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Benefits of Digital Timesheets Vs Paper For Time Tracking

Written by Lee Glynn
January 11, 2024
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Here’s 15 benefits of switching to digital time sheets and electronic time tracking


Let’s get this out of the way. Digital timesheets, otherwise known as online timesheet software or online timesheets, redefine time management and time tracking, and are ironclad records of when a worker clocks in, clocks out and how long a job takes to complete. They’re the best kind of time tracking software as everything is traceable. Best of all they can be added to your existing workflow easily, with workers able to log time on their mobile phone or tablet.

They’re great to show how long employees spend on a project, good for employers to see how long a worker has spent doing it, and great for your clients to see that you’ve actually spent the time you said you would, with updates on project progress.

In a nutshell, timesheets help businesses track employee hours for pay and billing clients. Yet, many businesses still use old-fashioned paper timesheets. If you’re reading this, you’re thinking about switching from paper to digital forms, especially digital timesheets because, let’s face it, paper sheets can get lost, aren’t trackable and they can be filled out incorrectly.

Nowadays, forward-thinking companies and employers like you, are switching to digital timesheets because they’re reliable, easier to manage and you can track times in your analytics software to see which clients or jobs are sapping all your time! If you’re still using a paper timesheet for time tracking, you’re seriously missing out on productivity and falling behind when it comes to invoicing for the RIGHT amount of time with online timesheets.

Digital timesheets offer a serious amount of benefits over traditional paper forms in any sector that needs time-tracking software. Let’s dig into the benefits of time tracking forms with forms2.

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What are the major benefits of digital timesheets

The major benefit of digital timesheets is that they can track time more accurately, to the minute or second and there are no manual processes involved. Everything is automated and it reduces human error. Digital timesheets can be accessed on multiple devices by managers or employers, filled out by employees on a tablet or phone, which streamlines data capture. Data can then be extracted for reports and reduce errors in data capture or timing of jobs.

Best of all, you can use digital timesheets to integrate with other business functions like calculating payroll or even send direct timings to your clients so they can see how long you’ve spent on a project, tracking time more effectively.

You can also set up no-code apps to include digital timesheets/online timesheets that send automatic reminders to staff if they’ve spent too much time (or not enough) on a project. Managers and business owners like you will appreciate the data capture capabilities through digital timesheets as the cloud-based nature of digital forms ensures data is backed up in multiple locations, which is good if you need GDPR compliant forms etc. as well as analytics as you get accurate timesheets every time.

Here’s a handy table to show you the key benefits!

Benefits of Digital TimesheetsExplanation/Scenario
Easy access on multiple devicesDigital timesheets are cloud-based, allowing employees to access and input data from any device, be it a smartphone, tablet or a computer. This is especially beneficial for businesses with remote workers.
Can extract data for reports more easilyUnlike manual timesheets, digital versions can quickly be integrated into existing reports. You can also add output templates to automatically create reports, saving valuable time.
Data issues are easier to detect (Easy data correction)Digital timesheets enhance transparency, making it simpler to spot and correct errors. Traditional timesheets require manual scanning of pages to find and correct mistakes.
Lowers admin cost and timeDigital timesheets automate many processes, such as approvals and leave requests, reducing the workload on administrative staff and saving money.
Easy to customise and expand for new staffDigital timesheets can be tailored to specific business needs and can easily accommodate new employees as the business grows.
Integration to other business functionsdigital timesheets can integrate with other business functions like payroll and accounting, streamlining processes and increasing accuracy.
Reminds staff to fill inYou can send Digital timesheets as tasks, which can generate reminders to employees to input their data, ensuring up-to-date records and promoting consistent data entry habits.
Reduces loss of dataUnlike paper timesheets that can be lost or damaged, digital timesheets store data in the cloud, ensuring data safety and easy retrieval.
Improve data accuracyDigital timesheets allow for precise time tracking, eliminating the need for employees to estimate or recall their hours, or manually enter data leading to more accurate pay and billing.
Easy to plan employee scheduling and optimise workflowDigital timesheets and the forms2 Task Calendar provide insights into employee availability, making it easier to allocate tasks and plan projects.
Spot and act on patterns quicklyDigital timesheets offer insights into employee work patterns, allowing for quick adjustments and optimisation of workflows as you’re tracking time spent on projects.
Have multiple backups of dataDigital timesheets allow for data to be backed up in multiple locations, including third-party cloud storage, ensuring data safety and accessibility. A paper timesheet can get lost, but an online timesheet app you create for time tracking can’t go missing.

