Streamlining Timesheets and Timecards

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Intro To Timesheets & Timecards

Accurate timesheets and timecards are fundamental to the smooth operation of any business. They ensure that employees are compensated fairly for their work and provide essential data for project management, budgeting, and compliance with labor laws. Properly maintained timesheets and timecards help:

  1. Payroll Accuracy: Ensuring employees are paid correctly based on the actual hours worked, including overtime, leave, and breaks.
  2. Project Management: Tracking time spent on various tasks and projects, which aids in resource allocation, project planning, and cost management.
  3. Compliance: Meeting legal requirements and maintaining records that protect the company in case of audits or disputes.
  4. Performance Evaluation: Analyzing employee productivity and efficiency, which can inform performance reviews and identify areas for improvement.
  5. Cost Control: Monitoring labor costs to keep projects within budget and improve profitability.

Overview of Traditional vs. Modern Methods of Time Tracking

Traditional Methods: Manual Timesheets Manual timesheets involve employees recording their working hours on paper or simple digital forms. This method requires physical submission to a manager or payroll department, where the data is manually entered into the payroll system. While straightforward, manual timesheets are prone to errors and inefficiencies.

Modern Solutions: Automated Time-Tracking Systems Automated time-tracking systems leverage technology to streamline the process of recording, submitting, and managing work hours. These systems use software or hardware solutions, such as time clock terminals, mobile apps, or web-based platforms, to automatically capture employee work hours. The data is then directly integrated into payroll and project management systems, minimizing errors and administrative workload.


Streamline Payroll with Data Integration: Integrate TimeTrex’s time tracking with your payroll system to ensure timely and accurate employee compensation.

Traditional Methods: Manual Timesheets and Their Drawbacks

Manual timesheets require employees to write down their start and end times for each workday, along with any breaks taken. These records are often maintained on paper forms or simple spreadsheets. At the end of a pay period, these timesheets are collected and reviewed by supervisors before being manually entered into the payroll system. While manual timesheets are simple and low-cost, they come with several significant drawbacks.

Common Issues with Manual Timesheets

  • Human Error

    • Manual entry is inherently error-prone. Employees might forget to record their hours accurately, make arithmetic mistakes, or misinterpret the format required. Even minor errors can compound, leading to incorrect paychecks and payroll discrepancies.
  • Time-Consuming Data Entry

    • Both employees and managers spend considerable time filling out, collecting, and processing manual timesheets. This process can be especially burdensome in larger organizations with many employees, leading to inefficiencies and wasted time.
  • Difficulty in Tracking and Managing Large Volumes of Data

    • As a company grows, the volume of timesheet data increases, making it challenging to manage and analyze using manual methods. Finding specific records, generating reports, and maintaining organized archives become increasingly difficult and labor-intensive.
  • Lack of Real-Time Updates and Oversight

    • Manual timesheets do not provide real-time data. Managers and HR personnel have to wait until timesheets are submitted and processed to access work hour information. This delay hampers the ability to make timely decisions regarding staffing, project adjustments, and payroll processing.


Enhance Compliance with Labor Laws: Ensure compliance with labor regulations by using TimeTrex’s automated systems to accurately track work hours and breaks.

Modern Solutions: Automated Time-Tracking Systems and Their Advantages

Introduction to Automated Time-Tracking Systems

Automated time-tracking systems represent a significant advancement over traditional manual methods. By leveraging technology, these systems streamline the process of recording, managing, and analyzing employee work hours. Automated solutions, such as those offered by TimeTrex, utilize software and hardware to capture time data accurately and efficiently. This data is then integrated seamlessly into payroll, project management, and compliance systems, providing numerous advantages over manual timesheets.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Real-Time Tracking and Updates

    Automated time-tracking systems, like those from TimeTrex, provide real-time tracking of employee work hours. Employees can clock in and out using various methods, including biometric terminals, mobile apps, and web-based platforms. This immediate data capture ensures that managers have up-to-date information on employee attendance and work hours, allowing for better decision-making and resource allocation.

    • Example: With TimeTrex’s real-time tracking, supervisors can instantly see which employees are currently working, who is on break, and who might be approaching overtime. This visibility helps in making timely adjustments to schedules and workloads.
  • Reduced Errors and Inaccuracies

    Manual entry of work hours is prone to human errors, such as miscalculations, incorrect entries, and forgotten timestamps. Automated systems minimize these errors by accurately recording time data and eliminating the need for manual input. Features like biometric verification further enhance accuracy by ensuring that only the intended employee can clock in or out.

