Time tracking software
Time tracking software is a category of computer software that allows its users to record time spent on tasks. This software is used by many industries, typically those employing hourly workers, however there are benefits to salaried workers, such as professionals who bill their customers by the hour, including lawyers and accountants. It represents an electronic version of the traditional paper timesheet. Tracking time can allow for increased productivity, as businesses better understand what business practices lead to wasted time. This type of software encourages accountability for large businesses, and allows for business owners to keep all time data in a central location. Many such packages allow the automatic generation of invoices to the professional's clients or customers based on the time spent and the hourly fee, and allow for the additional billing of related costs to each client or file. Many time tracking software companies offer workforce management packages that include time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, human resources, payroll, talent management, and labor analytics.
Types of time tracking software
- Timesheet software - allows to enter time spent performing different tasks while working.
- Time tracking/recording software - automatically records activities performed on a computer.
Time tracking software can be:
- Standalone - used only to record timesheets, and generate reports
- Integrated into accounting system - where timesheet data is directly fed into company accounts
- Integrated into billing system - used to generate invoices, especially used by contractors and professionals such as lawyers
- Integrated into project management systems - timesheet data is used in project management software to graph the effort being spent on each project or task.
- Integrated into payroll system - timesheet data is used in payroll software to pay employees based on their time worked.
- Integrated with MS-Outlook - Outlook appointments contain most of the information needed to make a timesheet entry, an Outlook Timesheet allows users to convert appointments to timesheets.
- Integrated with resource scheduling - bi-directional integration allows schedulers to schedule staff on jobs, which once complete can be confirmed and converted to a timesheet.
Timesheet software is an accounting software used to maintain timesheets. This was the first wave of the time tracking software when computers came to many offices, with the goal of replacing all heavy paperwork for greater organization. Timesheet software allows entering time spent performing different tasks while working.
When used within companies, employees enter their time into an electronic timesheet, which can then be approved or rejected by supervisors or project managers.
When used by freelancers, timesheet software allows creating reports for clients to explain how their time was spent.
After 2006, timesheet software generally moved to mobile platforms and became more personalized, for example tracking time for each task individually.
Time tracking/recording software
Time tracking/recording software automates time tracking process by recording what activities, when and for how long are performed on a computer. This was the second wave of the time tracking software. The idea is to get the actual picture about computer usage. Automatic time tracking/recording software shows applications, documents, games, websites usage.
When used within companies, this software allows monitoring employees' productivity by recording computer and Internet usage. Also, it can be used to help to complete timesheets.
The American Payroll Association estimates that companies can save 2% of gross payroll costs each year by automating time tracking.
Time Tracking Methods
There are several ways companies track employee time using time tracking software.
- Duration Time Tracking - employee enters the duration for the task regardless what time was it worked on
- Chronological Time Tracking - employee enters actual start and end time for the task
- Exception-Based Time Tracking - system automatically records standard work hours except for approved time off or LOA
- Clock-in Clock-out Time Tracking - employee manually records arrival and departure to and from work
- Time Tracking Monitoring - system records active and idle time of employee using a computer
- Location-based Time Tracking - system determines working status of an employee based on his/her location
- Import time from Outlook - with Outlook holding duration, converting Outlook appointments to timesheets saves duplication
- Resource Scheduling Time Tracking - by scheduling resources in advance, employee schedules can be easily converted to timesheets
- Comparison of time tracking software
- Computer surveillance
- Project management software
- Time and attendance
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