When you’re scaling your business, automating operations is the key.
If you want to hire more people, get budgets approved quickly, and negotiate terms and conditions to close deals faster, you have more paperwork to handle. Contracts are needed to legally bind each transaction and agreement — they’re practically required at every stage of your business process
Contracts shouldn’t stop your business from scaling.
That’s why most companies build systems for processing documents and contracts to minimize time spent on manual tasks — 48% of companies to be exact.
So where can you start on optimizing your paperwork?
A good solution is to use document approval software that can speed up the reviewing and approval of documents.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the list of the best document approval software options and help you choose what tool to use and how to start.
What is document approval software?
Document approval software lets you get reviews and approvals automatically. It streamlines the forwarding of a document to who will review and approve or reject it while tracking the entire process. It shows a clear trail of all document workflow actions taken. This activity log includes the date, time, original author, and last editor.
However, some documents are complex and intensive. They’re not like proposals and invoices that have a standard format.
Legal documents like contracts need a more sophisticated system to manage the contract approval process. Their terms are varied, need to be up-to-date, and contain duties once signed. If this is the case, you’ll need contract approval software instead.
Isn’t it the same with document approval software?
Though they are capable of completing few, similar tasks such as document storage and process approvals, contract approval software is especially dedicated to legal documents. Unlike document approval software, they can also take care of the contract lifecycle including post-signing monitoring.
So what tools are available?
11 document approval software options
Whether you’re handling general or legal documents, here are the best solutions to automate your approval process:
Avokaado ― best for legal document approvals
Avokaado is a contract approval workflow software that specializes in legal documents like contracts. It allows businesses to manage the entire contract lifecycle and related workflows in one place ― from storing documents, creating, collaborating, approving, executing to monitoring post-signing milestones.
- Pre-lawyered templates in a central library
- Assigns different user groups and grants permission levels to internal team and external collaborators
- Metadata-based reminders for tracking key approval milestones
Nintex Process Platform ― best for non-coders
Nintex Process Platform is an easy-to-use document approval workflow software with a drag-and-drop interface for constructing complicated workflows. Automating a multi-stage approval process is simplified, so manual labor is less needed.
- Drag-and-drop design tools to visualize complex processes
- Bots to automate routine work for reviewing and approving quickly and efficiently
- Pre-built dashboard to monitor workflow performance
DocuWare ― best for the mobile workforce
DocuWare is an on-premise platform that offers mobile document management and workflow automation for workers who are always on the go. Sales agents in the field, travelling managers, and even employees working from home can easily access archived contracts, emails, quotes, proposals, and presentations on the road.
- Centralized, instant access to documents and workflow even without VPNs
- Stamps and data fields to initiate the next steps for approving and adding context to a document via mobile
- Invoice processing, proposal editing, and secure document archiving
HighQ ― best for corporations
HighQ is a contract review and approval policy software that increases transparency and efficiency in big companies. It can manage contract lifecycles, documents, services requests, and legal matters in bulk. Its enterprise-grade features combine document workflows, social collaboration, and secure file storage.
- Real-time collaborative work with customizable project dashboards for quick status tracking and data visualization for all departments
- Document templating to create repeatable, portable solutions
- Agile task management, timelines, and calendaring, including legal management capabilitie
Document Locator ― best for Microsoft users
Document Locator is built into Microsoft Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office. This makes document management like electronic filing, routing, reviews, and approvals seamless. It also has built-in document workflow software that can automate the team’s review and approval processes.
- Deep integration with the Microsoft architecture
- Workflow security based on roles restricts access to documents
- Electronic notifications alert those involved during the review and approval steps
Filestage ― best for external collaboration
Filestage is a document review and approval software for managing projects with external collaborators. Email requests can get lost in the shuffle, but being able to comment on a document gives you clearer, better, and faster communication with co-editors. Also, the timestamp approvals keep things organized and traceable.
- Documents are organized into projects and folders for easy sharing and for checking approvals with team and external collaborators
- Integrations to your favorite tools that save you time on approvals
- Automated reminders on due dates in the reviewing process
Integrify ― best for novice to experienced programmers
Integrify is a flexible document approval system. It requires basic technical knowledge to fully implement its features, but is intuitive enough for new users to create simple business workflows. It’s easy to set up a custom workflow for handling document approvals, streamline routing and tracking progress.
- AWS Lambda Integration to execute code in response to actions like publishing documents
- Drag-and-drop tools to build automated workflows
- A dedicated approval management system takes care of managing approval workflow on the backend
PandaDoc ― best for sales proposals
PandaDoc is a document approval software for creating professional proposals that the sales team needs for closing deals. Its approval workflows and proposal templates speed up the sales process, so you multiply productivity where profit comes in.
