When deciding how to implement and configure approval routing in NetSuite, there are several options available through SquareWorks Approval Automation feature, part of SquareWorks AP Automation Suite. We often hear from clients the need to route for approval based on employee role or employee hierarchy. Our solution can handle complex approval routing that combines these requirements into an approval matrix.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, approval matrix routing might be the best option for your team:
- Do you need to segment your approvers based on multiple fields? (e.g. Subsidiary, Department, Class, Location, Vendor)
- Are multiple levels of approval sometimes required?
- Do you need to setup approval limits for approvers?
- Does approval routing not follow your employee hierarchy?
- Do you already have an approval matrix defined in a spreadsheet for your company?
Defining an Approval Matrix
SquareWorks Approval Automation feature comes with support for approval matrices out of the box! An approval matrix can be defined and maintained in a spreadsheet and easily uploaded to NetSuite. Below is an example of how an approval matrix might be structured in a spreadsheet:
In the example above, Department and Location columns are used to segment approvers. For example, if a Vendor Bill was submitted for approval and has the department “Finance” and location “Boston”, Paul would be required to approve first, and then Jenna would be required to approve second (if the Bill is $10,000 or more). However, if the Vendor Bill’s location is “New York”, the 3rd row would only apply, resulting in the Bill to route to Sharon.
As you can see above, not every possible combination of Department and Location must be defined in the matrix. Only when approvers vary by Location would both Department and Location be required. This can help limit the number of rows required in your matrix.
In the example above, Department and Location were used to segment approvers. However, this is not a requirement. Any field on a transaction (including line level fields) can be used to segment approvers. For example, you can define approvers based on a Vendor Bill’s Vendor and line-level GL Account. Any number of fields can be used to segment approvers.
If you need to limit when approval is required based on a transaction’s total, an Amount column can be defined in a matrix. In the example matrix above, approval is only required if a transaction’s total is greater than or equal to the Amount (Min) column. If required, you can also define a maximum amount column to further limit when approval is required.
When multiple levels of approval are required, a Limit column can be used in a matrix. In the example matrix above, level 1 would be required to approve first, and level 2 would be required to approve second. If two rows in the matrix apply and have the same level, both employees can approve in parallel.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How is an approval matrix stored in NetSuite?
When an approval matrix is uploaded to NetSuite it is stored as a custom record type in NetSuite. Once uploaded, the matrix can be edited directly in NetSuite if needed.
2. An employee is out of office. Can they be skipped in the approval matrix?
One or more roles in NetSuite can be setup to act as Super Approvers. Super Approvers can quickly navigate to a Purchase Order and change who the next approver should be. Employees can also setup out of office schedules to automatically route to a delegate approver.
For more information on setting up automatic approval routing in NetSuite, read more about our AP Automation Suite here.