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Set up Time Tracking in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll and Online

Time Tracking in QuickBooks

Managing time effectively is crucial for any business. Whether you need to keep track of your employees’ hours or your own work time, having a good system can make a big difference. QuickBooks has built-in features to help you track time easily in both Online and Desktop. Setting up time tracking in QuickBooks allows you to record work hours accurately, which helps with payroll, billing clients, and overall productivity. This article will help you to get started with time tracking in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll and QuickBooks Online, so you can keep everything running smoothly.

Set up Time Tracking in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll 

Step 1: Set the Format for Time Entries

QuickBooks Desktop offers two-time display formats: decimal and minutes. You have the flexibility to switch between decimal and minute formats as needed.

Step 2: Set up Time Tracking in QuickBooks Preferences

  1. Go to Edit and choose Preferences.
  2. Pick Time & Expenses, then Company Preferences.
  3. In the “Do You Track Time?” section, hit Yes.
  4. From the dropdown labeled “First Day of Work Week ▼,” select the starting day of your work week.
  5. Finally, click OK.

Step 3: Set up your Employees for Time Tracking

  1. Access Employees and click on Employee Center.
  2. Double-click on the name of the employee.
  3. Next, select Payroll Info.
  4. Choose Use time data to create paychecks and enter OK.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for other employees.
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Set up Time Tracking in QuickBooks Online

You can set up time tracking in QuickBooks Essentials, Plus, and Advanced but it is not available with QuickBooks Online Payroll Core. This feature helps you track and bill customers for the hours spent on a project or task. Here’s how you can set it up:

Step 1: Turn on Time Tracking

Start by setting up your preferred time tracking options:

  1. Go to the Time section.
  2. Decide whether you prefer basic time tracking within QuickBooks Online or if you’d like to explore a QuickBooks Time account with additional time tracking capabilities. Regardless of your choice, you can still access timesheets from QuickBooks Online.
  3. Hit on Get Started.

Next, customize your time tracking preferences:

  1. Access Settings ⚙️ and select Account and Settings.
  2. Next, go to the Time tab.
  3. To make changes, select Edit.
  4. Adjust your time tracking settings:
  • Select team members to track time.
  • If any team members require time tracking, activate the switch.
  • Turn on Show Contractors to track time for 1099 contractors. Remember to save your changes.
  • Set the first day of the work week, impacting how employees and contractors view weekly timesheets.
  • Opt to include a Service field, allowing team members to designate billable activities for customers.
  • Enable time to be billable by adding a checkbox on timesheets, indicating activities to bill customers. If desired, display billing rates to team members entering time by checking the Show billing rate.
  1. Finally, enter Save and then Done.

Step 2: Track and Manage Time

With time tracking activated, you can now include and oversee your employees’ time from the Time section.

View Time

  1. Go to Time, then pick Time entries.
  2. Next, in Display, opt for one of the following options:
  • Date: Indicates all individual timesheets with details.
  • Customer: Shows all time entries by customer.
  • All workers: Displays all approved worker time.
  • Employee: Reveals all employee time awaiting approval.
  • Contractor: Indicates all contractor time awaiting approval.
  1. Now, pick the desired date range to view timesheets.
  2. Use the team member search to filter for an individual’s timesheets.
  3. Choose Show columns to customize the view and columns on the timesheets. Options include:
  • Details: View GPS points and attachments included in the timesheet.
  • Flag: Affirms that a team member did not clock in within the geofenced area.
  • Status: Verify whether a timesheet has been approved or not.

Add Time

  1. Go to Time and select Time entries.
  2. Click Add Time.
  • Choose a Single time entry to enter a timesheet for an individual team member.
  • Set Weekly time entry to enter or edit multiple timesheets for a full week.
  • Select Break to record a break for a team member.
  • Choose Time Clock if you need to clock in for yourself.

Edit Time

  1. Go to Time and choose Time entries.
  2. Under Display, select Date.
  3. Next, select the Date range.
  4. Enter your team member’s name if you need to edit a specific team member’s time.
  5. Hit on the Edit option.
  6. Make your changes and click Save.

Note: To delete a timesheet, pick Expand Menu, then Delete and confirm by selecting Yes. You can also view the timesheet history if needed.

Approve Timesheets

  1. Go to Time, then select Time entries.
  2. If Display by is set to Date, choose Approvals. Otherwise, set Display by to All workers to approve time.
  3. Pick the desired date range, then opt for Unapproved from the Status dropdown.
  4. To review timesheets, click on the team member’s name.
  5. Verify the information and choose Approve time.
  6. Finally, hit Approve and lock time.

Note: Once the time is approved, it cannot be edited. If changes are needed, you can unapprove the time.

