fileSMART for Property Management – Workflow Setup and Use Guide



fileSMART Workflow changes the way a business moves documents around the office and handles their document approval processes. From the time that the document is received by an agency to the time that it is finally archived in the database, fileSMART will manage the workflow of the document.

Activating Workflow

Once you upgrade to fileSMART v5.6 and above, all fileSMART users will immediately be able to use the Ad-hoc workflow.
For REST Professional users, the more advanced Invoice Workflows require attendance at a Rockend training session on using the workflows in conjunction with the REST Professional fileSMART Creditor Disbursements functionality.

To learn more about and sign up for our Discover fileSMART for REST Professional Classroom course, please click here.

If you prefer to work one-on-one with a Rockend consultant, either at your office or online, to help you set up and use fileSMART Workflow, submit a request for more information here.

Workflow Overview

Replace a paper based document and invoice handling and approval process with a completely electronic one. Users will be able to push a document from person to person and make comments as they go. In addition the full history of who has seen a document and what comment they left will be available to all participants in a workflow. The need to print a document so that it can be approved are gone, once the approval process is complete it will be archived into fileSMART automatically. The full history of the approval will stay with the document forever and be available when a document is returned from a search.

There will be 3 types of workflows in this release. The 3 are

  • Ad-hoc Workflow: (all users) - This is the basic type of workflow. Any document can be handled via an Ad-hoc workflow. The user will be able to move a document in an ad-hoc workflow to any other user while retaining the document archiving data and in addition making a comment as to why they are moving the document to that user.
  • REST Invoice Processing Workflow: (REST Professional users only) - Built on top of the document workflow are the invoice processing workflow features. In an Invoice Processing Workflow, users will be able to enter and save the creditor and invoice data from the document directly into a new invoice data tab in fileSMART and allocate the invoice to the correct expense account code. Once an invoice is approved for payment the document will be archived into file SMART and invoice data will be sent directly to REST Professional.
  • REST Barcoded Invoice Processing Workflow: (REST Professional users only) - Barcoded invoices are the ones that come from biller's such as councils, utilities and some strata companies. Without fileSMART, entering the data into REST Professional has previously been made a lot easier by the introduction of hand-held barcode scanners. However the job of scanning the physical paper copy with the handheld barcode scanner means that they had to be archived into fileSMART as a last step. The new Barcoded Invoice Processing Workflow in fileSMART Archive means that users can scan the barcoded invoices as the first step. fileSMART will then read the barcode data directly from the scanned invoice which will auto complete the archiving data and therefore removes the need to manually archive it. It will also send the barcode extracted invoice data directly to REST Professional so that it can be processed there as well. This will automate two manual processes into one automatic one.

Release Features in Detail

Ad-hoc Workflow in Detail


The ad-hoc workflow feature significantly improves the document collaboration features of fileSMART. Previously the pending queue document forwarding process was all that was available for moving a document from one person to another. But the pending queue has a number of usability limitations:

  • The current user had no way of knowing who forwarded them a document
  • There was no way a user could add a comment when forwarding a document which meant that the recipient had no context about what to do with the document.
  • The recipient of a document had no idea who else may have seen or reviewed a document. That could cause the user to then re-forward a document to someone that already dealt with it.
  • The document archiving data did not save when forwarding a document. If one user filled in some of the data and then forwarded it to someone else the archiving meta-data would be lost.
  • The history of the approval process was not available after a document was archived.
  • If a user was absent there was no way to access their work list to find urgent items and re-allocate them to other people.

The reality of these issues meant that documents were usually scanned at the end of the process meaning fileSMART was under-utilised and the paperless office less of a reality.

The ad-hoc workflow features were built to address these issues by scanning documents at the start of the process, and to build a framework on which to add a number of other important collaboration features. The following sections describe the process of creating a new workflow and then working with the work item while collaborating on a document review.

If a document does not need to be moved around the business in a workflow and simply needs to be archived into fileSMART then a user can simply archive the document in the same way they always have.

Shown below is a full application screen shot of fileSMART in Workflow mode. This will help put into context some of the other more focussed screen shots that are shown throughout this section.

Creating a Workflow

The first step of performing a workflow is to create a new workflow. The steps in this section describe how to create a workflow in the updated fileSMART Archive user interface.

