What is a Timesheet? A Definitive Guide for Your Business

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Keeping track of your employees’ hours is an essential element of any organisation, regardless of size. As a business owner, you want to ensure that you are adequately compensating your employees for their efforts and time. You should also ensure that you are not paying them too little or too much! A timesheet is the most traditional way to keep track of your employees’ hours.

They are a tried and true approach of time management. However, in today’s business sector, many forms of timesheets are used. But exactly what is a timesheet? And how do they function?

We’ll look at time tracking and timesheets and how they might benefit your organisation.

What is Time Tracking?

Employers in the United Kingdom have the authority to monitor their employees’ internet use and even intercept their emails. However, this can frequently result in a hostile work atmosphere and low staff morale.

Simple time tracking is a far more effective technique to keep track of your staff. It is the practise of keeping track of how many hours your workers have worked by using a daily or weekly timesheet.

What is a Timesheet?

Simply put, a classic paper-based timesheet is what it sounds like: a sheet of paper used to log time.

Employers track the actual hours worked on an assignment with timesheets. They are also used to record staff arrival and departure times, as well as total hours spent. This information is critical for the finance and payroll departments to be accurate when it comes time to pay employees.

They are also useful for tracking sick pay and paid holiday allowances for salaried personnel.

Timesheets in project management are an excellent tool for firms to manage their time and keep projects on track. They can also be used as a management tool for tracking expenses or estimating project team availability.

Timesheets were traditionally filled out on tangible paper timesheets. However, in the present era, most timesheets are digital and processed by accounting software.

What is the Objective of a Timesheet?

A timesheet fulfils several objectives connected to corporate procedures in addition to entering time for hours worked. A timesheet is a useful tool for recording and tracking how much time each employee spends working.

Supervisors receive information on hours worked. They can see how many hours are required for various roles and tasks. This information aids in scheduling, task assignment, and calculating hiring requirements.

Employers may ensure employees are paid correctly by using it primarily for payroll. Nonexempt employees are usually just required to submit timesheets. Employers can use this to track and pay for hours worked in accordance with requirements such as the Fair Labour Standards Act.

To manage billable hours per client, law firms and accountancy firms can also use timesheets. Another goal is to use timesheets for exempt personnel in organisations that wish to use them. This can assist in tracking salaried employees’ sick pay and vacation time.

Who Uses Timesheets?

Employers use timesheets to keep track of how much time employees spend working. As previously said, this assists them in calculating salary. It also assists businesses in comprehending a worker’s performance – are there duties that take a lengthy time to complete?

Timesheets can thus assist firms in becoming more efficient, thereby enhancing performance. They don’t have to watch individual employees because they can track time spent on tasks, projects, and clients.

Timesheets may be used by multiple employees and teams inside a company, such as HR, Finance, and Project Managers.

Workers may also use timesheets when contracting or freelancing for customers. They may charge by the hour, so keeping track of time is essential. Contractors and freelancers can send timesheets to clients and use them to create invoices.

Timesheets also assist contractors and freelancers in keeping track of how much of their working day is spent on each client if they work for numerous clients.

How Timesheets Work

Timesheets are quite simple, but understanding how they function before applying them never hurts. Here are the fundamentals:

#1. Decide whether to use digital or paper timesheets.

Depending on how you pay your staff and the architecture of your organisation, digital or paper timesheets may be better suited to your needs. Using a digital timesheet will make it easier to integrate your time and attendance data with your payroll processing software, making it easy for business owners like you. They also make data storage much easier and reduce the likelihood of data loss or human error.

However, in some occupations, the classic punch card and wall-mounted reader are still in use. Because they are simpler and less expensive, paper timesheets remain popular. So, if you need the cheapest timesheet solution available, go with paper. However, because paper timesheets do not allow employees to define the number of hours spent on each project and cannot be integrated with payroll software, digital timesheets may be worth the effort.

#2. Determine how frequently employees must submit timesheets.

There are various forms of payroll frequencies, and there are also several types of timesheet filling and submission frequencies. These are some examples:

  • Daily timesheets, in which your employees record their time at the beginning and conclusion of each workday
  • Weekly timesheets, in which employers enter all of their workweek hours
  • Biweekly timesheets, in which you select a specific date within a two-week period for employees to submit all hours worked.
  • Bimonthly timesheets, in which you set two dates every month for employees to submit the total amount of hours worked.
  • Monthly timesheets require your employees to submit the total number of hours worked at the end of the month.

Your staff should still clock in and out for all shifts, regardless of the frequency you specify. This has two advantages: When it comes time to do payroll, you won’t have to guess how many hours an employee worked. It can increase employee accountability because it is far more difficult for employees to participate in time theft if they must record the amount of hours worked each workday.

#3. Have your employees clock in and out.

Employees should clock in for the day at the start of their shift. They will then clock out once they have completed their duties. Your staff should also clock in and out at the beginning and conclusion of their breaks, as well as declare their vacation days, to avoid overpaying them.

