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Speed up payroll processing for small business

Is it time to switch to cloud based-online timesheets?

Cloud-technology is rapidly changing the way small business owners do business. It’s making previously expensive technology affordable and accessible to anyone with a mobile phone.

Now your business, no matter what size, can have a state-of-the-art, easy-to-use staff scheduling and time-recording system. It’ll save you hours of admin, improve staff engagement and help you get the most from your spend on wages. TSheets took us through some of the benefits.

Five problems with paper-based time tracking and scheduling

Paper-based systems can get the job done, but they’re far from ideal. They slow you down, introduce errors and distract people from their primary job.

  1. Paper schedules are inflexible and difficult to update
    A work schedule is right at the time you post it, but things change quickly. People take leave or call in sick and there’s no way to fill those shifts without getting on the phone and ringing around. None of your staff knows that a shift has opened up.Plus paper schedules can sometimes cause confusion for workers. In the mess of names, dates and times, it’s not unheard of for employees to mix up the dates of their shift, or confuse their starting times with someone else’s.
  2. Paper timesheets leave your business vulnerable to time theft
    Paper-based time tracking systems are prone to guesswork and the generous rounding up of hours. According to a survey from Software Advice, nearly half of all hourly workers admit to exaggerating the amount of time they work each shift.Overestimating a few minutes here or there might seem harmless, but that time adds up. A study by the American Payroll Association found that over the course of a year, time theft can cost a business up to 7% of its annual gross payroll. With a paper-based system, there’s no way for you to monitor – or address – this behaviour.
  3. Your employees hate the paperwork
    Time recording can become a job in itself. Staff members who’ve had a big day don’t like the extra administrative burden of filling out forms. And when they treat it like an unwanted chore, the data can get sloppy. The guys at TSheets have heard of uncooperative workers handing in their time on a paper cup.
  4. Small errors can have large repercussions
    Manual time tracking relies on employees writing down their hours, which you – or your payroll manager – must enter into a database. But this system can be undone by something as innocent as misreading an employee’s handwriting. A three might look like a five. A two might look like a seven. And then there are keystroke errors that sometimes happen when data is being transcribed into payroll. If a dispute arises, it can be hard to find where things went wrong.
  5. Manually processing timesheets slow down your business
    Staff often need a nudge to complete and hand in their timesheets. Then the numbers have to be punched into payroll. That double handling chews through a lot of time. It’s either a distraction to you, or it’s costing you a lot of unnecessary wages. Manual scheduling is also complex, difficult and time-consuming.

Paper-based time tracking systems are prone to guesswork and the generous rounding up of hours. Nearly half of all hourly workers admit to exaggerating the amount of time they work each shift.

The advantages of online timesheets

Smart time-tracking software won’t just give you an accurate record of hours worked, it will also give you powerful scheduling tools. All-in-one apps, like TSheets, make smart use of your employee’s mobile devices by enabling:

  • you to post staff rosters to their phones and make updates as things change
  • employees to clock on and off, and request leave, using their phone

These systems don’t require you to install any hardware and they can dramatically improve how you manage your human resources.

Real-time scheduling
A smart online timesheets package will include scheduling software that lets you publish employee rosters to their mobile phones. You can even assign jobs to individual staff members, which they receive via a phone notification. If someone needs time off, they can request it via their phone and you can advertise the open shift to the rest of your employees using the app.

Accurate mobile time tracking
Employees who use online timesheets can clock on and off with their mobile. This eliminates paperwork and guesswork. The system captures the precise start and end time so you have an accurate record of hours worked. GPS stamping shows where each employee is when they clock on and off, so you can make sure they’re actually at work.

This needn’t be seen as a tool for micro-management or surveillance. The real-time communication works both ways. Staff can easily record their breaks, submit timesheets and request leave.

Better communication with your staff
Cloud time-tracking software can alert you or your employee when their hours are approaching overtime or when a timesheet is ready for approval. With instant message alerts, you can notify your team as soon as you’ve published a new schedule or a new shift becomes available.

See where your investment is going
You can see how staff spend time by having them enter specific job and client codes into their online timesheets. This allows you to itemise your bills, or justify your invoices if they’re queried. It can also reveal if employees are getting stuck on certain tasks. The information could help you identify workflow problems that are wasting time and costing you money.

Seamless integration saves time on administration
The right online timesheets system will integrate with your other business software to automate a whole bunch of jobs you may do manually at the moment. The data can flow into your payroll system, which will calculate the tax and pay for each employee. And online timesheets can also update your accounting software, so you see how much you’re spending on wages day by day and hour by hour.

Forget manual scheduling and paper timesheets

Online timesheets with built-in scheduling functions make staff management so much simpler and far more accurate. That high-quality data becomes really valuable when you integrate it with other cloud accounting software. You’ll be able to automate payroll, and gain new insights into how efficiently your business runs. You’ll see if:

  • customers are being charged appropriately
  • internal bottlenecks are wasting staff time

Consider how this sort of convenience and knowledge could make your business faster, smarter and more profitable.

Thanks to Xero for allowing us to share this article with you.

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Specialising in Xero bookkeeping, Notch Above is a Brisbane bookkeeper and BAS Agent located in Alderley that offers Xero setup, as well as training and ongoing support. Notch Above can take care of all the bookkeeping tasks you would rather not do, like bank reconciliations, supplier payments, payroll services, debtor control and BAS returns.

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