Managing people

Save time and reduce errors with online timesheets

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Are you bound to paper solutions, or has your business started using online timesheets?

Managing work schedules and payroll manually with timesheets is a laborious task, whether it be for a team of 10, 50, or hundreds.

Keeping track of changes in schedules and ensuring accuracy can make it difficult to pay your workforce on time.

If you’re having difficulty managing your timesheets accurately, you should consider upgrading to an online system to help your payroll managers alleviate accuracy and time management issues. Not implementing these kinds of tech solutions could have a negative impact on your staff, causing them to lose confidence in the business, and reduce their happiness as employees.

Research conducted by Marlin PR on behalf of Sage found that 35% of staff working in the UK would look for a new job if they were paid incorrectly even once. And 51% said they would resent their employers, and would not be able to trust them again.

What are online timesheets?

Timesheets is a cloud-based service, offered by payroll software providers that allows employees to submit and access information about their working hours online. This is a secure service that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.

Using online timesheets helps to reduce queries, lowers the risk of errors and data entry duplication, and limits unnecessary costs to the business due to non-compliance penalty fees.

Online vs paper

Online timesheets offer numerous advantages over their paper counterparts. With information security regulations such as POPIA and the GDPR having set rules for collecting, storing, and distributing personal information, compliance management tops to the list of advantages.

Real-time updates provide further security as staff no longer need to post, print, or email sensitive information.

Some providers allow your data to be seamlessly transferred through an online portal, reducing the need for physical storage and safe disposal of hard copies.

Instead of making manual entries and having no line of sight of potential errors, the automation features help you to see discrepancies and correct them before it’s too late.

Online timesheets also save a lot of time spent on payroll admin. As your employees can view their own hours, you will have fewer queries to respond to, allowing you more time to focus on strategic business contributions.

Your online timesheet solution can integrate with your payroll management system, automatically calculating deductions and pay.

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Save time for your payroll team

Because online timesheets give employees 24/7 access to their payslip information, it can free up your time, making it the perfect solution for a busy payroll team. What’s more, filters make employee data easily searchable.

Online timesheets also allow you to set levels of pay, allowing you to pay a higher rate for overtime for different tasks, should you wish to. This is easy to adjust on the timesheets. It’s also possible to set levels of pay for individual employees.

Ultimately, teams spend less time answering queries as employees can leave notes when they submit their timesheets. Time simply needs to be allotted for answering queries in one go, rather than on an ad-hoc basis.

Payroll and timesheet tech as a solution

Technology is levelling the business playing field, and small and medium-sized businesses need to harness the value of cloud technology in order to compete with their larger competitors.

The capabilities that used to be exclusive to organisations with large IT budgets have now become affordable to businesses of any size. This means that any organisation can take advantage of technology to increase their agility, boost employee productivity, and access new markets and customers.

Putting systems in place pre-emptively can help you shift your business up a gear in times of rapid growth.

Technology can help manage growing demand and eliminate growing pains. It also helps your staff work flexibly, and you can manage your business remotely, and be responsive to both problems and opportunities.

Choosing the right payroll software

Use onboarding support for clean data migration

Be sure to clean up your employee information before your migration. The basic data points you’ll need are:

  • Income tax number
  • Full name
  • Address
  • Basis of employment (full or part time, etc)
  • Employment start date
  • Remuneration details (salary, hourly rate, etc)
  • Superannuation details

Ensure software features suit your business needs

All payroll systems will support your payroll needs, but there will be some software providers that might suit your business requirements better than others. Whether you need a less flexible or an adaptive system, be sure to get a system that will meet your business and employee needs.

Make sure your software handles changes in compliance

You’ll need to consider:

  • What records you’ll need from your old payroll system, and
  • How the new systems will maintain compliance.

You need to understand how you can adapt to new compliance requirements if regulatory changes are made to superannuation, taxation, and any other HR requirements.

Does your software provider make updates on schedule? How will you store your old data and how will it be managed? Should you do a full migration, or save data as read-only in your old system?

It’s essential to examine all these details before you settle on a software provider.

Standardisation will help simplify processes

This is a good time to review your remuneration procedures and pay policies in order to create uniformity across departments. Standardised policies are more efficient when applied business-wide.

Integration allows for better data control

Make a note of the different systems you operate for HR. Shift-based businesses will have scheduling, time, and attendance systems. The systems should integrate to avoid duplicate data entry or errors due to typos. You need to determine if your system will be ‘plug and play’, or if you will need professional services to integrate.

Training and ongoing support

Consider the training and support offered, and any costs that may be associated with it. Initial training should be provided to get you up and running, but adequate support like a designated account manager or 24-hour web assistance should be available for such an important system.

Support should not only be available for set up, but also for when you’re operating. If you have any issues with your system, you’ll want someone to turn to for support and resolution.

Testing the system

Before going live, you need to test your system thoroughly. When you’re considering your software suppliers, ask them what their test plan is, and ensure that it covers all contingencies in case of emergencies. Proven payroll partners usually have a good test programme which will find any bugs and processes or data.

To summarise

Getting payroll data right is the groundwork necessary for a high-performing payroll function. Even the smallest errors can have drastic consequences, and could go unnoticed for years, compounding the problem even further.

Risk of errors tend to grow with businesses, as their payroll becomes increasingly complex.

Ensuring the right payroll processes are in place is essential, particularly if your business has had a growth spurt and outgrown its payroll software system. You should consider online timesheets as a more secure and more accurate way to manage your payroll.