Image Alt Text
manage employees

Timesheet approval process

Time tracking is an essential part of running a business and managing employees. Timesheets are useful for tracking employees’ time so that you can compensate them correctly for their work. Time tracking is also how you can gain better insight into the productivity and efficiency of your employees. But timesheet tracking can be tedious and overwhelming, especially at a company with many employees.

Timesheet approval is required to review an employee’s timesheet before sending it to payroll. It is typically the manager’s responsibility to act as the approver and look over their employees’ timesheets, review hours, and make any adjustments if needed. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of timesheet approval, how the timesheet approval process works, and frequently asked questions.

Why do timesheets need to be approved?

Timesheet approval is necessary to make sure that the payroll process goes as smoothly as possible. It helps an employer keep track of which timesheets are accurate and which timesheets need to be reviewed before submitting to payroll. It is an important step in catching any errors in timesheets before they get sent over the payroll.

Having accurate timesheets is important for many reasons, such as:

  • Correct billing and payroll: It’s important to record the exact number of hours your employees work so you can compensate them properly and keep your payroll precise. This is also useful for billing purposes so that you charge your clients the correct amount for the work you do for them. Having accurate timesheets is also necessary for payroll for remote workers. Since you can’t physically be there to oversee them, it’s the only way you can verify they are working the right hours for their tasks..
  • Recordkeeping: You must keep payroll records for at least three years and timesheets for two years to comply with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) timekeeping requirements. To save yourself from payroll fraud, which can happen with incorrect timekeeping, always make sure your timesheets are accurate before submitting them to payroll.
  • Control costs: Accurate timesheets let you know if you’re spending beyond your means and need to cut back. Timesheets are a way to track efficiency in the office and determine whether you need to reduce spending in certain departments.
  • Point out inefficiencies in performance: One benefit of accurate timekeeping is that you can catch employees who are falling short. It gives you an idea of team members who may need more time or resources to get their tasks done. Accurate timekeeping can also point out projects or tasks that may need more time to complete than was allocated.

Most businesses prefer electronic timesheet tracking to paper timesheet tracking because it is easier to access. Filling out paper forms, such as timesheet templates, is time consuming and hard to track. Fortunately, there are many options for electronic timesheet tracking. You can use automated timesheets in Excel, which is easy to access for many businesses. There are also various time-tracking apps and services that will make this process even easier.

How does the timesheet approval process work?

The timesheet approval workflow typically takes a day or two to complete. To keep this process organized, you should use a timekeeping process flow chart that breaks it down into a few key steps:

  1. Submitted: The timesheet approval process begins when employees submit their timesheets. There are a few ways you can go about tracking time. You can use time-tracking software, like time card apps, and have your employees complete and submit their hours that way. You can also have your employees fill out a timesheet template by hand. Once the employee completes their timesheet, they then must request timesheet approval by their manager.
  2. Rejected: During this step of the timesheet approval process, managers will review the submitted timesheets. They will either approve or reject the timesheet. They can make changes themselves or send it back to the employee for them to make changes. If the timesheet is sent back, the manager will indicate what was incorrect so the employee knows what adjustments to make.
  3. Resubmitted: If the timesheet was rejected by the manager, the employee will read their comments, make necessary adjustments, then resubmit the timesheet for approval.
  4. Approved: Getting the timesheet approved is the last step in this process. Approval verifies that all the information on the timesheet is accurate. From there, approved timesheets will move forward to payroll or invoicing. It is crucial to be thorough with the above steps so that the timesheet is completely accurate before submitting it to payroll.
Timesheet approval process

It’s also important to acknowledge billable/non-billable approval. Knowing the difference between the two simplifies the timesheet approval process and makes it easier for managers to review. Once an employee records their total hours for a specific project, it is filtered into either billable or non-billable hours. Billable hours must be approved by the project leader before being submitted to the manager. But non-billable hours can only be approved by the manager. For example, vacation time is considered non-billable hours that must first be approved by the manager. Creating a system that differentiates between these two will make the timesheet approval go a lot smoother.

Automating timesheet approval

The timesheet approval process can be tedious for managers, which is why you should automate timesheet approval. Automating timesheet approval is the process of recording employee hours through software that tracks hours for you. You can access the software from various platforms, such as a mobile device or desktop. This simplifies the time-tracking process for both employees and managers, as they can access the software from anywhere. There’s no doubt that time tracking is an important part of running a business. But it can be hard to motivate employees to be diligent with it when they have to record their hours by hand on a timesheet template. But automating timesheet approval makes it easier for the employee to complete and submit their timesheets. There are many benefits of automating timesheet approval, such as:

  • Quicker payroll processing
  • Increased employee productivity
  • Fewer disputes about payments
  • Legal records of employee hours created
  • Customizable your approval process

FAQs: Timesheet approval process

How do you rectify errors during the timesheet approval process?

There is always a chance for error during the timesheet approval process. If it happens, just make sure you take the proper steps to rectify any errors. If an employee made the error, hopefully the manager or human resources (HR) will catch the mistake and send the timesheet back for correction. The timekeeping process flow chart is designed to catch any mistakes before they’re actually sent to payroll.

Do employees have to approve their timesheets?

It is not an employee’s responsibility to approve timesheets. It is an employee’s responsibility to complete the time entry and timesheet submission process, providing it to a manager or other timesheet approver for review. Managers will then review and either reject timesheets or approve timesheets based on the employee’s timesheet entry. The timesheet will then be forwarded to HR for final approval before payroll processing. All an employee has to do is complete and submit their timesheet.

How do you automate timesheet approval?

Using software to automate timesheet approval can save your business significant time and money. QuickBooks Time streamlines time tracking and in turn improves payroll processing. Your employees can access the time-tracking software from various devices, such as a desktop or a mobile app. QuickBooks time-tracking software also helps with scheduling, as you can easily edit and publish schedules with your team. You can also easily integrate your payroll service or software with the time-tracking data, which will expedite the payroll process. It helps with team management too, as you can use geofencing technology to automatically remind your employees to clock in or out. You can also gain important business insights with QuickBooks Time, which can help predict job costs and increase profitability. Overall, QuickBooks Time will improve the efficiency of your business by simplifying many of your business processes. It will save you money and time that you can spend working on other aspects of your business.

The timesheet approval process is a crucial aspect of running a business. How else are you supposed to verify the number of hours your employees work during a pay period and ultimately pay them correctly? But as important as this process is, it can also be overwhelming and tedious for the managers who have to sort through every employee’s timesheet.

Thankfully, you can use software like QuickBooks Time to automate timesheet approval. Automating timesheet approval streamlines the approval process and ultimately saves your business valuable time and money. When it comes to the approval process, you want to make sure that all recorded time is thoroughly reviewed before it’s billed. Having inaccuracies on timesheets will only cause you more problems down the road, whether that be with employees or clients. At the end of the day, your time is valuable and you want to do whatever you can to make your life easier. That means automating timesheet approval so you can focus on running your business.

Recommended for you

Mail icon
Get the latest to your inbox
No Thanks

Get the latest to your inbox

Relevant resources to help start, run, and grow your business.

By clicking “Submit,” you agree to permit Intuit to contact you regarding QuickBooks and have read and acknowledge our Privacy Statement.

Thanks for subscribing.

Fresh business resources are headed your way!

Looking for something else?


From big jobs to small tasks, we've got your business covered.

Firm of the Future

Topical articles and news from top pros and Intuit product experts.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.