There are situations in an implementation where the abilities of software is limited. Every business operates uniquely so the “out of the box” functionality might not entirely cover the requirement. A VAR like can architect, troubleshoot, and build workarounds for these situations. NetSuite allows for the application of approval logic and workflows on the following document types/reports: Expense reports, purchase orders, vendor bills, vendor payments, resource allocations, time bills, invoices, return authorizations, and journal entries to name a few. So what do you do with something like credit memos though? Surprisingly it doesn’t always involve custom code. The solution below is one example.

The order to cash process in NetSuite can follow the steps below:

Opportunity -> Quote -> Sales Order -> fulfillment -> Invoice -> Payment

Now if there is a credit memo involved, this is generally done from the invoice level. Unfortunately, NetSuite does not have an approval process for credit memos, but does allow a user to create a return authorization. Return authorizations do have an approval process and can sit between the invoice and credit. If this feature is enabled in the environment it can act as a “pending credit”. It would look like the following:

Invoice -> Return Authorization–> Credit Memo

Assuming you do not need to process inventory returns this is a viable solution to filling the gap. The steps below detail how to implement this fix:

  1. The Return authorization can be renamed to “pending credit” through Setup -> Company -> Rename Records/ Transactions
  • The default status of return authorizations should be set to pending approval through setup -> accounting -> order management -> Returns

Now how does it operate? Here is an example:

A company bills a customer for SERVICES (This is the item). Due to a clerical error the customer would like several hours back. From the invoice, click authorize return (You can rename this button to “create pending credit” if you prefer).

Once the “pending credit” is in the edit mode you can see both the status and new transaction title. The ability to edit the status can be changed through workflow.

Now, a user saves the document and it will appear in the return authorization approval portlet.

After the credits value is final determined, we suggest only then creating the credit memo.

Here is a code free solution to solving a gap in the NetSuite approval logic. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. For additional information on NetSuite customizations please visit

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