Why paperless timesheets are the future

by Liam Martin
paperless timesheet

If you’re searching for the best paperless timesheet solution, you’re in the right place!

Whether you’re a business owner looking for an easy way to record employee hours or a freelancer who needs to track hours to bill clients accurately, timesheets may be the answer. 

But traditional paper-based timesheets are outdated and leave too much room for errors. Thankfully, there’s a better solution — using timesheet software.

In this article, we’ll explain why you should switch to paperless timesheets. We’ll also highlight the five best timesheet software to help you choose the right solution for your needs. 

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Let’s get started.

What are timesheets?

A timesheet is a tool used to record the working hours of a particular employee. This information is recorded on a data table for a selected period. 

Companies need to accurately account for employees’ work hours for client billing, payroll, and legal purposes. This includes recording when an employee starts and finishes work daily, as well as their time off. 

You can use various methods to record time, including the traditional hardcopy paper timesheets or paperless timesheets. 

But what’s a paperless timesheet?

A paperless timesheet is also known as a digital timesheet or an electronic timesheet. It’s managed with the help of a computer. 

There are two common types of paperless timesheets:

1. Spreadsheet-based timesheets

You can use Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or a similar spreadsheet app to record employee hours manually

These timesheets usually have space for workers to record their daily clock in and clock out times. It also has a section for them to record hours for vacation, illness, or paid time off. 

Alternatively, you could download a timesheet template to make the process easier. 

However, you’d still need to ensure employees are diligently keeping track of their hours. 

You also need to spend time reviewing each timesheet carefully — which is why most people prefer going the software route when it comes to paperless timesheets. 

2. Online timesheet software

Using online timesheet software is another popular method of tracking and recording employee hours. 

Most software usually requires you to download the app onto the employee’s computer first. The app will track time automatically when they turn the computer on or let employees manually record time.

Timesheets are then generated based on these time entries – which you can use for various purposes, including tracking paid time off, payroll and billing, and even productivity monitoring. 

Why should you use a paperless timesheet solution

Here are five reasons why you should be using a paperless system:

1. Traditional timesheets can be unreliable

Paper form timesheets are the traditional way of recording employee hours. However, they’re unreliable because they’re subject to human error and employee time theft

There’s no way you can guarantee that employees aren’t marking attendance for their absent co-workers. Additionally, you won’t be able to tell if employees are actually working once they clock in.  

Due to this inaccuracy, you could be overpaying or underpaying your employees. If you underpay employees, you risk causing dissatisfaction among your team. And if you overpay them, you’re negatively impacting your company’s profit margins. 

2. Digital timesheets are easy to access and process

In the case of paper timesheets, you’ll have to design and print them before ensuring they’re accessible to every employee. Your team may also be resistant to filling these timesheets on time and accurately. 

Keeping accurate paper timesheets for remote and hybrid teams would be practically impossible. It would involve mountains of paperwork and take a long time to submit timesheets to your HR department for manual filing. 

In contrast, employees can fill out digital timesheets from anywhere, at any time.  

And if you use time tracking apps, most of them let employees clock in from any location. This is beneficial to remote employees because they won’t need to come to the job site to sign in or submit timesheets. 

3. Can analyze employee productivity with digital timesheets

Digital employee timesheets store information in a single database, enabling employers to quickly and easily analyze productivity

The best timesheet software has built-in reporting features to make analysis even more convenient. This way, you can generate reports for individual employees, groups of employees, or departments. 

4. Quickly identify and correct errors with online timesheets

With a paper timesheet system, identifying and correcting timesheet errors will be difficult. There’s also a chance that mistakes will go unchecked. 

Digital timesheets, particularly time tracking software, are a lot more accurate when recording time. Additionally, you can identify and correct mistakes quickly because all the information is visible in one place. 

With digital timesheets, when you edit your hours, it records each amendment. So, there’s a lesser chance of employee time fraud and theft. 

5. Digital timesheets simplify payroll and attendance management 

Choosing a digital timesheet system will help simplify your HR (Human Resources) processes and free up time. 

With a digital timesheet, you can integrate your HR and payroll system.

Paying employees will be easier because all their billable hours will be available digitally. You can easily extract their hours and calculate each employee’s wages precisely.

