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Student Timesheets & Approvals Now Online
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by Scott Ogasawara

The once paper- and time-intensive manual process of recording, verifying, and paying UH student employees has moved online. The effort was a joint project between the Payroll Office and the Management Information Systems (MIS) group of ITS. The new system saves time and money by streamlining the overall timesheet approval process and eliminates the printing and mailing of scan sheets.

The Old Paper Process

Until recently, paying our UH student employees was a time-intensive, pencil-pushing paper process. Each pay period, students filled out their dates and hours worked, calculated totals and hand wrote everything on a paper timesheet. Other students would type out a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and email it for approvals. However, in either case, a paper copy was printed and filed for record keeping. 

Once received, a supervisor would get their first look at the student’s work hours. This is where the real work began. The supervisor had to manually double check everything. They had to add hours to check totals, validate for overtime, verify that weekly totals did not exceed 20/40+ hours, manually calculate the hours to prorate when a pay change took effect, etc. Only after all this scrutiny could the supervisor approve the timesheet.

The timesheet was then sent to the department’s Fiscal Office where the total hours were transferred to a paper scan sheet. If the student was funded from multiple accounts, then each account had a separate scan sheet to fill. And filling each sheet required the sharpening of a #2 pencil. Like taking the SAT exam, someone had to bubble the total hours on every scan and remember to stay in the circle! 

The scans sheets were then delivered to the UH Payroll Office and eventually to Information Technology Services (ITS) for processing.  Assuming that all were delivered undamaged and that none were lost in transit, each scan sheet was then fed thru a machine reader to translate the bubbles into a digital form.

UH currently employs around 5,345 students. Because of the many tasks involved with the approval process, each department had to establish their own schedule of due dates. An office with 150 students might require a week or more to process all their student timesheets. 

At the system level, the Payroll Office coordinated the ordering and mailing of scan sheets to and from each department. It was clear that eliminating the cost of printing, delivering and “bubbling” would reduce the consumption of materials like paper and toner, time and money.

The New Online Timesheet Application

After significant design, development, pilot testing and enhancements, ITS released the Online Timesheet Application. This project was a joint project between the Disbursing and Payroll Office and the Management Information Systems (MIS) group of ITS. Starting on August 11, 2007, we incrementally brought on various campuses and departments and continued to do so in each successive pay period. By December 26, 2007, the entire UH system was officially online. To date, we have processed a total of 17,745 timesheets.

Online Timesheet Application Paper Process
Auto calculations of the total and overtime hours Manual calculations
Auto validations to prevent overlapping hours between jobs N/A
Auto separation of total hours worked [Regular, Night, Overtime (Regular & Night)] Manual calculations
Auto prorating of total time when a pay change takes effect mid pay period Mostly ignored due to manual calculations
Access to view historical timesheets Requiring space for a file cabinet and a filing system for paper timesheet
Status tracking of timesheets Timesheets followed a lengthy paper trail
Students can create a work schedule and use it to pre-populate a new timesheet Timesheets are manually filled each pay period
Employers can preview timesheets that are still being modified by the student Must ask the student each time you want to review it
Options to produce payment reports by student, job, account and pay period. Manual tallying and accounting each pay period
Options to be a paperless department N/A
Cost savings for each department of UH N/A
Implementation of a standardized pay period schedule N/A
Increase of the overall efficiency of the approval process down to a 2-3 business day process Some offices took a week or more to process all timesheet approvals
A system of warning flags that summarize the auto validations. [ex. 8+/20+/Holiday flags] N/A this required manual calculations, validations and an understanding the rules.

With the new Online Timesheet Application, UH student employees can now create, edit, submit and monitor approvals of timesheets from work or home. Employers can spot check, modify and approve timesheets without the headache of manual calculations. And each timesheet can be securely routed at the click of a button. 

Beginning in 1998, MIS had partnered with the Career Development & Student Employment (CDSE) Office to design an application that allowed students to search for job positions on and off campus, and for employers to post a job and hire students. The end result was the creation of the Student Employment & Cooperative Education Application (SECE). 

SECE has since become the central source for online student employment services. Thus, the decision was made to integrate the Online Timesheet Application with SECE. So now, for job hunting, hiring, tracking hours, approving timesheets and much more, students and their employers only have one site to bookmark:
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Last Updated: April 2008