The invoice review and approval workflow feature within Apperio enables in-house legal teams to streamline the process of reviewing and approving law firm invoices. This feature gives your business visibility over every action made as an invoice moves through the review and approval workflow.
The invoice review and approval workflow can be configured to suit your business’s unique internal process needs. For example, if an invoice amount reaches a certain threshold, you may decide an additional approval step is necessary from the GC or CEO.
If you would like to explore adding on this feature to your existing Apperio subscription, please reach out to your dedicated Customer Success Manager who will be happy to discuss with you in further detail.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to use the invoice review and approval workflow.
During the initial setup of the review and approval workflow, the default group of approvers for an invoice are assigned by the main stakeholders of your business.
Approvers are set-up as matter owners. For the first approval step, any matter owner of an associated invoice can approve, or query an invoice for the law firm to review. Take a quick look at this guide to learn more about matter owners in Apperio.
At each stage of the approval process the relevant approver receives an email notification of the action required from them.
Select ‘view invoice’ from the email to access the invoice in Apperio and begin the approval process.
Access invoices for approval using the dashboard widget
To easily access the list of invoices needed for approval we recommend adding the invoice approval widget to the dashboard.
This shows a list of outstanding and recently approved invoices. You can click on an invoice directly from the widget to access the approval workflow.
To learn more about customising widgets on the Apperio dashboard click here.
Once you’ve reviewed an invoice, you can choose to approve, query or reject it.
Select ‘approve’ where you can attach additional notes to the invoice before making the final approval.
Once approved you can track the progress of the invoice as it moves through the approval flow. At each stage of the workflow the relevant approver in your business will be notified.
As the first approver on the workflow you can choose to query an invoice which will notify the relevant stakeholder at the law firm to review.
When the law firm re-bills the invoice, the approval workflow starts again from the first step.
Approvers can reject an invoice by selecting 'Reject' and enter any reasoning or comments behind the decision. You then have two options:
Send the invoice back to the previous step. This will notify the previous approver to decide what to do next.
Send the invoice back to the first step of the approval flow. This will notify the original approver via email, who can then query the invoice with the law firm.
To view the approval history at any point, select the time icon to see all actions made at each stage.
Breakdown of line-items
In addition to the PDF invoice you have the ability to view the breakdown of line items for billed fees and disbursements across all fee earners.
Select the ‘Breakdown’ tab to view a list of line items associated with an invoice.
You can view the individual time entries associated with the billed figures on the ledger by clicking on the fee earner names.
Some further capabilities include the following:
- Flexible configuration. The invoice review and approval workflow feature can be configured to accommodate an unlimited number of approval steps to suit your internal business processes.
- Automated rules. Create automated rules to trigger a pre-configured workflow. For example, if an invoice amount reaches a certain threshold, it may require an additional approval step from the GC or CEO.
- Supporting documentation. Reviewers can reference letters of engagement, records of instruction, credit notes and other supporting documentation that’s been associated with a matter file in Apperio, alongside an invoice.
- In-app comments. The feature enables reviewers to write comments for other reviewers.. This is useful for annotating pre-approved expenses, for example, which keeps the review process moving forward.
- Invoice query. Reviewers can query an invoice directly from within the workflow. All communication is recorded in the approval history for reference and auditing.
- Seamless integration. Apperio can easily integrate with an existing accounts payable (AP) system – to allow for timely payment of approved invoices.
- Dashboard reporting. This feature provides customisable reporting in the Apperio dashboard to track progress and identify bottlenecks around invoice review. Some of the metrics that can be tracked include the aggregate status of invoices in review, the total time in review, and which invoices are still pending actions by a reviewer.