Workflow is Roger's cornerstone automation technology designed to let you seamlessly perform a variety of otherwise-manual accounting tasks.
We'll run through the nitty gritty of workflow rules and how to create them, as well as dive into a few workflow examples and concepts that will help you think creatively about which rules might be beneficial to your business.
Note: Workflows can only be created in Roger's web app, they apply to a company's documents no matter where they're uploaded.
What do rules do?
Rules dictate what actions should be performed on expenses that flow through Roger. They automate financial tasks that otherwise would require manual work - for example obtaining approval from a coworker before payment can be made, categorizing an expense to a certain account based on the vendor name, or adding a custom message.
What makes up a rule?
Rules are simple if-then statements that are composed of two fundamental components:
- Trigger(s): the criteria, or characteristics an expense contains that will activate the rule. These can range from the expense's vendor name or amount to the department of the person who uploaded the bill.
- Action(s): the action you want to perform on any bill or receipt that meets the trigger criteria. The action can range from approval, to categorization, to assigning a custom note to the bill.
The principle on which all rules in Roger are built:
- If a bill contains this criteria [trigger], then do this [action]
Roger's intuitive rule-creator tool lets you can add as many triggers and as many actions to a rule as you like.
How do I use rules?
Note: To be able to create rules, you must have the Workflow module toggled on in Settings > Components
To create a new rule, edit an already existing rule, or view all your rules, navigate to the Workflows page via the left sidebar.
Now we'll provide two examples of how rules can be set up: one simple, and one more complex.
Rule Example 1: Require approval if a bill value is over a certain amount
1. From the Workflows page, click Create a new rule and then Start from scratch, and you'll be taken into the simple rule-creator tool.
2. Give your rule a name in the details box to the right (optional).
3. Define the trigger criteria as: If an expense's [Payment amount] is [greater than] [numerical $ amount]
4. In the action section, define as: Then [require approval] from [all] of the following [coworkers]: [coworker names]
5. Click Save and activate rule.
Here's how it looks:
And it will appear on your Workflows page alongside your other rules as such:
Any expense submitted that is over $500 in value will require approval from all three coworkers defined above.
Underneath the bill's title, you can see the following information:
- Time of creation
- Number of times that the rule has been activated
- Number of pending expenses which are actively triggered by this rule
On the right side of the rule you have a few clickable options:
- Copy rule (the square icon)
- Edit rule (the pencil icon)
- Delete rule (the trash can icon)
- Enable/disable rule. If you click this the rule will be paused/un-paused. When a rule is paused it will not be activated even though a bill may meet the bill's criteria. When a rule is un-paused it will be activated as soon as a bill that meets its criteria is submitted.
Here's how any bill that meets this workflow rule's criteria will appear for each of the approvers in the Pending tab of their Expenses page:
Example 2: Multiple criteria, approvals or actions
In the first example we showed a simple single-trigger, single-action rule. Often, there will be a need to perform multiple actions on bills that match the same criteria. Or, there may be multiple pieces of criteria that need to be met to perform the same action. The possibilities are endless!
In any of these situations, the little "+" signs in Roger's rule creator tool come in handy. They allow you to add clauses to both the trigger and action sides of each workflow rule. The actions are laid out in the order that you want them to be performed (with the word "then" used to help clarify!)
Here's an example:
The trigger section has two clauses (two pieces of criteria):
And the action section has three clauses: an approval, followed by another approval, followed by a categorization action. Notice the use of "then" to clarify order:
In other words, the rule Example 2 states the following:
- If a bill's [vendor name] [contains] [Robinson], AND the expense's [payment amount] [is greater than] [$1000]
- Then [require approval] from [any of] the following [co-workers] [Jim Martin] or [Tanya Joseph], and THEN from [all] of the following [co-workers] [Becca Pryor], and THEN automatically [add category]: [Direct Costs]
There's an endless possibility of the triggers / actions you could use in various orders in workflow rules. Make sure to choose clauses based on your business needs!
When multiple rules are activated at once
Sometimes a bill activates more than one rule at once. If two rules share triggers with the same criteria, or a bill contains the criteria of multiple different rules, they'll all be activated.
You can tell which bills this affects, as there will be a tiny fork is shown next to the Approve button for the bill in the Pending tab:
The fork is shown because multiple bills have been activated simultaneously. Click on the fork to view a complete overview of all activated rules in a new window:
The overview shows that any of the approval rules must be completed before the bill can be finally approved. Each activated workflow rule's title will be displayed on the right.
You can easily make a bill "Mandatory" when creating it. A mandatory rule must be completed before the expense that activated the rule can be finally approved, even if the expense has triggered multiple workflows:
You'll see "Mandatory" listed next to any rule who have that setting in your Workflows page:
It can take some time and testing to be fully acquainted with workflow rules and to understand how they can best serve your business. Don't hesitate to email@example.com if you have any questions about getting started with this nifty automation tool.