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Timesheet Review and Approval

The timesheet review and approval process begins after a staffer submits a timesheet. It’s then reviewed and approved or rejected, which means the timesheet is sent back to the staffer for corrections. This article explains the timesheet review and approval workflow and your many options within it.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • The timesheet review and approval workflow,
  • Activating timesheet review and approval, and
  • The many people, roles, and departments that can review and approve time. 


  • Ensure all time is reviewed and approved before it’s billed or reimbursed. The timesheet workflow is optional, but it’s a safeguard against small but costly errors, like logging time to the wrong client or project.
  • Choose from several review and approval workflows. You decide who’ll review and approve timesheets. Examples include managers, financial admins, team roles, and departments.
  • Set up billable/non-billable approvals to streamline the approval process. Managers and team leads can approve submitted time for the same individual.


Activate Review and Approval

Decide how you want your staff to review time. Navigate to MY COMPANY...PENDING APPROVALS to make your selection, such as “don’t review/approve time” or “review by project team.” Once this step is complete you can view hours that are pending review.

Premier and Projector users can choose up to three levels of approval (PRIMARY, SECONDARY, and FINAL), located on the Pending Approvals window. For each approval level, select approver from four categories: SIMPLE, DEPARTMENTS, TEAM ROLES and SPECIFIC STAFFERS. Clicking the gray arrow next to each of these fields will reveal a picklist with these categories and all the identities that fall under them. 


Timesheet Review and Approval Workflow

The review and approval process typically takes place over a day or two. It follows a specific path:

1. Submitted. Staffers kick off the review and approval process when they submit their timesheets. This submission verifies the timesheet is complete and authorizes it to be reviewed. Now the timesheet waits for managerial approval. Learn how to set up your timesheet.

2. Rejected. During the review process, the manager may make corrections directly to the timesheet or he may reject it: sending it back to the staffer to make changes. Managers can explain why the staffer's timesheet was rejected.

A rejected timesheet will show up in the staffer’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 rejected time.

3. Resubmitted. A staffer reads the comments from the manager, corrects the timesheet, and resubmits it. The timesheet is reviewed again.

4. Approved. Approval is the final step in the workflow. It certifies that the timesheet is accurate and ready to be used elsewhere, like payroll and invoicing.


Use BigTime’s notification system to stay on top of the process. Notices are turned on by default, and will keep your staff informed with approved or rejected time. Make adjustments to these notices on your MY COMPANY...NOTIFICATIONS page. You'll be able to see your notifications when you click the ENVELOPE ICON at the top right corner of your screen.


Timesheet Review and Approval Options

You decide who reviews and approves timesheets. The section that follows examines your many options.


Billable/Non-Billable Approval

Billable/non-billable approval streamlines the review and approval process by enabling team leads and managers to review time for the same staffer.

Here’s how it works. Staffers log time to a project. Billable hours are filtered to the project’s team lead, who sees and approves or rejects the hours. Non-billable hours are filtered to the manager, who sees all submitted time (both billable and non-billable). However, a team lead can only approve submitted time if the project the timesheet is associated with has been marked as billable. A manager will only be able to approve time logged toward non-billable projects. Even if a staffer submits non-billable hours, their team lead can still approve their timesheet so long as the project they're logging time towards has been marked as billable. 

There are three steps you need to have in place in order to use this feature. First, create a project team lead. Second, create an internal project and indicate that it’s non-billable. Third, identify a manager for the project and grant him/her managerial rights over a specific department. 


Financial Admin

Have your financial admin review and approve time by granting the user the “Financial Administrator” permission. Activate this permission by navigating to MY COMPANY...USER RIGHTS. Select a security group and click ON next to FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATOR. 


Then, click SAVE at the end of the window.


Users assigned to a security group with this right can post data to your accounting system, review financial transactions, and override approvals.



Think of department as a category that your staffer works in. Engineering, Media, and Account Services are examples of departments.

Be sure to indicate which staffers are in which departments, if you want timesheets reviewed at the department level. Navigate to the STAFF DASHBOARD (MY COMPANY...STAFF LIST) and click on a staffer’s name.


Make the department selection on the BASIC INFO tab. Learn how to add or edit departments. 


Team Role

Use “team roles” to identify the different positions on your team, such as creative director or project manager. Make these selections on the TEAM tab on your PROJECT DASHBOARD (MY COMPANY...PROJECT LIST and click into a specific project). In the image below, Ben’s role on the team is Creative Director and Jason’s is Project Manager.

Learn how to update the team role values.


Approve Your Own Time

Users can approve their own time and expenses. By default managers can’t approve their own time or expenses, but you can change that. Allow managers, or anyone else, self-approve their time by activating the permission “Approve Personal Time/Expenses.”

Navigate to MY COMPANY...USER RIGHTS and select a security group. Click ON next to the user right, APPROVE PERSONAL TIME/EXPENSES, under the REVIEW & APPROVAL section.


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 one or more team leads. Then, your BigTime admin grants the leads the right to review and approve timesheets for other team members on the project. Learn more about how to customize user rights.


Staff (Manager) Review

Have a manager review a staffer's timesheet based on your org chart by choosing to activate review and approval by department. This workflow involves assigning each staff member a department and then configuring managers for those departments.

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