Skip to Content
Technical Articles
Author's profile photo Volker Ruof

EC Time Tipps and hints Nr. 9 – how to use EC Time Sheet for project time recording


update on April 2022: – please be aware that this solution works in H1 2022 only with the “old” Time Sheet UI – as you can see from the screenshots below. We are working on enabling this possibility also for the new time sheet UI. Enablement is planned for H2 2022.


Customers often ask if our time sheet can be used just like CATS. No, it can´t. Our time sheet is not a cross application time sheet, it´s main focus is HR purpose, overtime and premium pay calculation to feed payroll and get the employees paid. But: there is a way how you can use the EC time sheet nevertheless for project time recording, but with some limitations.

CATS is a Cross Application Time Sheet that exists since many, many years. CATS has a big database and lots of interfaces to various sending and receiving systems like projects, financial, procurement and is first and formost used for recording of hours for billing, cost allocation or project planning processes. However, the hours recorded can also be send to a HR system for documentation of working time, overtime calculation, premium pay calculation and in general for payroll purpose.

So, HR is only one amongst other target applications for CATS.

For EC Time Sheet it is vice verca: EC Time Sheet runs in an HR system and exist solemly for HR reasons.

But what if you want to use our EC Time Sheet for Payroll and for a rather simple project time recording? Is there a way?

Yes, of course. However there are no pre-packaged integration scenarios.

If you want to use the EC Time Sheet for project time recording or WBS recording or whatever costing element, you need to replicate the information which project a user is allowed to choose in his time sheet. Normally this kind of assigment is done in the project system. Users are staffed to a project. And this information needs to be replicated to EC. And when an employee chooses a project code in EC Time Sheet and records his hours to this object, you need to extract this information and send it to the target system.

I don´t deal here with how to set up this integration scenarios – cause this is very customer specific. But I gonna explain here how you can achieve that a user can choose only those projects, where he is assigned to.

So, what do we want to achieve?

We want to achieve that the value help for a custom field (project) in EC Time Sheet is restricted to those, where he is assigned to.

For this we need following:

  1. Custom MDF object where the projects are stored
  2. A custom object for the user
  3. A valid when association from the project object to the user object
  4. A custom field in EC Time Sheet that reads this Custom MDF object and filters based on the user only the valid projects

Let´s start, step by step:

Create 2 Custom MDF objects:

You need 2 custom MDF objects. One for the project codes and another one for the users. Both are then linked with a valid-when association.

You create this object via Configure Object Definition, create new object defintion:

Create an object for your project codes:


Now create another custom object that we use as a container for the users. Be aware that this objects external code is of data type USER:



Now go back to your project code object and enter a reference to this user object as a valid-when association. You do this in the object definition (configure object definition, choose your previously created object and edit). Enter a name for the association (in my case: Allowed_users) and choose as destination object your second created object, the one that you use for the users (in my case the VR_user_filter object, label: Allowed Users for Projects). Choose as type “valid when” and multiplicity “one to many”.



Almost done. We have now linked project code and user object.

Next step: Define a custom field for the Time Sheet Entry Object

Now, this is the crucial part. Go to configure object definition. Choose the Employee Time Sheet Entry object, edit. Create a custom field for the Projects code that an employee shall be able to fill in the time sheet.

Choose as data type of the custom field “Generic Object” and in the valid values source enter the name of your project code MDF object. This means the custom field refers now to your Project Code custom object.

But we are not yet done here, scroll down to the Field Criteria section.

The tricky thing is that we do not want to display all project codes that are listed in the objects. Cause usually a project got user assigned who are staffed to this project. If a user is not staffed, he is not allowed to record hours to this project. And this is what we want to achieve.

So, we want that only those projects come up in the value help where the time sheet user is assigned to in our custom project code object. Hence we need to create a field criteria for our time sheet custom field. And we need to use the association we have created for our custom field in the time sheet entry object which directs to the user-filter object. And from this object we use the field “external code”  Remember, the external code in that object is of type “user”. Admitted, this is all a bit tricky and how this is done and why you need to do this is not really well documented. Just follow my steps and it will work ;-).

You need to type the information in the exact manner into the field. It is done like: association_name.fieldname.

My association was named “allowed_user”. This I type at the beginning, than .externalCode. Why this?

The association points to the object “Allowed users for project” and from this object we need the field “external_code” which is of type user. Hence, we use the “externalCode” as extension of the association.

All in all this is how it looks like: cust_Allowed_user.externalCode

So we use more or less the information of the external code of the associated object (which contains the user) and map it to the to the time sheet user. This is done by entering “parent.UserId” into the “Destination field name” field. This points then to the user ID in the employee time sheet, which is the parent of Employee time sheet etnry. Hence this should look like this:


And we are done. Lets validate this.

First we need to enter some users in our user-filter object. This are the users that are allowed to record times on projects in general. Use manage data and create some entries in the object:


For testing purpose I just enter 2, Carl Dixon and Emma Dorn


Now we need to assign these users to a project code. I create two projects, Project A and Project B.

To project A I assign Carl and Emma, to Project B only Carl:



And lets check if this works in the time sheet. I log on as Carl Dixon:

And I get Project A and Project B in the value help.

Now I log on as Emma Dorn:

I am getting only Project A in the value help.

And now I am logging into the time sheet as a user that is not assigned at all to a project code:


And the value help is empty.

Works perfectly.


