An insight to the new and improved Timesheets Management Functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 - Powerful, Simple, Agile

Hi Friends,

I thought of writing about one of the most talked about enhancements in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 which is the employee timesheets functionality in Project Management and Accounting module.

Recording the employee’s times(hours) and expenses is one of the key processes in any services industry today, especially the IT consulting and Management services firms. These firms always look for a timesheet management system in the ERP system which they evaluate for their organization which can make it efficient and easy for their employees to enter their timesheets and expenses.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 empowers the professional services industries with a powerfully simple employee services portal refered to as the Enterprise portal which is based on the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 foundation server, one of the most successful products that MS has released ever.

Now let us discuss about the various capabilities and improvements of the Timesheet system in AX 2012.

Few of the pre requisites for the timesheet functionality to be working are as below.

  • Setup timesheet periods. ( Ax 2012 supports Daily, Weekly, Bi-weekly, Semi-monthly and Monthly etc. periods for registering hours/times).
  • Setup the project management setup for the workers. ( Employees and Contractors).
  • Create required user relations.
  • The project management and accounting module setup. (Projects, activities, categories, line properties etc.).

Assuming that all of the above required setups are done, employees of the organization can log into the employee services portal and start entering timesheets.

The Home page of the employee services portal displays role tailored information depending on the user profile/role which is assigned to the employee.

When an employee/contractor who has system administrator role logs into the enterprise portal, the screen looks as shown below. This shows all the various capabilities and functionalities present on the enterprise portal of AX 2012.

Employee Services Portal

However, assuming the case of a typical service industry/IT consulting services industry, where employees (both salaried and hourly based) deal mostly with timesheets, expenses and their approvals, I have customized a role to prepare the employee services portal to look as below. Ax 2012 provides the flexibility of customizing the enterprise portal content the way you want it.

Role customized Employee services screen - AX 2012

Timesheet Management functionality Highlights in AX 2012:

  1. Provides flexibility for defining different timesheet periods depending on need.

Timesheet Periods

2. Timesheets overview screen displaying details of exiting timesheets.

Timesheets Overview Screen - AX 2012

3. Option to set timesheet favorites/favorite lines and functionality to load timesheet lines

these from favorites.

Timesheets Favorites Management

4. Option to create new timesheet by copying an existing timesheet (Previous).

Copy timesheets Function

5. Setup delegates for timesheet submission, who can enter timesheets on your behalf in

your absence and manage your timesheet delegates and timesheet favorites right on the

web enterprise portal.

Manage Timesheet Delegates

6. Record time on each individual task/activity or the project by entering suitable internal

and external comments for the description of the work. Week summary to date fact box

which displays the total number of hours entered in the week.

Timesheet Entry Screen AX 2012

7. Employees will have to spend less time in entering comments for each line with the consolidated comments entry screen.

Consolidated Timesheet Comments

8. Automatic workflow can be setup for timesheet approval/review. When timesheets are

submitted, they  get automatically assigned to the respective reporting manager’s queue

for review.

9. Print your timesheets right from the enterprise portal.

Print Employee Timesheets

image

Apart from the timesheets management functionality, the enterprise portal  in AX 2012 provided several other powerful business process capabilities and this will definitely help every organization in a very great deal.

Till next time !! Keep exploring. :)

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21 thoughts on “An insight to the new and improved Timesheets Management Functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

  1. Hi Sandeep,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this up, couple of specific questions I think everyone will find useful.

    Timesheet Periods: Once the organisation wants to close periods, is it safe to delete old worksheet periods from this table?

    Timesheets and Absence Requests: Is there any out of the box integration/smarts that would allow reporting on the time spent by a worker based on their timesheets and absence requests? Or are these fairly disjointed. I noticed for the example above you removed “Time and Attendance” altogether, is this not generally suited to service industries?

    Kind regards,
    Dillon

    • Hi Dillon,

      1. You can delete the old worksheet periods and it will not cause any problems. Can I know the specific reasons you are thinking to delete the old periods ?
      2. The Project timesheets and Absence request functionality are not linked in standard AX.(At least until R2 CU6, I have not reviewed CU 7 yet). The Time & Attendance registration feature is preferably suited for shop floor time registrations and my recommendation is, this does not suit the Service Industry very well, even though it can be used. You can register time on projects using the T&A, but timesheets are preferred in Service industries.

