Workflows Overview

A workflow is a series of functions (workflow events) to be performed in a sequence designed to accomplish a particular business objective.

Each event is one step of the workflow.  An event appears in the Advisors Assistant calendar as a task.  When the event or the task is completed, the calendar item is deleted, but the event history remains and can be viewed in the View Client With Workflows Screen.


 Example Of A Workflow Sequence

Example Of A Workflow Sequence

How Workflows Operate

When you set up an active workflow, the first workflow event becomes active and a task with a due date is placed in the calendar for the person assigned the execution of the event.

As the assignee executes the event, based on the instructions included in the event, they can make notes.

Once the event is completed, the person marks it as complete by assigning a completed date and who completed the event.

When an event is completed, the task is automatically removed from the calendar and the next event's task is placed in the calendar for the person assigned to that task.  However, if there are several events due on the same day, the next event is not assigned until the last task for that day is completed.

Once the final workflow event is completed, a workflow is considered completed.

Various icons appear next to workflows and the workflow events to indicate whether they are completed, past due, or completed past due.

How Workflows Differ From New Business Tracking

For a discussion of how these are different, click HERE

Workflow Setup Step-By-Step

Advisors Assistant has streamlined setting up workflows through the use of Workflow Event Templates and Master Workflows.

Step 1: Outline Each Function Of The Process

The first step in setting up an effective workflow is to gather the people who perform the business function and dissect each step (event) of the process.

For Example

Outline the process on a white board or use post its so that you can move the steps as the stakeholders in the process suggest how each step should be accomplished.

Only after you have analyzed the steps of your workflow process are you ready to enter it into Advisors Assistant.

Step 2: Create Master Workflows

Workflows are designed for processes that are repeated in your business.  Creating a Master Workflow will allow you to simply copy the master to an Active Workflow and assign the people who should execute the various events.  Click on Tools | Workflow | Workflow Masters and use the Add Button to set up a new Master Workflow.

Master Workflows default assignees so that you don't need to individually assign events.

Workflow Masters do not have begin and end dates.  They have durations and waits between their events.  The actual dates are calculated when the master is copied to an active workflow.

Step 3: Create An Active Workflow From The Master(s)

Active Workflows are associated with an individual contact.  Therefore, use the AddActionButton Button from the View Client With Workflows screen to add a new, active workflow.

Modifying and Completing Active Workflows

Active workflows are modified or completed from the View Client With Workflows Screen or from the calendar event associated with the workflow.  Any calendar event linked to a workflow event will have an additional button which will allow you to jump to the workflow event from the calendar.

Event Templates

Event Templates make your events reusable as you set up your Master Workflows.  Event Templates are set up from the Tools Menu. Click on Tools | Workflow Event Templates.

Be sure to use the instructions section of the event template to help the person execute the event.  Use the instructions to tell the person the location of documents on the network, who to contact and anything that will streamline the execution of event.

Note: If there are several steps to accomplishing the event which are all executed by the same person within the same timeframe, put them into the instructions for a single event.  You don't need to put each little step in it's own event.

Workflow Events And The Calendar

When a workflow event becomes active, the task is placed in the calendar.  The event can be completed from the calendar or from the workflow on the View Screen.

Calendar Interaction With Workflows

The user's calendar is where the active workflow events are communicated to users.  When a workflow event is completed, it is removed from the calendar.  It is no longer needed in the calendar because it is still associated with the contact.

You can remove workflow tasks from the list of tasks by unchecking the Workflows check box at the top of the task list.

A workflow can become active in three ways:

1.The first event of a workflow is always active even if the event's begin date is in the future.

2.When the begin date of an event is on or before today's date, that event is active.

3.When the previous task in the workflow sequence is completed.

Here are rules for putting events into the calendar:

First Workflow Event

The first event of a workflow will always be placed in the calendar as of its begin date.  If a workflow is set to begin a year from now, the event will be placed in the responsible user's calendar as of a year from now.  (If the user becomes inactive in the database, there is a mechanism for reassigning those events to other users.)

Active Workflow Events

When a workflow event becomes active, a task is created and inserted into the calendar.

