Orca (02): Separation of Duties Workflow

The Company

Orca Oz Enterprises are an unreal company whose staff bear an uncanny resemblance to the team at Orchid Systems. Orca have found many creative ways of using Orchid’s Sage 300 add-ons to solve everyday business problems. They have kindly agreed to let us publish a series of Case Studies. We call them the Chronicles of Orca.

Picture This

We know a picture is worth a thousand words, so we asked @Jimesey,  Junior Freelance Designer at @pa_stek, to draw up a storyboard that illustrates the scenario we've described in more detail below. 



Orca Separation of Duties Workflow

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The Challenge

Orca's Governance Committee has published a range of business rules that need to be strictly enforced.

One of these covers GL Batch Approvals.

  • Parallel Approval: Any member of the Finance Team can approve a GL batch for posting, but;
  • Separation of Duties: The person who submitted the batch is not allowed to approve it.
  • The rule only applies to GL batches, not a sub-ledger batches.

Orca's management challenged their Sage Solution Provider to come up with a solution that:

  • Enforces compliance with the above business rule.
  • Automates as many process steps as possible.
  • Allows approval steps to be completed by staff who don't have access to Sage 300.

The Solution

Orca's solution provider fulfilled their brief using the following products and services, all from Orchid Systems:

  • Extender Workflow capability, included with Orchid Extender
  • Remote Action, a web-based service that allows Extender Workflow actions to be executed from any internet-enabled device, outside of Sage 300
  • Process Scheduler, providing integration between Extender Workflow and the Remote Action service

Scenario Walkthrough

The COVID-19 shutdown is starting to hit Orca's customers where it hurts. 

  • One of Orca’s biggest customers, Great Barrier Beef (GBF), supplies meat to the restaurant industry. Thanks to the pandemic they are suddenly in serious trouble.
  • They’ve advised Sue, Orca's Office Manager, that they won’t be able to pay their latest invoices by the due date, if at all. Sue contacts Steve, Orca's CFO, with the bad news.
  • Steve decides to convene a special meeting of the Finance Team.

The Finance Team decides to enter a Provision for Doubtful Debt into the GL.

  • GBF is only one customer, but there is no reason to think there won't be others to follow. This could be the tip of a bad debt iceberg.
  • Steve instructs Sue to enter a Provision for Doubtful Debt into the GL.

The GL batch is entered, triggering a Parallel Approval Workflow.

  • Sue enters the provision for doubtful debt into the Sage 300 GL. The batch is ready to post, pending approval.
  • An Extender Workflow has been configured to trigger a Parallel Approval process whenever a GL batch is entered.
  • A notification email is automatically sent to all members of the Finance team.

The Separation of Duties business rule is enforced.

  • Sue returns from lunch and sees the Workflow notification email in her inbox. She attempts to approve the workflow task, forgetting that she's not allowed to.
  • Workflow gives her an error message, reminding her that she entered the batch and therefore can't approve it, as per the Separation of Duties rule.

Nathalie approves the batch using Remote Action, completing the workflow.

  • Nathalie, Orca's Sales Manager, is also a member of the Finance Team. She is browsing her emails on her mobile phone and sees the notification about the new Workflow task. She recognizes the GL batch as the one they agreed to at the recent meeting, so she is happy to approve it.
  • Rather than returning to her desk and logging in to Sage 300, she clicks a hyperlink in the email, taking her through to a Remote Action service web page. She types in a short comment and hits the Approve button.
  • Shortly afterwards, a Process Scheduler action runs an Extender Script that polls the Remote Action site looking for recently completed forms. This script retrieves Nathalie's approval and feeds the results back into Sage 300.
  • Extender Workflow posts the GL Batch and sets the workflow instance to complete.

The Result

Everyone at Orca is happy with the solution - and so are their auditors.

Not only has it met the brief by allowing for Parallel Approval and enforcing the Separation of Duties rule. It has also streamlined and simplified the process by allowing approvals to be made by staff who are away from their desks and/or don't have access to Sage 300.

Having Extender Workflow enforce our Separation of Duties approval rule helps me sleep at night...and keeps our auditors happy!

Steve, CFO, Orca Oz Enterprises


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