Time Sheets in Business Central: Setup and Updates

Time sheets are an excellent way of logging hours of work against clients. They’ve existed in NAV and Business Central for years and are undergoing some changes. In this post we will look at setting them up from an administrator’s perspective, using them and all the new changes.

2021 wave two changes

The Time Sheet page is now a document page rather than a worksheet. This brings the benefit of making the feature usable on iOS and Android devices, so mobile users can log their hours without having to use a laptop or computer.

Another substantial change coming is assisted setup. This will be available to use in setting up timesheets, as of release wave two in 2021. Microsoft have a comprehensive guide on using assisted setup for timesheets which you can access by clicking here. But to summarise, what you can do with this, is:

  • Input the participants into the timesheet
  • Establish the default first working day of a week, something which will default for all time sheets
  • Specify the time sheet administrator
  • Specify the resources who will use time sheets to log activities and the approvers of them

Upon completion of your assisted setup for time sheets, Business Central can create time sheets based on the information you have entered. The benefit of this will be the speed at which you can set up the data needed. Alternatively you can still create them manually. Let’s look at how to do that next.

Making Time Sheets

Before doing anything, some setup will need to be done. If you go to the ‘Time Sheets’ page and on the relevant entry click to ‘Create Time Sheets’, it will likely give a notification like this:

The individual responsible for making the time sheet will need to be an admin. To do this, go to User Setup. Here you will be able to assign admin status to your user via the checkbox, assuming you have the relevant permissions.

Once you’ve got the ability to create time sheets, you need to specify what resource can be used on them. On the Resources page, there’s a list view. If you click into one of the cards, there’s a Use Time Sheet field. You must enable this. Underneath that field are two other important fields. One determines who the owner of that time sheet is and the other determines who approves the entries.

For the purpose of this example, I will use myself as both the owner and approver.

Make sure that the Type and Base Unit of Measure fields are set, as well as the cost and pricing within the Invoicing tab. In the example card presented to us, we can see the Type is Person with a unit of measure of Hour, meaning that individual’s work is chargeable by the hour.

Resources

In Resources Setup, you can attach a number series to both resources and to time sheets. You can also specify the default first day of the week for time sheet entries. As you can see, this is Monday by default. Finally on this page, there’s the ‘Time Sheet by Job Approval’ field. This allows you to determine whether or not entries need to be approved per individual job where an approver is specified.

If you are using individuals as resources, you will have to link them to an employee. On an Employee Card, in the Administration tab, you can associate the individual to a Resource No.

Once you have resources to populate lines, go back to the Time Sheets page and click ‘Create Time Sheets’. It’s worth remembering that those resources will need to have costs associated with them. For example, if it’s a routine working week for an individual, they will need their time logged and a value against each unit of measure for time.

Using Time Sheets

The time sheet looks like this inside:

Against the Type column you can specify what category of work the Line is for. Ours here is set to Job. This field is also where you log absences. Generally, the Description field will be sufficient to log the details of the Line. Where you would like to add a comment to the Line, click ‘Line’ and ‘Line Comments’. Alternatively, where a comment relates to the time sheet as a whole, click ‘Time Sheet Comments’.

Referring back to absences, if you use the settings cog and personalise the page, you can add a field ‘Chargeable’. This tick box allows you to specify which Lines will have their prices accumulated. You can also add a ‘Cause of Absence Code’ field using personalisation. You use this to log absence reasons. Similarly, for Line Type ‘Job’, use Personalise to add the ‘Job No.’ and ‘Job Task No.’ fields. Once the entries have been made to the Lines, click ‘Process’ and ‘Submit’. This will submit the time sheet and where there’s an approver, they will have to ability to approve them.

Time sheet approval

The approver can have a widget configured in their Role Centre which will enable them to see all time sheet submissions sent to them for approval. By default, the Business Manager has theirs in the Self-Service section. The approver has to click into the widget, go into the Line, click ‘Process’ and ‘Approve’. After it’s approved, the widget’s value will drop by one and there will be an increase in the ‘Approved Time Sheets’ tile.

It’s worth noting, you can use a workflow to notify someone when an approval is waiting to be checked off.

Job Journals

After you have made sure the time sheet’s approved, on the Job Journals page, click ‘Prepare’ and ‘Suggest Lines from Time Sheets’.

I’ve highlighted the bottom Lines as these were the ones I generated from this action. The others were there already.

Once you have pulled the Lines, you can assign a Line Type. There’s three options: ‘Budget’, ‘Billable’ and ‘Both Budget & Billable’. You must pick one of them. A document number is mandatory too. After you have inputted the relevant information, click ‘More Options’, ‘Actions’, ‘Posting’ and ‘Post’.

Job Ledger Entries

To see the created entries against the time sheets, go to the Jobs page and click into the relevant Line. Within the Job Card, in the Tasks section you will see the ‘Budget (Total Cost)’ and ‘Actual (Total Cost)’. By clicking into the latter, you will see the Job Ledger Entries page where you’ll see all the posted time sheet entries against the job.

Closing remarks

As you can see, the more manual process isn’t overly cumbersome but hopefully the addition of assisted setup will make the process of creating time sheets simpler in future. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Any queries, comments or general feedback, feel free to fire away! You can contact us here.

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