Tick Tock: How Delayed Approvals Impact the Bottom Line

  • Apr 15, 2019,
  • By Michael Smith

Everyone knows that “time is money.” So why don’t more organizations take the time to dig in and find out what delays and deferments are really costing? Not cost in terms of frustration and aggravation, even though those things are significant. But rather, how come so few company leaders invest the energy to understand exactly what financial impact is coming from interruptions and delays in work flows.

Maybe it’s because there is no line on the P&L to detail “money lost to wasted time.” Perhaps it’s because the money lost happens minutes or even seconds at a time, adding up little by little in a way that doesn’t standout like an interest payment or capital investment.

However it would be foolish to overlook the severe and oft-misunderstood impact that delays in daily work are having on your bottom line. Not pennies or nickels but real dollars that represent not just increased cost and lost revenue, but a compounding weight that drags down your organization the more time passes.

Here are just a few examples of how delays across your organization are impacting revenue, costs, and employee morale.

“Unexpected” Absences

Your employees have worked hard and accrued vacation time in accordance with your company policies. By all accounts, they deserve to be able to take advantage of the time away from work to relax, recharge, and spend time with friends and family. So let’s start with their justified frustration that comes from having to wait for their request for time off to be approved. No matter the reason for the slow process – from overlooked requests, lost emails, cumbersome systems, procrastination, or any number of other issues – the fact of the matter is that the employee doesn’t care. They just want the request to be processed so they may enjoy their time off.

So many times – especially when requesting a three or four day weekend – when the approval fails to be handled properly, the employee simply ends up calling in sick.

The impact of this one minor aspect can be felt throughout the entire organization. Not only can staffing shortages completely disrupt production, the additional pressure of “picking up the slack” can have a serious negative effect on staff morale and, therefore, the quality of workmanship and overall productivity. When you add in the fact that a few employees who are out on sick leave may actually be sick, any additional staffing deficiencies may cause exponential damage.

Slow approvals can also result in employees “swapping shifts” which may seem a viable solution at face-value but can actually cause even more staffing and HR complications. Under-skilled workers on sensitive tasks can be a safety issue or, again, impact production and/or distribution, and when employees take scheduling into their own hands, it can become a virtual nightmare for HR.  This problem is discussed in more detail below.

Alternatively, the delay in approvals working their way through your legacy systems can result in yet another major issue — over-staffing. When time-off requests are actually approved but not properly disseminated to management and the requester, the employee will generally forego their plans and show up to work… if they don’t call in sick or swap a shift as mentioned above. And of course, having too many workers can be just as detrimental to your bottom-line and production as being unexpectedly understaffed.

And once again, this can cascade into even more issues.

A Nightmare for HR

Your HR team shoulders important responsibilities as well as a significant workload. Properly tracking accrued paid time off, sick days, scheduling, and even tenure can become a hassle with outdated approval systems. Whether it’s an employee who inadvertently works on a scheduled day off or coworkers who swap shifts, those seemingly innocuous workarounds can result in increased work for HR. While this may not be a huge issue for a company of five to ten employees, the impact grows deep and fast for those medium-sized and larger businesses.

When HR has to correct these issues, they spend valuable time that could be much more productively focused elsewhere. Essentially, you’re paying them to do the same work twice, thereby setting back their workday, increasing their workload, and wasting money.

Other Approval Delays are Likely Costing You Even More

Having multiple applications and systems may be costing you more than you realize. Approval delays can cost you in the ways outlined above for staffing, scheduling, and your HR department, as well as additional areas across your organization. 

Late payments to vendors, suppliers, and contractors due to delayed approvals can have an adverse effect on your reputation and credit lines. After-the-fact purchase orders, delayed payroll or reimbursements, and late fees have lasting impacts on your finance department, especially when it comes drafting those quarterly consolidated reports to management, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other state and federal regulatory agencies in order to avoid penalties, delinquency fees, and fines.

When it comes to new-hires and on-boarding, approval delays not only have a negative impact on revenue, the inadvertent negative “first impression” could quite easily result in the new employee accepting an alternate offer. This would not only mean that you missed securing that much-needed talent, you may well have to start the hiring process completely from scratch. Again draining that bottom line.

Slow decision making is a major factor in project delays which have a significant impacts on everything from increases in project cost and wastage, to project abandonment… even litigation.

Weaving it All Together

Investing in a streamlined solution can give your HR and Training departments the benefits of a true digital transformation of your approval processes. Delayed approvals have a significant impact across a wide range of your departments, employees, and executives. Implementing ApproveSimple can solve each of the previously mentioned stumbling blocks. Using ApproveSimple can help:

  • Consolidate approvals from any business application.
  • Reduce training overhead.
  • Improve employee morale and productivity.
  • Accelerate corporate decisions and speed your business.


Visit our website for a free test drive of ApproveSimple and let us show you how much we can improve your business.

Michael Smith

Michael is an experienced Solution Architect working in mobile process optimization. He helps customers across industries to find the right solution within CRM, ERP and HCM.


See How Easy it is to Simplify Approvals

Request a Demo!