Looking for an excellent consultant timesheet template?
Consultant timesheets and time cards help you track the work hours of your consultants. The data they collect is necessary for accurate billing and will also help you identify the time your consultants spent on each task.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about consultant timesheets.
We’ll highlight some downloadable consultant timesheet templates, all in a printable format, and also list the disadvantages of using timesheets. Finally, we’ll give you the perfect alternative to using consultant timesheet templates.
This Article Contains:
(click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- 4 Handy Consultant Timesheet Templates
- What is a Consultant Timesheet?
- How to Choose a Consultant Timesheet Template?
- 3 Benefits of Using Consultant Timesheets
- 2 Tips to Use Consultant Timesheets Efficiently
- 4 Drawbacks of Using Traditional Consultant Timesheets
- The Perfect Alternative to Manual Consultant Timesheets
Let’s get started.
4 handy consultant timesheet templates (free download)
Here are some of the most popular consultant timesheet templates that you can use today.
The best part?
You can download them all in printable PDF format, Word format or Excel format for free!
Note: If you want to know everything about consultant timesheet templates (what they are, their benefits and limitations) before downloading them, skip to this section.
You can always scroll back here once you’re done.
Here are our favourite consultant timesheet templates:
1. Daily timesheets
A daily timesheet template presents a lot of details, with the entries classified on an hourly basis.
2. Weekly timesheets
A weekly timesheet template comes handy when your payment cycles follow a weekly schedule. In a weekly timesheet, the data is tabulated on a weekly basis. And while it’s not as detailed as daily timesheets templates, it makes the data easier to read at one-go.
3. Biweekly timesheets
Bi-weekly timesheets present the data for two weeks. Similar to weekly timesheets, it’s suitable if you’re paying your consultants twice every month.
4. Monthly timesheets
This gives you an overview of the work done by your consultants on a monthly basis. While it isn’t that detailed, monthly timesheets make it easy to create monthly payrolls.
What is a consultant timesheet?
A consultant timesheet is a record of the time a consultant spends on different tasks. It helps you track the start and end time of their work hours and monitor any sick leave they took to pay them accordingly.
How do you maintain timesheets?
Most consultant timesheets are created and maintained using Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or any other spreadsheet app. And while you can use a standard Excel timesheet template instead of starting from scratch every time, it still involves a lot of manual effort.
Remember, these sheets don’t calculate data on their own. Your consultant still has to manually input the data themselves and you have to manually go over to make sense of it all.
However, if you’re a business manager or small business owner, you have to track your consultant’s work hours one way or another. It’s one reason why consultant timesheet templates are still popular — even if they’re inconvenient.
How to choose a consultant timesheet template?
With tons of consultant timesheet templates available online, finding the perfect one can be a challenge.
When looking for a consultant timesheet template, ensure that it covers these three sections:
Section 1: Personal details
This section holds the personal details of every consultant.
Some data fields that could be present here include:
- Consultant’s name
- Manager’s name
- Client’s name
- Project name/code
- Consultant’s phone number
- Hourly rate
Section 2: Table of activities
Here, the details of the tasks done by a consultant are highlighted in a tabular format.
However, the format of the table can vary for different templates.
Generally, the data will be categorized under labels such as:
- Day and date
- Total hours spent on each task
- Overtime hours( optional)
- Total billable hours
- Detailed expenses( optional)
Section 3: Credentials & payment information
Finally, every timesheet should have the payment info of the consultant and their signature. This makes the timesheet double up as a consultant invoice template.
Some of the mandatory information present here include:
- Total amount due
- Consultant’s signature
- Manager’s signature
3 key benefits of using consultant timesheet templates
Here are three key ways a Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets consultant timesheet template can help you out:
1. Streamlined payroll management
Consultants or independent contractors are usually paid by the hour.
So you need to know the exact number of hours they’ve worked for.
Timesheets let you track how long your consultants take to complete each task and also the total time they’ve worked for on a given day. This helps you build an accurate time-map, based on which you can pay them.
But that’s not all.
Timesheets also help you bill your clients.