Employees are solely responsible for clocking in and out; you are not required to do so for them. As a result, your employees will be held accountable for accurately reporting their hours and responding to any inquiries you may have regarding potentially erroneous timesheets.

#4. Have your personnel categorise their time by project, if applicable.

Although timesheets are generally associated with hourly workers, they may also be required of full-time employees. For full-time employees who bill clients by the hour, timesheets are extremely vital. In this situation, your full-time employees should not only mention when they worked, but also what projects they worked on and for which clients. With this information, you can bill your clients appropriately and answer any billing questions.

#5. Approve your employees’ timesheets weekly

You should collect your employees’ timesheets at the conclusion of each workday or after their final shift of the week. You must then approve these timesheets for payroll. If you have a query regarding an employee’s timesheet, you can inquire about the hours in question with the employee.

Benefits of Timesheets

Other advantages of timesheets include:

#1. Easier payroll processing

When you have a large number of employees, it can be difficult to recall how many hours each one worked per week. Furthermore, if you pay an employee for less time than they worked, you may look to be stealing earnings. Because timesheets make the complete number of hours worked by employees readily available, they reduce numerous payroll processing issues.

#2. Open internal procedures

By requiring all employees to use timesheets, you can address a common employee complaint that some team members work less and are paid more. Your team will know that everyone is following the same guidelines and that their hours are being tracked if you use time and attendance software.

#3. Client billing transparency

If you bill your clients by the hour, there is always the possibility that one of them would contest the overall amount you charged. You can use your timesheet to demonstrate that you worked the amount of time for which you are paying the client. Payment should then be just around the corner (hopefully).

#4. Improved project management

Timesheets aid in the tracking and management of projects in two major areas. One, timesheets show how much time various jobs require, which you can then include into future initiatives. Second, timesheets demonstrate which employees take the least amount of time to complete high-quality work. As a consequence, you know which personnel to assign to your most important tasks.

#5. Workplace efficiency

You may increase the speed and efficiency of your operations by identifying your most productive staff. You might also save money because speedier workers can take on more jobs.

How to Make a Timesheet

Data tables, as previously stated, are timesheets. This means that spreadsheet software, such as Google Sheets and Excel, is ideal for creating timesheets. A timesheet template for Microsoft Word or Excel can be found at Microsoft templates.

If you wish to use a timesheet template in Google Sheets instead, a Google search should yield results.

You can create a timesheet weekly, monthly, or yearly, although weekly timesheets are the most popular.

Weekly timesheets detail the hours worked on jobs over the week, as well as any overtime. Totals should be calculated automatically by the software.

Timesheet Software You Can Use

Aside from spreadsheets, there is time tracking software available. These are some examples:

  • Zoho People – This is billed as a ‘full HR solution for every business’ by Zoho. Timesheet management is accessible, and you may try it for 30 days for free. Prices will then escalate based on the features you require and the amount of customers you will have.
  • Clockify – is specific time-tracking software. According to customer reviews, it is best suited for organisations that need to know how much time staff spend on projects, as well as contractors and freelancers who want to keep track of billable hours. Furthermore, there is a plan that is completely free.
  • Avaza – According to Avaza, you can track time across many devices, such as starting on your phone and finishing on your tablet. To assist with project management, you can set up timesheet approvals and receive thorough information. This software also has a free plan.

Does Excel Have a Timesheet Template?

A spreadsheet that businesses use to log employee hours and manage payrolls is known as an Excel timesheet template. These templates make it simple for employees to enter total hours and calculate pay, and they are also organised and modifiable to meet your specific needs.

How Do You Write Hours on a Time Sheet?

You must convert the decimal in the total hours to minutes when determining the number of hours to record on the timesheet. For example, if the recipient has 283 monthly authorised hours, divided by 4, the provider may work no more than 70.75 hours per week. This equates to 70 hours and 45 minutes.

What Information Must Be Included on a Timesheet?

The timesheet records must clearly describe when a worker begins work and when he or she stops work, as well as the number of daily and weekly labour hours.

What Must be on a Timesheet?

Timesheets are an essential tool for service businesses. Correctly tracking time spent on tasks allows for more accurate forecasting and invoicing, as well as allowing managers to detect common project delays and modify processes accordingly.

Are Timesheets a Good Idea?

If an employee registers their breaks, it presents an easy loophole for them to take extended breaks without being noticed by management. It also occurs when the clock in and out time is not precisely recorded. Employees can be paid for more or less time than they worked, implying either employee or business theft.


Time tracking accurately, whether for permanent employees, mobile workers, or contractors, aids in the reduction of payroll expenditures. Employers have a more efficient system for each worker category. They have a visual picture of what a productive workforce entails.

Timesheets have evolved from the days when they solely provided payroll information. The same data used to appropriately compensate employees can also be used to establish corporate plans.


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