Some solutions even calculate wages automatically based on total hours tracked for a particular pay period. 

And having employee attendance details stored online means you can quickly access their PTO (Paid Time Off) and sick leave information. For example, if an employee requests time off, you can quickly see if they have any leave days available. 

So what is the best way to track and record work hours?

Using time tracking software is the most reliable and easily accessible timesheet option. It’s also more versatile than paper or spreadsheet-based timesheets because it offers benefits for productivity measuring, paperless payroll, etc. 

3 key features to look for in a timesheet app 

Let’s look at some of the features a good timesheet app should have:

1. Automated timesheets

The best employee timesheet apps should automatically generate a daily or weekly timesheet based on tracked hours. Because time tracking apps generate timesheets automatically, employees can’t enter the wrong hours or commit time theft.

You also won’t have to consolidate and calculate hours individually for each employee individually. 

2. Compatibility

The software you choose should be easily accessible and offer employees self-service. This way, they can track their hours whether they’re working in the office, from home, or elsewhere. 

A cloud-based app can offer greater flexibility because you can access timesheet data even when working remotely

The best software lets you track time from your work computer, laptop, and mobile device. This way, employees can fill in their hours without even physically coming into the office. 

Additionally, the supervisor or approver can review timesheets and approve them based on attendance regardless of an employee’s geographic location.

3. Integrations with other apps

The best timesheet software can integrate with your existing work tools. 

For example, you could integrate it with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool like Salesforce or a project management software like Basecamp

The timesheet software you choose should connect with your tools to streamline your work processes and improve productivity. 

Top 5 paperless timesheet apps in 2021

The most accurate and easiest way of recording billable hours is using online timesheet software. 

Here are our picks for the best paperless timesheet apps in 2021:

1. Time Doctor

time doctor

Time Doctor is a feature-rich timesheet and performance management app used by large corporations as well as medium and small businesses like Firehouse Subs.

Time Doctor is a better solution than paper timesheets or spreadsheet-based timesheets because it accurately records time and offers a host of useful productivity features. 

A. Key features

Here’s how Time Doctor helps improve your team’s time management:

1. Interactive or automatic time tracking

Time Doctor offers both interactive and automatic time tracking. 

Here’s how the interactive time tracking feature works:

  • You start the timer to begin recording time. 
  • The app tracks their hours in real-time and provides a breakdown of tracked time based on client, project, and task
  • You stop the timer when your task is complete. 

You can also differentiate between time spent working and wasted time and identify the tasks and projects that take up the most time. 

Easy and accurate time tracking

Note: You can also track time automatically without having to click on the timer to start recording.

2. Advanced reporting

Time Doctor offers a range of comprehensive reports to help you record time as well as analyze productivity. 

Time Doctor gives you access to these detailed timesheet reports:

  • Activity summary: See the active minutes, active seconds, unproductive, manual, and mobile time for each employee over a selected period.
  • Attendance report: Know you when an employee is present, absent, partially absent, or late, and attendance information in real-time.
  • Hours tracked: View how many hours your employees tracked per day, per week, or for any date range you select.
  • Projects & tasks: Shows time spent on individual projects and tasks. 
  • Web & app usage: See the time spent on different websites and applications.
  • Custom export: Customize what you’d like to include in a report without having to download individual reports from multiple pages.
  • Timeline reports: The daily report shows how much time employees spent on tasks and breaks daily. The weekly report shows the time tracked by your team in a week.
Attendance Reports
3. Payroll 

For a paperless payroll system, you can enable the payroll feature. You can then make payments to employees and freelancers directly using PayPal, Wise, etc. 

With Time Doctor’s payroll feature, you can:

  • Make payments in all currencies based on your employees’ timesheets. 
  • Automate timesheets and upload them for batch payments to pay multiple employees. 
  • Set up payroll for salaried or hourly employees. 
Time Doctor Payroll Feature
4. Screencasts

Once the screencasts feature is enabled, Time Doctor takes screenshots of your employees’ screens so that you can see what they’re doing at specific intervals. 

This way, you won’t just see timesheets of tracked hours; you’ll be able to see if employees are actually working during those times! 

