At a recent client meeting, it was brought to light how many of my clients don’t use Deltek Vision’s approval engine capabilities. I thought how crazy that notion was because using the approval engine can save clients so much paper and time. Let me share with you what this firm experienced in dealing with approvals, and let’s see how many of you can think outside the box and see the benefits of Deltek Vision’s approval engine.
Packed with Paper
Here’s where the story begins. A little time back, I was with a client when a principal walked in with a banker’s box full of papers. He was preparing to leave for vacation and had carefully assembled all the paperwork he needed to take care of while he was away. I asked what was in the box, and he explained that he had to approve the consultant invoices and then review the client invoices. He had packed all the project folders and everything was ready so he could speed through them on vacation and bring them back to accounting when he returned.
In my mind, I was screaming for several reasons. First, who wants to work on your vacation? Next, so many things could happen to those papers like losing some on the plane or spilling wine when reviewing them. Not to mention, accounting is put on hold until he returns, the consultant’s invoices can’t get entered until billing is processed and how will he really know when he is done. By the way, how does he even keep track of action items using his box and paper system?
Let’s Think Out of the Box
Not wanting to overwhelm this principal just hours before he was set to go, I calmed the voices in my head and simply said, “You know, one day I am going to take your box away from you and you won’t miss it.” With a perplexed look, he asked me how. I explained that we could process the consultant invoices electronically. Accounting could scan the invoices, and after being scanned into the system, various parties would then do their part to approve or reject the invoice in Deltek Vision based on the business rules.
The entire process could be done in the Deltek Vision system, and the status and notes would be visible to everyone along the way. As soon as there was final approval, accounting could continue processing the invoice and post it in Vision. The copy would be attached to the next Invoice and no box would be required.
Coming into the Light
Despite my description of the approval engine process, the principal remained unconvinced. He instantly presented a list of objections which I confidently addressed one by one:
“I need to see project details as I am reviewing.” “No problem, use the project review tool in the approval application.”
“Sometimes I want the project manager to look at it before I approve it.” “The system is designed so you can delegate or reassign approvals.”
“There are also times that I need accounting to send the invoice back to the consultant.” “That’s why when you reject it, you must notate why in the dialog box. The system sends the message to accounting for you.”
“We must have paper copies for taxes and legal things.” “Maybe, but IRS has been accepting electronic copies since 1995.”
After my most excellent retorts to his arguments, the principal finally realized that using Deltek Vision’s approval engine capabilities was a viable option. I further explained that with his current Vision system, he can use electronic approvals to handle vacation requests, departmental budgets, expense reports and more. Before, he just hadn’t seen the value of thinking outside of his box. Now his box could instead be used for vacation souvenirs.
Use Deltek Vision’s Approval Engine
This is a true story, but not at all unique. In the past, there was not a fully integrated system. Many firms had given up on going paperless, and the final handshake always required touching that piece of paper one last time. However, with Deltek Vision’s approval engine, firms can now truly eliminate the need to physically transport documents in their boxes. Rather, thinking outside of their boxes, they can reduce processing times and provide unprecedented visibility into status and condition of their invoices.