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Purchase Order Workflow Approval


A workflow represents a business process. It defines how a document flows, or moves, through the system by showing who must complete a task, make a decision, or approve a document. For example, a purchase order approval workflow is triggered by a user after inputting a purchase order. This directs the purchase order to different users for approval based on pre-defined conditions. This applies a level of control to the purchasing process alongside consistency and visibility into the approval process.

Purchase order approval workflows are only necessary if they are defined as a business requirement. Alternatively, if no workflow was enforced, users that create purchase orders would be able to confirm and communicate with suppliers freely without restriction.

Procurement Level 1: A single approval workflow approval process can be configured for purchase orders or purchase order lines.

Procurement Level 2: A multi-level approval workflow can be configured for purchase orders, purchase order lines, purchase requisitions and purchase requisition lines.

Procurement Level 3: A multi-level approval workflow can be configured for purchase orders, purchase order lines, purchase requisitions, purchase requisition lines and to support vendor collaboration.

Workflow Types

The following workflow types are available for Procurement and sourcing.

Workflow TypeUse Case
(Procurement Level 2 and 3) Purchase requisition reviewCreate review and approval workflows for purchase requisitions.
(Procurement Level 2 and 3) Purchase requisition line reviewCreate review and approval workflows for purchase requisition lines.
(Procurement Level 1, 2 and 3) Purchase order workflowCreate review and approval workflows for purchase orders.
(Procurement Level 1, 2 and 3) Purchase order line workflowCreate review and approval workflows for purchase order lines.
(Procurement Level 3) Supplier collaboration workflowCreate review and approval workflows for adding new suppliers.

Workflow Example Business Process

An example workflow business process for purchase ordering
Purchase Order Approvers

Purchase order workflows require an approver to be assigned to approve, reject or request changes to the conditional statement.

Approval by user group

User groups can be defined in line with business requirements to assign users to groups with naming conventions. For example groups could be called; Managers, Directors and Board Members. Alternatively, groups could be called Level 1 Approvers, Level 2 Approvers and Level 3 approvers. When submitting to workflow using user groups, all members of the group will be alerted of the pending approval. It only requires one user to approve.

User groups in Dynamics 365:

User groups can be used to direct approvals

Approval by user role

Workflows can be directed for approval by building user roles into the workflow editor upon configuration. Users will be assigned roles within Dynamics 365 and using these for approval is a more direct method of managing workflow approvals. Role examples include; Finance Manager, Accountant, PL Clerk and Purchasing Manager. There are over 100 roles out of the standard system that could be assigned to your users, and any workflow approval step that users these roles will direct approval to the corresponding user.

Example roles within Dynamics 365

Introducing a purchase order approval process enhances control within an organisation. Purchase order workflows allow transactions to be approved by a user other than the person who created it. They enable a business to control spending by requiring approval for pre-defined conditional decisions. Automatic actions can be configured to automatically approve or reject a purchase order if a certain condition is met.


Business X have a purchasing department made up of 4 purchasing agents, 1 purchasing manager and 1 purchasing director. It is within the role of a purchasing agent to raise and be accountable for purchase orders and previously there has been no element of control applied within this process. With a new business system being implemented, Business X are now required to implement a control process in the creation and confirmation of purchase orders. Each purchase agent can continue to raise purchase orders, but each purchase order must be approved by the purchasing manager prior to confirmation. Orders with a total value of less than £5000 can be automatically approved but orders over £50000 must be approved by the purchasing director.

Business X configure a workflow to deliver the newly required control process in purchase order processing. They outline the following conditions.

  • The purchasing manager will approve all purchase orders irrelevant of any condition.
  • Any order with a total value under £5000 will be automatically approved once approved by the purchasing manager.
  • Any order with a total value over £50000 must be secondarily approved by the purchasing director.

In implementing the above workflow policy, business X noticed increased consistency in ensuring operations run efficiently alongside process visibility to enable tracking of workflow statuses, steps and history.

In Dynamics 365

Workflows are built within Dynamics 365 from scratch. It requires a clear outline of your desired requirements in order to build conditional decisions into the approval flow. Workflows are mastered within the procurement and sourcing module.

Workflows displayed within Dynamics 365

Most commonly, workflows are configured for approval by user security roles or user groups.

Once created and activated, users creating new purchase orders are presented with the below button to submit the purchase order to workflow for approval.

Purchase orders can be submitted to workflow by selecting the button in the image

The system will then calculate who the purchase order should be sent to for approval, where it will appear on the users work list for them to select for review and approval.

The purchase order will appear to the user for approval for them to review and action

The user can approve the PO from the Work Item list, or from the purchase order record.

The approver can select an action to send the document on to the next stage within the workflow

The Workflow History details the different workflow activities the purchase order went through.

Workflow history can be reviewed at all times by users with relevant access

APQC Framework

Please find below the relevant PCF ID’s.

Level 1 Category: 10216

Level 2 Process Group: 10279

Level 3 Process: 10292, 10293, 10295