How to prep & fill out your timesheets this year


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Running a business means taking the proper steps to ensure your employees are working efficiently and are paid accurately for their time. To ensure this happens and to improve workflow management, you have to use timesheets. These confirm that your employees will be paid correctly for the amount of time they worked.

How to fill out a timesheet: Step-by-step instructions

Step 1: Enter the employee’s name

Enter the person’s name whose working hours you are recording.

Step 2: Add a date range

Enter the date range of working days on the timesheet; this may be a daily, weekly, or monthly timesheet.

Step 3: Add project details

Include the tasks the employee was working on during this time period; in some cases, you may be able to group these tasks into projects or categories to gain insight into how the employee’s time was spent.

Step 4: Include working hours for work days

Within each day of the week, record the hours an employee worked. This view will help you see on which days an employee puts in the most or least hours.

Step 5: Determine total hours

Once all days are filled in, calculate the total amount of hours worked within the time period, and fill in the total time in the total column.

Step 6: Get approval from a supervisor

  • After the timesheet is filled out, it should be given to a designated supervisor for approval. After the details have been verified, the timesheet should be signed and submitted to the appropriate parties.

How do timesheets work?

A timesheet is a record of the number of hours an employee works during a specific period of time. It also records projects and tasks and how many hours an employee spends completing them. Timesheets are usually filled out by the employee, and it’s important they always submit them on time. If you’re struggling to get your employees to submit timesheets on time, send out reminders in advance so employees know exactly when they’re due. It’s good to discuss the significance of timesheets with your employees so they know to be punctual in completing and submitting them.

There are various types of timesheets that may work for your business. Timesheets essentially require employees to record the number of hours worked during a specific time period and the tasks that they completed. This information is recorded on a daily basis and then totaled at the end of the workweek. While this is generally how timesheets work, the information that you actually have to input differs for each type. These are the different types of timesheets:

  • Monthly timesheets
  • Semimonthly timesheets
  • Weekly timesheets
  • Biweekly timesheets
  • Daily hourly timesheets for employees
  • Daily timesheets for supervisors
  • Project timesheets

There’s also a difference between hourly and salary timecards. For a salaried employee, a timesheet is used only for recording overtime hours, vacation, or sick time hours. It’s not used to record the number of regular hours worked on a daily basis.

However, for hourly employees, a timesheet is needed daily. A timesheet is essential to make sure that hourly employees are paid accurately for the time they work. You should record all hours worked for hourly employees, as well as overtime, vacation, and sick time.

Why you need to fill out your timesheets

Timesheets are useful for many reasons beyond just paying your employees correctly. There are myriad reasons why it’s important to fill out your timesheet, such as:

  • Get help with payroll. You never want to end up in a situation where you’ve accidentally paid an employee too much or too little. But with a timesheet, that won’t happen. Timesheets help to reconcile payroll so you can make sure that the work hours listed on the timesheet match the hours on your payroll register. They’re also useful to set up payroll for remote workers as you can access time tracking software from anywhere.
  • Track project costs. As a business owner, you must be aware of how much money you allocate to certain projects and whether you’re billing your customers a fair hourly rate. Timesheets can help you track whether you’re making or losing money on projects, which can ultimately save your business money.
  • Bill more accurately. If you deal with a lot of clients, employee timesheets can help you bill more accurately. When used on a project management basis, a timesheet presents a comprehensive view of the exact time spent on a particular initiative. They are helpful in reassuring your clients that you’re handling their projects correctly and not wasting any of their money while doing so.
  • Measure employee performance. If you’re looking for a way to measure employee performance, timesheets are the way to go. You can track employee time, which will give you better insight into how your employees spend their days. This insight can improve employee performance and productivity in the office.
  • Save money. Timesheets ultimately can save your business money. They tell you exactly what projects your employees are working on and how much work time they spend on them. This can help to pinpoint employees who need to improve their time management, as well as employees who need incentive. It can also make you more aware of any tasks that you’re allocating too much money to so you know to cut back.
  • Improve workflow efficiency. Timesheets give you a better understanding of the work your employees are doing. You can use that to improve the workflow efficiency for approvers in the human resources/payroll office. With a timesheet, you can get a better idea of what projects need more time and resources and which projects need less. This can help delegate responsibilities as well, so you don’t have too many employees working on a single project.

What should be included in a timesheet?

A timesheet should be organized and easy to read. Regardless of the type of timesheet you use, this is what should be included on it:

  • Name
  • Pay period
  • Dates worked
  • Hours worked
  • Clock in/out times
  • Total working hours

It’s also important to note any vacations, overtime, or sick time that your employees take. If they earn paid time off or overtime pay, this will help ensure they’re compensated appropriately.

How to fill out timesheets: FAQs

How do employees fill out timesheets?

There are a few ways you can get your employees to fill out their timesheets. You can use paper timesheets and have them clock in and out with time tracking software, like time card apps. Or, you can have them fill out their timesheets themselves, which can be done easily with a free timesheet template. You can also use Excel for time tracking. In this case, you’ll want to check out Excel tips and tricks so you can successfully manage your timesheets. It doesn’t matter how you go about time tracking, as long as your employees complete their timesheets accurately and submit them on time.

How do you calculate minutes on a timesheet?

Calculating minutes on a timesheet is a relatively simple process. Just think of the hour as four segments. For example, if you’re not sure how to enter a half-hour on a timesheet, just think of it as 0.50 hours. Another way to think of it is to divide your minutes by 60. If someone works 10 hours and 30 minutes, record it as 10.5 hours on the timesheet.

What is the difference between timesheets and time cards?

Timesheets and time cards are essentially the same thing, with a few minor differences. They both record the amount of hours spent working, but a timesheet includes more information. A time card is used to record only an employee’s clock in and clock out times. A timesheet is also used for recording time in and time out details, but also for recording projects, billing clients, and running payroll. A timesheet goes more in-depth about an employee’s workday than a time card does.

You should now have a better understanding of how to fill out a timesheet and why timesheets are essential for the success of your business. Not only do timesheets help you accurately pay your employees, they can also help to improve the efficiency of your business. Using timesheets is important for every business owner, and QuickBooks time tracking is a great software that can help you boost your business in no time.

This article originally appeared on the Quickbooks Resource Center and was syndicated by

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