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Timesheet automation in 5 simple steps

Timesheets have long been a critical part of business. They provide an insight into how much work an employee has done and where they spend most of their time.

In the past, office employees had to manually enter the hours they worked and what they worked on — a clunky, paper-based process that required excessive data entry for payroll. Today, timesheet automation software can simplify and expedite that process.

What is timesheet automation?

Timesheet automation uses software to automatically track how an employee is spending their time.

The 3 major challenges of traditional timesheet tracking

1. Difficulty tracking employee overtime or other labour regulations

While traditional timesheets allow employees to track everything from hours they worked and overtime to tasks they completed, they’re limited in how they bring that information together. Managers have to manually check each timesheet, making it difficult to identify when employees have gone over their allowed overtime or taken too much leave.

2. Manual data entry errors

Traditional timesheets rely on people entering the correct information. If a payroll officer is tired or reviewing their 17th timesheet of the day, there’s a good chance they’re going to make an error if they are manually inputting that information into their payroll system.

3. Slow processing times

Manually entering, processing and tracking data in a traditional timesheet is inefficient and monotonous. Workflow automation can alleviate the monotony for those running payroll.

The 5 benefits of timesheet automation

1. Better manage resources

In companies tracking time on individual tasks, timesheet automation can help you quickly identify tasks and projects that consume too many resources. That information may prompt a discussion about “scope creep” or reveal inefficiencies in your workflows.

2. Stay compliant

Timesheet tools are dynamic, automatically reflecting changes in labour and wage-related laws and workplace regulations, so you always remain compliant. For example, when integrated with payroll software, timesheet tools can calculate correct wages based on hours worked and minimum wage or collective agreement rates.

3. Generate reports

Most timesheet automation tools produce detailed reports that highlight the status of projects, indicate which tasks take the most time and flag potential areas for improvement. This feature gives you a transparent overview of where your team is most productive so you can make strategic decisions moving forward.

4. Improve accuracy

Traditional timesheets ask employees to record their tasks and hours at the end of the day when their recall may not be at its best. This approach leaves room for error or, in some cases, the total exclusion of minor, easily forgettable activities.

Timesheet automation tracks specific tasks in real-time to improve accuracy. You’ll then be able to get a detailed breakdown of completed tasks so you can spot patterns and problems at a glance.

5. Eliminate manual billing

Traditional billing methods require managers to bring together data from disparate systems. There might be a timesheet in Excel, a separate invoicing system and a payroll system. Automated timesheets manage this data centrally and automatically populate invoices with the right information.

5 tips for successful timesheet automation

1.     Research different software providers

Start by determining what key data you want to track and log, then research tools that make this possible. Check the list of features, read case studies, watch demos and speak to sales representatives to find a timesheet automation tool that’s the right fit for you.

2.     Consider employee needs

While manual timesheets are time-consuming and error-prone, they’re also familiar. Employees know how they work and what they need to do. If you plan on implementing timesheet automation software, you might encounter some resistance. Be prepared to offer support and explain how a new process will guarantee accurate, timely pay and reduce administrative tasks for employees.

3.     Train your staff

Transitioning to paperless timesheets can save time and improve productivity levels, but only if your staff know what they’re doing. Involve employees as early as possible in the process so they know what to expect and provide ample training for them, so they know how to use the tool properly.

4.     Monitor employee time

Accurate time tracking provides a detailed insight into employee performance. You’ll be able to identify people who need more time to complete tasks so you can provide increased support during more complex projects. Schedule regular analyses so you can identify problems as they arise — or, even better, before they arise.

5.     Evaluate your software

Once you’ve set up your timesheet automation software, evaluate its impact on your business. Test whether it’s achieving what you want it to and where it’s saving you time and money. Setting aside time like this to regularly evaluate the software will enable you to make any changes required to ensure it continues to meet your business needs.

Timesheet automation with MYOB

MYOB is a business management platform that brings together software capability across the six core workflows that any business may require – customers, employees, projects, suppliers, finance, accounting and tax. This means you can easily track employee time, invoice for it (if required) and manage payday.

With MYOB’s cloud-based platform, you only pay for what you need, but can add on additional software functionality across and within those six workflows as your business grows and your needs evolve.

At MYOB, we have you covered. Compare MYOB plans and features and get started today!

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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