Dependent Workflow Events

A workflow can be considered active and in the calendar, but it cannot be completed because it is dependent on some previous event in that workflow being completed.  In this case, a message appears on the workflow indicating that it is dependent on the previous, still active, event being completed.  The message is on both the calendar event and the workflow.

Events Where Begin Date Is Moved

A begin date in a workflow can be moved forward, but this can only be changed from within the workflow.  You cannot not move the begin date forward from within the calendar.  However, there is a navigation button on the workflow calendar event so you can navigate to the workflow event.

When a workflow event is moved forward, the associated calendar task is also moved forward.

Completed Events

When an event is completed, the workflow task is removed from the calendar.  The workflow history remains associated with the contact record, so there is no reason to keep it in the calendar. The next event in the workflow becomes active and goes into the calendar as of it's begin date.

Workflow Flex Fields

Like contacts, investments, and coverages, workflows can have FlexFields.  You can assign 6 FlexFields at the Workflow master level.  If you have a different master workflow, these 6 fields can be totally different.

The values for these fields are filled in as the workflow events are completed.

Terminated Workflows

When a workflow is terminated, all associated calendar tasks are removed from the calendar.

Workflow Definitions

The following terms are used when referring to workflows in this help.

Master Workflow

Master workflows are designed to save time.  A master workflow is a workflow set up by a person experienced in performing the tasks involved in the workflow.  It is designed as a template which can be copied every time this particular sequence of events is needed.

Setting up workflow masters is controlled by the role based security, so not everyone can set up master workflows.

Active Workflow

Once a master workflow is copied to a contact's name and given a beginning date, the workflow becomes "Active."

Deactivated Workflows

You cannot delete a master workflow once it has been associated with a contact.  However, you can take it off of the list of master workflows by deactivating it.  Deactivated means that it cannot no longer be associated with contacts, but all of the workflows which have already been associated with a contact will still be valid and can still be searched and reported on.

For how to deactivate a master workflow, click HERE.

For how to reactivate a deactivated master workflow, click HERE.

Workflow Begin Date

The Begin Date of the first event in the workflow is the workflow's begin date.

Workflow Event

A workflow step assigned to an Advisors Assistant user. A workflow event has a beginning date, a duration, and an ending date.  An event can also contain notes that are entered by the user.

Workflow Type

This field is assigned when you set up a master workflow.  It is designed to more easily let you find the master workflow you want to assigned to an active workflow.

The Workflow Type may be similar to the Workflow's Description, but it will usually be shorter.  You may have several Workflows of the same type, but each with a slightly different description.  For example: You may have a type of "New Policy Setup" and there may be several workflows of this type with slightly different workflow events based on the type of policy,

Examples of Workflow Types

New Policy Setup

Order Execution

Annual Review

Workflow Status

The status of the entire workflow depends on the status of its events.

Active Status means that any event in the workflow is active.

A workflow is Overdue when any active event in the workflow is overdue.

The workflow is Completed when the last event of the workflow has been completed.

A Terminated workflow is any workflow terminated by a user.

Workflow Description

This is the description that will appear on the View Client With Workflows Screen.  It describes the objective of the workflow.  This field is more exact than the Workflow Type.

Examples of Workflow Descriptions

Group Policy Setup In Advisors Assistant

Disability Income Policy Setup In Advisors Assistant

Mutual Fund Order Execution Held At Fund Company

Mutual Fund Order In Brokerage Account

Common Stock Order Execution

Insurance Policy Review

Investment Portfolio Review

Event Template

Event templates are like master events so that, when setting up an event in a master workflow or an active workflow, you don't need to fill in all the details of an event.  This makes events reusable.

Event Duration

The number of weekdays set in the event template in which to complete the event.

Wait Days

The number of days between the current event being set up in the Master Workflow and the next event in the sequence.

Default User

When a master workflow is set up, the default user can be assigned to the event.  When the master workflow is copied to an active workflow, the default user will be assigned that event without regard to the user assigned the workflow.  However this can be changed when the workflow is assigned.  When the default user is left blank, the user assigned the workflow will become the user on those events.


