Using Workflow in Dynamics GP

The built-in workflow functionality in Dynamics GP is a powerful tool that enables you to easily add workflows to your system, automating the approval processes and optimizing efficiency.

This article will guide you through setting up workflows in accounts payable, covering how to create a new step in your workflow, view reports of items for approval, and how to delegate workflows.

Table of Contents

What Is a Workflow?

Workflow types

There are various workflow types in Dynamics GP. You can set up workflows for accounts payable, purchase orders, invoices, expense reports, time sheets, and sales order processing in AR, AP, and GL.

Workflow and email

If you are on Dynamics GP version 18.4 or better, you can use Exchange email from Office 365 (Microsoft 365) to send approval emails. The recipient can approve or reject directly within the email, triggering the action in GP. There is no GP user license required for approvals, reducing costs for occasional GP users.

Workflow setup

It is important that you plan your Workflow at the outset before you start using it. Because of the branching that’s available on the “if’” statements, you must be very sure about what your workflows are. Invest time upfront to map out your workflows properly for desired results.

In the workflow setup, you can have single-level and multi-level workflows. If, for example, something is over $5,000 direct it to Joe; if it is under $5,000, send it to Jane. Once you’ve set up your workflow levels, you can specify who can approve and whether or not it has to go through a secondary approval. You can specify requirements based on things that are on the purchase or on the accounts payable transaction.

Workflow approval

Once a transaction has been submitted, how do we approve it in GP?

Approvals are done through Active Directory, that is how it gets authentication. It does not use the SQL authentication that the rest of GP uses.

Workflow Setup

Navigate to Administration >> Setup >> Workflow.

Within Workflow there are four separate areas: Workflow Maintenance, Workflow Calendar, Email Message Setup, and Edit Workflow Approver.

Screenshot navigating to "Administration", "Setup", "Workflow" windows in Dynamics GP. Highlighting the Workflow area.

Workflow Maintenance

Within Workflow Maintenance there is a list of all the different documents we can place workflow on.

Screenshot in the "Workflow Maintenance" window highlighting the different documents under "Purchasing".

Each one of these documents must be approved separately. You can set it up so that receipts need approval as well, and then you would need approval for the invoice match.

In this example I will be working with payables under Purchasing. Other areas you can work in include:

  • Financial: General Ledger Account Approval, so that you can get people to approve new GL codes and batch approvals.
  • Sales: Sales Transaction Approval for credit limits as well as Receivable Batch.
  • Payroll: These are only available for US payroll, not Canadian.
  • Project: Expense Report and Timesheet. If you are using project accounting, this does an excellent job for timesheet approval and expense report approval as it goes to the projects.

In Purchasing, there is a setup here called “AP Transactions.”

Screenshot in the "Workflow Maintenance" window highlighting "AP Transactions".

Within AP Transactions, you can set up your workflow as you would like and assign approvers.

In the example above, notice that a transaction over 10K will go to Don only, but if it is under 10K, it will go to multiple approvers, and either one can approve.

Drilling into the Workflow called “Approve under 10K,” under “Order” it says, “Approve Over 10K” and only one response is needed. If, for example, you have a payable that two people are required to approve, you can then say that all must approve, or majority must approve.

It is up to you as to how you want this Order to be set up.

Screenshot in the "Workflow Maintenance" window highlighting the "Order" section.

Once you have set up your Order, it will change the accounts payable screen.

Now, you activate the workflow by pushing the Activate button beside the workflow name.

At the bottom, in the section “When a task is overdue,” you can see who to escalate it to.

Screenshot in the "Workflow Maintenance" window highlighting the "Active" button and "When a task is overdue" section.

Creating a New Step in the Workflow

To create a new step in the workflow, select the “New Step” icon at the top of the window, this will show you a list of all the fields that are on an accounts payable transaction.

After creating a new step, you will see a new line in an accounts payable transaction that says, “AP Transactions [Not Submitted]”, and there is a new button called “Submit.” There will also be a new button called “View History” because there is a Workflow already attached to it.

Screenshot in the "Payables Transaction Entry" window highlighting "Submit", "View History", and a popup bar saying "AP Transaction [Not Submitted]".

