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In the end this turned out to be astoundingly logical. It was a long way to the end.

Our use case was simple. If a sales manager is not in the office the delegated approver can approve the opportunity. On the home page of the manager is a great related list called “Items to Approve.” Common sense (at least from my perspective) holds that the same list on the delegated approver’s home page would be populated with identical entries. After all, we have the option of sending an approval request email to the manager, delegate or both. If both are going to get emails why wouldn’t both have access to a list?

Sea of Confusion

As any wise administrator would do I started browsing the internet looking for the answer. Normally I can find a great deal of information on just about any Salesforce topic. This time it was quite different. Most of the posts raised more questions than answers and the “answers” I found didn’t make a lot of sense. Here are some of the titles I uncovered:

  • Why can’t a delegated approver see anything in the Items to approve list?
  • Delegated Approver: how does this work?
  • How does a delegated approver get notified of a pending approval?

The one common thread in the majority of posts revolved around how to get a list of items awaiting approval. There were also explanations of how a delegated approver could approve by replying to an email. Well, that’s great. But not one post provided me the answer to this one question:

Assuming the delegated approver knows what needs approval, how can she approve it?

Our Requirements

We wanted to keep this as simple as possible:

  • Delegated approvers are used infrequently so they should not be inundated with emails (I always thought this was overkill in the first place)
  • The sales representative should notify the delegated approver when his manager is unavailable
  • The delegated approver should be able to bring up that opportunity and click Approve (or Reject)

After literally hours of searching, I came up with absolutely zero resources on how to expose an approval button or link on the record to approve.

Approval History

And then it dawned on me. When a manager clicks the Approve link in the Items to Approve list this page appears:

Salesforce Approval Page

I frankly didn’t give much attention to this page other than the fact I thought the approval history was a nice touch … but wait! It sure looks like a related list. Doesn’t this mean it could be added to other page layouts? Of course, there are no approve or reject links, but why not.

So, I cloned the standard opportunity layout, added the approval history related list, and assigned it to the manager profile.

Success!

Much to my surprise, links appeared:

Salesforce Opportunity Approval

And that’s not all … the links only appear for the opportunity owner’s manager and delegated approver. One caveat. Do not put the approval history on the page layout for the sales representative profile. If you do, the owner can approve her own opportunity!

I am at a loss to explain how such an obvious and logical solution seems to be completely absent from any Salesforce documentation, knowledge base articles or blog posts. Surely I must have missed it.