time tracking software vs traditional time sheet

Time Tracking Software vs Traditional Timesheet: A Comparison

Updated on June 3rd, 2024

Efficient time tracking is the secret source that keeps businesses running smoothly and profitably. And in this digital age, we have not one, but two contenders for the time tracking crown: Time Tracking Software vs Traditional Timesheets. Let the battle begin! ⚔️

On one side, we have the traditional timesheet, that old-school companion of clock-ins, pen scribbles, and coffee-stained papers. It’s reliable in its own strange way, but let’s face it, it can be a bit of a hassle. And dealing with the inevitable “Oops, I forgot to fill it out” moments can drive even the most patient business owner up the wall. 😫

And on the other side, we have someone who can rescue you from the land of manual time tracking – Automated Time Tracking Software!. With its automation powers, and tracking abilities, this hero has revolutionized the way businesses manage their workforce.

So, buckle up and get ready. It’s time to discover why time tracking software reigns supreme and why it’s the right choice for your business! Let’s go!!!

Traditional Timesheets: Ink Stains and Manual Tracking

Ah, traditional timesheets! The loyal companion of businesses for centuries. It’s a time-honored method that has been around since… well, since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. 🦖

So, what exactly are these traditional timesheets? 🧐 Well, It’s a piece of paper, ruled with neat rows and columns, where employees wrote down their clock-in and clock-out times.

But, traditional timesheets come with a lot of challenges and limitations.

Let’s go through the trials and tribulations they bring.

Challenge #1


For traditional timesheets, accuracy is a slippery fish to catch. The deciphering illegible handwriting, ( Seriously, I think some employees write with their eyes closed 🙈 ) and dealing with the missing entries, it’s somewhat like playing a never-ending game of “Guess the Actual Hours.”

Challenge #2

Manual Errors

Next comes human error, the eternal companion of traditional timesheets. There is no end to the possibilities for mistakes, whether it is transposing digits or misplacing decimal points. But don’t worry they had erasers! 😁

Challenge #3

Time-Consuming Processes

Employees spend precious minutes each day filling them out, managers spend hours reviewing and cross-checking, and somewhere in the midst of it all, valuable productivity is lost.

But wait, it doesn’t end there! Companies have been adversely affected with these challenges.

For example, there was a company where their trusty timesheets mysteriously vanished into thin air just days before payroll.

Or how about a poor employee accidentally entered his lunch break as 12 hours instead of 12 minutes on the timesheet? Let’s just say the resulting paycheck raised a few eyebrows and made him a temporary celebrity in the office! 😂

Actually, these stories are just imaginations but we can’t neglect the possibilities. This might have happened in the past. Who knows? 🤷‍♂️

However, it’s clear that it’s time to bid farewell to these quirky creatures. Infact, according to Forbes, Manual timesheets are only best for businesses having a limited number of employees. So, how to track employees of big enterprises? The answer is by embracing the wonders of modern time tracking software.

Introducing Time Tracking Software

First things first, what exactly is time tracking software? It’s a digital solution that allows you to effortlessly track, record, and manage your team’s time automatically without any manual interventions. Time tracking software is not just a simple software; it’s a tool that can save you time ⏳, money 💰, and sanity 🧠.

A time tracking software provides the feature automated timesheet, where you automatically get reports on employees’ work hours, productive and non-productive time, clock-in, clock-out time, attendance, etc.

Did You Know ?

According to reports. global demand for automated time and employee tracking software increased by 65% between 2019-2022.

This software provides a wide range of features that helps in keeping accurate timesheets. Let’s have a look at those features now.

Automated Time Capture

Unlike traditional timesheets where you have to manually record your start and stop times, time tracking software offers automated time tracking. These tools can track your activities during work hours, saving you the hassle of manual entry. It’s like having a personal time-tracking assistant!

Real-Time Tracking

Time tracking software provides real-time tracking. You can see exactly how much time you’ve spent on a task or project at any given moment. This instant feedback keeps you in the loop, allowing you to make adjustments, stay on track, and meet deadlines with ease.

Mobile Accessibility

With time tracking software, you can carry your timesheet in your pocket! Whether you’re working from a coffee shop or attending a client meeting, you can effortlessly track your time using your smartphone. Time tracking has never been this mobile-friendly!

Activity Categorization

Time tracking software enables you to categorize your time as productive and non-productive, making it easier to analyze and evaluate your time usage. You can also categorize specific tasks or projects as critical, intermediate, and low priority, so that you can prioritize your work.

Reporting and Analytics

Time tracking software offers robust reporting and analytics features. With just a few clicks, you can access detailed reports on your time utilization, tasks/project progress, and team performance. These insights help you identify trends, bottlenecks, & areas for improvement.

Customization Options

Each person’s time tracking needs are unique, and time tracking software understands that. These tools offer a wide range of customization options to tailor the software to your preferences. You can adjust settings, create custom reports, and even personalize your timesheet appearance.

Enhanced Collaboration

It allows team members to track their time individually while providing managers with a comprehensive overview of everyone’s progress. This transparency fosters effective communication, facilitates resource allocation, and ensures projects stay on track.

Seamless Integration

Time tracking software seamlessly integrates with a third party like project management and productivity tools. It effortlessly syncs with your task management software. This means you can easily link your tracked time to specific projects or tasks.