Launch QuickBooks Time

  1. Go to Time or Time entries.
  2. Choose Go to classic QuickBooks Time to access your QuickBooks Time account.

Step 3: Add a Time-tracking User

You can invite your team members to monitor their own time as time-tracking users.

  1. Access Settings and select Manage Users.
  2. Next, click on Add user.
  3. Opt for Time tracking only.
  4. Select Next to continue.
  5. Locate the employee or vendor you wish to include, then choose Next, and provide their contact information.
  6. Click on Save.

Time Tracking Only users cannot be modified. You must delete the user and re-add them with the new user type if a Time tracker requires different company access.

Step 4: Access Time Tracking Reports

You can create Time reports categorized by the worker, customer, or Unbilled time.

  1. Go to Payroll and then Time.
  2. Next, click on Run Report.
  3. Opt for the desired report.
  4. Additional timesheet reports, like Recent/Edited Time Activities, can be found on your Reports page.

Step 5: Time Details

Detailed time information will automatically populate customer invoices based on your rates and whether the time is billable. This includes:

  • Employee or contractor’s name
  • Hourly rate applied
  • Billed hours — shown as a decimal figure on the invoice and in time format when sent to the customer. For instance, an hour and fifteen minutes will display as 1.25 on the invoice and 1:15 when sent.

Additionally, you have the option to customize the invoice to display:

  • Text from the Description field on the timesheet
  • The name of the standard service utilized
  • Personalized text specified for time tracking charges

Also Read:- How to Fix QuickBooks Time Login Problems?


Setting up time tracking in QuickBooks Desktop Payroll and QuickBooks Online is a straightforward process that offers valuable insights into your business operations. It efficiently manages employee hours, tracks billable time for clients, and generates detailed reports to simplify invoicing and payroll processes. If you need any further assistance, contact our QuickBooks experts at our toll-free number: +1-855-875-1223 or email us at [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Does QuickBooks Time Tracking Work with QuickBooks Desktop?

Yes, time tracking features are integrated into QuickBooks Desktop and function accurately with the program. This enables businesses to monitor the hours worked by contractors and employees just within QuickBooks Desktop. 

Does QuickBooks Time Integrate with QuickBooks Online?

Sure, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Time (previously known as TSheets) work together seamlessly. With this integration, you can make payroll and time-tracking procedures more efficient.

How to Track Contractors’ Time in QuickBooks Online?

1. Set Up Contractors as Vendors.
2. Enable Time Tracking.
3. Set Up Time Tracking Preferences for Contractors.
4. Enter the Time for Contractors.
5. Review and ApproveTime Entries.
6. Next, create Invoices for Billable Hours.

How to Add Billable Time to Invoice in QuickBooks Online?

1: Create a New Invoice
2: Add Customer/Client Details
3: Select Billable Time.
4: Choose Time Entries to Add to Invoice
5: Review and Save Invoice.

Can QuickBooks Desktop and Online work Together?

The data you enter on the Desktop version does not sync to the Online version, and vice versa, because the two versions are independent. However, QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online allow you to import data files.

Can I use QuickBooks Time with QuickBooks Desktop?

1. Access QuickBooks Desktop
2. Choose Employees
3. Next, Enter Time and select Use QuickBooks Time. 
4. A browser window will open within QuickBooks, displaying your QuickBooks Time account.

Is QuickBooks Time included with QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Time access is included with your QuickBooks Online Payroll Premium and Elite subscription at no additional cost.

How to add a Time-tracking User in QuickBooks Online?

1. Go to Settings ⚙ and pick  Manage Users.
2. Choose Add User.
3. Next, select Time tracking only.
4. Hit Next.
5. Find the employee or vendor you want to add, click Next, and enter their contact info.
6. Enter Save.

How do I Activate QuickBooks Time in QuickBooks Desktop?

1. Log in for QuickBooks Time
2. Install the QuickBooks Time Integration Add-On
3. Next, link QuickBooks Time with QuickBooks Desktop
4. Configure the QuickBooks Web Connector
5. Sync Employees and Data
6. Track and Approve Time
7. Run Payroll and Invoicing

About The Author

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Editorial Team

At QAsolved, we are a team of skilled professionals dedicated to delivering unparalleled accounting and bookkeeping services. With backgrounds in finance and technology, our collaborative efforts focus on providing practical solutions and guidance. Our services are tailored for a range of businesses, covering advisory, CFO services, bookkeeping, and financial systems consulting. QAsolved is an award-winning consulting firm and Intuit’s #1 QuickBooks Reseller Partner. We offer comprehensive QuickBooks services, including consulting, integration, migration, maintenance, data conversion, training, and support, among other services. Over the years, we have assisted over 30K customers across various industries with their Intuit products.

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