How to Create an Entity (Non-Transaction) Workflow in NetSuite

When evaluating your security inside NetSuite, you may decide to create workflows for your entity records such as Customers or Vendors to establish a separation of power amongst your users. While entity approval workflows are not available out of the box in NetSuite, they can be created manually. In this example, we will look at a New Vendor Approval workflow.

Workflow Overview

First, we need to outline the workflow before we begin any edits inside NetSuite. It is recommended to create a flow diagram using software like Microsoft Visio to obtain a visual and identify any deficiencies in your process before building the workflow in NetSuite.

Here is an example flow diagram for new vendor approvals.

netsuite vendor workflow

These will be the high-level steps of the workflow:

  1. A user submits a new vendor record
  2. An email notification is sent to the CFO that there is a vendor to review
  3. The CFO approves or rejects the record using buttons
  4. If the vendor is rejected, the user receives a notification and will modify the record before resubmitting it via button for approval
  5. If the vendor is approved, then the record becomes active, and the workflow ends

Second, we will begin to build the workflow inside our Sandbox environment. It is recommended to begin any workflow customization in Sandbox first before impacting user activity in Production. For this example, I will be using a demo environment.

Creating The Workflow

Log into NetSuite as the Administrator role to access workflows. Then go to Customization > Workflow > Workflows > New to set up your template. Give your workflow a name, description, and select the record type as ‘Vendor’.

Select ‘Event-Based’ and check ‘On Create’ to enable this workflow for all vendor creations. We will leave the Trigger Type set to All. Click Save.

Next, we will create the stages of the workflow by clicking ‘+ New State’. You can double click on each state to rename it.

Then we will create the transitions between each state by clicking and dragging the ‘End’ button on each state to the next box.

Third, we will test the workflow from the various roles and ensure that our email notifications deliver successfully.

Now I will begin to build out the details of each stage in this workflow. The key feature to an entity workflow is to set the record to Inactive at all stages of the workflow until the record has been approved in the last state.

1 – Vendor is submitted/created

Click into each state and then click ‘+New Action’ to add steps inside each state. These are the actions for the first state, Vendor Created/Submitted. We are setting the record to inactive immediately and the user cannot modify this field. Repeat these actions on all states except for Approved.

2 – Vendor is pending approval

Here are the actions for the second state, Pending Approval. Most of the actions look the same, but you can see we added an email notification and buttons for the CFO to click after reviewing the record.

The email notification requires a custom template, which you can set up in Documents > Templates > Email Templates. This email notification goes to the CFO to notify them that there is a new vendor record to review.

3 – Vendor has been rejected by the approver

Here are the actions for the third state of Reject. Add a new button for the financial user to resubmit the vendor after making changes due to the rejection by the CFO. This will be the transition from the Rejected state back to Pending Approval.

This email action lets the user know that their vendor submission was rejected and needs to be corrected and resubmitted.

3.2 – Vendor has been approved

Here are the actions for the final state of Approved. The Inactive field is still disabled for editing, but we have set it to False so the Vendor is now active and ready for use.

Transitions between states

For each of the transitions we will select Execute on Button and select the appropriate button for the next step, i.e. select the Approve button for the transition between Pending Approval and Approved.

The exception for this is the first state when we transition on ‘After Record Submit’ instead of using a button between the first and second state.

And that’s it! These are the steps to configure a simple New Vendor Approval workflow inside NetSuite. Be sure to test the full workflow inside Sandbox before recreating the workflow in Production.

If you have any questions or you wish to create a more complex version of this workflow, please reach out to FMT Consultants at or give us a call for more information.

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