      Hope I answered your queries !

      Regards,
      Sandeep

      • Hi Sandeep,

        Yes, thank you for answering these questions and that is certainly a great deal of help!

        The reasoning behind deleting old timesheet periods as without deleting them it would seem they still appear in enterprise portal when a user is entering timesheets, thus if we continuously generate timesheet periods without removing any, then the list of available timesheet periods will grow infinitely long? Or is there any other way to handle this?

        Kind regards, you are a life saver!

        Dillon

      • Hi Again Sandeep,

        One further question, if leave/absence is not liked with timesheets. For service organisations what is the most efficient way to ensure timesheet completeness.

        Use Case:
        User A is on leave for the first week of October which is entered into the leave/absence module. No timesheets are entered for the first week of October by User A as no project work is performed while on leave.
        Manager A runs a report to view missing timesheets, User A appears to be missing a timesheet as the modules (Leave and Timesheets) do not communicate with one another.

        How does Manager A know User A was on leave and should not be contacted regarding the missing timesheets?
        The only ideas we have at this stage is to have an internal project entitled “Leave” where users must enter their timesheets for leave, but this obviously creates a double up of data entry. Any ideas?

  2. Hi Sandeep,

    Thanks for sharing your commentary on timesheets above. I was hoping for a little clarification around working wtih timesheet periods.

    I understand following the steps to generate timesheet periods (weekly for instance), however it would seem that this process creates an unending list of work weeks that would then appear on the user’s timesheet.

    Is it safe to delete old timesheet periods? Or how do we keep the list of timesheet periods to a minimum without losing any information.

    Thanks you!

    Dillon

  3. Hi sandeep,

    How do we control Time sheet entry? Say if want to close october time sheet period before entering november time sheets.

    Say if i want the user to enter 3rd week time sheet before entering fourth week time sheet.

    Can i do this in Ax 2012..Any help is appreciated

    -Raju

  4. Sandeep, would you anticipate any problems if the worker field on the timesheet line is made visible making it possible to have multiple employees (workers) on a single timesheet?

    • Todd,

      I am not sure of your exact business requirements. If you want to enable the Worker option in timesheets to have multiple employees in a single timesheet, then you could use the hour journals directly.

      Also i would anticipate one issue which is the timesheet period for the different workers. If you could tell me your exact business requirement, it will help me to recommend you on this.

      -Sandeep

  5. Hi Sandeep,

    It is an awesome post.

    I am following up your instruction and everything is very smooth.until setp 6. After filling up all fields and update it, I am not able to sumit the timesheet. More exactly, the icon of Submit doesn’t show up.

    Any idea?

    • Hi Suzyn,

      Can you please check if you have the timesheets review workflow configured and activated under the Project accounting and Management module of AX 2012.

      If you have a active workflow running, you will be able to see the Submit button (Yellow workflow bar).

      Thanks
      Sandeep

      • Hi Sandeep,

        Thanks for heads-up and please excuse my ignorance for coming to you on this matter.

        The submit incon shows up after configuration, but now I am having problems to approve it. When configuring timesheet review workflow, I assign User A to approve the timesheets from Group B. User A can review the timesheets, but not able to approve or reject the timesheets. The only action User A can take is “View History”. Can you advise?

        Thanks very much.

        • Suzyn,

          Sorry about replaying late. I have been very busy.

          Can you please make sure if you have the run the workflow process in this case. You can do this from the tutorial_workflowprocessor form under AOT.

          Thanks
          Sandeep

  6. Hi Sandeep, great write up, thank you.
    I’ve been working through the functionality and i’m trying to find out how to reopen a timesheet period. The scenario is that time needs to be submitted outside the timesheet period.

    The error message i receive just comes up ‘Date Invalid’ even though the timesheet periods span the date i’m trying to post.

    Any ideas?
    Much appreciated
    Regards
    BVB

    • Hi Robert,

      Sorry about a late reply to this question.

      You should just generate periods for the date range(Which you mentioned out side time sheet periods) and update the worker and time sheet periods also.

      Please ignore this if you already got a resolution for your query.

      Thanks
      Sandeep

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