved the Task Request, the document will automatically move to the next stage of the approval workflow e.g. from Approvals to Review, from Review to Signed Off etc.
Manager Approval and Auto Approval
Once the Manager has approved the bill, the bill will automatically move to the next stage of the approval workflow e.g. Approvals to Review
Sending an Approval Task
From either your Approval Tab or your Review Tab, select the invoice and click on the grey Task Approver icon to manually trigger a bespoke Task Request.
A box will pop up and you are given 2 choices on how you want to send it
User - This option is to send it to a Lightyear user internally. When they login to Lightyear they will see a message notification in their Lightyear mail box.
The user also has the option to opt in for Email notifications for Approval Requests (via My Profile). This means they will also receive an email to let them know a task has been received and can also be actioned via email.
Please note that if they are subscribed to 'Notification' emails they can also receive an email daily, weekly or monthly to help them keep track of these tasks & internal mail.
Contact (Via Email) - This option will send the person an email containing the invoice attachment and a link to Approve, Reject or Unassign, as well as the option to write a reply note.
This is useful if you need approval from someone who doesn't need regular access to Lightyear for bespoke requests.
Responding to an Approval Task Request
Via Communications Bar to Tasks
If a request is sent to a Lightyear user they will receive a notification in their Communications section:
Clicking this will take them to the 'My Tasks' page:
The My Tasks page contains 3 tabs: Pending, Actioned and Sent.
- In the Pending tab, the User will have the option to Approve, Reject, Unassign/Reassign (if they believe the request was sent to them mistakenly) or put On Hold (to be approved at a later point) any tasks that they have received.
- The Actioned tab will show the user any previous task requests the user has received and what action they took.
- The Sent tab will show any Bill Tasks the user has sent and what the status of the task is (if it has been authorised or is it still pending, etc), and in a future update will show Bill Tasks they have responded to.
If Manager Approval is enabled, the Manager will see the User who approved the task initially.
Other actions in Panel 2 include:
- Actioning the document i.e. Approve / Unassign / Decline (pictured above)
- View/Edit doc details so a user can either view and or edit the bill data when they review for approvals (as seen below).
- View Activity and notes associated with this document for collaboration at a document level
View/Edit options are available to the user based on the permissions assigned. Edit Approval Tasks will grant access to update documents
Via Approval Task user profiles
Similar to the above , you can add users and provide Approval Task
permissions to see their assigned tasks.
Instead of accessing their tasks via the Communications tab, their view will be presented with tasks as the main view of the app as below:
This simplifies a user's view so they won't need to see all bills in an account and will only see the bills assigned for their review.
Again, View/Edit permissions are granted by selecting the option to Edit Approval Tasks when assigning permissions. This makes their view more convenient and secure.
If a task was sent via email, the recipient will receive an email with a link to Action the request. Clicking that brings them here.
Here they can Approve or Reject the task, or mark as Not For Me if it was sent to them mistakenly. As with a User task, they can leave a note which shows on the bill's Activity Feed. Note that you do not need to be logged into Lightyear, or be set up as a User within Lightyear to action tasks sent via email. If Manager Approval is enabled, the Manager will see the User who approved the task initially.
How to Action an Approval Task
There are different actions a Task Approver can take on a document:
To approve the task, simply click the green Approve button within Panel 2, this will send the document back to Approvals, telling other users that it is ready to be exported to the accountancy software.
To reject the task, click the Reject button. This will send the document back to Approvals, telling others users there is an issue. You can leave a note in the text field to give more information on why it's being rejected.
If a task has been sent to you by mistake, you have two options to send it back. First is the Un-assign
button, this will send the task back, telling other users the task should be approved by another user instead. Second is the Re-assign
button. Clicking this will display a pop up modal, allowing you to choose another user to send the task to instead.
You can put the task On Hold if required. This will let other users know you have received and read the task, but are waiting to action it further.
If you need to Dispute the document, or email the supplier directly, click More > select your option.
When Disputing, the task will remain pending and move to the Disputed tab. You can remove the document from the Disputed tab by clicking More > Remove from Disputed.
To email the supplier directly, enter the email address and body of the email and click Send.
You can also elect to receive Approval Task Requests via email even if they are sent to a User vs a Contact. These are set at a user level.
Head over to My Profile > Communication preferences > Select Yes for "Receive Email notifications for Approval Requests" to activate this setting.
Checking the status of a Approval Task
Once a Bill Task is sent, a clock icon will appear on the bill line to indicate this. The colour of the icon informs you of the status.
A Blue icon shows that a Bill Task is still waiting for a response
A lighter Blue icon shows that a Task is On Hold
Green means the Task has been approved
Red means the Task has been declined
Yellow means the user replied that the Task was not meant for them
Means a task has been approved, and is now waiting on a managers approval
A bill has been approved by a manager
You can click on any of these icons to get more details on the task that was sent
Note that some of this information can differ depending on the stage of the Task. For example, once a Task has been approved the Date Sent line will update to show the date and time the task was approved.
Approving Tasks via the Mobile App
You can also approve tasks by using the mobile app. This feature allows you to quickly review the invoice that has been sent to you, approve it or reject it. Within the mobile app you can also reply using notes and mentions using the "@" symbol.
Below is a run through of how to approve a Bill Task using the Lightyear Mobile App.
On the Mobile app, you will firstly receive a notification on both the app icon and to the top of your screen:
Notification Bar at the top of the mobile screen.
You can drag the notification panel down to reveal the notification type.
You can then tab this notification to be taken straight into the app, and straight to the approvals that need actioned.
TAP to open the App at the notifications location
From here, you can Tap the desired invoice to review it, then return back to the Approvals Tab.
Then either swipe right on the invoice tab to APPROVE
By Swiping right you will reveal the Approve button. You can then tap to approve.
You will now have Approved that invoice.
Alternatively after reviewing the invoice, You may want to enter a Note, Reject the invoice or return it is it was not meant for you. Just like we swiped right on the invoice to show the approve button, this time we can swipe left to reveal more options.
Then simply tap the desired button.
Remember you can use the "@" symbol to mention those members of you team that you want to make aware. They will receive a notification on their mobile device.