There are three steps needed to plan, chart, and execute a workflow in Dynamics GP. Here’s an overview:
Automating the manual approval process starts with having an internal procedure or document that can be mapped. A sample of an internal business approval process is below.
Purchases must be provided for in the budget of the current year and adhere to the following schedule of approvals:
a) Up to $5,000 by the line superintendent or general foreperson.
b) In excess of $5,000 up to $10,000 by the manager of technical services, the office manager, or customer service manager.
c) In excess of $10,000 up to $25,000 by the director of technical operations.
d) In excess of $25,000 by the chief financial officer and the president or chief operating officer.
Second, we need to clarify the rules. For example, in the first rule, up to $5,000 by the line superintendent or general foreperson can be charted as:The above approval procedure document is still generic and needs to be expanded before it can be charted. For example, each of the above roles should have a name assigned to the position. The position must be linked to a GP user in the Active Directory.
- All purchases up to the $5,000 purchasing limit can be sent to either the line superintendent or general foreperson.
- Alternatively, the line superintendent can be the main approver and the approval delegated to the foreperson if the superintendent is away.
In the second rule, purchases between $5,000 and $10,000 need to be approved by the manager of technical services, the office manager, or the customer service manager. If the purchases need to be approved by a specific manager based on the department that ordered the items, the workflow rules must separate these purchases and be directed to the assigned manager.
In the fourth rule, any purchase greater than $25,000 needs to be approved by the CFO and the president or COO. This implies two approvers are needed. The organization must decide:
- If approvals need to be sent to the CFO initially before being sent to the president or COO.
- Or if approvals should be sent simultaneously.
In some organizations, the president will only want to approve purchases after he or she is assured that the purchases had the CFO’s approval. If the workflow is structured so that the workflow notification is sent simultaneously, the president can potentially approve a purchase order that’s subsequently rejected by the CFO.
There are some organizations that prefer large purchases to be approved at all levels before receiving final approval. In our example, a $27,000 purchase is approved by the line superintendent, followed by the manager of technical services, the director of technical services, and both the CFO and the president. Alternatively, depending on the organization’s business process, it can be sufficient for the larger purchases to bypass all the lower approval levels and go directly to the CFO and president.
- Designating someone as an alternate approver.
- Determining whether an originator can approve their own purchases within their purchasing limit.
- Determining the time taken for a task.
- Defining the escalation policy.
- Designing the email notification messages that are sent.
The best way to prepare for setting up a workflow system is to create diagrams or an Excel spreadsheet illustrating the workflow you want to create. A recommended program is Microsoft Office Visio.
Your chart should indicate: the order in which the workflow steps occur; who the approvers are at each step; and the conditions under which their approval is required.
For example, your diagram may look similar to the following workflow diagram:
The final step is to take the charted workflow and configure the workflow maintenance.
Step 1: There are three area to consider in the first step. We must configure the rule that sets the buying limit. In this example, the rule is for all purchases with a total cost of less than and including $5,000. Second, the completion policy is marked
as only one response is needed. Finally, we can assign the workflow to Mark (the line superintendent) and Sandy (the general foreperson).
Step 2: To ensure that purchases are directed to the correct department, here we have used the buyer ID. Using the buyer ID, we can configure the rule that whenever a PO is created by a particular user, the workflow will be sent to a specific approver. In the screen shot below, if the buyer is Jill and the extended cost is greater than $5,001 but less than $10,000, the workflow approval is sent to Ting. We can also use Comment ID or Site ID to segregate departments. The steps can be replicated for each department.
Step 3: When the workflow requires multiple approvers, the configuration can be laddered. In our example, the workflow approval is initially directed to the CFO. Once approved, it’ s directed to both the president and the COO simultaneously. The initial approval becomes step one in our ladder to be approved by the CFO.
We then create a second step that follows the previous step where only one response is needed.
Once the workflow is planned, charted, and executed, you can activate and implement it in your business process.