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Advanced SuiteApp: SuiteApprovals

Approval flows are named an integral part of many business processes, and most companies require very specific approval routes based on complex rules. If you are facing a heavy process to customise this approval flows regularly within complex workflows in NetSuite, you might want to give SuiteApprovals a try.


SuiteApprovals and How It Works

SuiteApprovals is a feature from NetSuite that allows the user to establish a series of rules depending on their business requirements. To start, the user will have to select the transaction type, the subsidiary, the period of active, and the priority level of the rule. Then they can choose a currency, the threshold above which the rule is set off, and the routing type. What makes SuiteApprovals catchier is that App allows the user to choose the purchase limit of the employee as a trigger for the approval process (here in the case of a purchase order).


Should the user choose the custom option for the routing type, the next step will be to define the line of approval by setting up a series of approvers and their approval amount. The app offers the possibility to go through all the approvers or straight to the approver with the right of approval amount. Last interesting feature: the approver can either be a person, a role, or a group; and the user can decide, in the case of a role or a group, if he wants only one approver or all the persons within the group involved to validate the transaction.

Once the rule is set up, the approver can either accept or reject the transaction. In the event of a rejection, they have to enter a rejection reason which then appears in a field on the transaction record. The employee who created the transaction can easily see the reason behind the rejection and potentially edit and resubmit it.


Limits

SuiteApprovals offers a lot of interesting features but we also encountered a number of restrictions. There are four main issues that we believe to be obstacles to the process we were trying to implement:

  • The user can select only one subsidiary, which means that he has to replicate the rules for each entity of the company. The user needs to make sure to select the correct subsidiary before setting up the approval chain otherwise he will lose it and restart from scratch if he changes subsidiaries for the rule.

  • Although the use of a static group as an approver worked just fine, the test with a dynamic group did not provide any result. This is not a huge problem but it needs to be taken into account.

  • The SuiteApp comes with a series of scripts that can bring some problems, like setting approval routes for transactions for which the user doesn’t need approval. He might need to track the superfluous scripts to deactivate them.

  • Once saved, the rule is mostly impossible to edit and cannot be deleted if records are associated with it. Only a few fields are available for modification and it is not even possible to deactivate it, which reduces its scalability side of it.

Enhancement

Within release 2021.2, the SuiteApprovals SuiteApp will allow several enhancements to be done through the feature. The enhancements are listed below:

Project-Based Approvals

With SuiteApprovals version 6.01, you can now perform project-based approvals. When you enable the Projects and Project Management features in your account, project managers can approve project-based records and documents.

  • Addition of Project Manager as an Approver Type – When creating an approval rule with a custom approval chain, you can select Project Manager from the Approver Type dropdown list. You do not need to select a specific project manager under the Approver column of the approval matrix.