Configuring Multilevel Invoices (MLI)

    Multilevel Invoice Approval (or MLI Approval) allows you to structure a workflow where invoices advance from one person to another in a hierarchy until the invoice is finally approved (or rejected) by the highest person in the hierarchy. Multilevel Invoicing Approval may occur using any combination of Trades, Categories, and/or Invoice Amounts, meaning users may approve invoices based on what trade and/or category the invoice is in, and/or the currency amount of invoice at predetermined thresholds.

    The MLI Approval process is automated so to save the time and frustration of manually sending and receiving invoices between service providers, facility operations, and accounting operations.

    The below illustrates an example of an MLI approval workflow. You may configure a workflow that best represents your business needs.

    MLI Approval Hierarchy Example

    How to access MLI Configuration

    1. On the top navigation bar click more > Admin.
    2. On the navigation submenu bar click Invoices > MLI Configuration. The MLI Configuration page appears.

    MLI Configuration

    MLI Approval configuration consists of two parts:

    • MLI Levels: hierarchal lists of users who are appointed to approve invoices, and the location(s) for which those users are permissioned to approve invoices.
    • MLI Rules: the workflow of the overall approval process. MLI Rules are configured using a hierarchy of MLI Levels and diverging approval paths for invoices under differing trades and categories.

    Note: You must create MLI Levels before creating MLI Rules. Best practice is to create all MLI Levels first so you can easily select them while creating MLI Rules.

    You may use either the user interface within the Service Automation Admin module, or the MLI Levels template.

    Configuring MLI Levels

    As stated above, MLI Levels are hierarchal lists of users who are appointed to approve invoices across locations. In this area you can create MLI Levels, and then distribute users across MLI levels for those locations.

    To configure an MLI Level you will first add an MLI Level, then add users to that MLI Level, and finally associate users to locations within that MLI Level, as illustrated:

    Configuring MLI Levels

    Step 1: Adding an MLI Level

    How to add an MLI Level

    1. Under the MLI Levels section, click Add a Level. The MLI Levels page appears.
      MLI Levels
    2. In the top-left corner, add a name for the MLI Level.
    3. (Optional) Indicate if the MLI Level has permission to change the category of the work order, and/or change the GL Code of the work order. See Category and Code Change Permissions, below.
    4. Click Save. A green dialog box appears indicating the level was saved successfully.
    Category and Code Change Permissions

    While creating an MLI Level you may indicate whether users in that level have permission to change the category and/or change the GL Code of an invoice.

    • Change Category permission is beneficial for users who review an invoice and determine that the invoice is listed under the wrong category, and should be changed to the correct category. For example: an invoice for a major reflooring project may have been placed in the Repair category, but upon review it should really be in the Capital Expenditure category due to the extensive nature of the work.
    • Change Code permission is beneficial for users who can either assign a GL Code to an invoice, or change a GL Code after reviewing the invoice.

    Step 2: Adding a User to an MLI Level

    How to add Users to an MLI Level

    1. On the MLI Levels page, click + Add Users to this Level. The Add Users dialog overlay box appears.
    2. Search for and select each user name from the drop-down list.
      • You may use a User Name, User ID, or User’s Email Address to search for users, as configured in the Admin module.
        Adding Users to MLI Configuration
    3. After selecting all users, click Add # Users (where ’#’ is the number of users you have selected). The users will list on the MLI Levels screen.
      Added Users to MLI

    Step 3: Adding a Location to an MLI Level User

    You may search for Locations using a Location ID, Location Name, Region, District, City, State, Zip Code, and Country. For example: Should you want to add a Regional Manager’s locations to their MLI permissions, simply select Region from the Location ID drop-down menu, and then choose the region. The locations the user has access to will appear.Once you search for locations, you may remove individual locations you do not want associated with that user in the MLI workflow.

    Adding Locations to MLI Users

    There are 2 tabs on this screen:

    • ‘#’ Locations: this tab lists the number of locations to which the user is permissioned to take action on invoices.
    • Add Locations: this tab allows you to search for and select locations to add to the user for the MLI process.

