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Time & Expense Approvals

Enterprise | Premier ]

Premier customers can submit time and expenses for review, helping ensure that only approved line items make their way onto a client invoice.

Using Mavenlink’s Time and Expense tracking tools, your employees can create time and expense entries that are tied to a particular project in Mavenlink. These entries are then grouped into either a Timesheet or an Expense Report and then submitted to the Project Lead for review.

Once a timesheet or expense report has been submitted for approval, an event is created in the appropriate Project’s Activity Feed. This event is only visible to project participants on the provider side of the workspace who have Project Financials permissions, as well as the individual that submitted the timesheet or expense report for review. We refer to the people with Project Financials permissions as Approvers--the person who reviews the time or expenses and can choose to approve or reject it.

The Submitter, the person who created the time or expense entries, then receives a notification when their submission has been approved or rejected. Once the time or expense entries are approved, they become permanently locked and are available to be added to an invoice or sent to QuickBooks.

Who can be an Approver?

Project participants with Project Financials permissions or higher can approve or reject time.

What can an Approver do?

An Approver is notified whenever a project participant has submitted time or expenses to be reviewed. They will see an event in that project’s Activity Feed where they can either granularly approve or reject time or they can click on the link to access the timesheet.

Whether this person chooses to approve or reject the submission, they can always provide a note with feedback or praise. The Approver can also click a link on the event to review the timesheet or expense report in more detail. The same individuals who have the ability to approve time and expense submissions can also turn the approvals requirement on or off in the project workspace. 

Note: Once time or expenses have been approved for a project, the project setting to require approvals cannot be turned off. 

Who can be a Submitter?

Project participants with Time Logging permissions or higher can submit time for review. Account administrators can submit time on behalf of other project participants.

What can a Submitter do?

A submitter can track their time and expenses and submit them to the project’s approver for review. Unless the submitter has Project Financials access in the project, they can only submit time or expenses, not review it. If a submitter does have Project Financials access, then they can both submit and review their own time or expenses. An Account Administrator can both submit and approve another user's time.

How do I submit time for approval?

Go to your Mavenlink Timesheet and add time for the projects that require approval. After you’ve added time for projects that require approval, you’ll see a “Submit for Approval” button appear on the bottom right. Click this button to submit all your time that requires review. Note: you can submit your time more than once during a week.

How do I submit expenses for approval?

In order to create an Expense Report, you’ll first need to log expenses for your project that requires approval. Go to the Expenses Overview section and log an expense. Once you’ve created the expenses you’d like to submit, click the green “New Expense Report” button. Select a project, name your expense report and select the expenses you’d like included in this report. Click “Create Expense Report” to submit your Expense Report for review.

An account administrator can navigate to another user's timesheet to track time, edit time, or submit time for that user.

What if I want to cancel a submission?

If you’d like to cancel your submission, click the cancel button found on the right side of the Timesheet. Alternatively, both Expense Report and Timesheet submissions can be canceled from the Activity Feed.

What happens when the Approver rejects the submission?

If a submission is rejected, the Approver may add a reason in the comment box and the submission unlocks so that the Submitter can adjust their time or expenses and re-submit it to the Approver. The Approver can also override an already approved submission, making the submission editable once again. 

What happens when the submission gets approved?

After it’s approved, that timesheet or expense report locks and becomes available for invoicing and sending to QuickBooks.

What if I only want to require time to be approved, but not expenses?

Mavenlink’s Time and Expense Approvals settings can be turned on independently. If you have a project where you want time to get reviewed, go to Project Settings and turn on Time Approvals.

Who can turn on Time and/or Expense Approvals?

Account Administrators can choose to set all future projects to require time and expenses to be approved. This setting is found under Settings > Time & Expense. To require time or expense approvals for a project, go into that project’s settings to turn on this ability.

What happens when I submit a timesheet where only some of the projects require my time to be approved? Only the time that needs approval will be submitted.

How do I filter my timesheet to only see time for a particular project?

At the top right of the timesheet, their is a project field. Type in the name of the project to view only that project’s time.

How do I require time Approvals for my existing Mavenlink Projects?

To enable time or expense approvals for your existing projects in Mavenlink, navigate to your Project settings and turn Time or Expense Approvals on. From here, you’ll have the option to automatically approve all entries before a particular date. You can also choose to not approve existing entries, but in this case, you’ll need to remind your team to submit these entries for review before you’ll be able to bill for these items. Only a project participant with Project Financials access (or higher) can adjust this setting.

How do I require time Approvals for all of my future projects?

An Account Administrator can go to Settings > Time & Expense and turn on this preset for projects on your account. This preset only sets a default at the project level so you can have the flexibility of turning off this requirement for projects that don’t need this level of review.

WHAT THE MAVENS KNOW: We recommend that the Team Lead be the one to approve time and expenses for the project. Generally, the Team Lead is the Project Manager and that individual is closest to the requirements. It’s also valuable for that person to keep a finger on the pulse of their project’s financial progress to ensure that it lines up with their status updates to the client. In cases where a Team Lead is unavailable to review time or expenses, any project participant with Project Financials access (or higher) can step in and approve submissions.

You can also use Time and Expense Approvals for a non-billable project that is budgeted such as an internal project. Incorporating regular review into your business practices will benefit you by increasing your oversight into the work being done on a day-to-day basis.


Q: I have set my email notifications to “relevant to me.” Will I still receive a notification that there are time and expense entries to approve?
A: Yes, you will get an email notification every time a resource submits a timesheet for a project that you have financial access on

Q: How can I inform my entire team to submit my timesheets?
A: @ call out to a project that everyone is participating in OR @ call out to the individual projects.

Q: I entered my time in the timesheet, but I don’t have the option to submit it, why?
A: Check to ensure that time approvals have been activated for that project.

Q: Why can’t I see my user’s time entries when I go to invoice?
A: They must be approved prior to seeing them.

Q: I am creating an expense report, and I only see 3 projects even though I am in much more.
A: Only projects with expense approvals activated and projects with pending expense items will be available to add to an expense report.

Q: Can you submit a timesheet for another user?
A: Account administrators can submit time for another user.

Q: I submitted my time for approval, but I think I made an error because my time entry appears locked. How do I fix it?
A: The timesheet that was submitted would need to be cancelled in the timesheet view before it get's approved.

Q: Can I see unapproved time and expenses in my time and expense analytics?
A: Yes, all entered time and expenses (approval needed or not) will show on both the time and expense analytics.

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