Purchase Order and Approval Process Improvements



We updated approval processes to improve the flexibility of Purchase Orders (POs) and other employee submitted data.  It should be a nice upgrade for multi-building customers.


Prior to this release, approval processes were simple.  Users configured a list of employees to approve each workflow (Purchase Orders, Time Off, etc).  We offered a single placeholder, “Supervisor” which could vary per employee.  For small districts this worked well, a typical approval process would be an employee’s supervisor, the superintendent, and finally the bookkeeper.


This simple approach was sometimes insufficient in districts with multiple schools. For instance, if customers wanted the principal and building secretary to approve POs, we couldn’t support this situation well.  We only supported one placeholder, and the principal/secretary approach needed two.  For high schools with “Department Heads,” the list could easily grow larger.


So this release’s big improvement is to add flexibility to approval processes.  We expanded “Supervisor” into a configurable list of “Custom Approvers.”  Now users can create many placeholders in the approval process.


Setup requires three steps:

  1. Create Custom Approvers

  2. Configure the Approval Process to use the new approvers

  3. Assign Custom Approvers for each employee


Let’s go through an example.  Say the building principal and secretary approve POs, and there are several buildings in the district.  The first step would be to create “Custom Approvers” for those roles.



Next, configure the PO approval process to use the custom approvers. 


In addition to building roles, this district has the superintendent and district bookkeeper approve each PO too. Since they are the same for every employee, we can add them directly.  



The final step is to assign a Principal and Building Secretary to all employees in the district.  In this example, employees in the elementary school get “Elementary Secretary” and “Elementary Principal.”  Employees in the middle school get “Middle Secretary” and “Middle Principal.”



When employees submit a PO, it must go through the approval process.  As configured, the respective principals and building secretaries give their approval first.  Then the superintendent and bookkeeper finish the process.


The screenshot below shows the approval history for two POs, one submitted by an elementary teacher, “Ms. Kathy Kindergarten” and the other by middle school teacher, “Mr. Middle Math.”  Notice that the principal and building secretary are different for each PO (since Ms. Kindergarten and Mr. Math work in different schools), but the superintendent and bookkeeper are the same.



More complex approval processes could be created.  You could imagine that “Department Head” or “Supervisor” would be useful customer approvers. 


We’re excited about these improvements, and hope customers enjoy the additional flexibility.



The Common Goal Team