    How to add a Location to an MLI User

    1. On the MLI Levels page, click 0 Locations to the right of the desired user’s name. The Locations dialog box for that user appears.
    2. Click the drop-down menu to select the criteria (Location ID, Location Name, Region, District, City, State, Zip Code, and Country) and then enter or select the related information in the dynamic menu/text field. The number of locations appears, along with the list of locations.
      • Location ID, Region, District, Country: either choose from the menu or type in the information to search
      • Location Name, City, Zip: type in the information in the text field. Note this is an exact search.
    3. (Optional) Click the trash can to the right of any locations for which you do not want the user to approve invoices.
    4. Click Add # Locations, where # is the number of locations you are permissioning the user to approve invoices. The locations list under the ‘#’ Locations tab.
    5. Click Save. The MLI Levels page appears, and a green box indicating the locations were added appears.
    6. Once you have completed associating all users with locations, click Close. The MLI configuration page appears with the number of users, and indication of change category and change code permissions. Also, the MLI Rules section is now editable. (See Configuring MLI Rules, below.)
      MLI Levels after Configuration

    Configuring MLI Rules

    An MLI Rule is a process that allows specific people (collected in an MLI Level) to take specific actions on specific invoices. MLI Rules are configured using diverging approval paths for different trade/category combinations. You will configure each MLI Rule based on your organization’s invoice approval workflow.

    MLI Rules Setup width=

    In this section you are essentially building an invoice approval hierarchy, as previously exemplified in the illustration at the top of the page.

    MLI Rules and the Approval Workflow

    MLI Rules check each invoice to determine the appropriate approval workflow:

    • First, it checks the trade and category of each invoice.
    • Next, it checks the MLI Level to see who should receive the invoice, which Actions users in that MLI Level can take (approve, reject, place on hold, or return back), and the maximum invoice amount (or Limit) allowed for each action.
    • Once the MLI Level user takes action, the rule determines if the invoice should be either forwarded or sent back (returned) to other levels.
    • Finally, when the user takes action, the invoice is set to a certain invoice status.

    You may also determine the number of days each MLI Level has to take action before the invoice automatically escalates to the next stage in the approval process. See Auto-Escalating Invoices for details.

    To reiterate the above using this example:

    MLI Rules Example

    1. Trades and Categories: This MLI Rule covers all invoices in the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing trades in both the maintenance and repair categories.
    2. Level and Actions: Users in the Store Manager MLI Level are permissioned to both approve and reject invoices.
    3. Limit: Users may take action on invoices costing up to 3,000 in local currency. (Note: a blank Limit field means there is no monetary limit to which the user may take action on an invoice.)
    4. Forward to and Set Status To: Approved invoices are forwarded to the Regional Manager for review, and the invoice status is set to Reviewed in Service Automation. Rejected invoices are set to the Rejected invoice status. No further action is taken.
    5. Auto-Escalate in Days: Store Manager MLI Level users have 5 days to review invoices before they automatically escalate to the Regional Manager.

    Auto-Escalating Invoices

    An MLI Level that has the Approve Action set to forward to the next MLI Level in the hierarchy can be configured to automatically escalate invoices after a certain number of days. This is useful so invoices do not get stuck in the hierarchy for a long period of time.

    Configuring the Default Rule Set

    When you complete at least one MLI Level setup you will see the default rule set under MLI Rules. This is a catch-all rule for all invoices not addressed by configured rules. Think of the default rule set as a safety net to catch everything else that your other configured rules do not intercept.

    MLI Default Rules Setup

    How to configure the Default Rule Set

    Note: You must create an MLI Level before creating MLI Rules. Best practice is to create all MLI Levels first so you can easily select them while creating MLI Rules.
    1. On the MLI Configuration page, click Default Rule Set. The MLI Rules configuration page appears.
      • Note: You cannot delete any trades or categories in the Default Rule Set.
    2. Select the appropriate MLI Level.
    3. Select the appropriate Action(s) users in the MLI Level are permissioned to take on invoices. (Note: Approved and Rejected are selected by default.)
    4. For each Action, enter the maximum invoice monetary Limit. (Note: a blank Limit field means there is no monetary limit to which the user may take action on an invoice.)
      • Note: When using Limits, you must choose an MLI Level that invoices must be Forwarded to for all invoices that fall above the Limits.
    5. Set each Action as desired:
      • Approved: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status to Approved.
      • Reject: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status to Rejected.
      • On Hold: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status to On Hold.
      • Return: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status Open.
      • Note: When selecting a Forward To, the Set Status To automatically changes to Reviewed, and the selected MLI Level will appear below.
    6. (Optional) For the Approve action that forwards to another MLI Level, enter the number of days in the Auto-Escalate in Days field. (Note: Approve actions that do not forward will not have the option to Auto-Escalate.)
    7. Repeat steps 3-7 for all MLI Levels that appear when Forward to was selected. (Note: at least one MLI Level must have the Approve action set to Approved.)
    8. (Optional) Check Override to allow users in the MLI Level to review and take action on invoices before the level below takes action. (Note: You cannot set Override on the first MLI Level on the hierarchy.)
    9. (Optional) Click Add Level to include other MLI Levels in your hierarchy. Repeat steps 3-9 above.
    10. Click Save. A green bar indicates the Default Rule Set was saved. Also, on the MLI Configuration page you are now able to add customized Rule Sets.

