Capital Expenditure Request Form Approval

Written by: Richard Frykberg

We have all experienced the frustration of submitting a Capital Expenditure Request Form for approval only to have the process to take too long. Alternative descriptions of a Capital Expenditure Request (CER) include Authorization for Expenditure (AFE), Request for Approval (RFA), and CAPEX Request.  By addressing the root causes and implementing best practices, organizations can reduce delays in the approval process for Capital Expenditure Requests, enabling timely implementation of projects and maximizing business outcomes. This blog will identify the root causes of Capex Request delays, the business impacts of delays and how they can be eliminated.

What Bottlenecks the Capital Expenditure (CapEx) Request Form Approval Process?

Bottlenecks in the approval process of a capital expenditure request form can significantly hinder the timely execution of projects and impede business growth. Identifying and understanding the causes of these bottlenecks is crucial for streamlining the approval process and ensuring efficient capital allocation.

The Five Primary Causes of Delay in the Capital Expenditure Request Form Process are:

  1. Incomplete or unreliable presentation of information
  2. Hesitancy due to uncertainty and fear of missing out
  3. Delayed access by decision makers
  4. Poor process controls
  5. Manual integration and reconciliation

By identifying and addressing the causes of bottlenecks in the approval process of the capital expenditure request form, organizations can optimize their capital allocation, expedite project execution, and ultimately foster business growth and success.

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What is the Impact of Delayed Approval for your Capital Expenditure Request Form?

Your capital expenditure request form may be motivated by different objectives, and the consequences are related to those investment reasons. The impacts of delayed approval for a capital expenditure request form can be significant and far-reaching, affecting various aspects of a business. These delays can have both immediate and long-term consequences that hinder growth, disrupt operations, and impede overall success. The overall impact can be assessed within the following three areas:

  1. Actual Loss or Costs – Delayed approval may result in cost escalations due to price fluctuations, increased resource requirements, or missed opportunities for cost savings. Protracted approval processes can also lead to budget overruns and inefficiencies in project execution.
  2. Opportunity Costs and Unrealized Benefits or Delays – Delayed approval may cause missed opportunities to align capital expenditure with strategic goals. Projects that are crucial for achieving long-term objectives may be delayed or shelved, impeding progress and hindering overall strategic success.
  3. Increased Risk – Lengthy approval processes can introduce compliance risks, as stakeholders may resort to alternative means to expedite project execution. This can bypass necessary checks and balances, leading to potential violations of regulatory requirements or internal policies.

To mitigate the risks associated with delayed approval for capital expenditure requests, organizations should establish streamlined approval processes, enhance communication channels, and prioritize timely decision-making. Implementing automated approval workflows and utilizing technology solutions can help expedite the approval process, improve transparency, and reduce risks associated with delays.

How to Accelerate Capital Expenditure Request Form Workflow

Empower Managers to make Confident Capital Expenditure Request Decisions

Empowering managers to make confident capital expenditure request decisions is crucial for streamlining the approval process, promoting efficient resource allocation, and fostering business growth. By providing managers with the necessary tools, information, and support, organizations can enable them to make well-informed decisions that align with strategic objectives more quickly and efficiently. When presented with an important capital expenditure request form for approval, responsible managers require the following key information to make more confident decisions:

  • Urgency: Why do we need to do this now? Can it wait?
  • Strategic Alignment: To what extent does the Capital Expenditure Request support our department’s key strategic objectives. We may be in a growth or consolidation phase. Does this initiative reflect our current priorities?
  • Benefit Assessment: How valuable is this expenditure relative to others? Key benefit metrics such as Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and discounted payback period will help a manager rank and choose accordingly.
  • Implementation Risk: Managers will want to know how familiar we are with any new technologies proposed, and the impact to other areas and projects.

By empowering managers to make confident capital expenditure request decisions, organizations can streamline the approval process, expedite project implementation, and maximize the value of capital investments. Through training, collaboration, risk assessment, and a culture of accountability, managers can confidently evaluate their capital expenditure request form for approval and contribute to the growth and success of the business.

The Importance of Integrating Budget and Project Set-up

It is important to appreciate that the Capital Expenditure Request Form are not simple binary approve or reject decisions. The reality is that most capital expenditure request form submissions are indeed deserving. The challenge imposed on managers is in project scoring and ranking and selecting the optimal capital project portfolio given a constrained capital budget and limited resources.

If a capital expenditure request form is unbudgeted, it normally means that funds that were previously set aside for another initiative are being redirected.  To validate the reassignment of priorities, the capital expenditure request should identify the projects that are being substituted so that managers can have confidence that this new request is more important than the project that was previously included.

On approval of a capital expenditure request form, it is important to create the project code in the project management, procurement, and finance systems as quickly and efficiently as possible. There is no point in expediting CER approvals only to have downstream integration be manually performed, delayed, and potentially introduce inaccuracies. Following automated integration, all key participants should be consistently notified of the assigned project code so that procurement and scheduling can commence immediately.

How to Define Effective Delegation of Authority and Routing Rules

The risk of incorporating superfluous approvers in a Capital expenditure request form approval process is that decision making is delayed, and management time is misallocated on too many low risk or low value reviews. The risk of not including all the required management roles in an approval process is that the wrong initiatives are funded, leading to waste or sub-optimal performance.

To ensure an optimal and fine-grained assignment of approvers, delegation of authority matrices should consider approval value as well as investment reason, asset class, category and other crucial factors when determining approval roles (such as Plant Manager and CFO). The assignment of individuals to delegation of authority approval roles may be area dependent, such as the Plant Manager, or global, such as the CFO.

The Value of Mobilizing Capital Expenditure Request Workflow Approvals

The best way of ensuring managers access and provide a timely decision on their capital expenditure request form is to eliminate email clutter and present all tasks in a single worklist, with a badge count, accessible from any device, anywhere. IQX OneList Approvals provides such a tool. It aggregates all CER approval tasks, as well as any other workflow tasks in a single actionable task list accessible via an app on your phone, or via any browser.

Delegation and Escalation of the Capital Expenditure Request Form

Provision also needs to be made for delegates, as even CFO’s need a holiday from time to time. Delegates should be centrally maintained, and time delimited.

Sometimes, approval task notifications get overlooked. Workflow rules should provide timely reminders and even automatically approve and escalate early-stage approvals where appropriate.

Effective Monitoring of Capital Expenditure Request Workflow

As a result of staff movements or changes to the delegation of authority matrix, in-progress workflows may sometimes get out of synch with the current routing rules. A workflow process monitor should help identify bottlenecked, or out of synch approval flows, and redetermine the updated approval flow if required.

Fully Integrated Capital Expenditure Request Form Solution: Approvals, Project Portfolio Management, and Budgeting

Stratex Online is the most fully integrated ideation, business case development, project portfolio management, capital budgeting, and capital expenditure request form approval solution on the market. Available as a Software as a Service (SaaS), Stratex Online is ready to run.

Stratex Online can greatly streamline your Capital Expenditure Request Form and Approval process by more effectively routing requests to all the right people and giving them all the necessary information, reliably captured, and calculated, to empower them to make more timely, confident, and effective business decisions.