Timesheet software can save a business both time and money. But, is it worth it in the long
run? There are numerous versions of timesheet software on the market today, some with more
features, and higher costs, and some with less features, and lower costs. Determining whether
or not the software will provide an adequate return on investment requires analyzing a number
of situations and variables, including both direct and indirect savings.
Reduced paper, less printing, and lower distribution costs are all considered to be direct
savings, or money that doesnt have to be spent on those items as a result of using the
software. In a manual timekeeping system, for example, paper timesheets are used. If a
company has hundreds of employees, the paper costs can be substantial.
However, many of the primary benefits of using timesheet software are realized in terms of
indirect, rather than direct costs. Management time, for example, is reduced. Managers do
not need to examine and sign timesheets prior to returning them to the HR department, since
all functions are complete automatically by the software.
Improved quality of data is another benefit to be realized by utilizing software for timesheet
functions. There is no keypunching from a handwritten document involved. The system
calculates hours worked and pay rates electronically from data supplied when employees clock
in and clock out. Timesheet software is a much more accurate and reliable means of tracking
employee time and pay. Checks seldom, if ever, have to be re-issued due to data errors,
providing another indirect savings to the companys bottom line.
A good timesheet software system will also automatically manage employee benefits like
vacation, sick leave, family sick leave and so on. It will provide a balance of time off
available for each employee and a log of dates when time was previously taken off. This
results in less inquiries to the HR and payroll departments where employees spend less time
Duplicate data entry is eliminated as well. In some cases, data is entered into multiple
systems in multiple company departments, creating needless work. The same data may have
to be entered into a timekeeping system, a payroll system, a human resource system, and
work order system, and/or a project management system. With a good timesheet software
system, all of the duplication is eliminated because a single system manages all of the
The benefits of implementing a timesheet software system are fairly obvious, but assigning
a dollar value to some of the indirect benefits can be a somewhat more difficult task.
However, there are some ways to quantify the benefits that will make determining a return
on investment less difficult. Research will determine, for example, how many paychecks
have to be re-issued in a given company per year and multiplying that number by the time
it takes to complete a re-issue identifies how much employee time is actually xpended per
year on just that task. The number of hours generated, multiplied by the hourly salary of
the person doing the work, yields an overall cost that can be saved by the software
implementation. Many of the other benefits can be quantified in much the same way.
In addition to the return on investment provided by the software benefits, the actual costs
of purchasing and installing the software must also be taken into consideration. Licensing
fees, additional hardware needed to run the software, and the costs involved in analyzing
and selecting an appropriate system for a particular business must all be considered.
Implementation costs may include consulting fees, custom software programming, software
configuration and testing, and a variety of other related costs. Ongoing maintenance costs
must be included as well.
There are certainly numerous costs to be considered in any new software system implementation.
The trick lies in determining if the cost savings generated by the new system will, within a
specified period of time, outweigh the costs of purchasing, installing and maintaining the