Time sheet management can be a useful business tool that may provide functionality beyond logging employee hours to determine how much pay is owed at the end of an accounting period. A good management program can allow companies to track how much time is spent on specific tasks, and can ease the process of billing and invoicing for companies that may handle multiple clients at once. Independent contractors and self employed people may also find such tools helpful for tracking personal productivity even if they do not use an hourly billing structure.
Historically, the time sheet allowed workers to note when they arrived and left work, sometimes with the use of a punch card clock that could record this data automatically. While such sheets are still in use, time sheet management can be much more complex. Employees may be able to sign in and out for specific tasks, for example, or can use different entries for different clients and projects.
Using more effective management, companies can see how much time employees spend on various tasks. This can allow companies to more accurately estimate scheduling and timing on projects. It can also create a basis for comparison; if most employees finish a task in six hours, for instance, deviations from that norm can be a topic for interest. For internal management, detailed time sheet tracking can be a beneficial move for efficiency and productivity.
Another use for time sheet management is in billing, when companies bill clients on the basis of labor. Employees who work on a project can log their hours as they go, generating information for the client invoice as well as tracking their hours for their own paychecks. The detailed time sheet management can also allow a company to show a client how much time was spent on specific aspects of a project, as employees could note the task as well as the client.
Electronic time sheet management programs can be helpful for more advanced time sheet tracking activities. To encourage employee compliance, tools like swipe cards or fobs that communicate with a base unit can be useful, as they can automatically log employees on and off. Talking with members of the staff about how to use the program can also be beneficial, as it will allow them to accurately and honestly report their hours from the start. Human resources departments may also want to show employees how to use time sheet management to identify and avoid overtime by monitoring their hours and working with a supervisor if a scheduling problem arises.
Another advantage to electronic time sheet management is the ability to communicate and send internal notes. Notes about scheduling and tasks can be displayed on a time sheet to make sure employees see them, especially if a change to the schedule occurs. Employees may also be able to memo each other and coordinate through the electronic system when they collaborate on projects.