At the end some remarks on what this solution can offer and what can´t be offered:

  • due to the fact that there is no effective dated possibility the value help shows the content of the assigned user as it is today. Means, when you remove a user from Project A today he can´t record times to this project. Even when he navigates back to a date in the past where he has already recorded some times to project A. When he wants to edit this times, the value help does not show Project A anymore, cause the project code object is read with todays date.
  • As mentioned, there is no pre-configured integration scenario. You have import the projects into your custom object. Either via file upload or Odata Api call. If possible, already with user assignment, if not you need to import the users to a project as well.
  • There is no approval possibility on a project code level. The full time sheet is send to one approver

This was it. Happy project time recording.


Volker Ruof



Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Ashish Tyagi
      Ashish Tyagi


      That was a wonderful blog,I also did the similar thing in one of my project.However,I would like to share my part of configuration with you as well.

      The only difference was that I took the effective dating of second MDF object as "From Parent", this helped me in skipping a step in data maintenance.


      In the step where you used User filter to maintain the users was not required in my case, you can directly maintain the user in the parent object (Project code) and it will reflect in the time sheet.

      But Nevertheless, this is an amazing blog for all the community members.



      Ashish Tyagi

      HCM Info Systems

      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author


      Hello Ashish

      thanks for the feedback. Good to know!

      The whole MDF things are a bit complicated and I am not really an expert in it. Good to know that your approach works.

      But I guess you need to create lots of entries for the project code MDF? Cause you need 1 entry for 1 user?

      The approach above has the advantage that you can assign 10 users with 1 record. And you see for a project the assigned users in a combined way.

      But many paths lead to Rome 😉

      Thanks for your feedback.


      Author's profile photo jeevan bodla
      jeevan bodla

      Useful info Ruaf, helps to define some custom objects.


      Author's profile photo Philippe Delbos
      Philippe Delbos


      Very Usefull thanks!

      How to report on that in canvas?



      Author's profile photo Partha S Chinta
      Partha S Chinta

      Nice blog Volker. 🙂

      Now can we have feasibility to create a Workflow to trigger based on Project IDs. Means when an employee entered project hours then those hours should go for Project Manager and remaining Absences and Attendances to Line Manager. Is it possible now?


      Also is it possible to integrate SAP Project System and SAP Finance system with EC Time sheet. and can we transfer Project hours recorded with specific project ids to PS and SAP FI?


      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Partha,

      no, please don´t mix my description above as a kind of solution for easy project time recording with a real full blown integrated Cross Application Time Sheet. EC Time Sheet is still first and formost a solution for HR / Payroll purpose. But if you want to do some easy project time recording, the described workaround might be a solution.

      There are no pre-defined integration scenarios to any project system PS or SAP FI or any other. Nor are there workflows based on project managers possible. This is all task of a real project time solution like CATS or S/4 Hana time sheet.

      I just described above what you can do if you do not need to have such an integrated scenario.

      Best regards


      Author's profile photo Partha Chinta
      Partha Chinta

      Thank you for your clarification Volker.

      Author's profile photo Ines Teixeira
      Ines Teixeira



      I followed all these steps and had the projects to be filtered as expected, but now the result is the opposite. People associated with a project are no longer able to see it and only see projects they are not associated with.

      what should I do so that people just see the projects they are associated with again?

      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Ines,

      yes, this is know. This is a bug that unfortunately came with the new release upgrade. The development team works already on  a patch. I hope they can deliver it before the weekend.

      Please create a ticket so that we can verify your customers configuration against the patch.

      Best regards


      Author's profile photo Ravi Kumar
      Ravi Kumar

      I tried the same with employee time sheet entry object and everything works except for filtering of projects based on users. I see all the projects instead of the users assigned to projects.

      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Ravi,

      are you using the new time sheet Ui? Cause here unfortunately there is a feature gap compared to the "old" time sheet UI. The user based filters do not yet work here. But feature parity is already planned and we are aware on the urgency to provide this functionality in the new time sheet UI.

      Best regards


      Author's profile photo Nazia Shan
      Nazia Shan


      First of all this blog is very informative.

      I followed all these steps but results are not as expected, I am using latest Time tracking UI and it is not restricting employee project specific.

      Need advise with reference to the requirement.


      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Nazia,

      yes, this is true. This is a mentioned limitation of the new Time Sheet UI, but it is planned to enable this new UI for filter criterias with H2 release.

      So, in H2 2021 release or in H1 2022 release this proposed solution does work only for the old time sheet UI.

      Best regards


      Author's profile photo Tung Hoang Pham
      Tung Hoang Pham

      Hello Volker,

      Thanks for the excellence blog! Can't imagine it's 4 year old but still very informative.

      I would like to transfer the custom field value that we put in Timesheet Entry to Time evaluation result, for reporting purpose when we send the result to external systems, is that any possible way to to do so?

      Many thanks, again,


      Author's profile photo Volker Ruof
      Volker Ruof
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Tung,

      no, this is unfortunately not possible. Time valuation cannot consume any custom field. And indeed, how should it? A custom field can have any semantic a customer wants to give it, and time valuation needs some "hard coded" facts to rely on. That´s why it is not possible at all to pass custom fields to time valuation.

      But as far as I know reports on employee times should show custom fields by default. Did you try to include the custom field into the employee times report?

      Best regards


      Author's profile photo Tung Hoang Pham
      Tung Hoang Pham

      Hi Volker,

      Thanks for your response, now I understand that limitation.

      In our requirement, we need to evaluate the net working time and export to external system (CATDB) with the project code (WBS). I am able to build the custom field in the input UI so employee can select the WBS when they record their attendance time, but that data is not the net working time (as we need to evaluate the break time...) so that I can't send to external system.

      Best regards,