Development of a SharePoint Approval Workflow for a Law Firm
The Customer is a US law firm that offers legal services in such areas as employment, insurance, intellectual property and real estate.
The Customer had a financial management system for creating documents, preliminary bills sent to clients for approval in advance of actual invoicing. The Customer had ineffective document management due to manual approval process, which caused payment delays. So, the Customer wanted to streamline document management through automating the document approval workflow. Since the firm already had SharePoint subscription, they decided to use the platform for automating the approval workflow. The Customer also wanted to track approval progress to avoid delays in billing and increase employee productivity.
After evaluating the Customer’s needs, ScienceSoft specialists implemented a custom SharePoint approval workflow. To enable data extraction from the Customer’s financial management system into the SharePoint approval workflow, our team integrated the two systems.
The approval workflow created by ScienceSoft’s team consisted of two parts: the primary workflow with an Accountant as a Requester and an Attorney as an Approver, and an additional one with the same Requester but a different Approver (Administrator). The additional approval workflow was needed for documents with the amount bigger than established.
The integration of the Customer’s financial management system with SharePoint enabled a Requester to access a list of documents in SharePoint and set up a workflow. Each entry contained such data as Number, Client, Matter, Workflow Status (Not Started, In Progress, Complete, Canceled and On-hold) and possible actions like Start or Cancel Workflow. The workflow could be started only if its status was Not Started.
The approval workflow also allowed further submitting documents for billing in SharePoint. In this case, an Attorney was the one who triggered the workflow. Also, the workflow enabled proceeding with pro forma billing at once or hold billing ‘till the next month’ or ‘till the Attorney decides’. In the latter case, the workflow allowed setting a date for a reminder that would be automatically sent to the Attorney.
The developed SharePoint approval workflow provided the full automation of a document life cycle, which facilitated pro forma management as it allowed employees to easily track changes in documents and their statuses. As a result, the approval workflow helped to increase the efficiency of the firm’s document-driven business and reduce operational costs.