Approvals and Workflow

PaymentWorks enables organizations to implement business control and escalation workflows in their approval processes regarding supplier management. This document outlines how those approvals are configured and managed. There are three kinds of approvals in PaymentWorks:

  1. Vendor Invitation Approvals
  2. Vendor Registration Approvals
  3. Vendor Update Approvals

Each approval type may contain multiple rules and steps, as described below. Specific approval workflows are determined by the values contained in the associated object: a vendor invitation, a vendor registration and a vendor update.

Approval Fundamentals

PaymentWorks approval workflow is based on Roles. When an approval rule is triggered, the resulting approval must be provided by a user who is assigned to the role associated with that rule.

For a detailed description of Roles in PaymentWorks, including a detailed list of permissions that can be assigned to roles, refer to Configuring Roles and Permissions.

Approval Structure

Approvals in PaymentWorks are comprised of “Rules”, which are contained within “Steps”. A rule specifies the approval required when a specific condition is met. For example, as shown in the screenshot below, you may want someone in the “AP Non-US Approval” role to approve any registration submitted by a supplier whose tax country is not the US.


Rules can be defined to be activated regardless of field values. In this case, the rule will state “Approval Always Required”, and the associated role will be assigned. This is typically used on the last approval step, when an administrator provides the final approval. This is also shown in the screenshot below.


Rules are grouped within Steps. A step may have more than one rule. Every activated rule within a step must be approved before the approval workflow will proceed to the next step.

Each step in the approval workflow can be optionally configured with a “Step Approver”, a role that must provide approval if no rules are activated within the step. Most approval workflows are configured with no defined Step Approver, but this configuration might be useful to catch conditions not explicitly configured in any of the step’s rules.

Defining Approval Rules

To create an approval rule, click the “Add Approver” button within the desired Approval Step. This will bring up the Add Approver dialog box shown below.

Components of a Rule

When a rule is not configured to always be required, there are three things that must be provided:

  • Field name
  • Operator
  • Value

Field Name

The first element of a Rule is the field to be used to evaluate. You may select any field that is available for that type of approval.

  • Invitation Approvals
    You may choose any field in the invitation dialog box.
  • Registration and Update Approvals
    You may choose any field with one of the field types shown in the Value section below.


This is the list of operators that can be used when defining an Approval rule:

  • Equal To
  • Not Equal To
  • Contains
  • Does Not Contain
  • In
  • Not In
  • Starts With
  • Matches
  • Exists
  • Does Not Exist


Possible values are constrained by each field’s field type:

  • Multiple Choice
    Dropdown list from which you may select only one. To activate approval rules based on more than one value, add a new rule for each value.
  • Dropdown Select
    Dropdown list from which you may select only one.
  • Single Line Text
    Enter the comparison text, without quotes
  • Paragraph Text
    Enter the comparison text, without quotes

Note: For more on field types in PaymentWorks registration forms, see Registration Forms.

Approval Types

1. Vendor Invitation Approvals

In PaymentWorks, an “Initiator” indicates a user who sends an invitation to a potential supplier, enabling them to register with the Payer company.

When an Initiator submits an invitation to be sent, the Payer account can be configured to require one or more approvals before the invitation is actually transmitted.

The invitation will not be sent until approval for each activated rule in each successive step has been provided.

2. Vendor Registration Approvals

When prospective suppliers complete and submit their registration form, it will be subject to the specific approval workflow rules configured for the Payer account.

Note that for registrations only, there may be one or two approval steps to be performed by the PaymentWorks validation team prior to the payer user approvals. If you are modifying approvals for an existing Payer account, do not make any changes to these rules.

The status of the registration will not be changed to Approved until approval for each activated rule in each successive step has been provided.

If the registration is subject to Registration Routing – meaning that its TIN matches an existing record – only the final approver will be shown the routing options button and screen. All intermediate approvers will have the typical experience, with the Approve button displayed at the bottom of the registration record.

For more on Registration Routing, see Registration Routing.

3. Vendor Update Approvals

Each modification submitted by a Supplier will be delivered to PaymentWorks Payers for approval. These updates are grouped with related fields and all fields within each update are approved together.

In the example shown below, the supplier changed their tax classification. This resulted in an updated W-9 file. Both fields are grouped in the same update, so any approval will be applied to both fields.

If the user has approval permission for an Update, the status column will contain an active drop-down field where the user can set the status.

The status of the Update will not be changed to Approved until approval for each activated rule in each successive step has been provided.

Approval Options Unique to Updates

There is an additional field you can use when configuring approvals for Updates: “Update Group”. All update records are grouped by one of the following Update Groups:

  • Bank Account
  • Bank Address
  • Company
  • Corporate Address
  • Remit Address (obsolete: these are now handled as Edit Registrations)

In the screenshot shown above, as an example, the approval will be activated whenever the supplier modifies any field in the Bank Address Update Group.

For more information, see Vendor Updates.