- You need to be an Compleat Administrator or a Company Administrator to create & edit workflows. Company Administrators can only create workflows for the company they are an Administrator for.
- If you haven't created a workflow yet, follow the steps in our Getting Started guide.
It's quick & easy to create a workflow in Compleat & here are some brilliant extra features that can take your workflows to the next level.
This guide shows you all of them - from approval groups & multiple approvals, to auto approval workflows & workflows for specific transaction types. With your workflows customized in the right way, they can mirror the approval processes in your company down to a tee.
After following the simple steps in this guide, you'll know all there is to know about creating the perfect workflow.
What is a workflow?
A workflow is a chain of people, or groups of people, who can approve or deny invoices & orders in Compleat.
Workflows can be created with multiple stages so that the relevant people & departments can approve in a certain order. You can add thresholds to workflows so that certain people are only active in the workflow if an invoice or order is above a certain value, & create clever structures so that the exact approval processes within your company are reflected in Compleat.
Here's what a workflow looks like:
Keep reading to find out all about how to customize your workflows!
Workflows for specific transaction types
When you create a workflow, you have the option to make the workflow available for all transaction types, or assign it to a specific transaction type. This is a useful option if the approval processes within your company vary between orders & invoices.
For instance, you could set up a Management workflow for orders & a Management workflow for invoices with a different approval process, then assign each workflow to its relevant transaction type so that order creators & AP operators only have access to the Management workflow relevant to them.
This also minimises the possibility of order creators or AP operators accidentally submitting transactions to the wrong workflow.
All transaction types means that both AP operators & order creators will be able to submit transactions to the workflow. Choose this option if your approval processes are exactly the same for orders & invoices.
Invoices/Credit notes only means that only AP operators can access the workflow when submitting invoices or credit notes for approval. The workflow won't be available to order creators when they're submitting orders for approval.
Orders only means that only order creators can access the workflow when submitting orders for approval. The workflow won't be available to AP operators when they're submitting invoices for approval. Within an order workflow, you can restrict which order creators the workflow will be available to.
About approval groups
When you create a workflow, you add users by creating approval groups. An approval group is a group of one or more users within a workflow, &is represented by a pink box. Even if you only place one user at a single position in a workflow, that is classed as an approval group.
When you place multiple users in an approval group, only one of those users needs to approve the transaction on behalf of the approval group. This is useful if there are multiple heads of department or managers who are able to approve invoices or orders at a certain level.
In the below example, there are four users in the approval group at Position 1. Only one of these needs to approve a transaction for it to move to Position 2.
Saving approval groups (recommended!)
You can name approval groups & save them to Compleat so that you can use them in other workflows, saving you time having to create approval groups from scratch.
We highly recommend that you save all your approval groups, even if they contain just one person.
This means that when a person leaves your company, you can quickly remove them from the approval group, & add the new employee taking over their role. This change will be applied to all of your saved workflows that are using the approval group, saving you having to go into each individual workflow to remove the leaver & add a new employee in their place.
To save an approval group, follow these steps.
- Click Edit Name in the top-left of an approval group when you're happy with the users in it.
- Enter a name for the approval group, & click the purple tick.
The approval group saves automatically.
You can edit a saved approval group from within any workflow. Check out Editing saved approval groups in this article to see how.
- To use the approval group when you're creating a new workflow, click the arrow icon in the top-right of an approval group.
Then, select a saved approval group from the drop-down.
Criteria & approval thresholds
When you're happy with the users you've placed in an approval group, you have the option to configure some additional criteria, including setting an approval threshold, & creating conditions.
Adding an approval threshold means that the approval group will only come into play within a workflow if a transaction sent to it has a net value above the threshold amount.
For instance, if a transaction with a net value of £750 gets sent to a workflow that contains an approval group with a threshold of £800, the approval group will not be included in the workflow on that occasion.
Add an approval threshold
- In an approval group, click Configure criteria.
- Enter a threshold amount.
- Click OK.
Add a condition
Adding a condition to an approval group lets you choose the exact circumstances in which an approval group is used based on the details of a transaction. For example, if the supplier reference on an invoice sent to the workflow contains a certain combination of characters, or if an order sent to the workflow is for a certain supplier.
You can create a condition based on almost all of the fields & details on orders & invoices.
Follow these steps to add a condition to an approval group.
- In an approval group, click Configure criteria.
- Click Add.
- Select the field to apply the condition to, the type of condition, & the value(s) to compare the field to.
Depending on your choices, you may need to enter a value - for instance, if you select Item Code or Supplier Reference as the field to apply the condition to.
- Click OK.
- The condition is applied to the approval group.
(Optional) Click Add to add another condition to the group.
(Optional) If you add multiple conditions to the group, select the If drop-down & choose whether the approval group will be used if all of or any of the conditions are met.
Remove a condition from an approval group by selecting the cross (x) icon beside it.
Editing saved approval groups
You can edit a saved approval group from within any workflow.
- Click the arrow icon in the top-right of an approval group to add an existing approval group.
- Select one of your saved approval groups from the drop-down.
