Setting up Time Entry Approval
You can set your Centerbase system to require time entries to be approved before they can be billed. This feature also provides a place to view and edit all time entries that have not been posted yet.
To activate Time Entry Approval on your system first navigate to System Settings>System Configuration>Advanced Billing. Scroll to the section for Time Entry Approval, They are alphabetical so it will be low on the page. Click “Enable Time Entry Approval” to activate this feature, all-time entries that are already in the system will be automatically approved and set to not show in the New “Time Entries Approval” page. This keeps your system from getting cluttered by work that is done and gone.
The Second setting here lets you decide what matter field to use with one of the filters for the page and report. Time Entries can be filtered by Client, Matter, Timekeeper, Entry Date, Is Billed, Is Billable, and the field selected here. By default, it is set to Responsible Attorney.
Time Entries Approval Page
You may need to add Time Entry Approval to your Nav Bar (System Settings>Navigation Bar>Add).
Here is an example of the Time Entry Approval Screen
On the top, there are your standard Filters. Timekeeper defaults to the current user and can only be changed to view other users if the user is granted permission (more on this later). For added convenience you can even edit time entries that are already on a pre-bill from here.
- Pending Approval Tap: Once a time entry is made it will appear here. This is the main view. From here you can approve, hold, merge, and edit time entries either on mass or individually.
- Approved Tab: Once a time entry is approved it will be moved to this tab until the bill it is on gets posted. From here you can revoke the approval, merge, and edit time entries.
- On Hold: Time Entries that are placed on hold (see item 5) are moved to this tab. From here they can be approved, merged, or edited.
- Approve Button: This button approves the time entry and moves it to the approved tab. You cannot generate a bill for a matter while there is unapproved time in the bill time range. (there is a bypass discussed below) Billing entries cannot be added to a bill until they are approved, like through add existing entries.
- Hold Button: This holds the time entry marking it as neither approved nor unapproved. So the held entry cannot be added to a bill, but bills can be generated and posted even if there is a held time entry within the bill range.
- Merge: This merges two or more time entries. Their time will be summed and a new effective rate will be set to keep hours and amount the same. Descriptions will be added to each other also.
- Revoke Button: This button is only on the Approved Tab. It is used to revoke the approval of a time entry and move it back to the pending approval tab. If the time entry was already on a pre-bill it will remain there but bills cannot be posted with unapproved time entries (there is a bypass discussed below).
- Group Entries: This is a dynamically updating filter. It groups the entries by client and then matter giving totals and subtotals.
- Select All: Clicking on the checkbox in the table header will select all entries that match the searched filter.
- Select entry: You can select or unselect any entry by using the checkbox on the far left of the row.
- Actual hours, Billable hours, Credit hours, and descriptions can all be edited right on the table. Click into the box, change the number and click away. Amount is a calculated field. Date, Matter, and Timekeeper cannot be edited on the table but can be edited using the edit details button.
- Edit Details Button: Pressing the pencil icon on any row opens the normal time entry dialog window where you can make detailed edits. This option is available even if the time entry is on a pre-bill.
- Approved By/Held-by column (not shown): on the approved tab and On Hold tab there is an additional column that shows the username and date of the last person who approved or held the time entry.
The Generate Bills page will now be separated into two tabs, Approved and Pending Approval. This works with existing matter filters to show which matters are ready to bill.
There are three user permissions tied to Time Entry Approval. These can be found in System Settings>User Information>User List>(Select a User)>Permission Tab.
Show All Timekeepers On Time Entries Approval: This setting allows the user to choose to see any and all timekeepers on the Time Entry Approval page. “Current User” remains the default setting.
Generate Bills with Unapproved Time: This setting allows you to force a bill to be generated even if there is unapproved time within the time window for the bill. Instead of giving an error message it will give a dialog box telling you that there is unapproved time and asking if you want to continue or cancel. The same dialog will open when adding unapproved entries through Bill Actions>Add Existing Entries.
Post Bills with Unapproved Time: Like the above setting, this setting allows you to post a bill that has unapproved time on it. It will also give you a dialog asking you to confirm that you want to post with unapproved entries. Once posted the entries on the bill will be removed from the Time Entries Approval page.