1. Avoid too Much Manual Work
Whether you are using Excel, Google Sheets, or another timesheet tool, you and your team are left with many manual tasks
- Time entering
- Copying the data from one sheet to another to get reports
- Sorting columns and rows to make the reports clear
- Adding up the time of different team members to get the total time spent on a project
- Keeping and manipulating a large number of timesheet files on your hard drive
Therefore, a lot of manual work and transferring data from one sheet to another is necessary for all analyses, calculations, and invoicing.
On the other hand, the timesheet system has more options available.
- You can monitor the time
- You can find a pre-defined task and simply click a button to activate the running timer. Once you’re done, click the Stop button and the time will be logged automatically
- For quicker entries there are also the options of creating recurring tasks, recently used entries, and similar
- There is an option to copy (duplicate the entries).
- You can follow the time entries for all team members and projects by day with a single click.
- There is no need for manual hour calculation for salary calculation, invoicing, and analyses needs
Having to manage employee Excel timesheets is an obligation that takes a lot of time. In any professional service company, time is the most important resource. That is to say, wasting time on timesheet management represents wasting time.
2. Avoid Complicated Time Entries
Tools like Excel don’t allow time entries in a standardized format. For example, if you work on a task for 35 minutes, you need to enter 0.62 hours in the field. In other words, formatting the entries and printouts isn’t always easy.
Time tracking tools make the entry process much simpler:
- If you choose the manual time entering option, you have multiple format choices: 00:35, 35min, and similar
- You can start a timer for a task you’ve entered earlier
- You can pause tracking and continue it once you’re back to it with a single click
3. Visualization and Review
A lot of columns and rows in excel are too ugly.
It’s always better to replace them with interactive diagrams and graphics.
Time tracking tools allow reviews for selected periods. You only have to choose the report you want to see and click the “Last week” button to get a visual representation of the time structure and fluctuation for last week.
The Live dashboard feature enables you to track KPIs on the company level, which is impossible through Excel.
A click can give you beautiful graphs showing the hour structure per team member, client, and project.
Automated Allocation of Costs or Revenues to Project.
With Excel, there is no option to integrate the pay rate and billing rate to tasks in order to track costs and revenues for the project.
In contrast, with the time tracking tools, you can define the pay rate and billing rate for each employee, so the system will calculate income and labor costs on its own.
Mistakes due to Manual Entries
The possibility of entering the wrong time due to controls and limitations is much smaller with time tracking tools.
Also, the “helicopter view” makes finding where the error occurred much easier.
The Chrome extension enables direct time entry in all applications you are working on.
Time tracking tools have numerous integrations. For example, you can integrate with Google Calendar, Outlook, different communication tools like Slack, and finally project management tools like Asana, Monday, or Trello.
Integrations with accounting tools, such as QuickBooks and Xero are also very important.
You can create various reports in Excel. However, these reports can only be used for basic needs, and include a lot of manual work.
With time tracking systems, there is a large number of reports generated with a single click, such as
- Time utilization report
- Billable hours vs total hours per team member or clients
- Project revenues, costs, and profit
- Total billable hours for a client per task
- Time off hours’ report
- And much more
You can usually export all reports from time tracking tools into Excel or PDF if you want additional analyses.
Finally, you can set the time tracking tools to send you automatic periodic reports by email.
It’s impossible to create reminders in Excel or other types of timesheets.
Time tracking systems usually have several types of reminders:
- Reminder for when you forget to enter the time expected from you
- Reminder for when you forget to turn off the running timer that is still tracking time
- Reminders for when you forget to start tracking a planned task
All the advantages of these tools compared to Excel should be observed through the lens of pricing as well. If you need to set aside $10-15k for your 10 team members, that is a pretty significant investment, regardless of the mentioned advantages.
Time Analytics’ price of $3.99 per user per month certainly justifies the introduction of the time tracking tool.
On the other hand, we should note that there are free time tracking tools on the market, that offer limited possibilities. They can be a great choice for small teams.
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