How to create an approval workflow with JotForm Approvals

When you rely on manual workflows to manage approval requests, your staff wastes their crucial time tracking down spreadsheets and managing emails and phone calls rather than doing important work. By automating your processes, you can eliminate unnecessary manual work and free up your employees to get real work done.

This piece will demonstrate how you can automate a tedious, manual approval process for expense reimbursements with JotForm Approvals.

Let’s get started!

A mobile-friendly reimbursement claim form will let you easily collect expense details, such as employee name, request date, expense details, and other relevant information from your employees.

The approval workflow will automatically route this information to the finance specialist for their review. If the expense amount is above $1,000, the request will go to the finance manager after the specialist approves it. Once the request has been approved (or denied), the employee will receive an email notifying them of the decision.

Here’s the employee reimbursement approval process flow we’re going to build from scratch:

  1. The employee submits a reimbursement expense claim.
  2. The finance specialist receives the request, reviews it, and then approves or denies it.
  3. If the expense amount is higher than $1,000, the finance manager receives the request after the finance specialist, then reviews and approves or denies the claim.
  4. The employee gets an email notifying them whether their expense reimbursement request has been approved or denied.

Below are all the steps to build the employee reimbursement approval process step by step from scratch. However, if all you need is a template to get started, you can skip the tutorial and use this template instead.

Getting started

Note: You need a free JotForm account to build this approval flow. Once you’ve created your JotForm account, you’ll be able to follow the tutorial. If you’re already a JotForm user, you’re ready to go!

Visit https://www.jotform.com/products/approvals/

Step one: Add Form

We’ll start by adding the form employees will use to submit their expense reimbursement requests. Choose an expense reimbursement form from the form templates or design a customized form from scratch. Since the focus of this tutorial is on how to build approvals, I’ll choose a template and show you how to add it to the approval flow.

  1. Click on My Forms on the JotForm homepage.
  2. Click on My Approvals.
  3. Click the Create Approval button on the left side of the page.
  4. Select Start From Scratch.
  5. Click Add Form.
  6. Type Expense Reimbursement Form in the search field to find a template.
  7. Click the Search button.
  8. Find the template you want and click the Use Template button.
  9. Click on Settings in the top navigation of the Form Builder.
  10. Click on Approval Flows in the navigation on the left.
  11. Click the Edit button (with the pencil icon). When you mouse over the Approval section, the button will appear.

Congratulations! Your form has successfully been added to the approval flow. Now it’s time to build the rest of the flow.

Step two: Build the approval flow

Here, we’ll assign approvals to a finance specialist who will give one of the following responses: “Approve” or “Deny.”

We’ll then add a condition that will route approvals to the finance manager if the expense exceeds $1,000. They will give one of the following responses: “Approve” or “Deny.”

Finally, we’ll set up actions to trigger an autoresponder email to the employee notifying them whether their expense reimbursement has been approved or denied.

  1. Drag and drop the Approval element on the Add Element Here placeholder.
  2. Click the Settings (gear) icon and enter the approver’s email address.
  1. Drag and drop the If-Else condition element and set the If condition as Total Cost, the State as Greater Than, the Target as Value, and the Value as 1000.
  2. Connect the If-Else condition element to the Approval outcome.
  1. Drag and drop the Send Email element, and enter the email subject and content for requests that are denied.
  2. Connect the Send Email element to the Deny outcome and to the End element.
  1. For a False state (i.e., the Value in the If-Else condition is less than $1,000), add the Send Email element and enter the subject and content for an approved request.
  2. Add an End element and connect the Send Email element to it.
  1. Add an Approval element for the True state (i.e., the Value in the If-Else condition is greater than $1,000).
  2. Click the Settings (gear) icon and enter the approver’s email address.
  1. Add a Send Email element and connect it to the Approval outcome. The Send Email element will send an approval email for the Approve outcome and a denial email for the Deny outcome.
  2. Connect the Send Email element to the End element.

Congratulations! Your expense reimbursement approval flow is ready. Now it’s time to publish and test it.

Step three: Publish and test

In this section, we’ll publish the expense reimbursement approval flow you’ve created and test it.

  • Publish

Click Publish in the upper navigation of the Approval Builder, and then click the Open In New Tab button to create a link to share the approval request.

*Alternatively, you could invite people to fill out your form by email.

  • Test

Here’s the expense reimbursement approval process flow to be tested:

  1. The employee submits an expense reimbursement claim that’s greater than $1,000.
  2. The finance specialist receives the request, reviews it, and then approves it.
  1. The finance manager receives the request (because the expense is higher than $1,000), and then reviews and approves it.
  2. The employee gets an email notifying them that their expense reimbursement has been approved.

That’s it. Your approval workflow is ready to go!

Visit https://www.jotform.com/products/approvals/ to start building approval flows today!

This article is originally published on Nov 22, 2018, and updated on Jun 15, 2021.
AUTHOR
Servet is an engineering-based product management professional with 8+ years of experience in complex B2B and B2C SaaS products. His passion is bridging the divide between customers, business, and tech, and creating a meaningful experience for users.

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