Time and Attendance

What is Timesheet Automation?

What are automated timesheets, and how can you automate timesheet generation in your small business?...
Sean QuinnPosted on Monday, September 4th 2023

What is automated timesheet capture?

Timesheet automation is the process of capturing hours worked by employees, without requiring them to manually fill in retrospective timesheets. Employees clock in and out in real time; this data is captured and processed by the automated timesheet software, in order to total up their hours worked per day or week, as well as performing complicated overtime calculations automatically. Timesheets for all your staff can then be exported from the software easily.

Why automate your timesheet process?

Automating timesheet collection can have many benefits for both employers and employees, helping to save both time and money for your business.

Employees are no longer required to fill out a manual timesheet at the end of the period, so don't need to remember how long they worked on specific tasks. They simply need to clock in and out each day, and their job is done.

Collecting timesheets in this way can save payroll administrators and managers hours of time each month, as they no longer need to pester employees to fill in their timesheets or spend time chasing errors. Instead, timesheets will be ready to approve and export at the touch of a button, whenever they need them.

Timesheet automation removes many of the manual calculations that would usually be required (especially in businesses with tricky overtime rules), which reduces the chance of human error and makes for a more accurate payroll each month.

Traditional methods of timesheet capture (such as paper or Excel spreadsheets) can be subject to misuse, with employees easily entering in fraudlent times in order to claim pay for hours they didn't work. Not only does this increase your payroll bill, it can skew your resource planning for the future.

How to implement timesheet automation in your small business

Step 1: Find the right timesheet automation software for you

The type of solution you choose will be unique to your business and its needs. There are many highly rated solutions out there, with an app to suit every budget and every way of working.

Overall, you'll need to look for a solution which is simple for employees to use, and has a range of reports for your payroll and HR teams to work from. Features such as job tracking are a bonus, as they allow you to make even more strategic decisions from your data.

Step 2: Trial the solution with your team

It's important to try out your chosen system with your employees before you make a final decision. Most timesheet apps offer a free trial, so you can ensure it fits your needs before signing up.

Listen to any concerns your team have, and be sure to address them. It's important to take your employees' privacy seriously, especially if you are using a GPS enabled time tracking app.

Step 3: Get into the habit of tracking time

Timesheet automation can save you serious time, but only when it's done properly. Enable reminders to ensure your team get into the habit of clocking in and out each day, and delegate responsibility to managers and team leads for approving employee timesheets. Take advantage of online help guides and support, to ensure you're making the most of the system from day one.

Using your automated solution should become second nature in no time, and you should begin to see savings from your first payroll.

Our recommendation for timesheet automation apps

As we've mentioned, the time tracking app you go for will ultimately depend on your unique business needs.

If you're running a small to medium business, we'd recommend TimeKeeper's mobile app for employees to track their time. Clock ins and outs are recorded with a tap of a button, and reports are available to view in real time via the cloud-based online dashboard.

Features such as rounding rules, delegated timesheet approval and sophisticated overtime options should help to save your team hours of manual effort. Integrations with popular payroll software like BrightPay, Moneysoft, Sage and Xero make the process of running payroll each month even smoother.

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