The Process of creating a new workflow is as follows:

  1. The new workflow selection menu shows a list of buttons representing each mode. The modes from top to bottom are “Archive”, “Search” and “Workflow”. Each mode can be selected by clicking on the drop down arrow and selecting the respective mode.

  1. Switch to Archive Mode. Select a document from the pending queue to create a new workflow.

  2. Select a folder – to start a workflow, fileSMART needs to know what folder you intend to archive the document in at the end of the workflow.

  3. Enter some data into the archive fields – this step is optional and not all mandatory fields need to be entered at this point.

  4. Press the new ‘Create Workflow’ button …


  1. Enter a workflow comment, select a person (can be yourself) and press “Create” (see below)

  1. This will create a new document workflow and assign it to the workflow list of the nominated user

Workflow List

A user’s workflow list is their in-tray for all workflow items. To access their workflow list a user simply switches modes to ‘Workflow Mode’

Once the user has access to their work list they can select a work item and perform workflow related tasks such as data entry, Saving, Delegating or Approving the item. These are described later. One thing that a user can do to their work list is to filter it. By clicking on the filter button the following filter screen is displayed

The fields on this form have the following meaning:

Field Name



The name of the workflow. By changing this value a user can filter their work list and show only work items that belong to a specific work flow type.

Date Created From

Allows the user to filter the list to show only work flow items created after a specified date.

Date Created To

Allows the user to filter the list to show only work flow items created up to and including a specified date.


This field is a read-only field for non-administrative users. Administrators have access to all user queues.


Shows work items with a specific status value. The possible values are: Open, Rejected and Approved. The default value is “Open” and the work list shows only open work items. A user can select multiple statuses.


Shows the managers associated with the documents and allows filtering for only the documents associated with a certain manager.

Workflow Details

For each item in the work list a collection of Workflow Details is displayed in the lower left-hand pane. It shows some detailed information about each work item that may be helpful when reviewing an item. The details pane looks like this:

The meaning of these fields is as follows:

Field Name



The folder associated with the current workflow item.


The workflow type of the current workflow

Created by

The user who started the workflow

Created on

Date and time the workflow was created

Assigned from

The last user who assigned the workflow to the current user

Assigned to

The user the workflow is currently assigned to

Assigned on

The date and time that a work item was assigned to the current user


Any comment the last assigned user made on the workflow


The status of the work item. This can be “Open”, “Approved” or “Rejected”.

Work History

Each and every action taken by users of the workflow is recorded in the new ‘Work History’. This history is accessible to all participants of a workflow during the time that the work item is assigned to them. The effect is that a user can see all the prior actions and comments that have been made regarding an item. An example of a work history is shown here:

The meaning of the columns is as follows:

Column Name



The date that an event took place.


The time that an event took place.

Actioned By

The person who performed the action. This will be shown as the fileSMART login name.


The action that was performed by the user. The list of possible actions is:

  • Created
  • Delegated
  • Rejected
  • Re-Opened
  • Approved


The optional comment that was left when a user performed an action.

The work history for a document continues to be available even after a document workflow has been completed and the document is stored in the archive. When searching for a document it is possible to access the history if the document has one.
The Work History tab is only shown for documents that have workflow history.

Delegating a Work Item

Delegating a work item means assigning it to someone else. To do this, select an item from the work list and click the Delegate toolbar button, pictured below.

This will display the ‘Delegate Workflow’ screen:

The user has the option to enter a comment to let the recipient know why the document is being sent to them. The user then selects the user to whom the work item should be sent and presses the “Delegate” button. This will remove the workflow from their workflow list and move it to the workflow list of the nominated user.

Archiving an Ad-hoc Workflow Document

Archiving an ad-hoc workflow has the effect of archiving the document and ending the workflow. To archive an item a user selects an item from the work list and then presses the Archive toolbar button, shown below.

This will show up the archive document screen (below) which is shown with the fileSMART Archive application in the background.

The user has the option to enter any last comment about the work item before the workflow is completed and the document is archived.

The background screen is shown so that the Document Data tab can be seen with all the document data filled. The workflow approval process will validate that the required fields on the document archiving form are completed before allowing the document to be archived and the workflow put into the “Approved” state. Eg some fields are marked as mandatory for some folders. For example for the Property Management folder the “Prop Code”, “Owner”,  “Doc Type” and “Date” fields are mandatory.

Once the field validation is completed successfully the document is archived and the workflow put into the “Approved” state. The document and its work history is now accessible from Search Mode when a document is returned in a search.