To put it simply, time tracking software has truly revolutionized the way we track and manage our time.

Did You Know ?

In 1999, only 45% of businesses used electronic monitoring for employees.

Time Tracking Software vs Traditional Timesheet

Time Tracking Software Traditional Timesheet
Time tracking software includes automated features that track time spent at the workplace, tasks and projects in real-time. This eliminates the need for manual data entry. Timesheets have been used for decades and are a familiar method of tracking time for many industries. Employees have to enter their login, log-out, and other details manually.
Time tracking software allows users to track their time usage in real-time, providing immediate feedback on productivity and helping to identify areas of improvement. Managers have to spend more and more time calculating the hours and measuring productivity. Providing feedback was a tedious task then.
Time tracking software offers integration with other applications, allowing for seamless data transfer and streamlined workflows. Compared to time tracking software, timesheets can be a more cost-effective solution, nonetheless, they can’t be integrated with anything as it’s a piece of paper.
Time tracking software provides comprehensive reporting capabilities, generating detailed insights on tracked data. These reports can be customized and exported for analysis. All the reports, analysis, evaluation, everything has to be done manually consuming lots and lots of time.
With cloud-based time tracking software, users can access their data from anywhere with an internet connection, making it suitable for remote work or distributed teams. Timesheets rely on manual data entry, which can be prone to errors and may require additional time and effort. And ofcourse not suitable for remote teams.
Time tracking can be utilized for remote works, freelancers, project based works. Timesheets can’t be used in any of these workspaces as it is based on manual entries.

Key Advantages of Time Tracking Software

Effective Time Tracking

With the features idle time tracking, and offline time tracking, you can gain insights into how you spend your work hours. These records help identify productivity patterns, helping you identify areas for improvement and optimize your workflow.

Easy Task Evaluation

Time tracking software also provides the feature project time tracking, where you can evaluate the time invested in each task, enabling you to prioritize your work more effectively. By analyzing task durations and comparing them against desired outcomes, you can allocate your time wisely, ensuring you focus on high-priority activities and avoid time-wasting distractions.

Real-Time Employee Performance

For businesses managing a team, time tracking software provides real-time visibility into each employee’s performance. You can track individual work hours, identify bottlenecks, and offer timely support. This feature fosters transparency and accountability within the team, ultimately leading to improved productivity and project outcomes.

Easier Payment Calculation

Time tracking software simplifies the project billing and invoice processes for businesses that bill clients for the hours spent on projects. Instead of spending countless hours manually calculating the time taken for completed tasks, these tools provide accurate time records. These records can be easily exported into invoices, saving you time and reducing the likelihood of errors.

Enhanced Project Management

Time tracking software plays a vital role in project management by providing valuable insights into project timelines, task dependencies, and potential roadblocks. By understanding how time is allocated across different project stages, you can make informed decisions, adjust schedules, and keep projects on track.

Increased Productivity

By actively tracking your time, you become more aware of how you spend it. Time tracking software encourages you to stay focused, minimize distractions, and make the most of your working hours. It acts as a friendly reminder to stay on task, boosting your productivity levels and helping you meet deadlines with ease.

Accurate Client Reporting

When working with clients, accurate reporting is essential. Time tracking software simplifies the process of generating client reports by providing detailed breakdowns of time spent on various tasks or projects. These reports can be shared with clients, enhancing transparency, and building trust in your professional services.

Resource Allocation Optimization

By analyzing time tracking data, you can identify periods of high and low activity, helping you optimize resource allocation. This insight enables you to allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring that your team’s skills and availability align with project demands. This leads to better resource management, reduced project delays, and improved overall productivity.

Work-Life Balance

Lastly, time tracking software can contribute to a healthier work-life balance. By understanding how you spend your time, you can identify opportunities to optimize your schedule, delegate tasks, and ensure you have enough time for personal activities. Achieving a better work-life balance leads to increased happiness and overall well-being.

A Solution for Enhanced Organizational Efficiency

From the above details, you might have come to the conclusion that a time tracking software is indeed superior compared to a traditional timesheet. Time tracking software offers a wide range of advantages that greatly contribute to accurate timesheet keeping.

In that case, implementing a time tracking software will be the best option to elevate your organizations to new heights. If so, Desklog emerges as the ultimate solution, catering to all your requirements. Whether you need an automated timesheet, or a billing & invoice feature, Desklog gives you everything you need, guiding you how to manage your team in the most efficient way.

Desklog Free Time Tracking Trial


And with that, we conclude this epic battle between time tracking software and traditional timesheets. Now, it’s time for the final verdict: why should your business wholeheartedly embrace time tracking software? The answer is as clear as day: Time tracking software brings precision to a whole new level, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

So, dear business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s time to embrace the time tracking revolution! Remember, the choice is yours to make, and we encourage you to choose wisely. Good luck on your time tracking adventure! 🌟

Meet The Author
Shamseena Shamsudheen

Researcher & Content Specialist

Shamseena is an enthusiastic writer who frequently writes about various time tracking management tips and productivity techniques. She is a dedicated analyst of apps meant to enhance the workflow of freelancers, remote workers, and regular employees. She has shown excellent research skills in learning new things and spends much time transferring her knowledge to others. She shares the information only after in-depth research and only provides truthful information.

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