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Tracking Employee Time – Why and How?

Author : Bill Gerber
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Tracking employee time is not always synonymous with micromanagement or distrust, although making employees accountable for the time spent on task usually makes a difference, especially in businesses where services are largely matter of time spent delivering. What, then, are some of the reasons employers should consider tracking employee time on task?

Measure Productivity and Capability

Apart from tracking attendance and absenteeism, automated time sheets also help measure employee productivity and efficiency based on actual hours spent to complete a given task. The time taken to accomplish a task can be attributed to practical difficulties, lack of skills, ambiguity in instructions or any number of other reasons, all of which signal opportunities for improvement at the workplace. Habitual laggards may be a great financial burden on the business and often need an attentive eye. Time sheet data can point out places for managers to focus efforts at greater efficiency.

Accurate Client Billing

For jobs billed by the hour, keeping track of the number of actual hours spent on a client’s project is important to make sure all the hard work is compensated for. Automating employee time-tracking ensures the data recorded is available to outsourced accounting and outsourced bookkeeping functions, making the effort both visible and traceable.

Effective Project/Task Management

Updating time sheet data daily is a must to make sure the work is proceeding on schedule. Tracking time helps present a clear picture of the work happening on a given project, making it easier to effectively track and manage the project or tasks. For field employees or employees managing multiple jobs, automated time tracking systems offer unique benefits for mobile time tracking and real-time synchronization. 

Self-Discipline and Focus

Even the most committed employees can lose focus when multi-tasking. Battling to-do lists and distractions make it difficult to accurately track progress. Tracking time while working instead of at the end of each day can be worthwhile to assess one’s own rate of progress and reasons for delay. It can also help workers consider better alternatives, prioritize crucial tasks, make proactive help requests or alert seniors to possible problems.

Interestingly, monitoring employee work habits can help identify and combat any internal threats. Tracking time aids in this process as well.

How to Track Time Effectively?

For small businesses paying hourly wages, simply making sure employees get paid for their actual work hours is the main priority. A supervised manual reporting process, an Excel spreadsheet or automated swipe cards may suffice.

For SMBs looking to integrate employee attendance, time sheet data and payroll processing, a suitable time-tracking software can be a more reliable and effective alternative. Project management software with time-tracking features also proves valuable for companies handling client projects.


Regardless of whether a firm employs a bookkeeper to keep track of financial records or uses external accounting services or bookkeeping services, tracking employee time can help make business operations more cost-effective. Automated time sheets can be a valuable business investment--just make sure the proper integrations are in place with your current accounting systems.

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