In this post, we will go through the different pages in the approval workflow module of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. With an example of a sales invoice workflow, we will learn how to set up, send and accept an approval request.
- What Is An Approval Workflow?
- Approval User Setup
- Approval Workflow Example
- Requests To Approve
- Approval Entries
- Approval Request Entries
- Send Overdue Approval Notifications
- Posted Approval Entries
Check the post about workflows to have a better understanding about them before digging into approval workflows.
What Is An Approval Workflow?
An approval workflow is the way we can automate approval processes within Business Central. Starting from approval users we can decide who needs to approve a document in order to continue the process that we have established. We can also create notifications and send overdue requests to remind approvers that an action is needed from them.
Approval User Setup
The first thing we need to do in order to set up an approval workflow is to fill in the ‘Approval User Setup’ page. This is the most important page in the approvals module of Business Central. All approval workflows will rely on it.
Here we have to set up all the people involved in any approval workflow. There are different fields for different purposes. Get more information about each one of them here:
Note that the table is the same as on the user setup page (Table 91 User Setup). So they share some fields such as the e-mail, phone no. or Salesperson/Purch.
For this simple test, we will use the following configuration.
Approval Workflow Example
Let´s follow a simple example to explain how an approval workflow works. We will use the Sales Invoice Approval template.
Sales Approval Workflow
The workflow is the following:
As we can see, there is one main event which is the one that creates the request and initiates the workflow. For the rest of the events to trigger the first one has to be triggered first. In other words, none of the events indented below the first one will trigger if the first one isn´t initiated. This is the purpose of indenting events.
On top of the ‘parent’ event, the conditions of the events must also be met. In this section, we can play with the conditions to conform to our workflow.
A workflow response can have multiple steps itself. Each one of the responses can be customized.
The first response in this workflow is ‘Add record restriction’. It shows this caption because it is the first step in the response. As you can see there are three more:
‘Add record restriction’ means that, in this case, the sales invoice can´t be posted until the restriction is removed. Learn more about restricted records here:
If the approval request is approved we can see that the first step is to remove the record restriction and then release the document.
Trigger The Workflow
We can create now a sales invoice to test the approval workflow. First, you can show the approval factbox to see the status of the approval.
Once we have the invoice ready we can send the approval request.
The status on the document changes to ‘Pending Approval’ and we can see the information of the approval on the factbox we just populated.
Requests to Approve
You can find pending approvals from the cues of the role center or just by searching ‘Requests to Approve’. Is on this page where the approver will have to accept or reject the requests that have been received.
The following page will open with information about the approval, sender, due date, amount, and currency code. You can also see if there is any comment related to the approval.
At this point, we can go to the document with the ‘Open Record’ action to verify the information about the approval. We can approve, reject or delegate it. If we approve, the status of the document turns to ‘Released’.
But if we reject it, the status will turn to open meaning that this document has been rejected and can´t be posted. We can also delegate and the status will remain in ‘Pending Approval’ until somebody accepts or rejects.
Let´s approve the invoice in the example. This is now the status.
This page will show all the entries of the approval module that are on the fly. Each user can only see their approval entries. The only one that has access to all the entries is the approval administrator which is defined in the ‘Approval User Setup’.
Approval Request Entries
It basically displays the same information as the ‘Approval Entries’ page. It is also filtered for each user so they can only see their approvals.
Send Overdue Approval Notifications
When an approval doesn´t receive a response from the approver we can send overdue approval notifications with the following option:
If we try to select it a message will pop up:
This means that we need to set up a specific workflow to send overdue approvals. You can already find a template for this task:
Once we enable it, we can see on our approval entries which ones are overdue.
If we now try to run the task again this message will appear notifying that overdue approval entries have been created:
Check the ‘Overdue Approval Entries’ page. We can see that both overdue approvals have been created.
You can choose the notification method in the ‘Workflow Notification Setup’ page:
Posted Approval Entries
When you post a document that has been approved the approval entries will move from ‘Approval Entries’ to the ‘Posted Approval Entries’ page.
That´s all the basics you need to know about approval workflows. Note that approvals can have a lot more possibilities like chain approvals, specific approvers, etc.
Hope you find it useful.