Approving Invoices


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify approval processes for specific invoices created in the SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing User Interface.

Approvals for Invoices

Within in the SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing application invoices are considered an approvable document. This term designates a type of electronic document that can have an approval flow associated to it. Other examples are purchase requisitions, receipts, and contract requests.

​If you're in the approval flow for an invoice, you must approve it so that it can be reconciled and paid.

​​Example of an invoice approval graph.

Any user or group on the approval flow is a node. The approval graph can contain: ​​

Approvers – The users that are given the right to approve or deny. They may be added to the approval flow either automatically by the SAP Ariba system, or added manually by the requester.

​Watchers – A user that is given visibility to the approvable during the approval process. They can not approve or deny.

While the approval flow can be modified during the process, approvers added automatically, can not be removed from the approval flow.

Approvers receive system generated email notifications from SAP Ariba when their name is activated in the approval flow.​

There are three ways to access requests requiring action:

  1. ​Approvers can leverage the SAP Ariba e-mail notification that provides a hyperlink to the request requiring action and approve or deny right from their handheld device.​ This assumes they have not deactivated e-mail notifications in their SAP Ariba preferences.
  2. Approvers can review and approve via their desktop email system.​
  3. Once logged into SAP Ariba, the To Do content area will list all of the documents that require approval. This includes any document such as Requisitions and Invoices that require approval.

Depending on your site's configuration and approval flows, invoices with some validation errors might be automatically denied, or they might be routed through an approval flow to fix errors. Invoices without validation errors might be automatically approved, or might require additional approvals. You might need to edit an invoice before approving it. ​

If you do need to edit an invoice, if your site is configured for one step edit and approval, you can save your changes and approve the document in a single step.

​​Invoices that are manually entered into your SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing solution may have approvers built into the workflow simply to do data entry checking to ensure that the invoice entry user faithfully reproduced the supplier’s paper invoice in electronic form. ​

This allows time to correct any data entry problems on the invoice before the invoice goes through reconciliation and becomes an IR document, where those data entry mistakes could result in unnecessary and misleading invoice exceptions or data validation errors.​​

Similarly, a financial approver is usually added to the approval flow of non-PO invoices to ensure a correct release of funds. Depending on the user’s permission they might also have to enter the payment information for one–time vendors.

​​The default approval flow for invoices that suppliers submit through SAP Business Network does not require explicit approval. Instead, the invoice status is immediately set to Approved and the invoice reconciliation document is created.

​​If your site is configured to require explicit approval of invoices sent through SAP Business Network and you deny such an invoice, the status is not communicated to the supplier. From the supplier's perspective, the invoice status remains Sent. However, you can add a comment that's visible to the supplier to explain the reason for the denial. You can enter your comment in the Comments to Supplier field. Suppliers can view the comments on the invoice in their SAP Business Network account.

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