Saving a Work Item

A work item can be saved without performing any other action. Actually any action taken by a user whether it be Delegate, Approve or Reject will save the document data associated with a work item. However it is possible for a user to simply save the current state of the document data for a work item without taking any other action. This means that a user can save the work in progress and then move on to something else without losing the work that they have done.

Rejecting a workflow Item

Rejecting an Ad-hoc workflow item means you are effectively cancelling the workflow. This means you do not want to archive the document into the fileSMART Archive. It is most likely that the document has been put into a work flow in error. To reject a workflow item a user selects the workflow item from the workflow list and the presses the Reject toolbar button.

 The following Reject Workflow screen will be displayed:

The user has the option to put a comment about why they are rejecting a document. To finish the rejection process the user presses the “Reject” button. Note that a rejected item can only be re-opened by an administrator which is described in more detail next.

Re-open a Workflow

An administrator can also re-open a rejected item. They would do this by filtering for rejected items, then selecting the item to be re-opened. Finally they would press the Re-Open toolbar button, shown below:

Note that the administrator can optionally add a comment about why they are re-opening the work item. It is also necessary to select the person who will be responsible for completing the approval process on the work item.

Monitoring Workflow Documents of Users

In addition to being able to filter the All Users workflow list to find documents, an Administrator is also able to view a snapshot of the number of workflows in a user’s workflow queue in the Manage Users form. This is located next to the Pending Documents count column and gives a quick snapshot of number of open workflows in all the users’ queues.

Workflow List Administration

Any fileSMART administrator account can perform a number of additional actions on the workflow items. These actions are made possible by the fact that an administrator can see the all work flow items in the “All Users” tab of the Workflow List. This tab will not show for non-admin users. The following screen shot shows the All Users work list:

Note that the Assigned column is showing workflow items that belong to both “Cameron” and to “John” and “Scott”. This is only possible in the All Users list and that list is only accessible by an administrator.

It is quite likely that an administrator using the All Users work list will see a large number of items in the list and the filtering feature will be used to restrict the list to only what is important. The administrator has access to the same filter screen as a regular user except that they can also filter on the responsible user as shown here:

You will note that currently the Status is set to show both Completed and Open items for john (the default is to show Open items for All users).

Invoice Processing Workflow in Detail


The invoice workflow flow features build on the foundation of the Ad-hoc workflow to provide a more advanced and more capable workflow model to handle the approval of invoices in a property management agency. The significant new features provided by the Invoice Processing Workflow are:

  • Addition of a new workflow type called REST Invoice Processing Workflow. This workflow enables the user to specifically process a document that is an invoice. It also allows multiple people to be involved in the process, enabling for example the data entry to be done by a less senior administration team member and allows the more senior property manager and trust accountant to concentrate on higher value tasks.
  • Data entry – the ability to enter invoice details during the workflow and not have to re-enter the data into the trust accounting system again before or after filing the invoice. This is done in a way that ensures that the data is accurate and obeys all the business rules in the trust accounting system.
  • Invoice data integration – the invoice data will integrate directly into the REST Professional trust accounting system.
  • Document Search – an enhanced document search ability to allow REST Professional to directly execute a search in fileSMART. Making it possible to look up the copy of the invoices immediately.
  • User Management – it will not be possible to delete a user account that has open workflow items. And the user account management screen will display the current number of open workflow items for each user.
  • REST Professional Owner and Tenant Portal support – it will be possible to publish documents to the portals as part of the approval process.

Creating a Workflow

An Invoice workflow is created in the same way as an Ad-hoc workflow.

  1. Switch to Archive Mode. Select a document from the pending queue to create a new workflow with.

  2. Select a folder – to start a workflow, fileSMART needs to know what folder you intend to archive the document in at the end of the workflow

  3. Enter data into the archive fields – this step is optional and not all mandatory fields need to be entered at this point.

  4. Press the new ‘Create Workflow’ button …

  5. You will then get the Create Workflow screen which enables you to enter a workflow comment, select a workflow type (choose REST Invoice Processing), select a person and press “Create” (see below).

  1. This will create a new workflow of type REST Invoice Processing and assign it to the workflow queue of the user you have selected. You can also assign it to yourself if required.

Invoice Data Entry

Any document in the new Invoice workflow type has a new data tab against it called ‘Invoice’, pictured below.