- Click the cross (x) icon to the right of a user to remove them from the approval group.
Or, select a user from the drop-down & then click the plus (+) icon to add them to the approval group.
Click Configure criteria to edit any thresholds & conditions applied to the approval group.
- Clict OK to apply your changes.
- Click Save.
Simultaneous approvals is when you have multiple approval groups at a single position in a workflow, & all of those approval groups must approve a transaction before it can move to the next position in a workflow. They can do so in any order, making your approval process quicker.
To add more approval groups to a position in a workflow, just click the green box with the plus (+) icon beside an existing approval group.
The workflow in the example below uses simultaneous approvals at Position 1. All of the approval groups at Position 1 must approve the transaction to advance it to Position 2, but they can approve in any order, which speeds up the process.
Notice that there are two users in the right-hand approval group at Position 1, meaning either one of those users can approve the transaction on behalf of the approval group.
The Alternative workflow logic permission in Compleat's Behaviour Settings gives you the option to choose whether or not a user can approve a transaction more than once within a single workflow. With alternative worflow logic switched on, the Allow multiple approvals toggle appears in the workflow editing page, which you can switch on or off for individual workflows.
Switching the toggle to No means that even if a user appears multiple times within a workflow, they can only approve that transaction once. This is a useful feature for organisations like charities, whose workflows don't allow multiple approvals.
Switching the toggle to Yes means that if a user appears multiple times within a workflow, there's no restriction on how many times they can approve a transaction sent to the workflow.
To switch multiple approvals on or off, follow these steps.
- On the homepage, click Configuration.
- Click Company management.
- Go to Behaviour Settings.
- Next to Enable alternative workflow logic, switch the toggle to Yes or No.
Switching the toggle to Yes will put the Allow multiple approvals toggle in the workflow editing page, letting you choose whether or not each workflow you edit or create will allow multiple approvals.
Switching the toggle to No will restrict you from using multiple approvals, & you won't see the Enable multiple approvals toggle in the workflow editing page.
Creating workflows using alternative workflow logic
When you're creating workflows that don't allow multiple approvals, it's important to make sure that transactions can make their way through the workflow in every possible approval scenario. If a transaction can't be successfully approved because of an error in the workflow design, it will be automatically returned to the Unprocessed tray.
Check out the examples below of unsuccessful & successful workflows that have multiple approvals disabled.
Click to enlarge the each chart & see why the workflows will fail or succeed.
Unsuccessful workflow examples
Successful workflow examples
Create an auto approval workflow
It may be that invoices from certain suppliers don't need to be approved. This could be for a number of reasons, including that they're direct debits, or always under a certain cost threshold. This is where Compleat's auto approval feature comes in.
Auto approval sends invoices that don’t require approval straight to the Approved tray so they can processed by your finance system, as long as they are fully coded, & - if invoice matching is switched on - matched to an order.
To create an auto approval workflow, you need to:
- Create a workflow with a high approval threshold
- Update your supplier defaults
1. Create a workflow with a high approval threshold
The first step in setting up auto approval is to add a workflow with a single approver & give the approver a high approval threshold. This means they'll only be asked to approve transactions over a certain amount. If a transaction gets sent to them for approval that has a value that's lower than the approval threshold, it will simply skip them & be automatically approved.
So, setting the threshold to £1m, for example, will guarantee that this happens.
To add a workflow with a high approval threshold, follow these steps.
- On the homepage, click4 Configuration.
- Click Manage workflow.
- Click Add new workflow.
- Enter a Workflow name & an Abbreviated name.
We suggest Aut Approve & AUTO.
- Select the Transaction type that this workflow will be limited to from the drop-down.
- Click the green box to add an approval group.
- Select a user to add to the group.
We suggest adding yourself
- Click Configure criteria.
- Set the threshold high to increase the likelihood that the transaction will auto approve.
- Click OK.
- Click Save.
2. Update supplier defaults
Now that your auto approval workflow is set up, it's time to choose which supplier invoices you'd like to send to it. To do this, you need to update the supplier defaults for those suppliers.
Supplier defaults tell Compleat which default codes to automatically apply to invoices from certain suppliers. Workflow is one of those codes.
Follow these steps to update your supplier defaults so that the auto approve workflow is used.
- On the homepage, Click Vendor management (or Supplier management in UK).
- The Supplier defaults page opens.
Select the supplier from the drop-down.
- Select the defaults codes you'd like to apply to invoices from the supplier.
In the Workflow drop-down, select your auto approve workflow.
- Click Save.
- All done!
Simply repeat these steps for any other other suppliers you'd like to use the auto approval workflow.
Duplicate a workflow
If you need to create a workflow that's similar to one you've already created, you can simply duplicate it. This creates an instant copy a workflow that you can quickly rename, edit to suit your needs, & use right away.
To duplicate a workflow, simply open any workflow & click Make a copy of this workflow in the bottom-right of the screen.
The duplicate instantly appears, with 'Copy of workflow name' as the workflow name. You can now edit the name & tweak the workflow so that it's fit for a different purpose.