This post continues my previous one and shows you how you can combine D365FO and MS-Flow workflows to send out and process MS Flow approval emails that allow the users responding to an approval request directly in the Email and view the invoice document as an email attachment.
The purchase requisition and invoice workflows used in the previous post assigned the approval tasks to the cost center manager of the person that requested the goods or services irrespective of the singing limit of that manager.
To incorporate the signing limits into the purchase requisition workflow approval step, I tried to modify this step in a way that it refers to a hierarchy. Unfortunately, this hierarchy selection did not allow me starting the workflow from the requester, as illustrated in the next screen print.
Applied to the example that was used in the previous post, the available ‘start from’ selection options do not allow assigning the approval task to Susan’s cost center manager unless Susan would submit the purchase requisition herself.
Setup Modification A:
To get this issue resolved, the purchase requisition workflow has been setup as a purchase requisition line review workflow, because this line-workflow type allows to be started from the requester. For details, please see the next screen prints.
In prior versions, the standard purchase requisition workflow could be started from the requester. This option has, however, been removed and as a result, a purchase requisition line-item workflow needs to be used to achieve the same.
To get the line-item workflow running, it must be incorporated into the ordinary purchase requisition workflow. This is achieved through the following setup.
In the following, a purchase requisition for a training course with a total value of $10000 is submitted to the workflow. Because of the changes that have been implemented, the approval task is now assigned to the marketing executive Julia because she has a sufficiently large signing limit. For details, please have a look at the following screen prints.
Setup Modification B:
In line with the changes that have been made to the purchase requisition approval step, also the invoice review & approval matching step has been modified in a way that it starts from the workflow owner.
Similar to what has been shown in the previous posts; Phyllis the accountant has been setup as the workflow owner and has been incorporated into the position hierarchy. For that reason, the correct person that is required for approving the invoice deviations can be identified.
If we continue the example and record a vendor invoice for $10900, that is an invoice with a price deviation of >5%, the review & approval task is directly assigned to Charlie, the president, as he has a sufficiently large signing limit.
Summary Expense Related Invoice Workflows:
This post ends the series on expense related vendor invoices. Based on what has been shown in the previous posts, it can be summarized that Dynamics AX/365 for Operations ships with a powerful and flexible workflow engine that can handle various invoice review and approval scenarios.
Setting up the different workflow steps might not always be as easy and straightforward as one can find this in specialized workflow add-on’s to Dynamics AX/365 for Operations. In addition, the previous posts showed that the pending vendor invoice form needs some modifications in order to allow users identifying the current workflow step and responsible at a glance.
Against the background of those ‘disadvantages’, the reader should be able to assess whether those enhancements can be built into Dynamics AX/365 for Operations oneself for the same or a cheaper price than a specialized invoice workflow add-on.
This post continues the previous one that ended with the approval of the purchase requisition.
Process step 4:
After the purchase requisition is approved, the requisition is converted into a purchase order, as illustrated in the next screen prints.
Dynamics AX/365 for Operations includes a separate workflow for the creation of the purchase order. This workflow is not used here because the creation of purchase orders is not the major focus of this post.
Process step 5:
To ensure that the ordered goods or services have been received, a category policy rule for the ordered training courses has been setup, which requires a three-way match and an explicit receipt posting before the vendor invoice can be posted.
Process step 6:
The last process step is supported by the following invoice workflow.
This invoice workflow starts with a verification whether matching differences exist.
If no matching differences exist, i.e. if the purchase order, the product receipt and the vendor invoice match, the invoice is posted automatically. Otherwise, a separate invoice review by the cost center manager is required.
Please note that this additional review step refers to the vendor invoice expenditure reviewer group ‘Approver’, which assigns the workflow task to the cost center manager that was responsible for approving the purchase requisition.
When setting up this price tolerance, it is important that the ‘post invoice with discrepancies’ parameter is set to ‘allow with warning’. If this is not the case, the cost center manager does not only need to review and approve the workflow step but also needs to manually set the following matching parameter in the invoice matching details form.
Because the cost center manager already approves the variance through the workflow, an additional requirement of setting the matching parameter in the invoice matching details form is a duplicate and consequently unnecessary step.
In the example illustrated here, a vendor invoice with a price variance of 8% is recorded.
As a result, the workflow does not directly post the invoice but rather assigns it to the cost center manager Kevin Cook for review/approval.
Provided that the ‘post invoices with tolerances’ parameter is set to ‘allow with warning’, the invoice is automatically posted, once Kevin completes his review step.
Posting the invoice ends the invoice workflow and this post. Within the next post, we will have a look at how signing limits can be incorporated into the different workflows used. Till then.
A major problem with the invoice process shown in the previous post is that the materials were ordered by Email without a formal process behind. If the manager does not approve the vendor invoice and the purchase of the goods or services, it is often too late to stop or revoke the delivery and the whole purchase.
