The Importance of Timesheet System in Project Management

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 03/04/2023

It goes without saying that keeping tabs on how much time is spent where is at the core of project management. However, if you are still relying on traditional methods like Excel spreadsheets, we want to urge you to switch to a timesheet system. In this article, we will explain to project managers why it’s a better approach and how to pitch it to the stakeholders. 

There is nothing wrong with using Excel spreadsheets for time tracking. They, combined with kanban boards and other project management tools, have long since established themselves as the traditional approach to overseeing projects. However, while still a handy tool for many tasks, Excel has not been designed for this purpose. And, therefore, it’s not been developing in accordance with growing specific industry demands. Instead, while being constantly updated and tuned up, it still remains a very generalistic solution. Unfortunately, this won’t get you by. 

The world is more fast-paced than ever. We have high expectations for both quality and delivery times, and Excel simply cannot keep up with the volumes project management of today requires. Sticking with it might sound more comforting than diving into changing your fundamental processes by adopting new solutions. The problem is, by not innovating you are sacrificing your success moving forward. 

Why is Time Tracking Important in Project Management?

The key benefit of keeping track of your team’s time is gaining an understanding of where it’s being utilised. Once you have visibility of that, a lot of deeper and more meaningful insights become available: individual performances, expenditure, flaws in the strategy and many more.

Although there are many ways to track time, including traditional paper timesheets, often they no longer meet the demands of today’s market. Project managers are dealing with bigger volumes and tighter deadlines than they ever have. Naturally, they don’t have time to spare to go through every timesheet. That’s why designated solutions are the only way forward. 

Bigger Projects Made Easy

If your company strives to scale and grow, it won’t be long before you’re stumped by inefficient methods. Naturally, bigger projects will demand more resources, time, planning and such. Alas, they are also more rewarding. The good news is that if you are smart in choosing your tools, even the biggest of projects can go smoothly without additional hoops to hop through.

Workforce and Resource Management

While the key feature of the timesheet system is, obviously, time tracking - it’s not the only one. From the project management standpoint, designated software has a lot more perks to offer. For example, it serves as a centralised viewpoint of not just your team’s but also individual workers’ performance. Depending on the settings, you can see the exact level of contribution of each team member, how much time certain tasks take them, and what areas your team struggles in.

Such visibility makes it easier for you to relocate your workforce and resources to where they will be most useful. And these decisions won’t be based on a hunch but rather on a pattern you would otherwise spot much later if at all. Being quick in shuffling what you have around is likely to raise your productivity, speed up delivery and create a better in-team rapport. However, remember that for it to work you must also be flexible. Don’t be scared to make decisions on your feet - not if they’re backed up by data. 

Expenses and Invoices

Most projects include additional expenses on the workers’ behalf. Be it having to cover for additional materials or something as simple as travel and on-site coffee. Regardless of what it is, the approval and later reimbursement can be rather a rather jarring process. While expense claims aren’t in theory difficult, most companies struggle with them. A powerful timesheet system can help, as more advanced ones come with tools designed to build a better expense claim procedure. Such as our own expense management module.

It is also relatively often that projects are not limited to the workers of the company you run the project for or your own team. Quite frequently additional help in the form of freelancers may be required. This opens the door to another issue - invoicing. Mainly because independent contractors will definitely have a different rate from other workers. This means needing to go an additional mile to invoice them correctly - not something you have time for. That’s where a timesheet system will save the day again. At Timesheet Portal, for example, you can generate and distribute invoices with just a click. Our software pulls the information out of the timesheets, creates an invoice and sends it out. All with minimal effort from your side. 

Building for the Future

Probably the most appealing attribute of time-tracking software is that it doesn’t only address your immediate needs. In fact, it’s an investment in your future. Naturally, it will continue supporting your efforts through automation as you work on upcoming projects. But it will also supply you with insights to better your overall processes. 

V Accurate Forecasting

Forecasting is one of the core procedures in project management and, without a doubt, one of the most frustrating ones. The very success of the project depends on how accurate the forecast is. And it’s a term that involves just about everything: timeframes, costs, deliverables and so on. The problem is that it’s pretty much impossible to be 100% precise as no one is a future teller. But aiming to get as close as possible is certainly in your best interest. The secret to improving accuracy is relatively easy: forecast based on data, not assumptions. 

Timesheet software happens to be a gold mine of such data. When consistently utilised across a variety of projects, it’s very quick to start highlighting trends and patterns. This becomes very telling of your team, its working style, strengths and weaknesses - all of which are important factors to consider when tailoring future forecasts. Timesheets highlight the approximate time your teams take to complete specific tasks. Therefore the next time you encounter them in a project, you will have an experience-driven estimate. The more times you do it, the quicker it will be for you to spot the average and therefore reach precision in the forecast.

Granulated Reporting

Very closely related to forecasts is reporting. Mainly because reports, in their essence, are the summary of the data you base the forecasts on. However, they are much more than just that. There is virtually no limit on what you can report on - time, expenses, individual performance, annual results and many more. However, the more granular and in-depth the report is, the more time it takes to produce one. Not with the right software, though. 

Most of the cloud-based solutions, including time-tracking ones, offer reporting tools. Essentially what they do is digest the data they capture and then present it to you in the format of the template you’ve chosen. Some solutions come with a uniform report you can modify slightly, while others offer full customisation. At Timesheet Portal, we’ve got something for everyone. Our solution comes with 40+ pre-built reports you can either use as they are or customise to your needs. In addition, you can always create your own from scratch with our intuitive drag-and-drop interface. There is no limit to how many templates you have either. 

Everybody Wins

If you aren’t a decision-maker and are trying to pitch a timesheet system to your stakeholders - you’re lucky. Understandably, most companies want to invest in solutions that offer the most for the price. When it comes to timesheets, project management isn’t the only area that will benefit from them. And that’s the message to emphasise on. 

Timesheet System for the Entire Business

Most time-tracking solutions are offering a whole lot more than time recording. We have mentioned expense management and the overall pay-and-bill procedures, but there’s more to add. It is not uncommon for features like document management, onboarding, holiday booking and many more to be included. What is packed into the software will range from a solution to solution, therefore it’s important to familiarise yourself with all it has to offer prior to pitching it to the stakeholders. Additionally, a good idea would be to highlight what other processes could the solution aid moving forward. 

Truth is that timesheet software is a tool that can truly transform the business. The range of features offers great flexibility and adaptability. For example, a system can be used to build onboarding processes, spot absenteeism patterns or smoothen the introduction of flexible hours. From project managers to HR, to then finance teams and even legal, it can lessen the amount of day-to-day admin work. What’s more, being a tool everyone uses, it helps connect the teams that otherwise don’t communicate and open them up to one another’s findings. In other words, not only does a good timesheet system become an inseparable part of your strategy. It also aligns your teams. 


It goes without saying that project managers need to be aware of the time various tasks require to be completed. However, big volumes and high demands turn the traditional approach to time tracking into a major roadblock for companies that are trying to scale. Bigger projects naturally require more time and effort in this department, decreasing the quantity your team can take on.

To meet today’s standards without sacrificing the overall success of your business you need to adopt more innovative and up-to-date solutions. Namely, software designated to help you with time tracking. Such solutions give you access to a central overview of the process, making it easy to move your workers and resources as seen as suitable. Not only will it aid to cornerstone project management processes like forecasting or reporting, but also become an invaluable tool for other areas of the business, tying them all together.

Why not try and see what’s out there for yourself? Start with Timesheet Portal.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.