This is the third installment of our 3 part series entitled “5 Aspects of Time Tracking Nirvana.” Please read part 1 and part 2 before continuing here.
Let’s jump right in to the final aspects of time management that automated software can help:
4. Timesheet Rules Handling
In nearly every business environment, there will be rules dictating employee time spent on work. This might mean that certain activities are disallowed at certain times, or that employees are only allowed to work a certain number of hours per week, or any other of a variety of regulations. For companies using a paper timekeeping system, these rules can quickly become arduous to navigate. Employees will be required to memorize or look up the rules every time they have even a slight deviation in their standard time entry, and approvers will need to be even more careful as they peruse the numerous timesheets submitted that might have slight errors. Again, minor errors at the data entry level can quickly snowball into much larger issues down the line.
Automated timesheets can effectively eliminate the vast majority of these problems. For starters, they can be arranged so that certain options are not even available to employees. This makes sure that those activities that employees should not engage in cannot be entered at all. Automated timesheet systems also allow for timesheet rejection notices and reminders that come without requiring the attention of a supervisor. Thus, employees will know immediately if there was an error, saving time for both themselves and their managers as well as minimizing the chance for entry errors.
5. Workflow Approvals and Process Auditing
At some point along the line most companies will want to get employee timesheets in front of a qualified approver to make sure that the time is being spent on relevant tasks and that there are no other issues. If a business is acting as a government contractor, the DCAA will also want to make sure that a qualified supervisor is monitoring employee time. In even modestly sized organizations, manual timesheet entry presents numerous issues in this regard. In situations that require multiple levels of approval things quickly go awry, requiring multiple copies of daily time entry to be stored and catalogued.
Automated time entry systems can be programmed to follow a designated approval path and, once there, allows timesheets to be shared as necessary throughout the organization. Further, it allows multiple layers of approval so if an employee is working on a project, but that is not his only responsibility, then the project manager can view data appropriate to him while another supervisor receives different or more complete data, depending on the needs of the company.
For an audit report, this becomes even more critical, as the ease with which timesheets and timesheet processes are identified can make an audit either extremely painless or convoluted. Automated systems create an easy to follow approval path and offer instant access to timesheet data. As long as employees follow baseline processes, no audit will ever be unnecessarily difficult.
Remember, every time tracking system is a tool. Unless a business has effective processes in place, no timesheet system can be effective. That being said, an automated time tracking system is a much better tool than a manual system. Businesses who implement them discover the numerous advantages of easily accessible employee and project data, allowing them to make more accurate adjustments and future predictions that will ensure maximum profitability.