By going through the timesheets of multiple employees and consultants, you can calculate the total time they’ve spent on a client’s project and generate the invoice accordingly.
2. Simplified budget planning
Let’s say you have to provide an estimate of a project’s cost to a client.
How do you ensure that it’s accurate?
With timesheets, you can record the time taken by your consultants to complete a project.
With this data, you can better calculate your estimates for a future project. You can also devise strategies to minimize your costs and, in turn, maximize your profits.
3. Efficient task management
Tracking the work of a consultant isn’t easy.
The situation is further complicated if you are managing a team of remote workers.
Timesheets provide an overview of all the activities of your consultants. You can use this data to monitor their work or understand their progress.
You can check where your consultants are struggling based on time spent and then train and instruct them accordingly to speed up their work.
2 simple tips to use consultant timesheet templates properly
By now, you must have a fair idea of what a consultant timesheet template is.
But the challenge lies in maintaining the timesheets.
Here are two simple tips to help you out here:
1. Assign project codes
Ever came across two consultants writing the name of the same project differently?
For example, they could both be working on writing a blog post on remote project management.
One of them logs the task as “remote project management,” while the other titles it as “remote pm.” Sure, it’s not a huge difference, but when you’re dealing with Excel sheets, these small changes make it extremely hard to quickly sort things out.
To avoid this, assign codes instead.
Not only will assigning project codes make tracking the work of your consultants easier, but it’ll also help you save time when sorting timesheets for payroll management.
However, ensure that the project codes are simple and relative. You can use initials or abbreviations of the project name instead of a lengthy label.
For example, you can use the codes “PM-…” for projects on project management and give each project a unique number. This way, you’ll instantly know which project a consultant is working on by just looking at the codes in the timesheet.
2. Choose a simple template
When it comes to templates, more detail isn’t necessarily better.
Remember, you don’t want to overwhelm your consultant with fields, as this could lead to mistakes!
To avoid this, choose a simple template that presents the information in an uncluttered format.
Remember, your focus should be on the quality of the information.
For example, if you expect a project to run for a week, you shouldn’t use a monthly timesheet template – as it’ll just be a waste of space.
4 drawbacks of using traditional consultant timesheets
Sure, timesheets have evolved over time and digital timesheets offer way more advantages over the physical ones.
But the drawbacks of using timesheets on MS Excel, Google Docs or Google Sheets remain the same — mostly because these timesheets involve manual data entry and analysis.
Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t use manual consultant timesheets:
1. Differences between actual vs. reported times
The entire concept of timesheets depends on accurate data-entry by your consultants.
You have no option here but to trust them completely.
Even if they do record their activities honestly, there is always room for unintended errors during documentation — which could lead to overbilling or underbilling your clients.
2. No productivity management features
Timesheets can help you track hours, but not the productivity of your consultants.
Monitoring productivity involves analyzing your consultant’s activities during work hours — like the websites they visited, the time spent on it, etc. Only then can you identify productivity bottlenecks and take steps to resolve them.
However, with an Excel sheet, you only get the hours spent on a task and nothing more.
Even if you get a detailed view of your consultant’s activities, you still have to manually enter the data into a system to run an analysis. This can be extremely tedious and time-consuming, which drains your own productivity as a result.
Talk about being counter-intuitive!
3. Tracking payments is a hassle
Timesheets were originally introduced to facilitate payroll management.
However, over time, this has taken a backseat.
To process your consultant’s payments, you need to manually create payrolls and also add their payment details every time. This is counter-intuitive — especially when you consider popular apps, like Paypal, which let you pay anyone with just a click.
4. Chances of data loss
Ever heard of data corruption and data alteration?
If you aren’t familiar with the technical know-how, these are nightmares for any business.
They refer to ways in which you can lose your data — and it’s especially likely with data stored locally on your system.
As timesheets are usually stored locally, you open yourself up to this risk. This can backtrack your progress — especially if you’re handling several projects at once.
The perfect alternative to using consultant timesheet templates
It’s clear that timesheet templates come with a lot of limitations – especially when you’re dealing with consultants and freelancers.
So what’s the workaround?
Use time tracking or timesheet software!
