The best employee timesheet apps are automatic

Written 09 July, 2019, 5 minutes to read

Now that it’s mandatory to track all employee hours in the EU, companies are rushing to find reliable and simple time tracking solutions. But given the overwhelming dependence on manual input, the majority of employee timesheet apps on the market simply aren’t up to the task. Companies seeking accuracy and ease-of-use are increasingly recognizing that the best employee timesheet apps are automatic. Here’s how these apps work and why they’re different to the rest.

What are automatic employee timesheet apps?

Some of the most well-known time tracking apps offer online timesheets. Instead of tracking time across a multitude of Excel spreadsheets, these apps promise to standardize your business’ time keeping, by providing a cloud-accessible platform where every employee logs their timesheets using the same simple interface.

While this sounds great in theory, in practice you essentially get a “slightly better” spreadsheet system. The majority of online timesheet apps don’t actually solve the problem of time tracking; they simplify it. They still require employees to start and stop timers for every task and spend time writing notes about what they did. In short, they can’t work without intensely self-disciplined, ongoing manual input.

In contrast, automatic employee timesheet apps seek to outsource the entire process. They track everything an employee works on in the background and use AI to create timesheets for them. In doing so, they solve the burden of traditional time tracking, by completely removing dependence on manual input and setting a new standard for time keeping accuracy.

New to time tracking? Learn about the 4 main types of time tracking software

How do automatic employee timesheet apps work?

Automatic timesheet apps might sound intense, but they’re actually ridiculously simple to use. In short, here’s how it works:

  1. Turn tracking on: download your automatic tracking app of choice and enable tracking.


  1. Get back to work: as you work, your app records the time you spend on work tools, websites, phone calls, emails, meetings and even GPS locations to a private timeline.


  1. Review your draft timesheet: your app’s AI creates draft timesheet entries throughout the day based on your tracked activity. Just review and approve these drafts to log them to your public timesheet.


And you’re done! No timers, no notes, no interruption – get fully accurate timesheets with minimal effort.

Take a look at how AI Timesheets work in Timely

What are the benefits of automatic timesheet apps?

Improved timesheet accuracy

Time tracking doesn’t come naturally to humans – we just don’t have the cognitive attention to remember everything we do in minute detail. So tools that depend on manual input often produce a highly inaccurate list of “guessimated” work, of little use to anyone. With automatic timesheet apps, there’s a much smaller margin for error; since every aspect of your work day is tracked meticulously for you, you are less likely to misrepresent your time. Since every second is accounted for, it’s the most robust solution for tracking employee work hours – including overtime.

Removes unproductive admin

You hire people for their skills; not to track their time. But with traditional manual methods, employees often spend several hours a week creating their timesheets. By using AI to create timesheets for employees, automatic timesheet apps reduce this overhead to a matter of minutes. You can remove one of the biggest low-value, repetitive tasks taking you away from meaningful work, and ensure that the need to ensure company time tracking compliance doesn’t fall on the shoulders of the employees it’s trying to protect.

Works around employee workflows

Most online timesheet apps require employees to remember to start and stop timers. It’s highly inaccurate, but it’s also pretty annoying – you simply can’t lock into productive deep work if you focus is being constantly broken by timers and note taking. With automatic timesheet apps, there are no interruptions; you can choose when to dip into the app to approve your AI timesheet. Ultimately, the less time you spend in the app, the better!

Intelligent timesheet management

By expediting the whole timesheet creation process, automatic timesheet apps limit invoicing delays at the end of the month. Employees simply have to spend a few minutes reviewing draft timesheet entries, so late timesheets become less of a bottleneck. Stragglers can set automatic reminders, to ensure they remember to approve their timesheet in time for invoicing deadlines (happily saving managers the job of chasing them).

Get the complete picture

Automatic time tracking often reveals a ton of extra detail that often goes overlooked by your average timesheet app. You can account for commonly “hidden” billable hours – like out-of-hours emails, overrunning or delayed meetings, travel for work and client calls. But it also helps you address the efficiency of your own productivity, showing you how much time you spend on internal communication and task management, as well as individual tasks and project workflows. Handy if you want to make more watertight project estimates or simply know exactly how your business spends its time.

Ready to give automatic time tracking a go? Trial it free with your team today.

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