Walkthrough: Setting Up and Using a Purchase Approval Workflow

You can automate the process of approving new or changed records, such as documents, journal lines, and customer cards, by creating workflows with steps for the approvals in question. Before you create approval workflows, you must set up an approver and substitute approver for each approval user. You can also set approvers’ amount limits to define which sales and purchase records they are qualified to approve. Approval requests and other notifications can be sent as email or internal note. For each approval user setup, you can also set up when they receive notifications.

Note

In addition to the Workflow functionality within Business Central, you can integrate to Microsoft Flow to define workflows for events in Business Central. Note that although they are two separate workflow systems, any Flow template that you create with Microsoft Flow is added to the list of workflow templates within Business Central. For more information, see Using Business Central in an Automated Workflow.

You can set up and use workflows that connect business-process tasks performed by different users. System tasks, such as automatic posting, can be included as steps in workflows, preceded or followed by user tasks. Requesting and granting approval to create new records are typical workflow steps. For more information, see Workflow.

About This Walkthrough

This walkthrough illustrates the following tasks:

  • Setting up approval users.
  • Setting up notifications for approval users.
  • Modifying and enabling an approval workflow.
  • Requesting approval of a purchase order, as Alicia.
  • Receiving a notification and then approving the request, as Sean.

Prerequisites

To complete this walkthrough, you will need the CRONUS International Ltd. demonstration company.

Story

Sean is a super user at CRONUS. He creates two approval users. One is Alicia who represents a purchasing agent. The other is himself representing Alicia’s approver. Sean then gives himself unlimited purchase approval rights and specifies that he will receive notifications by internal note as soon as a relevant event occurs. Last, Sean creates the required approval workflow as a copy of the existing Purchase Order Approval Workflow workflow template, leaves all existing event conditions and response options unchanged, and then enables the workflow.

To test the approval workflow, Sean first logs into Business Central as Alicia, and then requests approval of a purchase order. Sean then logs in as himself, sees the note on his Role Center, follows the link to the approval request for the purchase order, and approves the request.

Setting Up Sample Data

Before you can set up approval users and their notification method, you must make sure that two users exist in Business Central: One user will represent Alicia. The other user, yourself, will represent Sean. For more information, see Manage Users and Permissions.

Setting Up Approval Users

When logged in as yourself, set Alicia up as an approval user whose approver is yourself. Set up your approval rights and specify how and when you are notified of approval requests.

To set up yourself and Alicia as approval users

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Approval User Setup, and then choose the related link.

  2. On the Approval User Setup page, choose the New action.

    Note

    You must set up an approver before you can set up users who require that approver's approval. Therefore, you must set up yourself before you set up Alicia.

  3. Set up the two approval users by filling the fields as described in the following table.

    User ID Approver ID Unlimited Purchase Approval
    YOU Selected
    ALICIA YOU

Setting Up Notifications

In this walkthrough, the user is notified by internal note about requests to approve. Approval notification can also be by email. For more information, see Specify When and How to Receive Notifications.

To set up how and when you are notified

  1. On the Approval User Setup page, select the line for yourself, and then choose the Notification Setup action.
  2. On the Notification Setup page, in the Notification Type field, choose Approval.
  3. In the Notification Method field, choose Note.
  4. On the Notification Setup page, choose the Notification Schedule action.
  5. On the Notification Schedule page, in the Occurence field, select Instantly.
  6. Choose the OK button.

Creating the Approval Workflow

Create the purchase order approval workflow by copying the steps from the Purchase Order Approval Workflow workflow template. Leave the existing workflow steps unchanged, and then enable the workflow.

To create and enable a purchase order approval workflow

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Workflows, and then choose the related link.

  2. On the Workflows page, choose the Create Workflow from Template action.

  3. On the Workflow Templates page, select the workflow template named Purchase Order Approval Workflow, and then choose the OK button.

    The Workflow page opens for a new workflow containing all the information of the selected template. The value in the Code field is extended with “-01” to indicate that this is the first workflow that is created from the Purchase Order Approval Workflow workflow template.

  4. On the header of the Workflow page, select the Enabled check box.

Using the Approval Workflow

Use the new Purchase Order Approval Workflow workflow by first logging into Business Central as Alicia to request approval of a purchase order. Then log in as yourself, view the note on the Role Center, follow the link to the approval request, and then approve the request.

To request approval of a purchase order, as Alicia

  1. Log in as Alicia.
  2. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature icon, enter Purchase Orders, and then choose the related link.
  3. Select the line for open purchase order 104001, and then choose the Edit action.
  4. On the Purchase Order page, choose the Send Approval Request action.

Notice that the value in the Status field has changed to Pending Approval.

To approve the purchase order, as Sean

  1. Log in as Sean.

  2. On the Role Center, on the My Notifications page, look for a new note from Alicia.

  3. When the note appears on the My Notifications page, choose the Approval Entry: XX, XX value in the Page field. The Requests to Approve page opens with Alicia’s request for the purchase order highlighted.

  4. On the Requests to Approve page, choose the Approve action.

    The value in the Status field on Alicia’s purchase order changes to Released.

You have now set up and tested a simple approval workflow based on the first two steps of the Purchase Order Approval Workflow workflow. You can easily extend this workflow to automatically post Alicia’s purchase order when Sean approves it. To do this, you must enable the Purchase Invoice Workflow workflow, in which the response to a released purchase invoice is to post it. First you must change the event condition on the first workflow step from (purchase) Invoice to Order.

The generic version of Business Central includes a number of workflow templates for scenarios that are supported by the application code. Most of these are for approval workflows.

You define variations of workflows by filling fields on workflow lines from fixed lists of event and response values representing scenarios that are supported by the application code. For more information, see Create Workflows.

If a business scenario requires a workflow event or response that is not supported, a Microsoft partner must implement them by customizing the application code. For more information, see Walkthrough: Implementing New Workflow Events and Responses in the developer and IT-pro help.

See Also

Set Up Approval Users
Setting Up Workflow Notifications
Create Workflows
Use Approval Workflows
Workflow
Using Business Central in an Automated Workflow