How approvals work

Looking for help with this feature in Polaris? Check out How approvals work in the Polaris help.

In most organizations, items such as timesheets, expense sheets, and time off bookings need to be approved. There are a few reasons for this:

  • To ensure that user information is recorded accurately
    Approvers may discover errors and discrepancies in submitted items that can then be corrected. Some organizations require approval of items to be recorded as part of an audit trail.
  • To improve management performance
    Supervisors who are required to review updates regarding their employees' progress on a regular basis have more information to draw on when making decisions and scheduling tasks.
  • To improve employee accountability
    Employees are more conscious of their level of performance if they know their activities are being reviewed.

Approvals workflow

  1. Administrator sets up approvals.
  2. User submits an item.
  3. The system sends the item to approvers, as defined in the approval path for that item.
  4. If the item is approved by all approvers, it is marked as approved.

If the item is rejected by any approver in the path, it is marked as rejected. The user may edit the item and resubmit, and the item will re-enter the approval path.

What are approval paths?

Approval paths define which users are responsible for approving items.

If you assign multiple approvers to a path, the approval path also specifies the order in which items are forwarded to approvers. Approvals can either occur in sequence or simultaneously.

Users are assigned approval paths in their user profiles. They must be assigned a unique path for each type of item they will be submitting in Replicon – timesheets, expense sheets, or time off bookings.

Who can be assigned as an approver?

You can assign roles or specific named users, or both, to approval paths.

Approval sequence options

If multiple approvers need to approve an item, approvals can either be set to occur in sequence or simultaneously.

How simultaneous approval works

If both a user’s supervisor and project manager approve an item, you could assign them both 1st position in the approval sequence, and they would receive approval items simultaneously.

Items are marked as approved only when both the supervisor and project manager have completed approving them.

How approval in sequence works

If both a user’s supervisor and project manager approve an item, you could assign the supervisor to Step 1 in the approval sequence, and the project manager to Step 2 in the sequence.

When the user submits an item, it will be sent to their supervisor. Once the supervisor has approved the item, it will then be sent to the project manager.

If the supervisor rejects the item, it will not be sent to the project manager.

How do approval permissions work?

Approval permissions are defined in the approver’s assigned supervisor, project management, or client representative permission set, as applicable.

Can project managers and client representatives view data that isn’t related to their projects when approving items?

Project managers can be allowed to view either the full timesheet, or only time for the projects they manage. The latter is often called "limited approval".

When a client representative approves an item, only time pertaining to their projects will display in the item. Client representatives cannot be allowed to edit items. You can choose, via their permissions, exactly what data client reps will see in timesheets and expense sheets.

When using the Configurable timesheet format, project managers can only view time for their projects; the option to view the full timesheet is not available.


Can a project manager approve time and expenses for some projects only?

Yes, the project-level Skip Project Manager approval option allows project managers to specify that their approval can be skipped on a per project basis.

In Polaris, a similar option is available called Project Manager Approval Required.

Why are items sometimes automatically approved by the system?

Items will be automatically approved by the system in the following circumstances:

  • No approver is assigned to an approval path
  • The assigned approver is role-based, but no user is assigned to the role
    For example, the user has no supervisor assigned, but the Supervisor role is selected in their approval path, or Project Manager is selected in an approval path, but the project the user has entered hours against has no project manager assigned.
  • Project Manager is selected in an approval path, but the submitted item includes no project hours or expenses
  • The submitted item only includes time or expenses related to a project for which the Skip Project Manager approval option is selected in Replicon, or Project Manager Approval Required is deselected in Polaris
  • The assigned approver doesn’t have permission to approve the item

When an item is automatically approved, <System> is listed as the approver in the item’s approval details.

Why was an approver in a path skipped when a user resubmitted a rejected item?

If one approver in a path approves an item and a second rejects it, when the item’s owner modifies the item and re-submits it, it will skip the approver in the path who already approved the item.

How can I revoke an approval that was made incorrectly?

If an approval has been made in error, you must reopen the item and start the approval process again. Depending on their current status, some items may not be able to be reopened. For example, you can't reopen an item that has been invoiced.

Related links

Setting up approvals
Setting up approvals (video)
Setting up approval paths
Setting up conditional approval rules
Allowing a client to approve timesheets before billing