Automate a Team Expenses Approval Process with BT Image Gallery

Budgets are of massive importance in any organization, be it a project’s budget or a team’s budget. In this article we will learn how to systematize a process for approving or rejecting team members’ expenses, to help control the spending budget inside a company and to be on track with its financial goals.

With the proposed process, team members can submit expenses through their SharePoint Team Site, triggering an approval process by uploading invoice photos through BindTuning Image Gallery web part. Whenever a team member uploads a receipt photo, the team manager receives an email to approve or reject this expense request. 

Both Team Members, Team Managers and Finance Teams can then go to the Team Site monthly (or as often as needed) to validate status of expenses submitted, by filtering invoices by status – approved or rejected. 

Note: this flow, created with BindTuning Image Gallery Web Part + Power Automate  can be used for any type of approval process - it's not limited to team expenses.

 

How it works

  • A team member uploads an image of a receipt directly to the BindTuning Image Gallery web part, using the upload button

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  • A designated team manager receives an email with a link to the image and clicks on ‘’Approve’’ or ‘’Reject’’ directly from the email
  • The team member receives an email informing of the manager’s approval or rejection
  • Team Site Members can use the custom filters of the Image Gallery, defined by the admin, to see which requests were approved or rejected!

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Implementation

Step 1) Install & add BindTuning Image Gallery

Step 2) Configure an approval flow in Power Automate

  • Go to https://flow.microsoft.com/ and sign in
  • Choose ‘’Create’’ 
  • Choose ‘’Automated cloud flow’’
  • In the search bar ‘’Choose your flow’s trigger’’ type ‘’When a file is created or modified (properties only)’’
  • Hit ‘’Create’’

Tip! To change the title of the flow, type the desired title in the ‘’Untitled’’ bar

  • In the ‘’Site Address’’ bracket, type the link to the Site Collection where expenses will be submitted
  • For ‘’Library Name’’ bracket, choose "Team_Expenses_Library"
  • Hit ‘’+ New step"
  • In the ‘’Choose an operation’’ search bar, type and select ‘’Start and wait for an approval’’
  • In the ‘’Approval type’’, choose ‘’Approve/Reject – First to respond’’
  • In the ‘’Title’’ bracket, type the title ‘’Expense Approval Request’’
  • In the ‘’Assigned to’’ bracket, type the email of the manager who will handle approving and rejecting the team members’ requests

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Tip! Please remember to continuously save the flow while you are working on it! 

  • Hit ‘’+ New step’’ and choose ‘’Control’’
    • Define your condition as "Outcome’’ + "is equal to" + "Approve"
    • Define your IFs, following the image below

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Note: ‘’Created By Email’’, ’’Created By DisplayName’’ are items from the dynamic content menu - they are columns from the document library.

Tip! Personalize the email to your liking.

  • Continue adding actions to your IFs
    • In the ‘’If yes’’ section, select ‘’Add an action’’
      • Type and select ‘’Update file properties’’
      • Configure as in the following image
    • Replicate for "If no"

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  • Add ‘’New Step’’
    • Type and Select ‘’Terminate’’ 
    • Define ‘’Status’’ as ‘’Succeeded’’
  • Hit Save

Step 3) Configure BindTuning Image Gallery

  • Go back to the site collection where you have added BindTuning Image Gallery
  • Edit the web part and click on "Filter Settings",
    • Type the internal name of the column, from the document library defined as Source ( in this case  "Team_Expenses_Library"),  that you want to define as filtering criteria
      •  ‘’ApprovalStatus"

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Tip! The square brackets after ’’ApprovalStatus’’ are to define a different name for the filter.

 

Step 4) Test your flow

  • Go back to the flow you created earlier and edit it
  • Click on ‘’Test’’, then choose ‘’Manually’’ and hit Test.
  • Using a team member's account, upload an image to the Image Gallery
  • Using the admin’s email defined in the ‘’Start and wait for approval’’ step, go to the admin’s email inbox
    • look for an email with two buttons: approve, and reject. Choose to approve or reject the team member’s request
  • Go back to your site collection and to the Image Gallery
  • Click on "Filters"
  • ’’Approval Status’’ filter will be displayed, with a dropdown menu to choose from

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By now, all users with access to this site will be able to know which expense requests were approved, and which were rejected, promoting transparency and accountability.

 

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