- Templates that replicate your master document copy workflow including the approval process
- Custom themes to keep your documents on-brand
- Real-time analytics of when and how long your document was viewed or completed
Smartsheet ― best for internal teams
Smartsheet is an enterprise-centric platform that assists teams in managing projects and automating workflows that lead to the approval of documents. You can use it to leave comments on your current tasks to communicate with your coworkers faster. No more phone calls, texts or emails to notify them about changes to a project.
- Expedite approval from the right team members and stakeholders using comments or @mentions
- Customizable Gantt capabilities to help you visualize your projects
- Easily attach files from Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and other platforms
Kissflow ― best for GSuite users
Kissflow is a document approval workflow tool that lets you work directly with the Google Apps Suite. It makes viewing the workflows that need approval easy, if most of your team members use GSuite. With this digital workplace, you can share and collaborate along with a code-less environment that is easy to install.
- Workflows are accessible inside Google Apps
- Smart alerts to get instant, automatic, and relevant notifications
- Code-free workflow forms for convenient workflow routing
Wrike ― best for distributed teams
Wrike is a work management platform that promotes collaboration among remote teams dispersed across different locations. Its capabilities are extremely useful for keeping things organized and on track. With this platform, team members are aligned under project tasks and sub-tasks, so details and timeframes such as approvals are kept under control.
- Automated approval systems to streamline the feedback process even when working remotely
- Shared team calendars to easily visualize your team member’s availability
- Custom request forms for gathering details, creating tasks, and assigning them appropriately
Benefits of document approval software
You’re probably tired of wasting hours of your day on document approvals. Document approval software can eliminate that for you and bring you more convenience:
- Organize your document approval process
Prior to a document being considered ready for sending, it must pass through approval by multiple individuals. Document approval software helps you automate the routing of these steps. You don’t have to bother reminding anyone involved.
- Get approvals right away
It’s not productive (or pleasant) to chase down key stakeholders for their review and approval or rejection of a document. Document approval software sends smart alerts to remind them to complete their duties in a timely manner, so they can turn in results as soon as possible.
- Bring more transparency
If transparency to your document statuses is your priority, document approval software can give you the visibility you want. Not only can founders, department heads, and managers see whether the team is on track, but it also shows them how the discussion led to the decision.
- Ensure that documents comply with all standards
The thing with documents is they have to appear consistent so they make a strong brand impact on your clients. Document approval software can ensure you’re staying with your brand’s identity. They can also check whether each deliverable passes your compliance requirements.
- Automate manual, repetitive processes
Most document approval software allows you to automate tasks involved in getting approvals, such as sharing files, versioning, or sending reviewers reminders. This can remove erroneous manual intervention from employees, speed up your approval workflows, and make everyone happier at work.
So yes, when it comes to general documents like invoices and proposals, document approval software is important. Yet when it comes to legal documents, opt for contract approval software instead.
👉 Avokaado is the best contract lifecycle management software to automate the approval of your legal documents, so they don’t cause delays in your business operations.
How do you approve documents in Avokaado?
To further illustrate this, let’s consider a contract after the drafting stage. Given that setting, here’s how you can approve your contracts:
- Build your approval & signing workflow
The first step you do to start the approval process is to assign approvers and signers. The distinction between the roles are the following:
- the approver needs to approve or reject a document before signing can begin
- the signer of a document must sign the document to confirm its legality
The contract approval software sends them invitations to clarify their role-specific details. You also set the queue of approvers and signers so the workflows are in order.
- Check the status of your documents
Did your approvers and signers agree or disagree with the changes made? Check the document view to keep tabs on every contract that you have created or received.
If you have questions about the changes, you can leave them in Avokaado’s discussion section. It allows you and your collaborators to make comments so you can decide on the next steps.
- Track approvals with the activity log
See what’s going on with your document in the activity log ― view approvals and the status of your document. Is it updated? You’ll know who initiated and approved the edit from here.
For collaborators who haven’t opened the document, send them a reminder by pressing “Notify Undone.”
- Accept eSignatures
Collecting signatures is the last step in your contract approval process. This involves electronic signatures that make the whole process automated. Signers can provide them even when they’re not physically present.
Avokaado integrates with eIDAS compliant signature service providers, Dokobit and SignNow. Please choose SignNow if you’re not sure whether your collaborator will be able to sign with an eIDAS-compliant signature.
Working with document approval software
Imagine if you could make your document approval process faster, more efficient and less prone to errors. A document approval software makes this come true. No emailing documents back and forth nor calling busy colleagues just to get feedback.
Instead, they make the process transparent for everyone involved ― including stakeholders who can monitor the progress at any time. You’ll streamline your workflow, remove bottlenecks, minimize errors, and ensure compliance with organizational or industry standards.
However, for complex documents like contracts, it’s better to use a contract lifecycle management tool with contract approval functionality included. The best way to go about it is by using Avokaado CLM software that streamlines contract management tasks ― from creation through signing and post-signing.