Time-tracking software is a category of computer software that allows its users to record time spent on tasks. This software is used by employees and employers in many industries, including hourly workers and also professionals who bill their customers by the hour, such as lawyers, freelancers and accountants. It can be used together with multiple other tools like project management software, customer support and accounting to name just a few. It represents an electronic version of the traditional paper timesheet. Tracking time can increase productivity, as businesses can better understand what practices lead to wasted time. This type of software encourages accountability for large businesses, and allows business owners to keep all time data in a central location which allows easier data analysis by human resources departments. Some software allow automatic generation of invoices to the professional's clients or customers based on the time spent and allow for the additional billing of related costs to each client or file. Many time-tracking software companies also provide workforce management packages that include time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, human resources, payroll, talent management, and labor analytics.
Types of time-tracking software
- For entering time spent performing different tasks while working.
- Automatically records activities performed on a computer.
Time-tracking software can be:
- Standalone (used only to record timesheets, and generate reports);
- Integrated as part of:
- accounting systems e.g. timesheet data fed directly to company accounts;
- billing systems e.g. to generate invoices, especially for contractors, lawyers, etc.;
- project management systems e.g. timesheet data used by project management software to visualize the effort being spent on projects or tasks;
- payroll systems e.g. to pay employees based on time worked;
- resource scheduling e.g. bi-directional integration allows schedulers to schedule staff on jobs, which, once complete, can be confirmed and converted to timesheets.
Timesheet software is accounting software used to maintain timesheets. It was popularized during the first wave of computers being introduced to office environment, 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.
Since 2006, timesheet software has been moving to mobile platforms (smartphones, tablets, etc.) enabling better tracking for employees whose work involves multiple locations.
Time-tracking/recording software automates time-tracking process by recording when, for how long and what activities 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 all tasks performed on it. Also, it can be used to help to complete timesheets.
When used by freelancers, this software helps to create reports for clients (e.g. timesheets and invoices) or to prove work that was done.
There are several ways companies track employee time using time tracking software.
- employee enters the duration for the task regardless what time was it worked on.
- employee enters actual start and end time for the task.
- system automatically records standard work hours except for approved time off or LOA.
- Clock-in clock-out
- employee manually records arrival and departure to and from work.
- system records active and idle time of employee using a computer. It might also record screen.
- system determines working status of an employee based on his/her location.
- Resource-scheduling : by scheduling resources in advance, employee schedules can be easily converted to timesheets.
- Comparison of time-tracking software
- Computer surveillance
- Employee-scheduling software
- Project-management software
- Time and attendance
- Schedule (workplace)
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