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How to Do Employee Timesheet Management in 2024

Team Kissflow

Updated on 23 Apr 2024 5 min read

Is there anything as iconic to the world of work as the punch-card employee timesheet management?

Clock-in, clock-out. Rinse, repeat.

But nothing can make you feel more like a machine. You’re only useful when you are on the clock, and your pay might change if you punch time card late or early. Years later from these early days, some companies use a similar system in the form of biometrics or badge scanners, while others have employees fill out a new sheet of paper every week they are on the job.

But in this impersonal employee timesheet management system, is there a way that a different kind machine could actually free the burden of workaround tracking work and bring a little more humanity to everything?

Purpose of timesheet management system?

Employee timesheets allow an employer to calculate the number of hours worked for each employee over a certain period on a specific task and also the check-in and check-out time at work. Timesheet templates help employers to standardize and streamline the payroll process and schedule while reducing any chance for payroll errors.

The objective of employee timesheets is to provide a record of employee working hours, accelerate the payroll process, enforce work/shift schedule, improve compliance with employee compensation regulations, and eliminate wage theft disputes.

10 reasons to move away from traditional employee timesheet templates

Old paper employee timesheet templates bring too much chaos to the modern office. With the propensity for errors, the slow processing time, and the lack of controls, even digital forms are not something that should be trusted implicitly.

Traditional employee timesheet template processing means that every pay period the finance and HR teams have to focus a lot of work on pushing and reviewing either paper or digital forms. They will need to verify signatures and ensure that everything was completed accurately.

Listed below are the top ten reasons why traditional employee timesheet forms and templates are bad for timesheet tracking.

Traditional employee timesheet templates:

  • Don’t provide an accurate record of employee working hours
  • Have no means to track late arrival or early departure of employees
  • Slow down the timesheet approval process
  • Impact productivity due to excessive manual dependency
  • Are subject to favoritism or bias on the part of timekeeper
  • Cause inaccuracy and salary-related disputes
  • Have a high risk of policy and regulatory violations
  • Can neither enforce work schedule nor ensure compliance
  • May have trouble accommodating flexible time schedules
  • Expose businesses to an array of time/wage-theft problems

Paper-based employee timesheet templates create too much stress and confusion, especially when the result impacts the pay an employee receives. So, businesses need something that is completely trustworthy, easy, well documented, and has the power to remove the manual problems in the approval process.

Top 5 alternatives to traditional timesheet templates

The main reason why no one likes excel-based timesheet management is not the timesheet template itself but the cumbersome, administrative-intensive, and time-consuming process that surrounds them. From filling employee timesheet templates to submitting, and processing them, to processing salaries, the entire process is a nightmare. Accounting systems and manual processing can neither make it easy nor simplify the process for all stakeholders. 

Luckily, there are an array of alternatives for traditional timesheet templates. The trick is finding one that fits your organization and process.

Listed below are some traditional timesheet template alternatives businesses can adopt:

1. Cloud-based HR apps

Cloud-based HR apps allow businesses the freedom to choose which features they want, freedom to personalize the app interface, and options to create a workflow from scratch. Since they are ready-to-use, businesses just need to purchase subscriptions, enroll their employees to the app, and start using it in no time at all. 

One such example is Kissflow HR Cloud, which is an all-in-one HR cloud with an array of core HR and supporting HR functions. It's employee timesheet management module allows businesses the flexibility to tweak the virtual workflow model to fit their actual process so that employees don’t have to stick with default templates.

Modern employee timesheet


  • May offer reduced functionality or features
  • May have a lot more dependence on the vendor 

2. In-house HR systems

On-premise HR software allow employees and other resources to submit timesheets offline. With specific rules and policies, employees can validate employee working hours and time-off information. On-premise HR tools can retrieve necessary approvals from supervisors and managers. Best of all, the login and password security is usually enough proof for approval authentication. 


  • Most on-premise software have a very rigid software architecture
  • Since they are not integration-friendly, there will be more room for data redundancy
  • Increased strain and dependency on the IT department

3. Access card or biometric access

While an access card swiping system can help businesses extract information like employee log in time, employee log out time, working hours, absenteeism, and more. However, these time capture tools cannot detect the time employees actually spend working and the task they work on. 

While biometric access tools are more secure than the access card system, it has a number of downsides like the inability to track actual working hours, tasks worked on, and more.


  • Access card systems are subject to policy violations like buddy punching
  • Lack of features to track the actual number of hours worked

4. Payroll software

While it is possible to use a payroll solution for timekeeping, not all payroll software have time clock features. A few payroll systems that come with an employee-facing portal, allow employees to submit their timesheets for payroll processing. 


  • Most payroll systems can’t copy hours worked or the complete timesheets
  • There are restrictions for timesheet creation and processing
  • Advanced time tracking features like overtime, remote work tracking can be a problem 

5. Excel-based employee timesheet templates

Administrative staff can easily set up excel-based employee timesheet templates. Its major advantage over paper-based timesheets is its ability to consolidate everything into one payroll datasheet using macros. Once set up, it is easy to distribute these templates. 

Traditional Employee Timesheet


  • Excel templates can be difficult to use. 
  • Timesheet templates can often end up “stuck” in an email or spam filter.
  • The time/date stamp of email is not sufficient for reporting

Employee timesheet management: why automation in business critical

If you want to give your workers the flexibility of filling out their own timesheets, but not make it a burden on them and chaotic around the office every few weeks, this is the timesheet tracking solution you need. Automating the employee timesheet management process can help businesses speed up something that is important to every employee: the time it takes to process their salary accurately.

When employee timesheets are automated, managers can immediately review them and approve/reject them, send the processes timesheet to the HR team and finance team for further review and payroll processing all the while giving employees the visibility of their timesheet approval process. Modern employee timesheet apps don’t demand employees to fill in their name, department, employee ID number, and other details every time. Instead, these smart timesheet management systems will capture this information automatically when the user is logged into the system.

Most employee timesheet management software allow employees to save a template of their employee timesheet form so that employees don’t have to start from scratch every time. If work hours are consistent, form submission would be straightforward. It will capture the number of hours worked and any additional overtime hours accurately every time.

Best of all, automated employee timesheets help with funneling a request through approvals. Rather than the employee trying to get the attention of a manager, automated timesheet tracking software sends the form directly to a manager as soon as the employee submits it. The manager can view the form and approve it from a mobile device, and then it’s ready for processing.

Automation and modern timesheet management system can continue to work at this stage. If all that needs to be done is making a few journal entries up updating software, rather than have someone on the HR team do that work, it can be automated with easy integration.

Try Kissflow HR Cloud as your employee timesheet software

Kissflow is the ideal timesheet app because it is completely flexible. Whether you are looking for something that gives you more control over the process, or generates key data about how many employee timesheets you are processing, Kissflow is a software you need to try.

Give it a spin for a free trial and find out if the employee timesheet app in Kissflow HR Cloud is right for you. Don’t forget to check out the dozens of other apps as well that you can automate!

Kissflow HR Cloud