Timesheet approval

Timesheet approval is a feature and process in Harvest that allows Administrators and Project Managers to review, approve, and lock your team’s weekly submitted time and expense entries.

Using our approval process can help your team in a variety of ways:

  • Since your team must submit timesheets for approval, you’re better equipped at knowing who filled out their timesheets and who didn’t.
  • The approval process offers an easy way for you to review timesheets every week and catch mistakes before they wind up in reports or on invoices later.
  • Project Managers can help review and approve time and expenses relevant to the projects they manage.
  • Locking timesheets provides peace of mind. You can be confident that approved time and expenses won’t be changed, so they’ll appear accurately and predictably on your reports and client invoices. 

Note that it’s always possible to report on and invoice for tracked time and expenses, regardless of whether they’ve been approved or locked.

Submitting time and expenses

Timesheets are always submitted on a weekly basis. Time and expenses are also always submitted and approved together—it’s not possible to submit or approve only time or only expenses.

To submit time and expenses:

  1. Go to Time > Timesheet or Expenses.
  2. From Time > Timesheet click the Submit week for approval button (lower right corner), then click Yes, submit timesheet to confirm. From Expenses, click the Submit for approval link below the expense timeframe (on the left).
    • If you’ve tracked only time, your timesheet will be submitted.
    • If you’ve tracked only expenses, or both time and expenses, you’ll be taken to a review screen and will need to click Submit for approval at the bottom of the page to confirm the submission.
      • If you don’t click the Submit for approval button on the review screen, your timesheet will not be submitted.

After submission, timesheets can still be edited until they’re approved. Approvers will always see the most up-to-date entries.

Approving a timesheet locks the entries for the entire week, so be sure to only submit your timesheet once the week is over.

Approving and locking time and expenses

Who can approve timesheets?

Administrators can approve all timesheets, while Project Managers can only approve time and expenses tracked to projects they manage. 

How to approve submitted timesheets

To approve timesheets once they’ve been submitted:

  1. Head to Time > Pending approval.
  2. Click Approve timesheets (bottom) if you’re ready to approve all submitted timesheets at once.
  3. Or, to approve a specific timesheet, select it, then click Approve timesheet.

Timesheets cannot be rejected. However, if a timesheet needs to be changed before being approved, you have two choices:

  • Project Managers and Administrators can send a message to the timesheet owner asking them to edit and resubmit. To do that, click the Send user email link.
  • Administrators can make changes directly from the Pending approval screen. Click on the user’s week that you’d like to change, then click on the column header of the day you’d like to change. You’ll be taken directly to that person’s timesheet, where you can make your edits.

How to sort and filter submitted timesheets

In Time > Pending approval, you can use the Sort by dropdown at the top left to group the pending time and expenses by Week, Projects, or People.

You can also filter your view to see only certain people or projects. Click the Everyone dropdown at the top right, then select:

  • My pinned teammates to show only time and expenses tracked by people you’ve pinned in the Team Overview.
    • Note that only Administrators will see this option, since Project Managers don’t have access to the Team overview.
  • My pinned projects to show only time and expenses tracked to projects you’ve pinned in the Projects overview.
  • A role to show only time and expenses tracked by people with that role. You can learn more in our article about assigning and managing roles.

Locking and unlocking approved timesheets

Approving a timesheet locks the entire week included on that timesheet. This includes days with no time tracked to them. 

  • If you’d like to adjust what day of the week your team’s timesheets start on, you can do that under Settings > Preferences > Start week on.

Time and expense entries are always approved and locked at the same time for the entire week. Note that there’s no way to approve only time or only expenses.

If you need to unlock an approved timesheet, head over to Time > Archive and click on the timesheet in question. Then click the button at the bottom right to Withdraw approval.

For more information on unlocking time and expense entries, check out our article on how to unlock a timesheet.

Managing timesheet submissions and reminders

Administrators can check on any outstanding timesheets by heading over to Time > Unsubmitted

If you’d like to remind your team members to fill out and submit their timesheets for approval, you have a few options:

  • Administrators can set up recurring timesheet reminders to send automatically to everyone in your account each week. 
  • Administrators can manually send one-time timesheet reminders to specific people.
  • Individuals can set up daily reminders for themselves to remember to track time. 

You can learn how to set up these notifications in our article on timesheet reminders.

Disabling timesheet approval

Timesheet approval is activated by default. However, if you’d like, you can disable timesheet approval by doing the following:

  1. Click Settings (top right).
  2. Click Choose modules.
  3. Uncheck the box for Timesheet approval.
  4. Save your changes.

Keep in mind that removing the timesheet approval module will not unlock timesheets that have been approved and locked—if you want to edit any timesheets, you’ll need to go back and manually unlock them while timesheet approval is still enabled.

If you decide later that you do need timesheet approval, head back to your Choose modules page and check the Timesheet approval box.

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