    • Example: TimeTrex’s biometric time clocks use facial recognition to verify employee identity, reducing the risk of buddy punching and ensuring accurate time records.
  • Enhanced Data Management and Reporting Capabilities

    Managing large volumes of timesheet data can be overwhelming with manual systems. Automated solutions offer advanced data management and reporting tools that simplify this process. TimeTrex, for example, provides comprehensive reporting features that allow managers to generate detailed reports on employee attendance, overtime, leave balances, and more with just a few clicks.

  • Improved Compliance with Labor Laws and Regulations

    Compliance with labor laws and regulations is critical for businesses to avoid penalties and legal issues. Automated time-tracking systems help ensure compliance by accurately recording work hours and applying the correct labor rules. TimeTrex’s system, for instance, includes features that automatically calculate overtime, ensure adherence to break requirements, and maintain detailed records for audits.

    • Example: TimeTrex helps businesses comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by automatically calculating overtime pay for eligible employees and generating accurate records that can be easily accessed during audits.


Simplify Leave Management: Use TimeTrex to simplify leave requests and approvals, ensuring accurate leave balances and reducing administrative workload.

Common Timesheet Codes

Timesheets and timecards play a crucial role in ensuring employees are compensated correctly and on time. However, manually punched or handwritten timesheets can be time-consuming for administrative support services. During mass schedule disruptions, such as winter emergencies, the administrative team often has to work overtime to process payroll promptly.

To improve efficiency and communication, payroll officials have developed a set of common timesheet codes. These codes help categorize different work activities and scenarios, making it easier to manage and process timesheet data accurately. Here are some of the most commonly used codes:

  • UAT (Unallocated Time)
  • FTR (Failure to Record)
  • LL (Labor Long)
  • UGR (User Group)

What Does UAT Mean on a Timesheet?

UAT, or Unallocated Time, refers to hours that are scheduled but not worked due to various reasons. For instance, if an employee takes a sick day, the hours they were expected to work but didn’t are marked as UAT. Additionally, UAT can be used when timesheet entries are illegible or incomplete, preventing payroll personnel from accurately recording worked hours. This often leads to conflicts between employees and managers as they try to resolve these discrepancies.

  • Example: If an employee is scheduled for an 8-hour shift but takes a sick day, those 8 hours are marked as UAT. Similarly, if an employee’s handwriting is so poor that their hours cannot be read, those hours might also be marked as UAT until the issue is clarified.

What Does FTR Mean on a Timesheet?

FTR stands for Failure to Record, used when an employee fails to submit their timesheet or leaves it partially blank. This code indicates that the necessary time data was not recorded properly, often requiring follow-up to ensure accurate payroll processing.

  • Example: An employee forgets to turn in their timesheet for the week, or submits it with missing hours. The payroll system marks these missing hours as FTR, signaling the need for the employee or manager to provide the correct information.

What Does LL Mean on a Timesheet?

LL, or Labor Long, is used when employees work beyond their scheduled hours. This code helps identify instances where employees might be clocking in early or staying late to gain extra pay. It alerts managers to potential time clock manipulation or unauthorized overtime.

  • Example: An employee is scheduled to work from 9 AM to 5 PM but consistently clocks in at 8:45 AM and out at 5:15 PM to get an extra 30 minutes of pay each day. These additional minutes are marked as LL to indicate labor long and to monitor for potential time clock fraud.

What Does UGR Mean on a Timesheet?

UGR stands for User Group, typically used as a country code in international payroll systems. It helps manage different pay scales and wage standards across various countries. If a specific country code is not available, UGR can be used, often represented by the code 99 in most payroll systems.

  • Example: A company operates in multiple countries, each with its own wage laws and standards. To manage these variations, they use UGR codes to categorize employees based on their location. If an employee works in a country without a specific code, the system uses UGR (99) to indicate their user group.


Simplify Overtime Calculations: Leverage TimeTrex’s automated overtime calculation features to ensure compliance with labor laws and prevent payroll discrepancies.

What Does UAT Mean on a Timesheet?

Definition of UAT (User Acceptance Testing)

UAT, or User Acceptance Testing, is a crucial phase in the software development lifecycle where the end-users test the software to ensure it meets their requirements and works as expected. This process validates that the software is ready for deployment and can handle real-world tasks and scenarios. UAT is typically the final step before the software is released to production, providing an opportunity to catch any last-minute issues or discrepancies that might have been missed during earlier testing phases.

Scenarios Where UAT Is Used

User Acceptance Testing is used in various scenarios within software development projects. Here are two primary contexts where UAT plays a significant role:

  1. Testing Phase in Software Development Projects

    During the software development lifecycle, UAT is conducted after the development and initial testing phases (such as unit testing, integration testing, and system testing) are completed. The primary goal is to ensure that the software behaves as expected when used in real-world scenarios by actual users.

