Workflow – The New Essential Tool for ERP Systems

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As an accounting system consultant for over 25 years, I can appreciate the importance of a built-in workflow engine to streamline and codify best practices into your day-to-day accounting transactions.

Here are some common examples of workflow, but their power can go well beyond these.

1)  At AccuNet, we use workflow to route travel expenses and timecards for approval. A common workflow would be to require the project manager to approve expenses and time that hit their project and then the employee’s manager approves the expense before it goes to AP for check processing.

2)  At AccuNet, our quotes for service work go through a seven-step process. Draft, Committee review, Returned to Sales, Delivered to Customer, Signed by the customer, project setup and handoff meeting with a client. Using this process, we have greatly improved the quality of our proposals and greatly reduced confusion on who is responsible to complete the next step for the client.

3)  Voucher approval process, two steps for small invoices and a third step for invoices over a certain amount.

4)  Purchase or Requisitions approval, could be manager or manager and project manager.

5)  Budget approval workflow.

6)  Billing Approval workflow, approval of service invoices by the project manager and then e-mailed to the client.

7)  GL account or sub-account approval workflow, to prevent additions that do not comply with the corporate reporting structure.

8)  Workflow to require a worksheet or documentation to support an audit of certain accounts or transactions.

9)  New customer or vendor approval workflow, confirming it is created properly, with credit app, 1099 info, proper terms, and review.

10)  Workflows are also triggers that can send e-mails or reports on key indicators, such as over budget, customer invoice overdue, project at 50% of the budget, timecard not completed by the due date, etc.

The benefits of a workflow are many.

1) Repeatable processes, enforcing best practices every time.

2) Increased visibility on who is holding up a process and thus speed an approval.

3) Reduced time for new people to learn the system because they follow proven processes.

4) Allows a business to codify their best practices into their ERP system.

5) Reduce stress and the “nag” factor because the system does the management.

In selecting a new ERP system, ensure that a powerful workflow engine is standard and it works on all screens and processes, not just the typical processes like time card approval. Workflow is used throughout the accounting process to make a generic ERP system, your system.

If you are using an older legacy ERP system, check the newest version. Workflow is now a standard feature in new releases. Recently Microsoft started incorporating Microsoft Flow as a standard feature in all Dynamics ERP systems. If you would like more information on adding workflow to your ERP system, please e-mail me at mmilligan@accu.com

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