5 Ways to Get Your Memo Approved on Time

Ahmad Ahsan
June 16, 2020

A Memorandum (More commonly known and shorten to as Memo) is a common tool for communication in the business world. While often seen as a way to communicate, inform and instruct, memos are also used to formally request for something, usually under a budget and subject for approval by the higher-ups.

You might be an employee sending out your first memo to your manager or you’re a manager sending up the memo to the CEO for the final approval. Either way, you’ve probably encountered the most common problems when dealing with memos: they take forever to be approved.

The reality is everyone is busy. Even more so as you climb up the ladder. Managers gets bog down with meetings, calls, conferences and other managerial duties. And when your memo finally lands on the table of that final approver, chances are it gets buried underneath all the paperwork.

The worst-case scenario? The person won’t be in the office for a while for all types of reasons.So, here’s a few ways to get your work on track by getting your memo approved on time: 

1. Find out who’s involved in the approval process

Now you might be thinking:“Well that’s obvious”, since you’re supposed to find out who’s going to be involved before sending out the memo anyway. But depending on how your company does it, you may need:

  • Reviewer: The person who reviews the document before sending it up for approval.
  • Recommender: The person in charge of recommending the course of action detailed in the memo. Usually someone with some form of authority.
  • Financer: The finance department. They’ll check if the request is within budget.
  • Approver: The one who approves the memo. Typically someone with a managerial or someone with an executive roll.

With these many people (and you may have multiple people in each role), you will have an easier time getting your memo approved faster by knowing who is involved in the process.

Most people working in large corporations don’t know the line of approval for Memos within the organization.

This helps by:Allowing you to approach them for approval, especially in the early parts of the process such as with the reviewer and recommender, who is probably someone you closely work with.This ties in well with the second point: 

2. Know their schedule

Once you’ve find out who’s involved in the approval process, try to find out their schedules. This helps you to plan out and estimate when your memo will be approve as well as prevent it from landing on an empty desk, which is coincidentally the day your approver goes out for a business trip.

This holds especially true if your company uses a company-wide calendar system like Google Calendar, where you can easily check everyone’s availability.

For example:You know that your reviewer and recommenders will be able to approve your memo within a couple of days considering that their Google Calendar is not tightly scheduled within the days you’ve checked.

The next point will help a lot with accountability: 

3. Set a “Approve By” date

“Approve By” dates helps keep everyone in the process accountable. Given that how memos are typically sent for important requests, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get it approved as fast as possible.

One way of doing this is by setting a date for each step of the approval process.You can set up it as (assuming there’s only 1 person per role):

  • Reviewer: 2 days for approval since memo was delivered.
  • Recommender: 2 days for approval since approved by the recommender.
  • Finance: 2 days for approval since recommended.
  • Approver: 4 days for approval since given the green-light by the finance department.

A total of 10 days at most for your memo to be approve. The quickest would be 4 days, if each person only takes a day to go through it.Do this next if someone in the chain hasn’t carried out their part: 

4. Send out a reminder email (or text)

Sometimes the busyness of the day overwhelms even the best of us. A gentle reminder email is a great way to get action going on again for your memo to be approve on time. If sending a text by phone is a way of communicating in your company, consider sending out one instead of an email. A direct text is faster and more impersonal, providing that there is no barrier in communications between ranks.

90% of all memos that require CEO approval gets delayed by 12 days on average. This is in no means their fault due to their more tight schedules and the nature of the task prevents them from delegating the work.And now for the final point: 

5. Automate and digitize your memo approval process

Automating the process saves a tremendous amount of time for you and your company, which allows work to be more efficient and productivity to increase.

For example: A fast and quick way of implementing digitization of your memo approvalprocess is by skipping the physical aspect of it. This circumvents the need to review and approve it by hand and in presence of the memo.

To do this, create the memo as you normally would, whether through a word processing software such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, then save it as a PDF. Then, use a PDF software such as Adobe Acrobat to easily allow the approver to sign digitally.

Is there another way of automating and digitizing? Why, yes:

MemoPhi – Memo Management System, automates and digitizes the:

  • Creation of memos.
  • Creation of budgets.
  • Approval Process.
  • Easy editing and reverting of memos
  • Give comments and instructions for referral.
  • Selection of people involved in the approval process.
  • Accountability tracker.
  • Approval Datelines
  • Reminders through the software and email.

What’s more: It’s easily configurable and customizable to fit your organization’s needs and way of handling memos. With an automated and digitized process of handling memos, you don’t need to worry about handling physical memos anymore. Processing memos through software allows everyone easy access no matter where they are. The ability to create, validate and approve memos on the fly allows greater flexibility for everyone involved.

At the very least, you don’t have to worry about having your memo land on an empty desk for the final approval. 

To Summarize

In essence, you’ll want to:

  1. Get to know who’s involved in the approval process.
  2. Find out their schedule.
  3. Set a “Approve By” Date.
  4. Send out gentle, friendly reminders.
  5. Automate and digitize the process where possible.

These are the 5 tips we have for you on how to get your memo approve on time.

Contact us today and find out how you can benefit from automated memo management today!

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About the Author

This article is part of a collaborative series between GR Techand industry leaders, aimed at bringing new ideas andinsights to our readers.

Ahmad Ahsan

project manager