    • Example: A new payroll software system has been developed and has passed all internal testing stages. Before it goes live, the end-users (such as HR personnel and payroll administrators) perform UAT to verify that all functionalities, including employee time tracking, payroll calculations, and report generation, work correctly. They simulate real-world tasks to ensure the software can handle daily operations without issues.
  2. Tasks Related to Validating System Functionalities

    UAT involves specific tasks aimed at validating different functionalities of the system. These tasks are designed to mimic real-world use cases and workflows to ensure the software meets the users’ needs and expectations. Each task helps identify any gaps, bugs, or usability issues that need to be addressed before the software is deployed.

    • Example: In a project management software implementation, UAT tasks might include creating new projects, assigning tasks to team members, tracking project progress, generating status reports, and managing project resources. Users perform these tasks to ensure the software supports all required functionalities and integrates seamlessly with existing systems and workflows.

Detailed Scenarios of UAT on a Timesheet

  • Scenario 1: Testing Phase in a Payroll Software Development Project

    A company is developing a new payroll software system. After completing internal testing phases, they initiate UAT to ensure the system meets user requirements. HR personnel and payroll administrators simulate real-world payroll processing tasks, such as:

    • Entering employee work hours and leave records.
    • Running payroll calculations to ensure accuracy in wage computation.
    • Generating payroll reports to verify data integrity and compliance.
    • Testing integration with time-tracking devices like biometric time clocks.

    The feedback from UAT helps identify any issues or improvements needed before the software goes live, ensuring a smooth transition and minimizing disruptions in payroll processing.

  • Scenario 2: Validating System Functionalities in Project Management Software

    A project management software company is rolling out a new update that includes additional features. During UAT, project managers and team leads perform tasks to validate these functionalities:

    • Creating and managing new projects with detailed task assignments.
    • Tracking progress and updating task statuses.
    • Using reporting tools to generate project timelines and budget reports.
    • Testing collaboration features such as file sharing and team communication.

    This testing ensures that the new features integrate well with the existing system and meet the users’ needs, providing a seamless experience once the update is deployed.


Facilitate Remote Work Tracking: Enable remote employees to clock in and out using TimeTrex’s mobile app, ensuring accurate time tracking regardless of location.

What Does FTR Mean on a Timesheet?

Definition of FTR (Feature)

FTR, or Feature, on a timesheet refers to the time allocated for the development, implementation, or enhancement of specific features within a software project. This code is used to categorize and track the hours spent by employees working on particular features, ensuring that each aspect of the project receives the necessary attention and resources. By logging time under the FTR code, businesses can monitor the progress and effort invested in developing new functionalities or improving existing ones.

Scenarios Where FTR Is Used

FTR is commonly used in scenarios involving the creation or enhancement of software features. Here are two primary contexts where FTR plays a significant role:

  1. Development or Implementation of New Features

    When a software development team is tasked with creating new features, they log their hours under the FTR code. This helps in tracking the time and resources dedicated to each feature, allowing project managers to monitor progress and ensure that deadlines are met.

    • Example: A company is developing a new mobile app and has decided to add a real-time chat feature. Developers working on this feature log their hours under the FTR code. This includes time spent on designing the chat interface, writing the backend code for message handling, and integrating the chat functionality with the rest of the app. By tracking these hours, the project manager can assess the progress of the feature development and allocate additional resources if needed.
  2. Tracking Hours Spent on Specific Feature Development Tasks

    FTR is also used to track the time spent on specific tasks related to feature development. This granular level of tracking helps in understanding the effort required for different aspects of a feature, such as coding, testing, and debugging.

    • Example: In a software project, a team is working on enhancing the user authentication feature to include multi-factor authentication (MFA). The project involves several tasks, including researching MFA methods, developing the user interface for MFA setup, implementing the backend logic for MFA, and testing the feature for security vulnerabilities. Each team member logs their time under the FTR code, specifying the particular task they are working on. This detailed tracking provides insights into the distribution of effort across various tasks and helps in identifying any bottlenecks in the development process.

Detailed Scenarios of FTR on a Timesheet

  • Scenario 1: Development of a New E-commerce Feature

    An e-commerce company is expanding its website to include a new recommendation engine that suggests products based on user behavior. The development team logs their time under the FTR code for this feature. Tasks include:

    • Analyzing user data to understand behavior patterns.
    • Developing algorithms for personalized recommendations.
    • Integrating the recommendation engine with the website’s existing infrastructure.
    • Testing the feature to ensure it provides accurate and relevant suggestions.

