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What Is the Timesheet Approval Process and How Does It Work?

Learn about the timesheet approval process, how it works, and the benefit of a seamless process. Look at some tools that can help you build.‍

August 14, 2023

A timesheet is a sheet that details information about the working hour or logged time over a specific period. Timesheets are standard tools employees use to record and track their working hours. They're also used to bill clients for the time spent on a project. 

For example, Ifeanyi works six hours daily, and his hourly rate is $43. He must record his working hours on his timesheet and pass it to his manager for approval. This approval process is the timesheet approval process. 

In this article, we will talk about the timesheet approval process, how it works, and the benefit of a seamless process. We'll also outline some tools that can help and how to build a simple approval process. 

What Is the Timesheet Approval Process?

Time approval is a workflow process that captures, tracks, and shows the approval of an employee's work hours. It entails everything from submitting the timesheet to approval, rejection, resubmission, and final approval. 

Benefits of a Timesheet Approval Process

A seamless timesheet approval process will benefit everyone. 


  • Keep track of their billable work hours, overtime included.
  • Bill clients and employers.
  • Get compensated for their work.

Team Lead or Manager

  • Track the hour worked by each member of the team.
  • Identify inefficiencies.
  • See how long it takes tasks to be completed.

Finance and Account Team

  • For bookkeeping, record keeping, and audits.
  • Shows that you comply with labor laws and regulations.
  • Control and track spending habits.
  • Used for payrolls and customer billing.
  • Project accounting.

The Company and Organization

  • Estimate future projects.
  • Track and manage projects.
  • Identify process inefficiencies.
  • Comply with labor laws and regulations.

How Does Timesheet Approval Work?

The whole timesheet approval workflow is technically straightforward. 

The employee initiates the process by filling out the timesheet. They then submit their timesheet to their team lead, manager, or point of contact within the organization. 

The team lead or manager approves the timesheet if everything is accurate. However, they can decline the timesheet if something seems off or wasn't properly recorded. In this case, the employee must refill, edit, or adjust the timesheet. They'll submit the timesheet once again. The workflow ends once the team lead or manager approves the timesheet.  

Once approved, the timesheet is moved to the appropriate personnel in human resources, then accounts or finance for payroll processing. 

Thus, it is important to use the right application to ensure the process goes as smoothly as we described. 

Automate Timesheet Approvals with Workflows

The idea behind a timesheet approval is similar to the old logging tales. By logging, I mean when employers required employees to manually use punch cards and papers to fill their sign-in hours or biometrics machines to clock in and out.  

These methods have various challenges. For starters, they are manual. Secondly, this wouldn't fly in today's remote workplace, where employees are scattered all around the globe. 

The timesheet approval process of today needs to be more digital so you can account for your remote employees. It also needs to be automated, as this will make it seamless and ensure no errors. 

So what applications can you use for seamless timesheet approval? 

Rather than using paper entries, you can use a combination of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Forms, Google Sheets, or Google Forms for the timesheet approval. The only issue here is that these tools require you to build the form and would only automate some steps in the process. Better still, you can use software like Wrangle to automate and create an effective approval process

A Timesheet Approval Process with a Simple Form

Building to replicate the timesheet workflow with a simple form can be challenging. Our how-to guide on creating a ticketing system with Microsoft Excel and building with Google Forms will help you get started. 

These programs—Microsoft Excel and Google Forms—are excellent for data analysis and surveys, respectively, as explained in these guides. Nevertheless, in other aspects, they fall short when managing these workplace approval processes. Thus they're not an excellent choice for a timesheet approval system.  

Besides the fact that building a template with these tools can be time-consuming, they're also error-prone because VBA codes or script can give the wrong result if written incorrectly. These systems also make it hard to deal with situations when the approval must be rechecked and submitted. Additionally, it takes a lot of work to keep track of everything, especially in a large and remote organization when there are backlogs and many pending requests. 

Rather than going down this path, use a robust application that offers a free trial like Wrangle to automate the approval workflows in your Slack workspace

Wrangle your Timesheet Approval Process

If we're going to make your timesheet approvals work much better, you will need to take it a step further, ideally with an application. 

Wrangle is an app for Slack that lets you automate your business workflow and start an approval in any channel. You can use Wrangle to automate various business processes, from your budget, marketing, and purchase order processes to internal design, surveys, IT ticketing, and content approval. 

Wrangle can help your timesheet approval process: 

Using Wrangle to track timesheet approvals is simple to set up. Install the Wrangle application into your Slack workspace.

Create a custom approval process workflow for your team’s timesheet approval process using our drag-and-drop interface to fit your use cases.

Wrangle's template

Choose the Slack channel (or channels) where the process will be tracked.

The workflow is accessible so employees can access it directly in Slack.

Advantages of Using Wrangle for Automating Timesheet Approval

Wrangle's automated timesheet approval process will help your managers and teams track their time better. You'll also reduce errors and streamline the entire timesheet approval process.  

The benefits are vast. Here are a few of the most impactful enhancements you can expect when automating timesheet approval:

  • Employees can easily file timesheets in your Slack workspace, eliminating complex process approvals
  • Each authorized individual can view the approval status and see which steps are awaiting approval
  • The timesheet approval process will mimic your internal corporate policies. 
  • Wrangle creates an open, centralized, standardized reporting system that keeps everyone on the same page. Accounting can also audit workflows to ensure the organization complies with labor laws.
  • You can alter approval workflows to include permissions and roles for confidential and sensitive information. Roles guarantee that only specific people can change, approve, or see the information. 
  • Tasks list can keep work moving. Once a workflow is submitted, you can create a task list for your finance team to ensure employees are getting paid promptly. 

Add Wrangle to your Slack workspace, ease your team's stress, and experience a seamless timesheet approval process today! You can also schedule a demo with our team so we explore your organization's use case with you. 

This post was written by Ifeanyi Benedict Iheagwara. Ifeanyi is a data analyst and Power Platform developer who is passionate about technical writing, contributing to open source organizations, and building communities. Ifeanyi writes about machine learning, data science, and DevOps, and enjoys contributing to open-source projects and the global ecosystem in any capacity.

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