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Question

Should I use Auto Lock or Mark Data as Extracted?

Solution

After timesheets and expense reports are created, populated, and approved, they should be locked down so that no future edits may be made. If you are sending the data to a downstream system, you should also mark them as "Extracted" so you know, when looking in Unanet, that data is now in your downstream system. It is important to note that "Completed" is an editable status, but "Locked" and "Extracted" are not editable statuses, unless adjustments have been specially enabled by a System Administrator.

There are two methods of locking time and expense after the time/expense has been fully approved (and thus moved into the "Completed" status). The first is the "Auto-lock" option and the second is the "Mark Data as Extracted" option.

Below is a description of the two options along with the pros and cons for each.

  1.  Auto-Lock: Auto-Lock is a property setting for Time/Expense in Admin > Properties. When these properties are set to True (checked), the time/expense will be locked as soon as it is fully approved. In other words, as soon as it hits the "Completed" status, it automatically goes to the "Locked" status. Below are screenshots of the Time and Expense Auto-Lock properties.





    1. Auto-Lock related to Time and Adjustments
      1. When used in conjunction with the Admin Time Period “ALLOW ADJ.” setting: After time adjustments are completed and approved, an Admin can click on the pencil icon to edit the appropriate time period to be locked and uncheck the “ALLOW ADJ.” box, and then click Save. Once the “ALLOW ADJ.” box is unchecked in Admin > Setup > Time > Time Period Setup, the locked timesheets for that selected time period will no longer be editable.
    2. Pros: The time/expense is automatically locked from edit, so your end users cannot interrupt the approval process. Also, locked time/expense can be Marked as Extracted just as Completed timesheets can when reporting (see below) so that you know that the data has been sent to a downstream system.
    3. Cons: Pertaining to Time, there is minimal room for user error (realizing you've already submitted your timesheet and that it has been approved, but still have edits to make). With Auto-Lock, as soon as the time/expense is submitted and approved, it is immediately locked and untouchable by the user without special admin intervention. Without Auto-Lock, on the other hand, after the time/expense is submitted and approved, it sits in the Completed status until the Admin locks it down - in this Completed status the time/expense is still editable. Therefore, with Auto-Lock, you may have people asking you to allow them to adjust their suddenly locked timesheets. Since edits to locked timesheets require special Admin permission ("adjustments"), this may cause more administrative work on your end (whereas in Option 2 below, edits to Completed time/expense may occur at any time prior to extraction and must then again go through the approval process).

  1. Mark Data as Extracted: Mark as Extracted, which is found in the export templates, is particularly useful if you are sending time to an downstream system. It allows you to manually change the status from "Completed" to "Extracted" (can also be used for "Locked" to "Extracted"). This is very useful as you have a visual to remind you of what you have and have not sent to the downstream system.

    Note: You could also manually "Mark as Extracted" the Auto-Locked timesheets in Option 1 above.  However, you cannot edit them freely, without Admin permission, before extraction.

    1. Pros: Mark as Extracted allows people more freedom to edit the time/expense prior to export, since the "Completed" status is editable.
    2. Cons: This option requires an extra step of marking as extracted manually in order to lock the timesheets. This is because prior to export, users can edit the timesheet even after fully approved "Completed" (and would then have to start the approval process again).


Additional Information

Help Docs - Auto-lock Time

Help Docs - Auto-lock Expense

Help Docs - Expenses - Mark as Extracted

Help Docs - Time Data - Mark as Extracted