Time tracking is essential for measuring the productivity of your staff. A timesheet system enables you to monitor whether workers are performing as desired. It can also help you ensure that you’re correctly compensating workers. You can also use timesheets to record billable hours for customer invoicing.

Time tracking and payroll processing can consume a lot of time for a growing company. You have three options for timekeeping: a pen and paper, a spreadsheet or cloud-based software.

Employee time tracking can use up valuable time that you can never recover. Spreadsheets make it easy to develop a uniform system for time tracking. You can use a spreadsheet to make calculations, such as gross pay, total deductions, taxes and net pay for each pay period. This kind of information is essential. It will help you to complete your yearly payroll reporting and comply with IRS tax rules.

You can use templates so that employees and managers follow a standard system. This way, their reports will align with your payroll needs. You can download a template in seconds. Then, managers or employees can return completed timesheets by email or fax.

Eventually, you’ll hire more employees. You’ll then need to establish a payroll register. A register will help you to organize worker information and payroll tasks.

The nature of your employees’ work can help determine how to best measure their time.

Which Timesheet Format Is Right For You?

Most business owners use daily, hourly or weekly time tracking for employees. Others might use a biweekly timesheet template. Contractors and consultants often follow billable hours so they can itemize their work for clients.

Read on to learn more about different time monitoring periods.

Hourly Timesheet

An hourly timesheet works well for freelancers and contractors who need to track the hours that they work on projects. Businesses can also use an hourly timesheet to track how long employees work for specific customers.

Project tracking enables you to monitor the resources that you use for jobs and bill customers. You can also add columns to track details such as project identification and task classification.

Daily Timesheet

Daily timesheets can help you to track hours worked during special events or off-site training. A daily timesheet will also enable you to track time, attendance and sick days. It’s also ideal for keeping track of hours worked when employees have varying shifts.

Weekly or Biweekly Timesheet

Weekly or biweekly timesheets work well for tracking employee hours, earned paid time off and weekly wages. You can also add rows and columns to track other details such as employee location, number or role.

Monthly Timesheet

You may want to use a monthly timesheet to track the hours of salaried employees or contractors. Monthly time tracking saves on labor because you’ll process timesheets only 12 times a year.

Free Timesheet Templates

If you’d like to start with a bare-bones timesheet template, you can download Google Sheets timesheet or Microsoft’s basic timesheet. You can also download the Google timesheet in the “.xls” format so you can work with it in Microsoft Excel.

Whether you use Google Sheets or Excel, it’s easy for you to customize a spreadsheet as desired. For example, you can format an Excel or Google spreadsheet to report different time-tracking periods.

Maybe you’d like a spreadsheet with a little more style or more advanced functions. If so, you can download a preformatted timesheet template from the Microsoft Office website. Once you’ve chosen a timesheet, you can then distribute it to employees or managers so they can turn it in for recording at the end of the week.

You can also find free templates on a specialty site such as Indzara. Also, a Google search for “free timesheet templates” will yield you an abundance of options.

Spreadsheets are helpful because you can use formulas to perform repetitive calculations. As with rows and columns, you can customize formulas for your needs.

Various software programs and websites offer timesheet templates you can adapt for your business’s needs.

Going Beyond Timesheets

If you like the idea of using a spreadsheet to keep employee hours organized, you may want to explore time tracking automation. Many offerings integrate with other services. For instance, if you use G-Suite, there’s a range of integrations available in the G-Suite Marketplace.

There are even more ways you can automate employee timekeeping. For example, Homebase employee management software is a powerful, free online time tracking tool. You can use it to ease into the process of learning how to incorporate automation into your business.

What’s more, you can link a tool such as Homebase to payroll services to automate paychecks and even offer direct deposit. For example, Gusto is a cost-effective human resource tool for SMBs. It features solutions for benefits, human capital management, payroll and tracking. It even offers support from live HR specialists.

If you’re not ready for online employee management software, timesheet templates are a great place to start. By taking advantage of technology, you’ll streamline your record-keeping process.

A spreadsheet, template or a cloud-based timekeeping tool will enable you to free up valuable time. If you’re not bogged down with an administrative task, you can devote more energy to growing your business.