Let’s look a little closer with examples from your industry.

1. Real-time Tracking…of time!

In Hospitality, for example, managers can use digital timesheets to instantly see which staff members are on duty, ensuring that there’s always adequate coverage during peak dining or check-in times. They can also see who is working overtime hours, who is late for their shift and who should have gone home half an hour ago! Just one of the key benefits of digital time sheets. We know this works, because European Camping Group uses our digital form platform to create digital forms for hospitality and facility management!

2. Accuracy and Reduced Errors in Time Reporting

Digital timesheets can be used to make sure consultants and field engineers are paid accurately as you track time per job. In Engineering, for example, automated calculations in digital timesheets eliminate manual errors, ensuring that engineers and technicians are paid accurately for their hours worked, including overtime. This is especially useful if you have monthly and hourly employees or freelancers/contractors working for you.

3. Instant Submission and Approval

Digital timesheets can be used by workers in the field to submit their timesheets immediately after their shift, and supervisors can approve them on the go, speeding up the payroll process. This means they don’t have to come back to the office and clock in by submitting a timesheet on paper – time tracking is automatic. You can also cross reference location with GPS tracking elements if you set up your digital timesheet/online timesheets to do so.

4. Accessibility from Any Device

Construction sites can be busy and in far-off locations, miles away from the office. With a digital timesheet, workers on-site can log hours from their smartphones or tablets without needing to return to an office or trailer to fill out paper forms and a paper timesheet that will undoubtedly get damaged onsite. AND online timesheets won’t get lost in transit! We know they work because we specialise in digital forms for construction!

5. Automated Reminders

You can use digital timesheets to set up automated reminders for staff. Staff can receive notifications to submit their timesheets at an allocated time set by a manager, after their shift for example. This ensures that submissions of timesheets are done then and there, reducing the administrative burden on HR having to chase up forms or chase employees for the number of hours they’ve worked. It’s all automated!

6. Lone Worker Safety Features

We’ve covered the benefits of lone worker protection apps and forms, did we mention that digital timesheets are especially beneficial for facility managers working alone in large complexes or during off-hours? With integrated safety features you can send alerts if check-ins are missed and escalate in-line with your lone worker processes. You can also set up a digital timesheet to ping a message to the manager if they miss their shift or don’t clock out.

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7. Integration with Payroll Systems

Payroll has enough on their plate. Chasing paper forms, manually entering data and generating reports is the last thing they need! Digital timesheets can be directly integrated with payroll software, excel and Google Sheets, ensuring that staff are paid promptly and accurately for the time they’ve worked and payroll doesn’t have to manually input any data! It’s a win/win that unclogs your payroll system.

8. Environmental Benefits

We’re all about sustainable practices here at forms2, and digital forms help reduce waste and save the planet so we’re happy to say that digital timesheets reduce the need for paper, supporting eco-friendly initiatives and align with the sustainable practices that forward-thinking organisations like yours are turning to!

Read a case study (or watch the video below) about how our digital form and business app customers actually saved over £30,000 per annum just by reducing paper and fuel costs!

View the testimonial and digital forms case study here.

9. Data Security

By using digital timesheets, and storing them on the cloud, you’re encrypting data with secure storage features that are compliant with GDPR and HIIPA, not only ensuring that sensitive information, like hours worked on confidential projects, remains protected but that data leaks are less likely to occur – yes low-code no code apps are safe.

10. Historical Data Access

You need access to timesheet data without digging into paper manilla folders and filing cabinets! Supervisors and managers will love digital timesheets because they can easily access past timesheets to review labour times on previous projects, which helps with future project planning as you know how long a project takes historically. You can generate reports on potential billable hours ahead of time.

11. Customisable Fields

Paper forms can take ages to be changed, especially if your admin team is busy. Digital timesheets can be tailored to capture specific data, like machine operation hours or task-specific time logs, providing insights into production efficiency and changes on the fly by managers with a drag-and-drop no-code platform like ours at forms2. You can also manage projects in real-time and change fields when necessary.

Seriously, it’s super easy to make a digital timesheet and digital form – try it here.

Try the EASIEST mobile form builder

14-day free trial

12. Cost Savings

Perhaps the most important benefits of digital timesheets is that they save money. They eliminate printing and storage costs and reduce the administrative hours spent on manual entry and timesheet consolidation. Our client European Camping Group actually saved MILLIONS just by changing to paper forms, and TD Construction saved £30,000 almost overnight – check out or digital forms and mobile apps case studies.