The data fields in this data entry tab are all fields required to create an invoice in REST Professional. Refer to REST Professional for an explanation of these fields. fileSMART follows mostly the same field validation rules as REST Professional.

The user would first enter all the document archiving data in the Document Data tab against the document (usual validation rules apply in order to archive) and then enter all of the invoicing data in the Invoice tab. (usual REST Professional invoice validations apply)

Once these fields have all been entered the user has the option to simply save the data / document inside the workflow or to ‘Approve’ the workflow and hence the invoice.

Approving an Invoice

Once all the mandatory fields and any optional ones have been completed, the user can Approve the invoice by clicking the new Approve button on the toolbar, pictured below. Note that any user who has privileges to Archive a document also has the permissions to Approve the invoice for payment.

The Approve button performs the following functions.

  1. Adds an entry to the Workflow History stating that the document has been approved
  2. Provides the invoicing data to REST Professional
  3. Archives the document in the fileSMART database
  4. Adds an entry in the Workflow History stating that the document has been archived.
  5. The Workflow is then completed and disappears from the users open workflow queue.

Note - Once an invoice has been Approved by a user it remains in the system as a closed workflow and can be searched for using workflow search filters. The Invoice tab will not be available for an archived document or a closed or rejected workflow. (to prevent any discrepancy with Trust data)

Invoice data Export to Trust

Once Approved by a user the invoicing data from a workflow will automatically be available for processing in the fileSMART Creditor Disbursements screen in REST Professional. Please see the Setup and Use Guide for REST Professional - fileSMART Creditor Invoicing, for details on how to access this data and process the invoices from within REST Professional.

Barcoded Invoice Processing Workflow


The Barcoded Invoice Processing workflow provides a faster way to process utility invoices such as water rates, power bills, council rates, and strata levies by auto completing some archiving and invoice data.

In order to auto complete the archiving and invoicing data

  • The invoices must have a specific acceptable barcode type. Australia Post PostBillPay barcodes are an example of acceptable barcode types.
  • The supplier details, Biller ID and barcode setup must be pre-entered into REST Professional and the Customer Reference Number (CRN) of the bill also pre-entered into REST Professional.


The Barcoded Processing workflow works in a very similar fashion to invoice processing workflow. The user selects one or more documents from their pending queue and creates a new workflow from them. When you select the Barcoded Invoice Processing workflow, the following steps happen

  1. For each item, a new workflow of type Barcoded Invoice Processing is created
  2. Item is assigned to the user you select.
  3. Barcode on the document is read, the CRN extracted and this is then used to look up the REST property code details. This in turn is used to populate the archiving data and then the invoicing data for the document.
  4. The document remains in the queue of the nominated user until it is approved, the same as a non-barcoded invoice.

To speed up multiple invoice processing the user should enter the document type (= Invoice) and date whilst in the pending queue archiving screen and also have the creditor default expense account code and transactions description setup against the creditor in the trust system. If they do these steps there should be no data required to be entered by a user before approving barcoded invoices.

If a workflow fails to read a barcode, whether because the CRN does not exist in the Trust system or simply a bad read of the barcode due to scanned document clarity, the invoicing data can still be manually entered into fileSMART as for a non-barcoded invoice. Once a barcoded document workflow has had its data auto populated it behaves in the same way as a non-barcoded invoice workflow.

Please note that the barcode reading and processing only works with invoices that have a PostBillPay barcode.

The below screenshot demonstrates a barcoded invoice in fileSMART which has fileSMART invoice data auto populated from the barcode.

Barcode Invoice Troubleshooting

If your barcoded invoice doesn’t have the invoice data, check the following

  • Did you select the correct workflow type? You must use the REST Barcoded Invoice Processing workflow
  • Does the creditor exist in REST Professional?
  • Does the creditor have a Biller ID in REST (new field)?
  • Does the creditor have a default account code and item description setup in REST?
  • Does the CRN of the invoice exist in REST (first time bills will not work until added to REST)
  • Is the scanned barcode clear enough? Standard fileSMART Archive system requirements now say that your scanners should be set to 300dpi. Earlier versions of fileSMART Archive oly required 200dpi. The workflow may not be able to read a low quality scan or a scan of a photocopy. Try scanning again form the original in 300dpi and you don’t have the original you will need to process as a standard (non-barcoded) invoice.
06/09/2018 3:44 pm AEST

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