You can set the Batch ID, select the vendor, enter the Document Number, and press enter.

Note: If you are doing accounts payable transactions, this will reverse what most people do with their approvals. Most people send their documents around for approval, then enter them once approved, not into GP before they are approved, which requires entry into AP. 

Enter your Purchase value, you can go into Distributions to ensure that it has been coded to the right expense.

Screenshot in the "Payables Transaction Entry" window highlighting "Purchases" and "Distributions".

Each field inside the Payables Transaction Entry window is available on Workflow. This means you can direct approvals based on whether the Shipping Method is overnight and assign approvals based on the Tax Schedule, the Document Number, the Vendor ID, etc.  

Note: You may notice that the Post button in the top menu bar is shaded. That’s because you cannot post a transaction until it has been approved.

What you can do is submit it. The system will prompt you to save and attach a document that would go out with the approval. Once you have hit Submit, it will ask you for a Workflow Action comment:

Screenshot of the "Workflow Action" popup.

Once the transaction has been submitted, the system will submit it into the workflow.

If you look in the entry that has just been submitted in the Payables Transaction Entry window, the status of the approval will appear in a banner at the top of the screen:

Screenshot of the "Payables Transaction Entry" window, highlighting the bar saying "Approve over10K [Pending approval by Don; due 11/22/2023 4:00:00 PM]".

The approver can then approve or reject it under Workflow:

Screenshot in the "Payables Transaction Entry" window highlghting the "Workflow" button and the approve, reject, or delegate dropdown.

If an approver would like to view the Workflow history, they can drill into the >> button beside the Workflow button and see a list of all the possibilities in the Workflow History window:

Screenshot of the "Workflow History" window.

View Reports of Items for Approval

To view items that need to be approved, navigate to Purchasing>>Payables Transactions>>Payables Transactions Pending Approval.

Screenshot of the "Payables Transactions Pending Approval" window.

You can approve a transaction by clicking on the item.

Note: You can approve multiple transactions at once, and then hit Approve/Complete, this will automatically update for other users in the workflow.

Screenshot of the transactions pending approval in the "Payables Transactions Pending Approval" window.

If you would like to reject, delegate, or view the workflow history, click the arrows on the right to the Approval button:

Screenshot of the "Approve/Complete Workflow" button highlighting the drop down menu options: reject, delegate, and view workflow history.

Once you’ve selected Approve, this will then mark it as an approved transaction and the approval has been completed.

Screenshot in the "Payables Transactions Pending Approval" window highlighting the bar saying "11/21/2023; Approve/Complete action completed. 1 succeeded; 0 failed."

Once the approval has been completed, you can post the entry in a batch.

When you post the batch, only the items that have been approved can be posted; it will not post unapproved transactions. As a result, you can post and repost recovered transactions, and the attatchments will always be there.

Note: When we talk about Transaction Entry, that is an all or nothing transaction, so once everything is done, all transactions are approved or none of the transactions are approved. You cannot specify certain transactions to flow through, like your rent, lights, phone, they would all end up going into a batch and be sent to someone for approval.

How to Delegate Workflows

What is the workaround in the case the approver is not available?

You can edit the Workflow approver; you can move the approver from “currently assigned to” to “delegate document to” to delegate those transactions that are outstanding.

You can delegate someone as part of the workflow as well in the Edit Workflow Approver window.

Screenshot of the "Edit Workflow Approver" window.

You can also, inside Workflow Maintenance, escalate it. In the Options section, you can set the approver be allowed to delegate a task.

Screenshot of the "Workflow Maintenance" window highlighting "Allow approver to delegate tasks" check box and the "When a task is overdue" section.

You can decide to escalate to the next approver, you can change who you are escalating it to, or you can automatically reject the overdue task. You could also take no action and simply leave it there.

After you have done the delegation, the system will send the email to the delegate, and the delegate can approve the task.

Note: You cannot delegate future items. If you wish to assign an approver before you are out of office, you can change the workflow, but it is not possible to delegate items that are being worked on in advance.

For a complete walkthrough of the use and approval of workflows, watch this recorded webinar:

This setup will work very much the same for all other pieces of GP.

If you would like to learn more about workflow in Dynamics GP, please contact us.

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