Mar 26, 2024
2 minute

A 2024 guide to line item controls: How to use Payhawk line-level approvals

Line-Level Approvals
Quick summary

Have you ever needed different approvals for different line items within an expense? Introducing our new line-level approvals feature. You can now split an expense and assign different approvals to each line item (even non-sequentially). Get set to speed up the approvals process without losing any control.

Table of Contents

    Payhawk customer? You spoke, and we listened. Introducing the new line-level approvals feature that will help transform how you process expense approvals across multiple projects, events, and teams. Learn more about the feature and how to use it below.

    Unlock better financial controls: Explore expense management with Payhawk

    What are line items in accounting?

    Line items accounting helps finance controllers categorise or sub-categorise expenses within financial statements, offering improved granularity and better control. They are particularly beneficial if your medium-large organisation has multiple revenue streams and sprawling business operations, as they reveal where your spending went and why.

    Introducing updated line-level approvals feature

    Good news: You can now send expenses for approval based on multiple-line items using various line-item categories in any given expense.

    What does this mean? You’ll get enhanced spend control because of a more accurate breakdown of approvals for each expense.

    Line-level approvals can happen non-sequentially, meaning your expenses will go through the necessary approvals without delaying expense processing.

    For example, if you need to split the expense between two different teams, you can use line items to specify their respective spending, and both teams will need to approve the associated costs.

    With line item splitting in the Payhawk app, you get 1) better accuracy, 2) more granular control, and 3) improved efficiency, making budget tracking and expense approvals a breeze.

    How can I access the new line-level approvals feature?

    To split your expenses into multiple line items from your dashboard:

    1. Click expenses
    2. Select the expense
    3. Open your options by clicking the three vertical dots at the top right and choosing ‘split’

    Before this new line-level approval feature, our software calculated the approval chain based only on the first line item. This process meant that even if the other line items needed different approvals, they would all be sent to the same finance controller. It worked, but it wasn’t granular enough for some businesses.

    Now, with the new feature, multiple lines will trigger multi-step non sequential approval workflows, saving time and improving approval accuracy.

    Why is having control over multiple line items important?

    Of course, some expenses are simple and follow a standard approval workflow. But there are a lot of situations where the opposite is true. In these situations, multiple team members need to sign off and approve because the expense spans between multiple teams or cost centres. In these instances, it’s important that each organisation can customise expenses as they see fit with full visibility and control.

    By introducing this new feature, finance teams and accountants can better control spend by implementing custom line-level approvals that suit their expense sign-off structure perfectly.

    An example of multiple line-level approvals workflow

    Let’s say a sequential approval workflow requires first approval from a team manager and then an admin.
    The expense has three lines, with team values A, B and B. When submitted, it should first go to the team managers (TM) of A & B (non-sequentially):

    • If either TM-A or TM-B returns the expense, it’s in status returned, and the employee has to re-submit (the other TM does not have a pending request anymore)
    • If either TM-A or TM-B rejects the expense, it’s in status rejected (the other TM does not have a pending request anymore)
    • If only one of TM-A or TM-B approves the expense, and the other is still pending, the expense is still considered in pending approval status
    • If both TM-A and TM-B approve the expense, it only then goes forward for approval from the admin

    Questions about using this feature? Take a look at our line-items help desk article for more info.

    How do line items fit into the procure-to-pay-process

    Line items are essential when it comes to navigating to procure-to-pay features. From accounting to expense reporting and tracking, our expense management software helps you automate procure-to-pay processes, including line item accounting.

    Our optical character recognition (OCR technology) extracts line items from your invoices and receipts, allowing finance teams to place expenses and income into separate lines and add notes to each line item, letting different purchase orders have different approvals as required.

    Tying all these features together ultimately reduces manual data entry, minimises human error and makes data more accurate and reliable. Phew.

    Line item accounting: The Payhawk way

    Our innovative software helps finance professionals overcome the challenges of manually managing line items, from customising line item categories to real-time line item tracking.

    Our intelligent expense management platform (and innovative ERP integrations) are perfectly positioned to support large enterprises and growing companies alike. Find out how line-level accounting features (among 100s of others) could support your business to save time, swerve errors, and scale efficiently by scheduling a personalised demo with one of our in-house experts.

    Tsvetina Yancheva - Product Marketing Manager at Payhawk's corporate expense management platform.
    Tsvetina Yancheva
    Product Marketing Lead

    Tsvety is the creative force behind Payhawk's product marketing initiatives. She's dedicated to shaping our brand's image, refining messaging, and orchestrating our go-to-market strategy. Beyond her strategic role, she unwinds with a love for exquisite food, finds solace in yoga, and explores the world, fueled by a passion for live music experiences.

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