Tracking Time

Timesheet Review and Approval


The timesheet review and approval process begins after an employee has submitted a timesheet. Managers can review, approve, edit, or even reject a timesheet, sending it back to the staffer for correction(s). This article walks you through the basics of this workflow.


The timesheet review feature is optional. After time has been submitted, it is entirely up to the firm what to do with it. Review and approval ensures that all time is reviewed before it is billed or reimbursed.

There are two workflows to choose from for review and approval. Administrators can elect to enable review and approval for time based on either project teams or your staff org chart's departments.

Activating Review/Approval

Before you can view the total hours that are pending review, you must decide how you want your staff to review time from the My Company...Pending Approvals screen. By selecting a specific review/approval style, as pictured below, you will automatically activate the workflow.

Project Team Review

If your firm would like to review/approve timesheets at the project level, you can set up the system to review by project. First, you'll need to set up a Project Team, and, most importantly, one or more "leads." Once that is set up, your BigTime admin grants the leads the right to review and approve timesheets for other team members on the project. For more information about how to customize user rights, click here.

Staff (Manager) Review

If your firm would rather have a single manager review a staffer's timesheet based on your org chart (instead of your project teams), you should choose to activate review/approval by department. This workflow entails assigning each staff member a department and then configuring managers for those departments. These managers would then be responsible for the review and approval of timesheets.

Basic Approval Workflow

Once you have chosen your review/approval style and the workflow is enabled, time follows a specific path and can end up in the following stages:

  • Submitted. The very first step in enabling review and approval requires your staff members to submit their timesheets. By submitting their time, staff members are electronically verifying that their timesheet is done and are authorizing it to be reviewed. At this point, the timesheet sits in the review and approval section, waiting to be approved by a manager. (Click here to learn how to set up your timesheet.)
  • Rejected. Once a manager reviews a user's time, they may make minor corrections themselves, or they may decide to route that time back to the user for changes. If time is rejected, then a manager will be asked to enter remediation notes (e.g., why a time entry/entries have been rejected, how to fix them). Rejected time is unlocked on a user's timesheet and can then be edited by the staff member who entered it.
  • Resubmitted. Once the staff member reads the comments from their manager, he or she can correct and resubmit that entry to be reviewed again.
  • Approved. Approval is the final step in this workflow. A manager accepts a set of time entries by approving them, thereby certifying that they are accurate and ready to be used for payroll, invoicing, et cetera.

Review/Approval Page

Managers should be granted access to the My Company...Pending Approvals page. This is where they will see a list of timesheets to be reviewed and where they will approve/reject submitted time.

This page is also where you, as an administrator, will activate the review/approval process. Just click on the Timesheet Approvals tile and select the review/approval style you would like to use.

Rejected Time is Edited/Resubmitted by the User

Once a time entry is rejected, it will show up in the user's time entry page. A red flag will also appear in the notification footer (at the bottom of that page), asking the user to review and resubmit the time that has been rejected.

Managers have the option to enter a note when they reject time, and you should encourage them to utilize this feature. In doing so, a user can see the manager's name as well as their reason for rejection, making editing and resubmitting time easier and faster.

Review/Approval Inbox Notices

The entire review/approval process typically takes place over a day or two, usually immediately following the end of your payroll period. Managers with several dozen direct reports can get overwhelmed with review/approval work, and it's easy to see how approvals can fall through the cracks.

Knowing this, BigTime has added a review/approval notification system to make it easier for everyone to stay on top of the process. These notices are turned on by default, and will keep your staff notified when time is pending approval or when time has been rejected. You can make adjustments to these notices on your My Company...Notifications page.

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Further Reading

Need more details? Once you understand the basics, the articles below will take you a little deeper.