Approval policies on Ramp govern the steps required to approve spend issuance, card edits, reimbursements, and bill payments. You can define who needs to approve what and when, as well as keep certain people informed via notifications. Any user can add approvers to the approval chain while an approval in-flight; only Admins may remove approvers.
Ramp makes it easy to customize approval workflows so admins can define the right set of people to approve expenses based on the amount. Approval policies cover:
- New spend requests
- Card edits
- Bill payments
The article below will cover:
- How to set approval policies
- Editing in-flight approvals for cards, reimbursements, and bills
- Creating custom groups and department/location owners
- Separation of Duties
Setting Approval Policies
You can add approval policies for new cards for users, managers, and reimbursements by heading to Settings —> Expense Policy. Approval workflows are separated by the specific type of spend that is being put up for approval (spend requests, reimbursements, bill pay, and post-transaction)
To Learn how to set-up the approvals for each spend object, please find the relevant help center article below:
If the approval chain has the same user within multiple approval steps, we'll smartly de-duplicate so that the user has to approve the request only once.
Please note that if you update or add a new approval policy, it won't affect card, reimbursement, Bill Pay, or post-transaction approvals already in flight.
Reimbursement and Post-Transaction Approvals
Those with admin permissions can access transaction and reimbursement approval setup through their company settings page, within the Expense Policy tab.
Within the Transaction and Reimbursement Approval drawer, you can select the drop-down arrow to see a preview of your existing approval flow.
How to set up transaction and reimbursement approvals
Click the paper and pencil icon within the approval preview to edit and configure your transaction and reimbursement approvals. You'll be redirected to the approvals workflow builder, where you can configure complex and flexible approvals chains via a series of conditions and outcomes. For example, you will now have the ability to route approvals based on accounting coding.
Clicking any “Add” button will pull up a drop-down of the following options to begin configuring your approval chain:
- Spend Type - Specify whether you would like the approval chain to apply to only transaction review, only reimbursement approvals, or both
- Require Approval - specify a specific role type, individual, or department/location/custom group to be added to the approval chain. Please note that approval will be required from the individual(s) but you must add in an “Approve” statement to conclude the approval flow.
- Notify - specify a specific role type or individual to be notified about the bill
- Approve - terminal action that'll end the workflow early if added to the chain
Set Conditions - add conditions to check various transaction and reimbursement fields (e.g. accounting coding, amount, employee role, employee department, etc.) that assist in determining the correct approver
- For accounting coding, we currently display all NetSuite Customers and Jobs in one list, which means selecting a Customer doesn't automatically connect to a transaction that is coded to a Customer Job. Approval chains will need to be updated for each new job or, if your transactions are coded by Customer, use the Customer field instead.
- If a transaction is split between multiple accounting codes that have different approval flows, all approvers in the different chains will be added to the chain.
Within the approval workflow builder, you can layer and nest these options to create your ideal approval routing.
There are multiple transaction and reimbursement fields by which you can route your approvals on. While Amount and User Role based routing is available to all customers, the additional conditions in the list below are only available to customers on Ramp Plus.
- Spend Type (transaction or reimbursement)
- User Role
- Business Entity
- Ramp Department
- Ramp Location
- Accounting Codes
Once a condition has been selected, you can select which options to check for (e.g. if the condition is user role, you would select the role type to check for)
After selecting your desired conditions and options, you will be prompted to add your desired approvers. Learn more about adding approvers in the next section.
When adding approvers you have the option to select either predetermined roles/groups or specific individuals at your company.
- Any Admin - group of individuals that have admin permissions within Ramp
- Manager- The requestor’s manager can be added to the chain
- Manger’s Manager - The manager of the requestor’s manager can be added to the chain
- Department Owner - Ramp will determine the department of the requestor and identify the configured department owner. Learn more about configuring department owners here
- Location Owner - Ramp will determine the location of the requestor and identify the configured location owner. Learn more about configuring location owners here
- Any custom approval groups - custom approval groups can be configured within the people tab. Learn more about about custom approval groups here
- Any specific employee - you can add any employee within Ramp to the approval flow
Require All vs Require Any
If there are multiple approvers within a step, you must specify how Ramp should handle their approvals before moving to the next step.
- Require All - require each individual’s approval before proceeding to the next approval step. This translates to “Person X AND Person Y”
- Require Any - only 1 person from the group is required to approve before proceeding to the next approval step. This translates to “Person X OR Person Y”
If you decide not to change the approval chain, the default will allow managers to be able to issue and approve card requests for employees and be able to approve reimbursement requests from employees. By the same default approval chain, reimbursements from managers and admins will require approval from another admin. Employee exception requests will default to manager review. If you want to remove the manager from these approvals, you may do so by setting a customer approval flow.
In-Flight Advanced Approvals
For in-flight approvals, any user may add additional layers for new cards, reimbursements, or bills. Only Admins may remove approvers. However, Admins and Owners cannot be removed from in-flight bill approval flows. This feature is especially helpful if additional review is needed on an approval or if a team member is currently unable to approve a transaction. Updates to the approval flow will be reflected in the event history tab.
Once the last approval has been made, no additional approvers may be added.
Note: This does not apply to post-transaction reviews.
Custom Groups and Location/Department Owners
Admins may create custom approval groups & create approval owners for departments and locations. Assign groups and owners to approval policies rather than one-by-one to ensure your approvals have coverage even if a team member is absent.
Groups are created with OR functions, requiring only one member of the group to approve for a specific approval layer. New groups can include existing groups or individuals. Users with the 'employee' role may not be added to approval groups.
If a Location and Department owner approval is added as a step in the approval chain, please ensure that the Location and Department owners are set for each location or department. If an owner is not set and is included in the approval chain, the item requiring approval will route to all admins at your company and any of them can make the approval.
How to create a Custom Group
- Navigate to "People" > "Custom Groups"
- Click "Create Custom Group", enter in the relevant info in the drawer, and click "Create Group". Your new group is all set!
- To add your new group to an approval chain, navigate to Settings > Expense Policy, and click edit or add a new approval layer. Your new approver group will be an option in the "Select approvers" dropdown.
How to add Location or Department Owners
- Navigate to "People" > "Department" or "Locations"
- Click to edit the owner and the select the checkbox next to each person you'd like to add as department or location approver
Separation of Duties
If your business requires that the individual that creates the spend object (e.g. the requestor) can't approve their own spend, you can enable the Separation of Duties toggle within the approval chain settings.
If the toggle is on, when an individual requests spend and they are within the approval chain, they will be removed from the approval chain and will be replaced with admin approvers. This means any admin can make the approval.
Please note, only business owners can toggle this setting on and off.