Over the last year or so I’ve been on a mission to automate as much as possible in my business. Technology gives us so many options for automation, it’s truly fascinating. Last week I talked to you about how I streamlined payroll, and this week I want to talk to you about the time tracking side of it.
If you think about it, paper time cards are really not ideal. It’s very easy for employees to be dishonest, even if they don’t mean to. An employee shows up at 8:05 AM but then writes down 8:00 on his/her time card. I agree that it’s hardly worth worrying about but it can make a substantial difference to your bottom line at the end of the year depending on how many employees you have. Wouldn’t it be great to have an employee tracking system that can track to the minute? It would keep everyone honest and ensure that everyone is getting paid the exact amount that they worked for and are entitled to.
I used to fill out paper time cards when I worked in the construction field, and I knew it wasn’t what I wanted for my business. Since I’m a bit of a technology nerd I immediately began searching for a better alternative. I found numerous options but the one that stuck out to me was an app called TSheets. This is a great option for construction crews and for employees who work off site. TSheets is a neat little app that your employees will install on their cell phones and allows them to clock in and out for time tracking. It syncs with Quickbooks and several other accounting platforms and will import your customers so your employees can clock into specific jobs for billing purposes.
When you go to run your payroll (oh yeah, TSheets syncs with Gusto too!) you will export the approved time to Quickbooks and automatically create invoices for time tracked against each customer (or job). Of course you’ll have to establish the cost for billable hours inside of Quickbooks, but that’s a one time step. TSheets even allows you to clock into specific risk classifications for workers comp. This is great for employees that might be doing roofing one day and painting the next. This can save your company a ton of money! For example, in the State of Washington, if your workers have multiple risk classifications, you have to have excellent reports showing how many hours were worked for each risk code and if you can’t, you have to pay the highest rate. Considering the difference between painting and roofing is about $2/hr - I’d say it’s worth tracking. With TSheets, it’s simple and looks like this when clocking in:
-First, employees select the customer they want to clock into, which for us is usually the property address.
-Next they will select whether or not they want it to be billable (we have this required to be set to yes).
-The “class" section just imports your classes from Quickbooks, which is where you will want to add your risk classification codes from workers comp. When you import your class list from quickbooks it will add ALL classes but you can hide or delete the ones that are not relevant.
-The service item is what you’re going to be billing for. For us, every employee has their own service item that they clock into. This allows us to bill customers (jobs) at the hourly rate we specified in quickbooks for that employee. Now, when we go to create a new invoice for a customer we just type in the customers name and then select “import all billable time”. This imports all hours worked for the customer and any sub-customers and automatically inputs the hourly rate so all you have to do is click import and then send to customer.
If you don’t have a ton of experience working in Quickbooks I can understand how this could be confusing, but seriously, once you get this all setup, running payroll and managing time cards is so simple and quick. Not to mention, your reporting will be far better than most small businesses today. Speaking of reporting, tomorrow I have an audit with the Department of Labor and Industries (2nd time in the last year - Yay) but I’m not even the slightest bit worried about it because my recored keeping is “on-point” thanks to the tools I use like TSheets.
So to wrap it up, TSheets keeps both employees and employers honest. All time is GPS tracked so you can ensure employees are where they are supposed to be even when you’re not there. This is a paid service but the time you save from manually inputting time cards will more than pay for the cost. The cost is based on how many employees you have so it’s easy to use in scale.
Feel free to give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.