What is a Timesheet?
At Tempora, we regularly speak with individuals who have been tasked with finding a timesheet solution, with very little prior experience into what they are, or which one is a good fit for their requirements. With so many options available, we have written this little guide. Whilst we provide timesheets for agencies and many other disciplines, there are products that specialise in specific areas or requirements.
Introduction & Timesheet Terminology
Firstly, there are many ways to refer to a timesheet product, from timesheet(s) system, software or application. The basic functionality will be the same, providing a means for users to allocate the number of hours (and minutes) assigned to work. Originally, Timesheets were used in labour intensive jobs to ensure that staff were ‘clocking in’ and ‘clocking out’ as expected in order to determine the amount of salary to be levied. In a more contemporary environment, timesheet system has become increasingly popular, as they can be used for a multitude of causes such as:
- Ensuring fee-based work is charged appropriately
- Identifying where predications become incorrect
- Evaluating team/department performance and utilisation
- Gaining insights into which clients are profitable and which ones are being over-serviced
- As evidence in fee-(re)negotiations
- Ensure staff are taking adequate breaks and annual leave to ensure good health
You can find our related blogs on this subject here:
How does a Timesheets System work?
Whilst some business may have a paper based or CSV template in place, many companies are now opting for an electronic, cloud-based timesheet. The benefit of a cloud based solution is that all updates and data backups are handled automatically. Employee’s each have their own unique login code, and track their time on projects, jobs or activities. You can see an example timesheet below:
The image above shows an example of a weekly time recording log. You can see various amounts of time allocated across a working week against different types of work. Timesheets can be configured according to requirements, for example some of our clients track time correct to the minute, others use units of time and some in measurements of half days.
Time recording can also be quite granular, for some, exploring time recording for the first time just simply recording against a client or a job would suffice. For growing business, the need to break this down further into activities and work types arises. Some large enterprises will track time at an even more granular level, such as Client – Product – Project – Phase – Activity. This data can all automatically fed into reports or business intelligence software (BI Tools) to gain crucial insights into a business. This can then be used differently by different aspects of a business, a few examples of which are:
- Accounting – To ensure correct staff payroll and client invoicing
- Sales / Accounts – To ensure appropriate costs are quoted for new work
- Sales / Accounts – To ensure accurate job costing information
- Managers / Directors – To accurately track total time against a job to ensure
- Project leaders – Proactively re-assign staff to activities better fit of their skillset or cost rate
Timesheets System Reporting & Integration
Once the data is collected, the next steps are to determine its use. For some this will be reporting on specific trends and others it will be plugging the data into other resources. Some examples of each are:
- Time to complete a job
- Utilisation of available hours
- How much to charge for work
- Analyse patterns in staff absence
- Monitor team efficiency
- Analyse profitability
- Determine whether hourly rates should be raised / lowered
- Payroll software
- Business Intelligence (BI) software
- Resource planning and distribution tools
- Mobile apps
For example, in Tempora, the timesheets are accompanied by a reporting and export engine. This engine can be used to produce reports such as the following:
Client cost breakdown
Client profit margins:
For more on our product, the Tempora Timesheet, why not read our product overview?
At Tempora, we are looking to leverage new technologies at all times. We feel very strongly that the future of timesheets is in AI and product automation. From tools to assist users to complete timesheets in a more efficient manner, to automatic notifications to keep business decision makers in the loop. We have developed our Dashboard for this purpose, so that admin users can see critical business information in a matter of seconds. Our automated reports engine can also deliver this information on a schedule, for example many of our clients have automated timesheet enforcement with our PROMPT tool and weekly budget updates in time for internal finance meetings.
If you wish to learn more about Timesheets, Tempora or the benefits of using a cloud system, you can find more resources around our website or contact us to your preference.