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.
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 (incl. setting up a user in Windows and in Business Central).
- Setting up notifications for approval users.
- Modifying and enabling an approval workflow.
- Starting the job queue that dispatches notifications.
- Requesting approval of a purchase order, as Alicia.
- Receiving a notification and then approving the request, as Sean.
To complete this walkthrough, you will need the CRONUS International Ltd. demonstration company.
Sean is a super user at CRONUS on his own computer.
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 the Sample Data
You must create a new user on the local computer and in Business Central representing Alicia who you will later select as an approval user. Your own user account will represent Sean.
To add Alicia as a user on the local computer
- Choose Start, in the Search programs and files box, enter Edit local users and groups, and then choose the related link.
- Open the Users folder.
- On the Actions tab, choose New User.
- In the User Name field, enter Alicia.
- In the Password and Confirm Password fields, enter a valid password.
- Deselect the User must change password at next logon check box.
- Close the Local Users and Groups window.
To add Alicia as a user in Business Central
- Choose the icon, enter Users, and then choose the related link.
- In the Windows Users window, on the Home tab, in the New group, choose New.
- In the User Card window, in the User Name field, enter Alicia.
- In the Windows User Name field, choose the AssistEdit button.
- In the Select User or Group, window, in the Enter the object name to select field, enter Alicia, and then choose the Check Names button.
- When [COMPUTER NAME]ALICIA appears in the field, choose the OK button.
- On the User Permission Sets FastTab, in the Permission Set field, select SUPER.
- In the Company field, select CRONUS International Ltd.
- Choose the OK button.
Setting Up Approval Users
Using the Windows user that you have just created, 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
Choose the icon, enter Approval User Setup, and then choose the related link.
In the Approval User Setup window, on the Home tab, in the New group, choose New.
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.
Set up the two approval users by filling the fields as described in the following table.
User ID Approver ID Unlimited Purchase Approval [COMPUTER NAME][YOU] Selected [COMPUTER NAME]ALICIA [COMPUTER NAME][YOU]
Setting Up Notifications
Specify how and when you are notified of approval requests.
To set up how and when you are notified
- In the Approval User Setup window, select the line for yourself, and then on the Home tab, in the Process group, choose Notification Setup.
- In the Notification Setup window, in the Notification Type field, enter Approval.
- Choose the Notification Template Code field, and then choose the Advanced button.
- In the Notification Templates window, on the Home tab, in the Manage group, choose Edit List.
- On the line for the APPROVAL template, in the Notification Method field, enter Note.
- Choose the OK button.
- In the Notification Setup window, on the Home tab, in the Process group, choose Notification Schedule.
- In the Notification Schedule window, in the Occurence field, choose Instantly.
- 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
Choose the icon, enter Workflows, and then choose the related link.
In the Workflows window, on the Actions tab, in the General group, choose Create Workflow from Template.
On the Actions tab, in the General group, choose Create Workflow from Template. The Workflow Templates window opens.
Select the workflow template named Purchase Order Approval Workflow, and then choose the OK button.
The Workflow window 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.
On the header of the Workflow window, select the Enabled check box.
Starting a Notification Job Queue
Make sure that a job queue in your installation is set up to handle workflow notifications.
To start the NOTIFY job queue
- Choose the icon, enter Job Queues, and then choose the related link.
- In the Job Queues window, select the line for the NOTIFY job queue, and then, on the Home tab, in the Process group, choose Start Job Queue.
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 log into Business Central as different users, you will use the Run as different user function.
To log into Business Central as Alicia
For the Business Central web client, on the browser launch button for the web page, press Shift + Right-Click, and then choose Run as different user.
For the Business Central Windows client, on the launch button for the program, press Shift + Right-Click, and then choose Run as different user.
In the Windows Security window, enter [COMPUTER NAME]ALICIA and the required password.
To request approval of a purchase order, as Alicia
Choose the icon, enter Purchase Orders, and then choose the related link.
Select the line for open purchase order 104001, and then on the Home tab, in the Manage group, choose Edit.
In the Purchase Order window, on the Actions tab, in the Approval group, choose Send Approval Request.
Notice that the value in the Status field has changed to Pending Approval.
Close Business Central.
To approve the purchase order, as Sean
Open Business Central as you generally do. The program will open with you as the user.
On the Role Center, in the My Notifications window, look for a new note from Alicia.
Although the notification recurrence is set to Instantly, the note will arrive approximately one minute after Alicia sent the approval request. This is due to the default recurrence frequency of the Job Queue feature.
When the note appears in the My Notifications window, choose the Approval Entry: XX, XX value in the Page field. The Requests to Approve window opens with Alicia’s request for the purchase order highlighted.
In the Requests to Approve window, on the Home tab, in the Process group, choose Approve.
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 Business Central includes a number of workflow templates for scenarios that are supported by the application code. Most of these are for approval workflows. For more information, see Workflow Templates.
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.