Locked Approval Workflow- Configuration Overview

With a Locked Approval Workflow, every user is assigned an approver to which their expense reports will always be sent. This article shows how you can add additional approval levels and rules by configuring the Locked Approval Workflow.

1. On your account homepage, click the Gear icon and then select View and Edit Policy


2. Under the Approval Workflow Method area, select Configure Locked Approval Workflow


Required Approver Levels

First Approver

In Certify, every expense report that is submitted for approval is automatically sent to a first level approver for review. Depending on your company’s workflow, the first approver can be configured in three ways: Always Obtain First Level Approval, Auto Approve If No Policy Violations, or Auto Approve All Expense Reports

  • Always Obtain First Level Approval (Default) – Expense reports are always sent to the report submitter’s first approver; first-level approvers can be configured on the Manage Users page.
  • Auto Approve If No Policy Violations – Expense reports with no policy violations are automatically approved at the first level, and then sent to the second approver.
  • Auto Approve All Expense Reports – Expense reports are automatically approved by the first approver and are sent directly to the second approver. 
Users must be assigned a first level approver. For more information, visit the Enable Locked Approval Workflow article in the help center.


Accountants are the last step of the Locked Approval Workflow. Every expense report needs to be processed by an accountant, and every user must be assigned an accountant. 

Admins can assign accountants via the Manage Users page. If a user does not have an accountant assigned on their Edit User page, their expense report will be sent to their approver's assigned accountant for processing. 

Once an expense report reaches an accountant, the approval workflow ends. 

If an accountant is assigned as your first-level approver, the workflow ends and will not continue to any additional approvers or accountants assigned on your Manage Users page.

Optional Approver Levels and Rules

Second Approver

Second level approvers are an optional additional level approval in the Locked Approval Workflow.

When an expense report triggers a policy violation requiring second level approval, the report will automatically be sent to a second level approver. Depending on your company's workflow, the second approver can be configured in four ways; User's Second Level Approver, Company-Wide Second Level Approver, First Approver's Approver.

For an expense report to go to a second level approver, it must be triggered by a policy violation setting. 

For more information on how to configure second level approvers and policy violation triggers, visit the Configure Second Approvers page. 

Approval Limits

Approval Limits need to be satisfied only once, by any approver. After any approver (first or second level) with the necessary Approval Limit has approved a report, the report can move on to the Accountant. Other policy triggers may trigger a second level of approval, but Approval limits are not re- evaluated. 

If an expense exceeds the approval limit of your first approver, the expense will move up through the chain of approvers until one with the appropriate approval limit is found. They must then approve the expense before the expense can follow the normal approval workflow. 

For more information on how to configure approval limits, visit the Locked Approval Workflow- Approval Limits article in the help center. 

Special Approval Rules

Special Approval Rules are an optional additional level of approval in the locked approval workflow. Special approval rules can be configured so that all expense reports containing expense lines assigned to a specified category need to be approved by a certain approver. Special approval rules are applied after all first and second level approvals are obtained.

1. To add a new rule, select Create a Special Approval Rule.

2. Next, enter the user name and click the checkbox for each Expense Category they will need to approve.

Ad Hoc Approvers

Ad Hoc Approvers are an optional additional level of approval in the locked approval workflow. Clicking the checkbox for Ad Hoc Approvers will give users the option to select an additional approver on each expense report. 

Both submitters and approvers can enter an ad hoc approver on the Submit Expense Report for Approval preview page by selecting an Additional Approver. Ad hoc approvers will receive expense reports for approval as the final reviewer before processing.

GLD Approval

General Ledger Dimension (GLD) Approval is an optional additional level of approval in the locked approval workflow. GLD Approval rules can be configured so that expenses assigned to a specified General Ledger Dimension (GLD)  need to be approved by a certain approver. GLD Approval can be configured to send the entire expense report to the Approver, or only the expense lines which are assigned to a specific GLD. Contact our Support team to learn more and configure this for your company.

Fast-Track Processing

Fast-Track Processing will allow expense reports without policy violations to be automatically processed. The auto-processing will take place after all necessary approval steps have been completed. Accountants may then focus on only reviewing expense reports with policy violations. 


In the report's approval history, fast-track processing will be noted. The Accountant that is added to the report is the Accountant who would have processed the report if it were not fast-tracked.


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