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Multi-Level Approvals

Multi-level approvals provide a thorough review process before time and expenses are billed to the client and before they're posted to your accounting system. Plus, extra reviews can catch small, but costly mistakes, like erroneous time entries.

Have up to three levels of approval review a staffer’s time and expenses when you use multi-level approvals, a BigTime feature available in the Premier and Projector packages. Essentials and Advanced users get one level of approval. You decide who reviews your staffer’s submissions and when they’re reviewed. For example, Company A has a team lead, manager, and a finance administrator review a staffer’s time and expenses. Company B has a manager and financial administrator review them.

This article is all about multi-level approvals. You’ll learn:

  • How to access multi-level approvals,
  • Who can approve time and expenses, and
  • What the multi-level approval workflow looks like.

Access Multi-Level Approvals

Follow these steps to access the multi-level approval feature in BigTime.

1. Click MY COMPANY...PENDING APPROVALS from the navigation bar.




3. Click on the gray arrow and a picklist of options will populate in each of the three categories: Primary Approval, Secondary Approval, and Final Approval. These options will be explained in detail in the next section.

Select one option for each category, for up to three categories. In other words, you can choose only to have one primary approver; a primary and a secondary approver; or three approvers.


4. Click SAVE to save your work.



Who Can Approve Time and Expenses

There are three categories of users who can participate in the multi-level review process. These three categories will populate in your picklist: 

The first category that appears is called SIMPLE, and includes three roles: 

  • Staff Managers,
  • Project Team Leads, or
  • Financial/Administrators.

Alternatively, you can choose (NONE), if you choose not to have an approval. 

The second category is DEPARTMENT.  

  • Choose an entire department, like "consultants" or "administrative," to review time and expenses. These selections are found under DEPARTMENT in the picklist that populates (explained in the section above).

The third category is TEAM ROLES, where you'll select a specific project role.

  • Choose a specific project role, like "project manager" or "lead engineer," to review time and expenses.

Any of the above combinations function as your “primary,” “secondary,” or “final” approver, as shown in the image below. 


Keep in mind that you don’t have to have use all three levels of approval. In the “timesheets” image above (the image on the left), we only have one level of approval.


Workflow for Multi-Level Reviews

See our example below to better understand the workflow for multi-level reviews.


Based on the image above, this is how the multi-level workflow works:

  • Staffer submits time and expenses.
  • Team lead (primary approval) reviews the submission and approves or rejects it. Once approved, the submission moves to the next stage in the review process.
  • Staff Manager (secondary approval) reviews the submission and approves or rejects it. Once approved, the submission moves to the final stage in the review process.
  • Financial/Admin (final approval) reviews the submission and approves or rejects it.

Note: If time or expenses get rejected at any level, the approval process starts over again and goes through each level of approval.

Only approved items will be available for the next approver to review. For example, approved items from the primary level will be available to review on the secondary level.

To learn more about this feature or our three product levels, please contact your sales representative or email us at

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