Have you ever locked your company timesheet when the week or pay period is over? If not, you’re probably wondering what for? Why lock an employee timesheet? Or you might be wondering how to do it at all.
Locking employee timesheets is done for two primary reasons: payroll and client billing.
First, payroll: If you use your timesheet hours to pay employees, those hours must be verified and deemed correct before entering them into payroll. Nobody wants to be shorted just because they missed a few daily entries, but it happens. You also don’t want to pay crafty employees twice what they should get, just because they entered 80 hours in for the week. Again, you’ve got to verify and certify before timesheet hours go to payroll.
But what happens if an employee makes a change after the hours have gone to payroll? For instance, they realize later that they actually worked a few hours overtime. Understandably, they want to be paid for those hours. But they may not know you have already cut the check. So they innocently enter the extra overtime hours, and nobody notices! The check was already cut before they entered them. Yikes!
Locking all the employee timesheets before you cut checks is the only safe solution.
In the example above, the employee would not be able to enter his overtime hours for the previous pay period because it was already being processed. Lock it down and they can’t enter any additional hours. Of course, they’ll come back screaming, but at least you won’t miss the hours. Just tell them to enter the hours for next week and they’ll get paid for them in the next check.
Second, client billing: It’s the same issue as payroll above. Employees who enter time for the purposes of billing clients may not know the exact time you cut an invoice. The scenario is the same: The Accounts Receivables department cuts an invoice for the previous month’s work… and then a day later one of the employees working on that project enters some additional hours – AFTER the invoice was already cut!
That’s a bad situation!
The Accounts Receivables department doesn’t realize that more time was added to this invoice date range, and, the employee doesn’t realize that the invoice has already been cut. So the billable hours he entered are effectively lost. Sure, they are in the system, but nobody knows they should be included on an invoice.
Again, the safest solution is to lock the invoice date range before cutting an invoice. This prevents any new hours from being entered. Employees will get an error and realize they should put the hours into the next pay period instead.
Try locking your timesheets, if you deal with payroll or client billing!