With time tracking tools, you can not only manage timesheets but also gain insights into the productivity of your consultants easily. From recording tasks accurately to generating reports automatically, time-tracking tools can help you every step of the way.
And when it comes to time tracking and employee productivity management tools, there’s nothing as powerful as Time Doctor!
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a popular time-tracking and productivity management software used by large companies as well as SMBs to manage employee productivity.
Here’s how Time Doctor solves all the issues you’d face if you used a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet timesheet:
1. Accurate time tracking
Manually logging work hours in a PDF/Microsoft Word/Excel template isn’t efficient. It relies on constant manual data entry and is prone to tons of errors.
However, Time Doctor features a powerful time tracking and productivity monitoring system that makes tracking your work a piece of cake. In the manual mode, the tool lets your consultants and employees record the time spent on any task or project effortlessly.
All they have to do is:
- Download Time Doctor.
- Sign in with their credentials.
- Enter the task name and project (if required).
- Hit the Start button to start time tracking.
The app will now run in the background and perform an automatic calculation of task time, helping you focus on your tasks.
And once your consultants are done with work or go on a lunch break, they can stop the timer, and the software stops tracking time.
This way, Time Doctor records activity only when the timer is running (during working hours and not during off-time) to safeguard privacy.
Note: Time Doctor also features a silent tracking mode that tracks activities whenever the computer is on.
2. Accurate timesheets and productivity reports
Remember, productivity management is almost impossible with traditional timesheets.
But with Time Doctor, it’s a breeze!
Time Doctor auto-generates accurate timesheets and several productivity reports that give you detailed insights into your consultant’s work.
As the time tracked is accurate to the second, you can use these reports to pay your consultants or bill your clients for the work done.
Time Doctor gives you two timesheet reports:
A. Timeline report
This presents a breakdown of what your employees have worked on throughout the day, how long they’ve taken breaks for and the number of hours they have worked in total.
It also shows the working status of every consultant, along with precise start and end times.
B. Timeline-detailed report
Similar to Timeline Report, this gives you a more detailed view of your consultant’s activities, based on different tasks and projects.
Time Doctor also generates:
- Activity summary report: displays the total time worked, idle time, unproductive time and mobile usage time for each consultant.
- Hours tracked report: shows you how many hours your consultants have tracked over a given period.
- Productivity report: highlights the productive and unproductive time tracked for every consultant.
- Projects & tasks report: gives you the total time your consultants spend on a project, along with the time spent on tasks within each project.
- Web & app usage report: shows an overview of the time spent on different websites and applications
3. Better payroll management
With Time Doctor, you don’t have to rely on an Excel formula to calculate your consultants’ payroll. Instead, it lets you generate payroll invoices and pay your employees with just a click!
You can calculate payrolls based on fixed salaries or hourly rates and even customize it based on parameters like:
- Pay rates
- Consultants you want to include
- Pay period
- Payment methods
Most importantly, all your customizations get automatically saved.
You can also upload your payroll as a CSV file to PayPal or Wise, formerly TransferWise and quickly make a batch payment.
4. Multiple integrations
Your consultants aren’t only going to use one software at work.
They’ll be moving from project management tools to communication apps and more.
So how do they maintain their productivity across these tools?
Integrated with over 50 popular apps, including Zendesk, GSuite, HubSpot, Office 365 and GitHub, Time Doctor makes time tracking and employee productivity management easier than ever!
Your consultants can use Time Doctor across your workplace software — without having to switch between several tabs!
Sure, monitoring your consultants’ hours can be tiresome.
But it’s also crucial to ensure that they remain productive and are paid accurately for their work.
And while you can use the free timesheet templates we’ve highlighted here, there are simply far too many issues associated with them.
Instead, just use a powerful employee productivity and time tracking tool like Time Doctor.
Not only will it take the load off your shoulders, but it’ll also make it easier for your consultants and employees to record their work hours and remain productive.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial today and experience it yourself!
Carlo Borja is the Head of Content Marketing for Time Doctor, a productivity analytics software for distributed teams. He is a remote work advocate, a father and a coffee junkie.