It can also record three-minute videos of your employee’s screen when their timer is running.

Time Doctor screencasts

Note: To protect employees’ privacy, you can delete or blur screenshots containing personal or sensitive information.

5. Integrations

To help you maximize your productivity and track time across other apps you already use, Time Doctor supports 50+ integrations. Integrations available include popular project management apps like Asana, Trello, and more.

time doctor integrations

B. Pros

  • Manual and automatic time tracking.
  • Supports offline time tracking.
  • Employee-friendly settings.
  • Assign tasks and projects to employees and teams.
  • Set productivity ratings to track your employee’s unproductive time.
  • Idle time reports for each employee or worker.
  • Stringent privacy and data security policies.
  • Desktop apps for Mac, Ubuntu, and Windows, as well as a robust Android app.

C. Pricing

Time Doctor’s paid plans start at $7/month per user. You can also sign up for a free 14-day trial (no credit card required.)

D. Customer ratings

  • Capterra: 4.5/5 (‎320+ reviews)
  • G2: 4.4/5 (‎180+ reviews)

2. Log My Hours 

Log my hours

Log My Hours is a time tracking app that lets you pay your team and invoice clients based on tracked data. 

If you want a very feature-rich app, this is probably not the one for you because it has limited functionality and doesn’t offer features like screenshots, idle time tracking, etc. 

A. Key features

  • Timesheet management features let you manually edit time, add tags or notes to explain edits. 
  • Lets you store advance payments as an invoice retainer and apply it to invoices in the future. 
  • Set budgets based on total timesheet hours. 
  • The manager can approve or reject timecards with a single click. 

B. Pricing

Paid plans start at $8/user per month. 

C. Customer ratings

  • G2: N/A 
  • Capterra: 4.8/5 (20+ reviews)

3. ClickTime


ClickTime is a timesheet software that helps you see what resources you have available for upcoming projects and plan better. 

While it does let you track time and budgets, it doesn’t show which apps and websites your team visits during work hours – so measuring productivity can be challenging. 

A. Key features

  • Timesheets give insight into employee time, administration expense, overtime per contractor, employee, or project.
  • Dashboard with a bird’s-eye view of each project lets you measure progress against goals and manage budgets. 
  • Generate more than 80 reports in graph and chart form. 
  • Offers a web app, Chrome extension, and a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.

B. Pricing  

Paid plans start at $12/user per month. 

C. Customer ratings

  • G2: 4.4/5 (‎150+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (190+‎ reviews)

4. Hours


Hours is a simple time tracking tool that you can use with or without an Apple watch to clock in and out of work or to time a particular task. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the convenience of third-party app integrations for flexible time tracking. 

A. Key features

  • A timesheet feature on the main page lets you record and edit your timesheet for specific projects.
  • Displays timesheets in a graphical representation on the reporting dashboard. 
  • For Mac users, it syncs data across the web app, iOS and Apple watch, so you can easily switch between devices and timers.
  • The convenient invoicing feature lets you customize your invoice, add your hours, and include timer notes if necessary.

B. Pricing

Paid plans start at $8/user per month. 

C. Customer ratings

  • G2: N/A
  • Capterra: N/A

5. Everhour


Everhour is a timesheet tool for budgeting, client invoicing, and payroll management. It’s mainly a timesheet app for financial management purposes, so it doesn’t help with productivity measuring.

A. Key Features

  • Timesheet customization based on the information you need.
  • Helps you manage employee workloads better by letting you view what employees are currently working on to allocate tasks accordingly. 
  • Stop an employee’s timer remotely and send them an email notification. 

B. Pricing

Paid plans start at $10/user per month. 

C. Customer Rating

  • G2: 4.7/5 (100+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (250+ reviews)

Final Thoughts

Paper timesheets are no longer sufficient for accurate timekeeping — mainly because there are many more convenient and precise options available today. 

Using electronic timesheets, like timesheet software, is a far superior solution. 

Just go through the tools we covered here, and you’ll be able to choose the ideal paperless timesheet solution for your needs. 

To get started, why not sign up for a free trial of Time Doctor today?

View a free demo of Time Doctor

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time doctor ratings

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