Understanding Workflows & Approvals

Business > Divisions > Workflows

There are a number of different ways to approach approvals and workflows and for now, we have tried to keep it simple. This guide explains an overview of how they work. Approval workflows can be set for both invoices and purchase requisition. They belong at a Division / Departmental level. We don’t support individual spend limits because we assume that a buyer is always buying on behalf of a department and therefore will be governed by the rules of that department – who the department head is, what the spend-limit is for the HOD etc.

Firstly then:

  1. We refer to the Originator as the person requesting a Purchase
  2. Approvals belong and are set at the Division / Departmental level
  3. You can create as many workflows as you require
  4. You can start an approval workflow automatically based on the price of the Purchase Request or Invoice
  5. You can grant specific users the Admin role so they can choose their approval workflow

Workflow concepts:

For now, there are a number of steps or “things” we can do in a Workflow.

  1. Send an email generically to anyone
  2. Send a purchase order PDF to the supplier
  3. Send a request to a Zahara user asking them to Approve or Reject an order
  4. Send a request to a Zahara user asking them to Approve or Reject an invoice
  5. Send a request to a Zahara user asking them to Approve or Reject or Code and Invoice
  6. Check-in a PDF of the document (PO Or Invoice) into FileDirector (www.filedirector.info
  7. Export an invoice into Xero or Sage 50 automatically after an approval

An Automated email is sent to the “Originator” if the order is rejected.

Serial Approvals

The most important thing to understand is the serial nature of our approvals. In the picture below, we have 3 approvers. The steps are Tier1, Tier 2 & Tier3. In the example. The first approver – the Head of Department will have to approve everything.

approval process

 

The next approver, Tier 2, will only be requested to approve if the order is £5000 or higher.
The third approver, Tier 3, will only be requested to approve if the order is £10,000 or higher.
So effectively, the HOD has a spend limit of £5000. The Business Unit Manager has a spend limit of £10,000 and the Chief Executive is asked to approve all expenditure over £10,000.

  • If the HOD rejected the order it would end – the order was rejected.
  • If the HOD approved but the BU Manager rejected it would be rejected
  • If the HOD & BU Manager both approved but the Chief Exec – Tier 3 – rejected it – it would be rejected.
  • If all 3 approved then the outcome would be an approved order and possibly an email being sent to the originator, the procurement department or a PO to the supplier – whatever you set.

 

Conditional Start

A department can have multiple workflows and an individual workflow can have a conditional start. Currently, this is just value-based but very shortly we expect to also offer:

  • Who the originator is
  • Who the supplier is
  • What the product code is

An example of a conditional start is below:

3 person condition

This now means, if the Workflow type was set to automatic, this workflow will only “kick in” if the price of the Order is 10,000 or higher.

Unlimited Workflows

You can create as many workflows as you like.

A key thing here is that if a user has the Admin role, they can choose a Workflow from the drop down list. If they are not an Admin then they will have the default workflow set for them.

admin role

workflow dropdown

Default Workflow

Remembering that a workflow belongs to a Division, you can set the default workflow, including Automatic, in the Division settings.

default workflow

Workflows in Action

Once a PO Request or Invoice is created and sent into a Workflow, the process is triggered. The line view will show the status of a workflow. This will usually be:

  1. Grey – the processing engine is about to pick up the request
  2. Orange – Out for approval
  3. Green – Approved
  4. Red – Rejected

Clicking on these icons will show you where the approval is / who it’s with.

If something is Approved, you may want to send a copy of the order to the supplier. This is a separate workflow step and allows you to CC in the Originator as well.

If something is Rejected, the Originator will get an email. You can edit the wording of the Reject email under Business > Settings > Templates

You can edit the Approval email as well in the same location

Batch Approvals

An approver can login and see all of the approvals waiting in the Approve tab as shown below:

batch approve

 

Audit Trail

The history of the approval and all the steps sanctioned are added to the Document History at the end of the Order when viewing the order.

in Approvals & WorkflowSetup

Related Articles