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Purchase order processing can be a challenging process for many organisations, especially if the approval process you have in place is that of a manual system. Losing paper documents, identifying who has approved what, by which date and why can be one of many a frustration for those who work within the purchasing department.

One of the many benefits of implementing an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the ability to automate the approving of new or changed records such as documents, journal lines and customer cards by creating workflows. Microsoft Business Central has plenty of innovative features that can help your small-medium sized business plan, act and react to different needs and situations better.

The ability to set up a Purchase Order/Invoice Approval workflow is one of the new features which is allowing the purchasing department to digitalise their processes and remove the need for manual approvals. Here are 4 steps on how these features work.

1. Approval User Setup

It all starts with the approval user setup. 

The example above highlights three individuals setup within the approval system. The first requester is allowed to raise sales and purchase orders/invoices up to the value of £4999.

If the order has been raised above the value's limit, this will only be processed if sent for approval. There can be multiple approvers within an organisation with certain values that are allowed to be approved.

As part of the process, it is important to mention that further approval might be needed if limits apply, and then the request will be sent up the chain. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central also enables substitutes if the specified approver is on annual leave.

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2. Purchase Order Approval 

Let's walk through how the purchase order approval will work based on the setup above. Firstly the user raises a PO against a Vendor and tries to release the order.

As you can see this order is for a value over the £4999 limit allowed to order and when they try and release this order a warning message appears on the users' screen as per the image below.

The user must select the function not to release, but to use the request approval function and then selects the send approval request. By selecting this function, a new prompt appears on the screen informing the user that the request has been sent.

Depending on how the workflow has been configured an email is sent to the approver, in order to get the request approved and release the purchase order in question. The purchase order status is now set to pending approval and the notification will look similar to the below.

The approver has the ability to approve directly from their email by clicking on the purchase order link, which has already been sent to their email. Once this has been opened, the delegated approver is taken to the purchase order within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which then enables the option of approving it directly from the purchase order.

3. The final decision

Once the purchase order is open the approver can approve, reject, delegate to another approver or add comments to the purchase order, as seen below. 

As per image below, by selecting the approve option, the purchase order status is changed to released, allowing the purchase order to be emailed to the Vendor and processed accordingly. For the approver, there is also a section with all the items that are currently waiting to be approved from all users.

After the user has logged in, the tiles on the home screen will show the number of outstanding approvals that have been assigned to the user.

It can be daunting when looking for the best ERP system for your business. If you are interested in automating your approval process across a whole range of business functions, then Microsoft Business Central gives you the tools to enable you to do that with simplicity and ease.

To find out more about how Microsoft Business Central can help automate many tasks, such as; automatic posting, requesting and granting approvals and much more, then please get in touch.

Here at Columbus, we understand the challenges you have and we are ready to support you in your journey. New call-to-action

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