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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 & Expense tracking tools, your employees can create time and expense entries that are tied to a particular project in Mavenlink. These entries are 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 users who review time or expenses and can approve or reject them.

The "submitter" (the person who created the time or expense entries) 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.

Time and Expense Submissions

Project participants with Time Logger permissions or higher can submit time for review. Account Administrators can submit time on behalf of other project participants.
A submitter can track their time and expenses and submit them to the project’s approver for review. If a submitter does have Financials permissions, then they can both submit and review their own time or expenses. Otherwise, they can only submit time or expenses. An Account Administrator can submit, edit, and approve another user's time.

To submit time, go to your Mavenlink timesheet and add time for the projects that require approval. After you’ve added time for projects that require approval, click the Submit for Approval button that appears on the bottom right.

When you submit a timesheet where only some of the projects require your time to be approved, only the time that needs approval will be submitted.

Note: you can submit your time more than once during a week.

In order to create an expense report, you’ll need to first go to the Expenses Overview section and log expenses for the project that requires approval. Once you’ve created the expenses , 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.

Time and Expense Approvals

Project participants with account permission levels of Report Viewer or higher or with project permission levels of Financials or higher can approve or reject time. You can designate up to 25 users at any given time as time approvers for a project.

An approver is notified whenever a project participant has submitted time or expenses for review. They will see an event in that project’s Activity Feed where they can either approve or reject time.

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.  

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

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. 

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


Edit or Delete Submitted Time

To delete submitted, click the Delete icon on the right side of the timesheet entry. Both expense report and timesheet submissions can also be deleted from the project's activity feed.

If the time entry has already been approved, you'll have to first reject the time sheet in order to edit or delete it.

To reject the timesheet, go to time Approvals, find the time submission and click the Reject this approved timesheet icon. You can also visit the project's Activity Feed, find the timesheet notification, and select Reject this approved timesheet.

After the timesheet is rejected, you can be edit or delete the timesheet and resubmit it.

Enable Time and Expense Settings

To require time and expense approvals for specific projects, an Account Administrator can turn on the Time entries must be approved before invoicing and Expenses must be approved before invoicing options in the project Settings Financials section. Once this setting is enabled, it can only be disabled if there are no active submissions or approvals.

Click in the Select a designated approver field in the Approvals section to open a drop-down menu where you can select (up to 25) users who can designate time approval for the project. Keep in mind that these users must have account permissions of Report Viewer or higher; or have project permissions of Financials or higher.

To require approval for all 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.

Mavenlink’s time or expense approvals settings can be turned on individually in a projects Settings.

Filter Your Timesheet for a Specific Project

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

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: @ mention a project that everyone is participating in OR @ mention 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: 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 gets 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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