Using NetSuite SuiteFlow for Complex Approval Processes

Getting more out of NetSuite can be both practical and powerful.

A point of struggle for many organizations is appropriately defining approval processes within NetSuite, when our built-in option appears to just be a chain of employee:purchase approver and does not accommodate more nuanced approaches that may be necessary for larger organizations.

One of the easiest ways to achieve these ends with SuiteFlow is to create an approval workflow based on a financial or custom segment that we can associate with the record. By predicting the approval logic on a segment, we can create a clear chain of approval based on a variety of factors that includes different levels of approval, alternate approvers when the original approver is out of the office, and many other permutations.

This kind of SuiteFlow is also particularly beneficial because rather than stating a named user in the workflow, we can manage the list of approvers on the basis of the segment that is easier to understand and edit when turnover, promotions, or reorganization happens.

Take for instance the below approval workflow:

At first glance, this may look incredibly complex because of all of the transitions, but the basic logic supporting this workflow is that the purchase order first flows to the requestor’s supervisor to approve – if they have sufficient approval levels it can be automatically approved, if not- then to the purchasing manager and depending on the value of the purchase order it will be directed to the appropriate level of approval – with a transition that evaluates first whether or not there might be a missing value and moves it up one sequentially if that is the case.

In this particular application we used the default Department financial segment, but any segment could be used:

With the creation of a few simple fields to reference the employee to mark as next approver, as well as values to compensate for the approval threshold for each department (if different) this creates a streamlined approval process based on whatever your needs.

The beauty of a solution like this is that it can be pared down or scaled up to meet various needs that are more simple or complex by turn.


Q: What is NetSuite SuiteFlow?

A: From NetSuite: “SuiteFlow is a custom business process for a standard or custom record in NetSuite. Business processes can include transaction approval, lead nurturing, and record management. A workflow defines and automates the business process.”

Q: How do I access SuiteFlow?

A: To access the SuiteFlow UI, you need to have the SuiteFlow feature enabled in your NetSuite account. You also need to use a role that has the Workflow permission assigned to it. For help on this or any other NetSuite functional issue, please reach out to FMT {Here: Add Link} and we will process your request as quickly as possible.

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