How to Use NetSuite Advanced Approvals With Email & PDF Templates

eXtendWebApprovals allows NetSuite users to quickly collect key data, feedback, and/or rejections from customers and vendors regardless of whether they are connected to your NetSuite account or not.

Enabling Advanced Approvals within NetSuite Email & PDF Templates

Our clients have ben asking how they can obtain a simple acknowledgement or approval from their trading partners on transactions and custom records. Sometimes they need to get approvals for a sales order from their customer. Other times, they could be seeking an acknowledgement of a purchase order they’ve sent to their vendor. To address these scenarios, we developed an integrated solution called eXtendWebApprovals so that responses can be collected back into the originating transaction or record.

The eXtendWebApprovals utility is a simple bundled solution that can easily be added to any NetSuite environment. This utility gives the client the ability to act according to their own procedures before and after they obtain a response from an external party. We built this functionality to be minimally invasive, so that it does not conflict with any previously created approval processes.

While we offer some more advanced file approval processes within our eXtendFiles application, this approval utility is about getting a simple “Yes” or “No” type of response. The approval request is something that should be easy to trigger and be consistent across the types of inbound media the trading partner is receiving.

Create a Call To Action within an email

The first chance to obtain a response is within an outbound email template. The email templates can be easily tailored to present relevant transaction data while also embedding the call to action buttons within the template. This way, the recipient can respond directly from within the context of an email. When a user clicks one of the embedded call to action buttons, they will be rendering a response that will update automatically to NetSuite.

By virtue of selecting one of the embedded call to action buttons, the recipient’s response is captured in a checkbox field applied to the underlying NetSuite record. Using the custom checkbox fields can enable automations to send follow-up emails to the recipient if they do not reply within a defined period of time. Similarly, when a response is captured an email notification and/or alert can be raised to the appropriate NetSuite users to review and take action as necessary.

Email template including approval buttons

Create a Call to Action within an Advanced PDF/HTML Template

The same functionality is also typically embedded within the Transaction Form output (Advanced PDF/HTML Form) as well. This leads to the same function/destination, except that the action links are found embedded within the PDF documents created via the Advanced PDF/HTML template.

Once again, when a user clicks the buttons within the email template or within the embedded PDF document (as seen above), they will be rendering a response that will update automatically to NetSuite.

Once the approval functionality has been enabled for a transaction/record, simple email template and PDF form modifications can be made to display these buttons when activated on those records for when a response is required. These buttons can also be conditionally hidden if a response is not required or if a response has already been received.

PDFApprovalForm Transaction

Confirmation Pages

Once the recipient selects one of the approval options (i.e. Yes or No), they will be shown one of two confirmation pages that will properly acknowledge the response they’ve submitted. The response pages that are rendered can be highly customized to match each of our client’s unique needs.

For example, instead of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, the terminology of the submissions can be adjusted as required. Some other areas of customization of these confirmation pages might be the logo that appears on this page. Within the confirmation pages, some clients will want to display their own logo while others may want to display the logo of the client who is submitting a response. Additional elements that can be customized to meet clients’ requirements include the fonts, color scheme, and even relevant metadata that is displayed within this page.

Approval-or-Rejection Confirmation Screens

Record Updates

At the same time the responses are submitted via the links generated from the NetSuite record, the underlying NetSuite record is also updated with the responses and/or comments submitted. The response data provided can automatically notify users, be configured on saved searched and/or placed on specific role dashboards.

Approval Responses Shown on NetSuite Record

As shown in the above image, field updates will occur based on the recipient’s response and a notification audit trail is added as responses are received. You will noticed there is a full audit trail of the activities triggered as a result of the response being submitted. This practice emulates the same type of functionality that is delivered by NetSuite out-of-the-box. Regardless of whether the record is being update by an internal (NetSuite) user or an external party (customer, vendor, etc.), it is imperative that all actions be properly recorded and tracked.

Email Notifications

Once a response is obtained, Native NetSuite workflows can be authored to generate notifications automatically as required. These workflows can make evaluations of the response data elements captured and perform some automation of the subsequent steps.

For example, it is a common practice to trigger an email notification as a means of alerting a user that a response has been submitted. In some instances, the recipient of the alert may vary depending upon whether the response was affirmative or negative. In either case, it is simple to tailor the communication and recipients accordingly to meet a client’s specific requirements.

The following is an example of an Approved Email Notification:

Approval Notification Email

The following is an example of a Rejected/Change Request Email Notification:

Rejection Notification Email

Of course, email notifications are just one type of automation that can be enabled from the capturing of a response. Some other examples of automations could include automatically creating a task for a NetSuite user and/or executing a NetSuite native transactional approval.

Speed Up and Simplify The Flow

The eXtendWebApprovals approach to engaging with external parties has significant impact wrapped into a simple package.

By summarizing key data within the email template and providing call to action buttons for the recipient to respond, we see acknowledgement times being reduced by 75% for some functions.

The versatility of this routine feature can be applied to both external customer and vendor workflows. It also benefits internal workflows for employees that may not be licensed NetSuite users that need to review and respond to a record within NetSuite.

If any of your processes require simple acknowledgements/approvals from outside parties and the current process requires manual processing and several follow ups, eXtendWebApprovals can help you.

Streamline your communications and response processing on these types of communication activities and couple them with Native NetSuite workflows and messaging templates.

Learn how easy this is by connecting with us!

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