Streamlining NetSuite Workflows and Approvals for Improved Efficiency

June 5, 2024
 Enhancing efficiency by pressing button on car dashboard for NetSuite workflows.

Imagine cutting down on tedious manual tasks and significantly speeding up your business operations. 

This isn't just wishful thinking—NetSuite’s workflows and approval processes can turn it into reality.

NetSuite offers powerful tools to automate various business processes, ensuring smoother operations and fewer errors. 

But what exactly can these features do for your business, and how can you leverage them for maximum efficiency? 

Let's delve into the potential of NetSuite workflows and approvals and uncover strategies to optimize your operations like never before.

Understanding NetSuite Workflows

NetSuite workflows enable you to define and automate business processes within the system. Workflows can automate tasks such as transaction approval, lead nurturing, and order processing. 

With NetSuite workflows, you can create custom workflows that match your business processes and automate repetitive tasks. 

Workflows can also be set up to notify employees of certain events, such as an approved purchase order or an updated customer record.

Workflow Fundamentals

Before diving into the details of creating NetSuite workflows, it is crucial to understand the basic terminology used in this type of automation. 

  • Workflow: The definition of a custom business process for a standard or custom record in NetSuite. 
  • Business processes include transaction approval, lead nurturing, and record management. 
  • Workflow: It defines and automates the business process.

Designing Workflows

To design a workflow, you must first determine the criteria that will trigger it. This can include creating or modifying a record or the occurrence of a specific event. 

Once you have defined the criteria, you can define the actions that should be taken when met. These actions include sending emails, creating tasks, updating records, etc.

Workflow States and Actions

NetSuite workflows are designed to move through a series of states as they progress through the approval process. The three main states of a workflow are Draft, Approved, and Rejected. 

  • In the Draft state, the workflow is being designed and tested. 
  • In the Approved state, the workflow is active and can be used to automate business processes. 
  • In the Rejected state, the workflow has been rejected and cannot be used until it has been revised and resubmitted for approval.

To move a workflow from one state to another, you need to define the actions that should be taken when certain criteria are met. These actions can include sending notifications, updating records, and more. 

For example, when a record is created or modified, you can use a trigger to initiate a workflow that sends an email notification to the appropriate user or group.

As an administrator, you can define custom approval workflows to automate the approval process for specific records or transactions. These workflows can be designed to include multiple levels of approval and criteria for automatic approval or rejection.

NetSuite workflows are powerful tools for automating business processes and streamlining operations. By understanding the fundamentals of workflow design and the different states and actions involved in the approval process, you can create custom workflows tailored to your specific business needs.

Approval Processes in NetSuite

NetSuite approvals allow you to set up approval processes for purchase orders, expense reports, and requisitions. 

With approvals, you can define the approval routing, set up approval limits, and require approvals for specific types of transactions. 

NetSuite approvals help to ensure that transactions are reviewed and approved by the appropriate personnel, reducing the risk of errors and fraud.

1. Setting Up Approval Workflows

To set up approval workflows in NetSuite, you must configure the approval process for each transaction or record type that requires approval.

Go to Setup > Company > General Preferences > SuiteApprovals to do this. 

From here, you can configure the approval process for each transaction or record type by selecting the approval routing and hierarchy.

2. Approval Routing and Hierarchy

Approval routing and hierarchy determine the order in which approvals are required and who approves them. 

In NetSuite, you can set up approval routing and hierarchy based on the transaction or record type, the employee's role, or a specific employee. 

You can also set up multiple levels of approval and define the sequence in which approvals are required.

3. Approval Types and Transactions

NetSuite supports different approvals, including supervisor, role-based, and custom approvals. 

You can set up approvals for various transactions and records, such as purchase orders, journal entries, expense reports, and vendor bills. You can also set up approvals based on specific criteria, such as the amount of the transaction or the department the transaction belongs to.

Download the Salary Guide to compare average salaries of top NetSuite ERP professionals.

Managing Transactions and Records

When managing transactions and records in NetSuite, workflows and approvals are crucial. 

By automating the approval process, you can ensure that all transactions are reviewed and approved by the appropriate individuals, reducing the risk of errors and fraud. 

In this section, we'll explore two key aspects of managing transactions and records in NetSuite: transaction approval, notifications, record keeping, and auditing.

Transaction Approval and Notifications

Transaction approval workflows are a powerful tool for managing the approval process for various transactions in NetSuite, including purchase orders, journal entries, and expense reports. 

With transaction approval workflows, you can define the approval process for each type of transaction, including who needs to approve it, the order in which approvals are required, and any conditions that must be met before it can be approved.

Notifications are another essential aspect of transaction approval workflows. By setting up notifications, you can ensure that the appropriate individuals are notified when a transaction requires their approval. 

Notifications can be sent via email or other channels and customized to include specific information about the transaction.

Record Keeping and Auditing

Record keeping and auditing are essential for maintaining accurate financial records and ensuring compliance with regulations. NetSuite provides various tools for record-keeping and auditing, including the ability to track changes to records, view audit trails, and set up general notices.

Tracking changes to records lets you see who made changes and helps you identify any errors or fraudulent activity. 

Audit trails provide a detailed record of all changes made to a record, including the user who made the change, the date and time, and the old and new values.

General notices are another helpful tool for record-keeping and auditing. By setting up general notices, you can ensure that important information is communicated to all relevant individuals. 

For example, you might set up a general notice to remind users to review their expense reports before submitting them for approval.


NetSuite workflows and approvals are powerful tools that can help automate and streamline business processes within the NetSuite platform. With workflows, you can define and automate various business processes, including transaction approval, lead nurturing, and more.

NetSuite SuiteApprovals is a handy tool that can help boost productivity by automating approvals for records like journal entries, purchase orders, and expense reports. With its customizable options, users can easily manage approvals and ensure that the right people are involved in the approval process.

When setting up workflows and approvals in NetSuite, it's important to consider best practices. This includes appropriately defining roles and permissions, validating data locations, and testing workflows thoroughly before deploying them in a production environment.

If you need help setting up workflows and approvals in NetSuite, download Atticus Solutions' Salary Guide to find the right NetSuite expert. 

With the right expertise and guidance, you can fully utilize NetSuite's powerful workflow and approval capabilities to streamline your business processes and improve productivity.

Download the Salary Guide to compare average salaries of top NetSuite ERP professionals.

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