Discussing Overview of Approvals

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify the definition of an approval rule
  • Describe the roles of an approver and a watcher

Key Terms of Approvals

"How can we direct requisitions and other documents to the appropriate parties to ensure data accuracy and adherence to our internal policies?"

"Great question! In SAP Ariba, this is handled via approval processes with custom rules to route documents to various users, allowing them to approve or deny documents. Let's examine the key concepts together."


Any document type for which an approval process can be applied.

Examples include purchase requisitions and user profile updates.

Approval Process

The approval process is a set of approval rules for a specific type of approvable, such as requisitions or user profile changes.

Only one approval process can be active for a given approvable at a time.

Approval Rule

Approval rules determine the approvers assigned to each approvable. Some rule types can only add one approver while others may add multiple approvers. The order of the rules determines the order of the approvers.

For example, you could have a rule that adds the requester’s manager to the approval flow.

Overview of Approval Steps

In general, the steps in an approval process are as follows:

  1. Upon the creation of an approvable, the SAP Ariba system will evaluate it based on the applicable approval rules for that approvable type. SAP Ariba will generate an approval flow and will add users according to the approval rules.

  2. If no approvals are needed, the document is automatically approved.

  3. If approvals are necessary, the SAP Ariba system will send email notifications to the first approvers, prompting them to take action. The approvable will additionally appear in the approvers' To Do content item on their dashboard.

  4. The first approver will either approve or deny the approvable, and the approvable will cycle through the approval process until all required approvers have given their respective decisions.

For a comprehensive list of all approvable types, visit the Approval Reference Guide.

Approval Flow of Roles

Approval Flow Roles

In order to create, edit, or delete approval processes and rules, you need to belong to certain user groups to obtain the correct permissions. The Customer Administrator or the Purchasing Administrator groups provide the broadest permissions. Other administrator groups provide permissions to only certain approval processes.

For example, the Receiving Administrator group provides permissions to edit only receipt approval processes.

For a comprehensive list of group descriptions and permissions, visit the Procurement Solutions Group Descriptions Guide.

An approval flow is a visual diagram displayed in the approvable showing who needs to approve the document, when they need to approve, and why they have been added.

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