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NetSuite Workflows: Simplify Approval Processes with SuiteFlow

By Cullen Halstead .

A point of struggle for many organizations is appropriately defining approval processes with NetSuite workflows. The built-in option appears to be just a chain of approvals between an employee and a purchase approver, which may not accommodate more nuanced approaches necessary for larger organizations.

How SuiteFlow can help implement NetSuite workflows for approvals

One of the easiest ways to construct complex approval processes is with SuiteFlow, which creates a custom business process for a record in NetSuite. Business processes, which a workflow defines and automates, can include transaction approval, lead nurturing, and record management.

You can create an approval workflow based on a financial or custom segment and associate it with the record. By predicting the approval logic on a segment, you can create a clear chain of approval based on various factors. These address different levels of approval, alternate approvers when original approvers are out of the office, and many other situations.

SuiteFlow is also particularly valuable, because rather than stating a named user in the workflow, you can manage the list of approvers on the basis of the segment. This makes it easier to understand and edit when turnover, promotions, or reorganizations happen.

Structuring an approval process with SuiteFlow

Take, for instance, the below NetSuite approval workflow:

NetSuite Workflows Approval Workflow

At first glance, this may look incredibly complex because of all of the transitions. The basic logic driving 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 the requestor’s supervisor does not have sufficient approval levels, the process pushes the purchase order to the purchasing manager.
    • Depending on the value of the purchase order, it will be directed to the appropriate level of approval.
    • Before directing the purchase order, a transition determines whether or not there might be a missing value. If that is the case, it moves the purchase order up one approval level in the sequence.

In this particular NetSuite workflow application, it uses the default department financial segment, but any segment will work:

NetSuite Workflows Workflow Application

With the creation of a few simple fields to identify which employee to mark as next approver, as well as values to check against the approval threshold for each department, this creates a streamlined approval process based on your needs.

The value of SuiteFlow's NetSuite workflow solutions, like this one, is that organizations can pare them down or scale them up to meet their varying needs. To access the SuiteFlow user interface (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.

Citrin Cooperman's Digital Services Practice assists clients in implementing technology solutions and maximizing the benefits of their software investments to help achieve their strategic vision. For more information on SuiteFlow or any other NetSuite capabilities, reach out to your Citrin Cooperman advisor or Cullen Halstead at

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