Why lock a timesheet? Here's why: So employees don't accidently enter time after client billing or payroll.
Locking timesheets is valuable for at least three reasons, as we'll see below. When timesheets are locked, employees can no longer enter new hours, modify existing hours, or delete hours. The entire date range is locked down, and attempting to do so results in an error popup message. Locks can occur manually when administrators lock down a date range, or automatically when the product is configured to do so when employees submit timesheets for approval. The three biggest reasons for locking are listed below.
Client Billing If employees enter or change hours for a billable date range that has already been invoiced, those hours can be lost or forgotten. Fortunately, there's a simple solution. Here's how that scenario can happen: an administrator writes an invoice for a billable date range and sends it to the client, and then sometime later an employee changes those hours in his timesheet thinking that it will affect billing. But the employee doesn't know the client has already been billed, and the administrator doesn't know the employee changed the hours. It's a loss of communications that can be solved by locking the date range so no hours can be changed. If the employee insists that the hours must be changed, an administrator can bypass the lock, or the hours could be added to another date range. Either way forces all interested parties to communicate over the discrepancy.
Employee Payroll The same thing can happen for employee payroll. An administrator writes out a paycheck based on timesheet hours, but later the employee updates those hours thinking that it will affect their check. The employee may not realize that the paycheck has already been written. And the administrator may not know that the employee expected the new hours to affect their pay. Again... lack of communication. Lock the timesheet before writing the paycheck and all is well. But again, if the employee insists on changing hours, at least the admins know about it. They can add it to another pay period, if necessary.
Submitting for Approval Sometimes administrators want employee timesheets to be locked automatically when they submit them for approval. They do not want changes after submittal. The program can be configured to automatically lock when the timesheet is submitted. But what date range is being locked? It depends on if you are using pay periods or weekly timesheets. If the employee is viewing a pay period, and clicks 'Submit for Approval' then the entire period is locked.