What can you approve without your Executive’s overview?
The most common areas of approvals that Assistants can manage for their Executive’s are expenses and annual leave requests. We have examples of both processes that you can follow. When working on a planned approval process with your Executive, the more you can approve on their behalf, the quicker the process will take.
Timing and planning
Waiting for an Executive to approve a project milestone or budget request can hold up your colleague’s work, and of course, they will get frustrated and, more often than not, take their frustration out on you. You will need to manage the process to understand the time frame of the approval and when they can expect an answer from your Executive.
Keep them in the loop if there is a delay, particularly if the consent is not urgent for your Executive. If you find this is often the case, it is worth delegating this task to a senior member of your Executive’s team also to have approval over lower-level work. After this, if your Executive still has to approve a lot of work, you should put the time in their diary each week to get through all of the paperwork.
Automate the approval process
Waiting for approvals and signatures really can slow projects and work down. If staff are also waiting a long time for annual leave requests or expenses recouped, this can lead to low morale and unnecessary frustrations with their organisation.
Using technology for approvals can speed the process up, and I highly recommend that you use software for annual leave requests, sickness and expenses. In this day and age, it is unnecessary to use paper for these requests.
Have a policy in place
Every organisation should have travel, expenses and annual leave policies. This ensures all of your staff know where they stand regarding these aspects of the role.
If your Executive does not approve certain parts of a trip, for example, because they fall outside of the policy, you will be able to draw your colleague’s attention to this and alleviate any push-back from your colleague.
You should also have a policy in place for the approval itself. For example, if there are any supporting documents your colleague needs to complete before approval, this should be submitted to you before you take everything to your Executive. If the supporting material is not attached, you can reject the submission before it goes to your Executive.