If you have set up departments consisting of one or more users, you can assign a workflow step to a department.  Departments have calendars just like users, so that any member of the department will see the workflow task in their department calendar.

Event Sequence Number

This is the order in which the events are executed.

Event Status

An event can be Active, Pending, or Completed.

Event Type

The event type gives tells you the nature of event for that particular step.  Examples of an event type are Email, Appointment, Phone Call, Send Letter, or Task.

Event Description

This is the short form of the instructions for completing the event.  There is also a detailed instruction note which provides the necessary information for completing the event.

Event Category

The category lets you group the events in the drop down list of Event Templates.  You may have a hundred Event Templates which will make events difficult to locate in the list.  Being able to assign a category, such as "Annual Review" or "New Employee Setup" will let you group the event templates by sorting by event category on the list.

Event Begin Date

The begin date is the date the event is scheduled to begin.  The begin date is calculated when an event becomes active and it is based on the Due Date of the previous event in the sequence and the number of days scheduled between the Due Date of the previous event and this event.

Event Due Date

The due date is the begin date plus the duration of the event.

Can Skip - Skipping Events

Because not every situation is predictable, when a master workflow is set up, the workflow event can be set up so that it can be skipped.

In order to skip an event, the user must have the security rights to terminate workflows or skip events.  This is a single task in the Role Based Security set up by administrators.

The workflow event MUST become active before it is skipped.  You cannot skip an event that is not active.

The workflow event must be set as "Can Skip" or it can never be skipped.

Consecutive events can be skipped as long as they have Can Skip checked in the master event.  For example, you can skip event 3, 4, and 5 as long as #3 is active and all are set as skippable and you have the security rights to skip an event.  You can't skip 3, 4, and 6 because that is not a consecutive list.

In order to skip an event, you must fill in a note so others will know why the event is skipped.

Skipping events can be used to simulate workflow branching.  For more about workflow branching, click HERE.

Assigned To

The Advisors Assistant user who is scheduled to complete this Event.  Different users can be assigned to different events.  If there is a default user set up in the workflow master, the default user will be copied to the active workflow.

You can assign a workflow step to a Department.  The task will then appear in the Department's Calendar.

Completed By

The Advisors Assistant user who completed the event.

Completed On

The date the event was completed.


As steps of a workflow are completed, a phase can be assigned.  The Phase is based on the current Active Workflow Step, not the step just completed.  When a workflow step is completed, the phase of the next active step is considered the phase of the process the contact is in.

When the phase changes due to the completion of workflow steps, the new phase is copied into the contact's name record.  The phase can be manually changed by users by modifying the name record.

Completing the final step of a workflow does not modify the phase.


The amount of revenue that can be expected from this event.


A Team of Producers can be associated with a workflow.  This association takes place at the time that the master workflow is assigned to a contact in Advisors Assistant.

When a team is assigned, you can use workflow reports that are special reports designed to show revenues by team member.


Notes that are made by the user as the event is executed.  These notes also appear in the contact's notes.


Information about how to accomplish and complete the event.  These are entered by the person who sets up the event template.

Workflow Flex Fields

Because we can't predict all of the information you may want to store in a workflow, there are 6 FlexFields that you can associated with a Master Workflow.

Each Master Workflow can have a different set of FlexFields customized to what you want to accomplish in that workflow.

The FlexField Labels are set in the Master Workflow, but the FlexField values can be changed from each individual workflow event.

For example:

You want to track the estimated completion percentage of the process and this is a judgment call by the team working on the sale. You want them to estimate the completion percentage after each event is completed.  By setting up a Pct Complete as a numeric FlexField label, the percentage can be set by the person completing the workflow.

Workflow Videos

There are three workflow videos to show you the process:

Click here to view video Setting Up A Master Workflow (8:32)

Click here to view video Adding A Workflow To A Contact's Record (6:00)

Click here to view video Workflow Reports (5:40)

See Also


It is not necessary to start a new event for each step in an event.  If there are several sub tasks for an event, all done by the same person on the same day, put them in the instructions of the event and just number them.  Click HERE for an example.