To avoid such unpleasant situations, the approval steps can already be executed before the goods or services are ordered from the vendor. The Dynamics AX/365 for Operations instrument that supports those early approvals are purchase requisitions, which allow users specifying what they require before things are ordered from vendors. The next screen print summarizes the different steps and responsible persons involved in the example that will be illustrated in the following.
The sample process starts with the preparation of the purchase requisition by Nicole Holiday.
Thereafter, a group of purchasing agents has been defined that is responsible for reviewing the purchase requisition to ensure that the requisitions are complete and do not include errors.
The next process step consists of an approval of the manager of the cost center for which the materials are ordered.
Once the cost center manager approved the requisition, the goods can be ordered through the creation of a purchase order.
To ensure that the goods or services arrived, a formal receipt process step has been built in.
The process finally ends with the recording of the vendor invoice. Because of the early approvals and provided that there is no difference between the price and quantity ordered and invoiced, the vendor invoice can automatically be posted. If, on the other hand side, a price or quantity variance exists, an additional approval from the cost center manager is required.
Please note that the process steps illustrated above are supported by two different workflows, which can be identified from the next illustration.
The next subchapter details the setups required for the implementation of the sample process steps / workflows. Thereafter, the whole process will be illustrated based on an example.
Process step 1:
The first process/workflow step starts with the creation of a purchase requisition. As the purchase requisition is created manually, no specific setup is required.
Process step 2:
As mentioned above, the second process step consists of a review of the purchase requisition by a group of purchasing employees. This process step is incorporated in Dynamics AX/365 for Operations through the purchase requisition workflow illustrated in the next screen print.
The first workflow step (‘Review purchase requisition’) is thereby implemented through the selection of a ‘participant’ assignment type that is linked to a specific user group. For details, please see the next screen print.
For the sake of this example, Phyllis and Susan have been promoted to purchasing employees and connected to the user group that is responsible for reviewing the purchase requisitions.
Process step 3:
The third process/workflow step requires the cost center managers to approve the purchase requisition.
This workflow step is assigned to the purchase expenditure reviewer group ‘AppREQ’.
Please note that this reviewer group refers to the cost center owners (managers) and consequently requires that a cost center financial dimension is specified with the purchase requisition.
Based on the previously setup workflow steps and the following organizational chart, Nicole Holiday prepares a purchase requisition for a software training on behalf of her colleague Susan Burk.
Because Susan’s employee record is linked to the cost center she works for, the required cost center information is automatically transferred to the purchase requisition. Please note that this transfer is important for the subsequent identification of the approver of the purchase requisition. This is exemplified in the next screen print.
After submitting the purchase requisition, the first review task is assigned to all users that are included in the purchase requisition reviewer group.
If Phyllis decides to take ownership of the task…
… she has to review the requisition and verify that all necessary information have been provided.
Once the review step is completed, the next workflow step is assigned to Kevin Cook, the cost center manager of Susan.
Please note that the cost center that is assigned to the requester and not to the one of the preparer of the purchase requisition determines the cost center manager that is responsible for approving the purchase requisition.
… its status changes to approved, which ends the purchase requisition workflow and allows the creation of a purchase order.
This workflow step concludes this post. The remaining workflow steps are illustrated in the next post. Till then.
This post extends the previous one in a way that a project related expense invoice is recorded, which requires an explicit review of the project manager. To realize this, an additional project manager review step (PM review) is included in the invoice workflow. For details, please see the next illustration.
Please note that the expenditure reviewer group ‘approver’ has been assigned to the PM review step…
… which refers to the project manager as the one that has to review the invoice.
To ensure that the workflow can also handle ordinary vendor invoices, the PM review workflow step is setup with an automatic action that completes the PM review step if no project number is provided. In other words, the PM review step is skipped for ordinary invoices.
For the illustration of the next example, it is important to note that Susan Burk has been assigned as project manager for the project that is addressed in the vendor invoice.
With the project number specified in the invoice, the workflow is consequently assigned to the project manager (Susan Burk) after the orderer (Nicole holiday) has reviewed the invoice in a first step.
If a project number is not specified, the additional review step is skipped and identical to what has been shown in the previous post.
This post ends the section on manually entered expense invoices that need to be reviewed and approved by two or more people.
At this point it can preliminary summarized that the standard Dynamics AX/365 for Operations workflow functionalities appear able to handle a wide variety of expense invoice scenarios. From the author’s perspective, the only thing missing is an overview form that provides more information about the status, the current assignee, etc. of a workflow. That is mainly because the standard workflow history form does – from a finance and accounting perspective – not provide users with sufficient information that can be accessed at a glance.
The next posts will continue this series by showing how to integrate purchase requisitions for expense related invoices, which is also a common scenario in many companies. Till then.