    By tracking the time spent on these tasks, the project manager can ensure that the feature is progressing as planned and make data-driven decisions about resource allocation.

  • Scenario 2: Enhancement of an Existing CRM Feature

    A company using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system decides to enhance its reporting feature to include more advanced analytics. The software development team logs their hours under the FTR code for this enhancement. Tasks include:

    • Gathering requirements from stakeholders for the new analytics capabilities.
    • Designing the user interface for the enhanced reporting feature.
    • Developing the backend logic to support advanced data analysis.
    • Conducting thorough testing to ensure the feature works correctly and meets user expectations.


Optimize Payroll Processing: Integrate TimeTrex with your payroll system to automate payroll calculations and reduce the risk of errors.

What Does LL Mean on a Timesheet?

Definition of LL (Leave)

LL, or Leave, on a timesheet refers to the time recorded when an employee takes time off from work. This can include various types of leave, such as sick leave, vacation, personal days, or any other authorized time off. The LL code is used to categorize and track these hours separately from regular working hours, ensuring that employees’ leave entitlements are accurately managed and accounted for. Proper use of the LL code helps businesses maintain precise records of leave balances and ensures compliance with company policies and labor laws.

Scenarios Where LL Is Used

LL is used in multiple scenarios to record different types of leave and ensure that employees’ time off is accurately tracked. Here are two primary contexts where LL is commonly applied:

  1. Recording Hours for Various Types of Leave

    The LL code is used to record the hours when employees take different types of leave. This includes sick leave, vacation days, and personal leave, among others. By categorizing these hours under LL, employers can clearly distinguish between working hours and time taken off, facilitating accurate payroll processing and leave management.

    • Example: An employee takes a week off for a family vacation. The hours they would normally work during that week are recorded under the LL code for vacation leave. Similarly, if an employee calls in sick for a day, those hours are recorded under LL for sick leave. This helps in tracking the total leave taken and ensures that the employee’s leave balance is updated accordingly.
  2. Ensuring Accurate Leave Balances and Entitlements

    Using the LL code helps in maintaining accurate records of leave balances and entitlements. This is crucial for managing employee benefits and ensuring compliance with labor laws and company policies. Accurate tracking of leave helps in calculating the remaining leave balance and ensures that employees do not exceed their entitled leave.

    • Example: A company offers 15 days of paid vacation leave per year. An employee who has already taken 10 days records additional leave under the LL code. The payroll system updates the leave balance to show that the employee has 5 days of vacation leave remaining. This tracking helps both the employee and the employer stay informed about the available leave balance and prevents any disputes or misunderstandings regarding leave entitlements.

Detailed Scenarios of LL on a Timesheet

  • Scenario 1: Recording Sick Leave

    An employee falls ill and is unable to work for three days. These days are recorded under the LL code for sick leave. The timesheet entry includes:

    • The dates of the sick leave.
    • The number of hours missed each day due to illness.

    By recording this time under LL, the payroll system deducts the hours from the employee’s sick leave balance and ensures they are not paid for regular working hours during this period. This tracking also helps in monitoring patterns of sick leave usage, which can be important for identifying potential health or attendance issues.

  • Scenario 2: Tracking Vacation Leave

    An employee plans a two-week vacation and notifies their manager in advance. The hours for these two weeks are recorded under the LL code for vacation leave. The timesheet entry includes:

    • The start and end dates of the vacation.
    • The total number of vacation hours taken.

    Recording this time under LL ensures that the employee’s vacation leave balance is accurately updated. The payroll system can then calculate the remaining vacation days available to the employee. This helps in planning and managing future leave requests, ensuring that employees do not exceed their entitled leave and that staffing levels are maintained.


Integrate Time and Attendance with Payroll: Seamlessly integrate TimeTrex’s time and attendance data with your payroll system to streamline payroll processing and ensure accuracy.

FAQ Section: Streamlining Timesheets and Timecards

Q1: What are the benefits of using automated time-tracking systems over manual timesheets?

A: Automated time-tracking systems offer numerous benefits over manual timesheets, including:

  • Real-Time Data: Automated systems provide real-time tracking and updates, ensuring that data is always current.
  • Accuracy: By reducing human error, automated systems ensure more accurate time tracking.
  • Efficiency: Automated systems streamline data entry and management, saving time and reducing administrative workload.
  • Compliance: Automated systems help ensure compliance with labor laws by accurately recording hours and generating detailed reports.
  • Integration: Automated systems often integrate with payroll and project management software, facilitating seamless operations.

Q2: How can businesses ensure the accuracy of timesheet codes?

