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Is timesheet management the weak link in your chain?


When your staff management system works, the right amount ends up in employees’ bank accounts, and you stay within your staffing budget. It sounds simple. But to reach this outcome, you need a whole series of steps to be correct, and in line with your business rules.Timesheet management is the step in that process where many businesses are vulnerable. Incorrect data is captured. Business rules for rostering aren’t followed. And managers don’t detect these inconsistencies and errors, so their effects multiply down the chain. The end result has two main risks. If you underpay staff, you risk not complying with the Award. Overpay staff, and you risk blowing out your staffing budget.In our previous post, we examined time & attendance (also known as time clocking): how automation makes it easier to pinpoint when employees start and finish. Now we’ll go a level up. We’ll explore the pitfalls in time-sheet management, and what you can do to fix them.

Are mistakes inevitable?

In an ideal world, managers would have the time to check every timesheet thoroughly. However, with the volume of timesheets passing their desks, this isn’t always practicable. Mistakes slip in and are passed on down the payment chain.

Sometimes, the error will be a simple slip-up in data entry. Other times, though, an employee may input hours that don’t fit your business rules. The information is accurate, but out of line.

The role of automation

Whenever human error is a factor, automation can help. Your organisation can set timesheet rules for scenarios including:

  • start times
  • end times
  • paid/unpaid breaks
  • shift rounding
  • enforcing roster times

When your workforce management software detects a conflict, a good workforce management system will flag it with you, provide an explanation, and suggest a solution. Instead of needing to review every single timesheet, a manager just has to check the exceptions flagged for attention.

Chelsea and Adam

Let’s say Chelsea works as a pharmacy assistant. Her manager, Kim, knows that a large shipment is going to be delivered early on Tuesday morning, so Kim asks Chelsea to come in earlier than usual just so someone’s there. When Chelsea submits her timesheet, the software flags that on Tuesday, Chelsea started earlier than her standard rostered hours. Chelsea also left a message as she clocked on to let Kim know. The manager approves this, and Chelsea gets paid extra. Kim has been able to make an informed decision when approving Chelsea’s timesheet. This will also show up on a variance report, so upper-management is across any trends in deviations from standard hours.

That same pay period, Kim notices something odd in another timesheet. Adam, another assistant, has clocked his lunch-break as being a whole half an hour longer than usual. Kim asks Adam about it, and he explains he got held up in the queues at JB-Hi Fi, buying the new Grand Theft Auto. Kim decides not to approve the extra break time, so the system docks Adam’s pay for that half-hour.

Where does automation fit in your business?

Timesheet management is always going to need managers’ input to deal with the exceptions, like Chelsea and Adam. We see the role of automation as supporting managers’ decision-making and quality assurance. Automation makes it easier and quicker to get closer to 100% accuracy in your timesheets. So the right amount comes out at the end of the chain.

If you are having trouble managing your time sheets, or want to know more about what automated time sheets can do for you, sign up for our Health Check. Normally valued at $1495 we are offering it free for a limited time to our blog readers.