A timesheet is a method for recording the
amount of a worker's time spent on each job.
Originally developed for an employer to determine
payroll, timesheets are not just for payroll anymore. Timesheets
may record the start and end time of tasks, or just the duration.
It may contain detailed breakdowns of tasks accomplished by
the working. This information may be used for payroll, client
billing, and increasingly for project costing, estimation,
tracking and management.
Factory workers often have a "time card"
and "punched in" by inserting their card into automatic
timestamp machine when starting and ending their work shift.
Some companies provide web-based timesheet
software or services that provide a means to track time for
payroll, billing and project management. This project management
data can make complex cost relationships visible, thereby
allowing lower costs. This knowledge can drive corporate strategy
as users let their competitors perform the unprofitable work.
Time tracking can lower costs in 3 ways: by
making payroll processing more efficient, by making costs
visible so you can lower them, and by automating billing &
Time tracking can increase revenue through
automating billing, which tends to make it easier for a company
to get correct invoices out for all hours worked by consulting
staff. This speeds up payment and eliminates the hassles of
By lowering costs in 3 ways, and increasing
revenue in one way, timesheet management technologies that
are web-based can improve the health of companies.
In the project management world timesheets
can also be used to build a body of knowledge about how much
effort tasks take to develop. For example if developing a
training plan has historically taken a month, then it can
be assumed that creating a new one will take a month.
Many employees dislike timesheets, both for
the feeling of control they give to the employer, and for
the idea that a worker must justify every minute of their
time at work.
In some cases people do not trust their managers
to use the information intelligently and fairly.
In other cases it feels Orwellian to them.
For example, it can be seen as needless bureaucracy, or as
something which applies to workers but not to managers.