Skip to main content



Coupa Success Portal

Self Approval

Use Cases

Self approvals can allow for faster cycle times and reduced overhead for scenarios where the end user is entrusted to make the purchase themselves. Given that with Coupa there is full spend visibility, reporting, watchers, and spend guard alerts - self approvals can become a less daunting endeavor. 

Many organizations look to define these holistically across their user base for consistency and transparency in terms of what is allowed and what is not. And while there's no magic number to set these at, typically self approval limits range from $250-$1000. 


  • Standard self approvals trigger as part of the management hierarchy and will not override any custom approval chains configured.
  • If your core approval design focuses on dynamic approvals (ex: cost center based) rather than management hierarchy you will want to consider having consistent self-approval limits to allow the dynamic chain to be triggered after the dollar threshold for self approval. 
  • Self approvals can be enabled at a global level and defined at a user level or through custom approval chains by listing the approver as the 'Requester'. The latter should be used to a limited degree to avoid extensive approval chain management. 

Do's & Don'ts

Design Element Recommended Design Alternatives Risks Rationale
Enable Self Approval Set self approval limit on user record Use a custom chain to set a single limit for all users

Complex rules for when self approval is allowed (excess of 50 chains to define rules)

Using the standard functionality of setting the self approval limit on the user record allows for easiest maintenance and applies across modules
Self Approval Amount Keep values consistent across users   Values inconsistent across users (when core design is not management hierarchy) Inconsistencies will require more maintenance effort and complexities in custom approval chains. It also may be challenging for users as they are unclear on scenarios where they have the authority to self approve. 
User Record Limit (source of truth) Feed approval limit information from HR system along with other user record details Maintain user record information through user forms No source of truth for self approval limits Without a source for the information this will need to manually maintained for each user

Heat Map Assessment

Screen Shot 2021-06-02 at 4.14.06 PM.png

Self Approvals will not be used for any scenarios No Risks are incorporated into the current design and the design is fully defined.  Customer is still determining use cases for Self Approval One or more Risks are incorporated into the current design Self approvals are happening offline or via a third party application

Related Success Metrics and Value Drivers

  • Approval Cycle Time
  • Avg. Number of Approvers per Transaction

If these are key metrics for a customer's business, enabling self approvals could make a significant impact to these values while not leveraging this feature may be a risk in itself. 

  • Was this article helpful?