Dynamics 365 Business Central – A method to Force Approval of New Vendors using a Standard Vendor Approval Workflow

Introduction

Within Dynamics 365 Business Central you have the ability to create Vendor Approval Workflows which can be triggered on certain conditions. I’ve found that although this is really cool functionality you get right out of the box, it does have a downside.

The issue being if you use the standard Vendor Approval template as the basis of your Workflow, the user has to request that the new Vendor is approved, otherwise the Workflow is skipped. Obviously this gives this functionality massive drawbacks as users can go ahead and create Vendors and never click the “Request Approval” button.

In this blog I’ll explain how I’ve managed to get around this by adding conditions and changing the Vendor Approval Workflow.

** Please note there’s also one caveat in the at the end of the post πŸ™‚

Vendor Approval Workflow from the Template

To demonstrate the problem with the Vendor Approval Workflow created via the Template let’s add a new one.

To do this search for “Workflows” and then on the Workflows page click “New > New Workflow from Template” and select “Vendor Approval Workflow” as per below:

This opens up a new Vendor Approval Workflow based on the template. However as you can see the first event in the approval sequence is “Approval of a vendor is requested”

This means for the Workflow to start the user must click “Request Approval” after creating the new Vendor.

Therefore no matter what conditions we add, and complex approval hierarchy’s we implement, if a user forgets to request approvals the approval workflow will never start.

So the obvious question is how can we get around this restriction? Can we force the system to automatically send approvals when users create new Vendors.

Changing the Vendor Approval to Force Approval

For this to work we have to get a little creative with its setup and conditions.

Firstly, after adding the Vendor Approval you can edit the default events and sequence. So rather than start with “Approval of a vendor is requested” lets change this to “A vendor record is changed”.

You can do this by clicking the ellipse button next to “Approval of a vendor is requested”

Then select “A vendor record is changed”

The workflow will now look like this:

As this stands the Workflow will trigger whenever a Vendor record is changed, however this isn’t exactly what we want. We only want this to trigger for new Vendors, therefore we need to add some conditions.

Now lets click the <Always> condition so we can filter down when the Workflow will be triggered.

This will open the “Edit – Event Conditions” page where we can add the following conditions:

Let’s break down what the conditions are saying:

The first condition is – “Inv. Amounts (LCY):0”. This means the Workflow will only trigger if the Vendor has never had any Invoices posted onto it.

The next condition is – Only trigger when the No. is Changed: This means the Workflow will only trigger when the Vendor No. is changed.

Therefore the Workflow will only trigger if the Vendor has had no activity AND the Vendor No. is changed (which happens when a new one is added).

Hopefully this captures all new Vendors although it will also trigger if someone changes the Vendor No. and the Vendor has never had any invoices posted. (hopefully this will be unusual unless there was a mistake setting up the Vendor)

Let’s test the Workflow

Now to test if this works πŸ™‚

First go to “Vendors” and click “New”

Select a Template and click OK
Now the Vendor page opens and the Workflow automatically triggers and sends an approval request:

Therefore we have successfully forced the Workflow approval to trigger automatically when a new Vendor has been created πŸ™‚

Conclusion

Although I’ve found this to be a great way to configure automatic approvals for new Vendors it does have one disadvantage :(.

Unfortunately you can only have one Workflow which starts with the same event. Therefore if I wanted to create another approval that started with “A vendor record has changed” the system would prevent this as per below

Just something to bear in mind if you wanted to implement this solution πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!

One thought on “Dynamics 365 Business Central – A method to Force Approval of New Vendors using a Standard Vendor Approval Workflow

  1. Peter Taylor 11th May 2021 / 7:30 am

    great article Gavin!

    Liked by 1 person

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