13. Real-time Updates and Edits

Need to change an element of your timesheet? Tack something on to the deliverables? Track time spent on something? No problem. If there’s a change in project codes or tasks, digital timesheets can be updated instantly by managers in the office or if they have access, on their phone or tablet. This is good if engineers need to always log hours on specific tasks or if the client has added an extra deliverable mid-project.

14. Transparency and Accountability

With digital timesheets or electronic timesheets as they’re otherwise known, there’s a clear record of clock-ins and clock-outs, reducing disputes over hours worked. This not only helps you build trust between workers and management but also helps you show clients you’re putting the time into a project you said you would. Our customer ArtSystems did just that! They used digital timesheets and mobile forms to show that they’d completed jobs on time, gaining sign-off with digital signature and contactless signature capture with detailed reports to ensure transparency and accountability on both sides!

15. Automated Backup and Storage

Wave goodbye to manual paper filing! With electronic timesheets, you automatically back them up in your cloud storage or tech stack. This is a major benefit of digital timesheets because ZERO data is lost due to physical damage or misplacement. AND you never have to worry about Steve from the warehouse’s writing ever again (sorry Steve). This is crucial for audit trails and compliance, but also makes life much easier for the legal team!

16. Improved Team Performance

Digital timesheets improve team performance and help you identify where team members may be struggling or over performing. Managers can access valuable insights into team performance by looking at real-time project data and allocating resources where needed. You can also use digital timesheets to make sure that the right people are working on the right projects at the right time. It’s basically better resource management, through analytics. This majorly enhances team collaboration as you can get the right team members together, move others to other projects and make sure the project is a success. Project management with our no code timesheet apps increase employee productivity.

Digital Timesheets vs Paper Timesheets

When it comes to digital timesheets vs. paper timesheets, the major benefit is that they are almost foolproof – you can’t “lose” them and they’re easily recallable as they’re stored in the cloud.
Here’s the major benefits of digital timesheets vs. paper in a handy table for you!

BenefitDigital TimesheetsPaper Timesheets
AccessibilityAccessible from any device, anywhere, anytime.Limited to a physical location; can be misplaced or lost.
Data AccuracyAutomated calculations reduce errors; precise time tracking.Manual calculations can lead to errors; paper relies on someone’s memory to recall issues (you know you’ll forget!)
IntegrationCan integrate with payroll, accounting and analyticsg software.Requires manual data entry into other systems.
Backup and StorageAutomatically backed up in the cloud; easy retrieval.Risk of damage or loss; physical storage needed.
Real-time UpdatesInstant updates and edits; real-time tracking.Updates require new entries; delays in data reflection.
Environmental ImpactEco-friendly; reduces paper waste.Consumes paper; greater environmental footprint.
Cost EfficiencySaves on printing and storage costs; reduces admin time.Incurs printing and storage costs; more admin work.
Data SecurityEncrypted and secure storage; controlled access.Risk of unauthorised access; physical breaches.
CustomisationFlexible and customisable to specific business needs.Rigid format; limited customisation.
Reminders and NotificationsAutomated reminders for submissions and approvals.No reminders; relies on manual follow-ups.

How to Choose the Right Digital Timesheet Software

We know there are a lot of options out there when it comes to digital timesheets and time tracking software, so make sure you’re choosing the right one. If you are considering making the switch to digital from paper forms and timesheets make sure your business app or digital timesheet software provides the following:

  • User-Friendly Interface – is it easy to navigate and get used to?
  • Customisable– can you customize the interface and forms to your business needs?
  • Mobile Compatibility- is every sheet compatible with multiple devices like Windows, iOS and Android?
  • Reporting Capabilities – can you access your timesheets through your tech stack?
  • Scalability- can you scale your timesheets to account for new employees as your business grows?
  • Security- is your data secure? Is it compliant with international and GDPR laws?

Fortunately, we’ve made the forms2 platform easy to use, fully customizable, and compatible with all mobile devices, Windows, iOS and Android devices, it can connect to your tech stack, you can scale when you need to and we’re secure.

You could say we tick all the boxes!

The forms2 platform also offers a cost-effective option to create digital timesheets. In fact, at prices starting from $18* per user per month, we’re actually one of the cheapest no-code platforms for enterprise organisations out there!

Don’t just take our word for it, check out our mobile form and business app case studies too!

Speak to a platform specialist today about getting up and running with your digital timesheets, employee timesheet software, mobile forms and business apps. Go from no-code beginner to expert in days, not months.

ry the EASIEST mobile form builder

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