What Is Locking Timesheets?

Locking timesheets is a timesheet feature that allows project managers, system administrators, or HR employees to prevent employees from making additional changes to their timesheets. The people in charge of locking the timesheets are still able to add time and edit the data during the locked period.

Lock periods typically happen weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly. By determining lock periods in advance, employees are given enough time to fill out timesheets and make corrections, if necessary.

Why Do Companies Lock Their Timesheets?

Timesheets are usually locked before approval and before sending the invoices for payroll. This ensures that all the approved timesheet data is accurate and isn’t subject to subsequent changes. Reasons why companies lock their timesheets: 

  • Preclude employees from making changes to timesheets. This includes making new time entries as well as editing existing ones. By locking their timesheets, companies can ensure they only send approved data to clients and/or accountants for payroll purposes. 
  • For internal review processes. When the timesheets are locked, managers or HR teams can easily assess the work performance of individual employees for the time period that said timesheets cover. 
  • Keeping the budget on track. This practice ensures no additional work will be done on a specific project or task so that managers or the company’s financial department can analyze the data and make changes (if necessary) to keep their teams within the allocated budget.

Types of Locking Timesheets

There are two ways of locking timesheets used by both small private businesses and large enterprises. 

Locking Timesheets Manually

Manually locking timesheets is an option present in many modern time-tracking software solutions and digital timesheets (e.g., Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets), whereby managers, team leads, or HR personnel with administrative access can lock timesheets manually by adjusting the permission to edit timeboxes or cells within the spreadsheet or software. 

Locking Timesheets Automatically

Most time-tracking software also gives users the option to lock timesheets automatically and schedule this on the following time basis: 

  • Weekly,
  • Bi-weekly,
  • Monthly,
  • Quarterly. 

Locking timesheets automatically ensures no additions or changes are made to the timesheets by employees after the scheduled date. This practice helps managers calculate their employee’s total work hours, regular pay, and overtime without worrying about the accuracy of the timesheet data they are working with.