    Configuring Custom Rule Sets

    Once the Default Rule Set is configured, you may then create your own Rule Sets to define your approval hierarchy. These Rule Sets define your business rules on how you want invoices to route for assigned trades and categories.

    Unlike the Default Rule Set, you may add and remove the appropriate Trades and Categories that fit your workflow.

    How to configure a Custom Rule Set

    Note: Best practice is to create all MLI Levels first so you can easily select them while creating MLI Rules.
    1. On the MLI Configuration page, click Add Rule Set. The MLI Rules configuration page appears.
    2. On the top of the page, add a rule set name.
    3. Next to Trades on the top of the page, click Add/Remove. The Trades overlay box appears.
    4. Check the boxes to select individual Trades, or check the Select All box.
    5. Click OK. The number of Trades selected will list on the page.
    6. Add or Remove Categories. By default, all Categories are added to Rule Sets.
      • To remove individual categories: click the x next to undesired categories.
      • You may also do the following (helpful when you have a long list of categories and you only want a few):
        • Next to Categories, click Add/Remove. The Categories overlay box appears.
        • Deselect Select All. All other checkboxes will also deselect.
        • Check only the desired categories.
        • Click OK. The number of Categories selected will list on the page.
    7. Select the appropriate MLI Level.
    8. Select the appropriate Action(s) users in the MLI Level are permissioned to take on invoices. (Note: Approved and Rejected are selected by default.)
    9. For each Action, enter the maximum invoice monetary Limit. (Note: a blank Limit field means there is no monetary limit to which the user may take action on an invoice.)
    10. Set each Action as desired:
      • Approved: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status to Approved.
      • Reject: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status to Rejected.
      • On Hold: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status to On Hold.
      • Return: select the MLI Level the invoice is Forward To (which locks the Set Status To at Reviewed), or set the Status Open.
      • Note: When selecting a Forward To, the Set Status To automatically changes to Reviewed, and the selected MLI Level will appear below.
    11. (Optional) For the Approve action that forwards to another MLI Level, enter the number of days in the Auto-Escalate in Days field. (Note: Approve actions that do not forward will not have the option to Auto-Escalate.)
    12. Repeat steps 3-7 for all MLI Levels that appear when Forward to was selected.
    13. (Optional) Check Override to allow users in the MLI Level to review and take action on invoices before the level below takes action. (Note: You cannot set Override on the first MLI Level on the hierarchy.)
    14. (Optional) Click Add Level to include other MLI Levels in your hierarchy. Repeat steps 3-9 above.
    15. Click Save. A green bar indicates the Rule Set was saved.
    16. Click Close. The MLI Rule appears on the MLI Configuration page.

    MLI Rules Setup

    Cloning an MLI Rule Set

    You may clone a rule so you do not have to configure one from scratch. You may clone any Rule Set, even the Default Rule Set.

    How to Clone a Rule Set

    1. On the MLI Configuration page, click the desired Rule Set. The Rule Set configuration page appears.
    2. On the top-right of the page, click Clone. The rule is cloned, and a yellow bar appears, indicating that trades and/or categories must be unique in order to save the new rule set.
    3. On the top-left of the page, enter a new Rule Set Name.
    4. Make the desired changes.
    5. Click Save. A green bar indicates the Rule Set was saved.
    6. Click Close. The MLI Rule appears on the MLI Configuration page.

    Deleting an MLI Rule Set

    You may delete any MLI Rule Set at anytime, except for the Default Rule Set.

    How to delete an MLI Rule Set

    1. On the MLI Configuration page, click the trash can next to the undesired Rule Set. A confirmation box appears.
    2. Click Delete. The a green bar indicates the rule set was deleted successfully, and the rule set will not list on the page.