Import timesheets into QuickBooks Desktop

Overview of importing timesheets into QuickBooks Desktop

In QuickBooks a timesheet is a time tracking transaction that records time worked for employees, vendors or other names to be used in payroll or billable time on invoices.  You can import timesheets into QuickBooks, QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Online from text and Excel files using Zed Axis software.

Steps to import time entries

Follow these steps:
  1. Download and install Zed Axis software on your computer
  2. Open your QuickBooks company file you want to import data into as Administrator and open Zed Axis
  3. Select your text file or spreadsheet which contains the timesheets that you want to import.
  4. Set up the a Mapping of the columns in your timesheet import file to the corresponding fields in QuickBooks, as shown below:

More help?

Sample Time Tracking.txt import text file
Sample TimeSheet_Template.xlsx Excel File

Watch a demonstration of how to import timesheets

Where the fields appear in QuickBooks

Detailed description of the fields

Txn IDIDA reference number for the Time Entry, used if you wish to modify a time entry already in QuickBooks
Txn DateDATEThe date of the time entry.

Entity Name

STR 209

MANDATORY FIELD - Employee name as it appears in QuickBooks, this is usually FirstName LastName, but can be reversed in preferences. If ZA cannot match the name it will create a new employee.


STR 209

CustomerRef refers to the full (ie ACME:Job 1) customer or customer job to which this time could be billed. If BillableStatus is set to Billable, CustomerRef is required.

Service Item

STR (159)

A service item refers to services that a business charges for or purchases. Examples include specialized labor, consulting hours, and professional fees. In a Time Entry message, ItemServiceRef refers to the type of work. If no CustomerRef is specified, then ItemServiceRef is not needed. If BillableStatus is set to Billable, then Time Entry must include both Item Service Item and Customer.

Payroll Item




Each payroll wage item describes and names a payment scheme, for example, Regular Pay or Overtime Pay. Within QuickBooks, a timesheet can specify a payroll wage item only if the following criteria are met: The name on the timesheet is on the QuickBooks Employee list, and The “Use time data to create paychecks” preference turned on in the Payroll Info window that gives information about that employee in QuickBooks.



MANDATORY FIELD - Time spent doing the work, this can be in the format hh:mm ie one and a half hours should appear as 1:30. If your time is in decimal format you can convert it in Excel using the following formula =TEXT(<cell in decimals>/24,"[h]:mm"), replacing the cell in decimals with the cell reference that contains decimal hours.




Classes can be used to separate transactions into meaningful categories. Must match what is in QB

Billable Status


The billing status of this item line. Accepted values are Billable, NotBillable, HasBeenBilled, if Billable then must include Customer and service item




Retired in 2008 - If IsBillable is true, the tracked time is billable, and you must specify CustomerRef and ItemServiceRef so that an invoice can be created. If no invoice will be created, set IsBillable to false.



Additional information.


Troubleshooting import errors

Unknown employee time status - Failed to save the Time Tracking transaction. The employee "fieldValue" provided in the TimeTrackingAdd request has the checkbox "Use time data to create paychecks" set to the Unknown state. - This is a problem in QuickBooks to resolve it go into QuickBooks and edit the employee record that you are importing the time for and select the checkbox that says Use time data to create paychecks check that on and then off and then retry the import.
There is a missing element: "EditSequence".- This error occurs when the modify option has been selected, but that TxnID field has not been mapped of the TxnID is not matched with a value in QuickBooks.  To resolve this select the option to Duplicate or provide a TxnID that matches a existing time entry transaction in QuickBooks


Add Feedback
If "billable" is retired why am I seeing it in my trial? And why are the tutorials using Axis v5 with QB 2010?
Kimbre Hill (April 4, 2017 at 10:21 PM)
what does this error message mean?
Error message in import:
There was an error when saving a TimeTracking.
QuickBooks error message: record needs to be locked before it can be modified.

Glenn Graves (February 21, 2019 at 11:04 PM)
It means that the time entry you are importing is already open in QuickBooks
Steve (May 27, 2020 at 5:13 AM)

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