Why do we do timesheets?

Tiny Aaron

A few weeks ago this image of Seinfeld’s soup nazi was doing the rounds, and while it made me laugh, it also got me thinking, why is it so important that we do timesheets?

For as long as I can remember I’ve had to do timesheets as part of my various jobs in the creative industry, just blindly accepting that it was part of my job requirement. But I never really stopped to ask myself, “why”?

While timesheets may be an obvious benefit to business owners—allowing them to see how much time their staff are putting onto a job—it’s not so easy to see how timesheets benefit the rest of us. To most, they’re a right royal pain in the butt, taking up important design time.

So what are the benefits of doing timesheets? Well it just so happens, there are quite a few.

By tracking your time correctly, there is total transparency on the job. All the people involved can see how many hours work was required to complete the job, allowing the people that will create future estimates to have a better understanding of just how many hours that type of work takes, and those creating the invoices to charge the right amount for the job.

There are also clients that are invoiced based on the actual time it took to do the job, rather than based on an estimate. So if timesheets aren’t done, the client won’t be invoiced correctly. Essentially, they’ll be paying less for all your hard work.

Or what about this old chestnut, the client changes the brief in the middle of the job and now you have to spend extra time and effort getting the job done. Someone has usually given the client an estimate, but if you don’t track your hours, it’s hard to see if the client has gone over that estimated time. By tracking your time it will be much easier for the client service team to see that there are extra hours on the job and potentially charge that time to the client. Wouldn’t it make you feel better about doing the extra work if you knew the company was getting paid for it?

The cynics among us may see timesheets as a way for business owners to keep tabs on their staff, but think of it this way, if you have to work late to get a job done, or spend extra hours on a job because of complications, isn’t it a good thing that your company knows you put the extra hours in?

As a result of doing timesheets, jobs will become more profitable and if the business is making money, that’s good news for everyone.

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1 Comment

  1. Charlie
    February 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Really important information here. Wish everyone could see the benefits *shakes fist*

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Why do we do timesheets?