A: Businesses can ensure the accuracy of timesheet codes by:

  • Training Employees: Providing thorough training on the correct use of timesheet codes.
  • Standardizing Codes: Establishing a standardized set of codes and ensuring they are consistently used across the organization.
  • Regular Audits: Conducting regular audits of timesheets to identify and correct any discrepancies.
  • Clear Guidelines: Developing and distributing clear guidelines on how to categorize and record different types of work activities.

Q3: What steps should be taken if an employee’s timesheet contains errors?

A: If an employee’s timesheet contains errors, the following steps should be taken:

  • Review: Review the timesheet to identify the nature and extent of the errors.
  • Communicate: Communicate with the employee to understand the reason for the errors and gather any missing information.
  • Correct: Make the necessary corrections to the timesheet, ensuring that all data is accurate.
  • Educate: Provide feedback and additional training to the employee to prevent future errors.
  • Document: Document the corrections made and any actions taken to address the issue.

Q4: How do automated time-tracking systems handle different types of leave?

A: Automated time-tracking systems handle different types of leave by:

  • Customizable Codes: Allowing businesses to create and customize leave codes for different types of leave (e.g., sick leave, vacation, personal leave).
  • Leave Balances: Automatically updating leave balances based on recorded leave hours.
  • Approval Workflows: Integrating with approval workflows to ensure leave requests are reviewed and approved by managers.
  • Reporting: Generating detailed reports on leave usage and remaining balances for both employees and managers.

Q5: How can businesses use timesheet data to improve project management?

A: Businesses can use timesheet data to improve project management by:

  • Resource Allocation: Using data on hours worked to allocate resources more effectively.
  • Progress Tracking: Monitoring the time spent on various tasks to track project progress and identify potential delays.
  • Cost Management: Analyzing labor costs associated with different projects to manage budgets and improve cost-efficiency.
  • Performance Evaluation: Evaluating employee performance and productivity based on the time spent on different tasks and projects.
  • Forecasting: Using historical timesheet data to forecast future project timelines and resource requirements.

Q6: What features should businesses look for in an automated time-tracking system?

A: When selecting an automated time-tracking system, businesses should look for features such as:

  • Real-Time Tracking: Capability to track time in real-time.
  • Integration: Ability to integrate with payroll, project management, and other business systems.
  • Mobile Access: Mobile app functionality for remote and on-the-go time tracking.
  • Reporting: Comprehensive reporting features for detailed analysis of time data.
  • Compliance: Tools to ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Easy-to-use interface for both employees and managers.
  • Customization: Ability to customize codes and workflows to fit the business’s specific needs.

Q7: How can timesheet data help with labor cost analysis?

A: Timesheet data helps with labor cost analysis by:

  • Detailed Tracking: Providing detailed records of hours worked on different tasks and projects.
  • Cost Allocation: Allowing businesses to allocate labor costs accurately to specific projects or departments.
  • Trend Analysis: Identifying trends in labor costs over time, which can inform budgeting and cost-control strategies.
  • Efficiency Improvements: Highlighting areas where efficiency can be improved to reduce labor costs.
  • Decision Making: Providing data-driven insights for better decision-making regarding staffing and resource allocation.

Q8: What are some common challenges businesses face with manual timesheets, and how can automated systems address these challenges?

A: Common challenges with manual timesheets include:

  • Human Error: Errors in recording and calculating hours worked.
  • Time-Consuming: Manual data entry and processing are time-consuming.
  • Inaccurate Data: Difficulty in maintaining accurate and up-to-date records.
  • Lack of Real-Time Information: Delays in accessing current data for decision-making.
  • Compliance Issues: Challenges in ensuring compliance with labor laws.

Automated systems address these challenges by:

  • Reducing Errors: Minimizing human error through automated data capture.
  • Saving Time: Streamlining data entry and processing, saving administrative time.
  • Ensuring Accuracy: Providing accurate and consistent records.
  • Providing Real-Time Data: Offering real-time access to current data for informed decision-making.
  • Supporting Compliance: Ensuring compliance with labor laws through accurate record-keeping and reporting.

Disclaimer: The content provided on this webpage is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information presented here, the details may change over time or vary in different jurisdictions. Therefore, we do not guarantee the completeness, reliability, or absolute accuracy of this information. The information on this page should not be used as a basis for making legal, financial, or any other key decisions. We strongly advise consulting with a qualified professional or expert in the relevant field for specific advice, guidance, or services. By using this webpage, you acknowledge that the information is offered “as is” and that we are not liable for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the content, nor for any actions taken based on the information provided. We shall not be held liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, or punitive damages arising out of your access to, use of, or reliance on any content on this page.

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About The Author

Roger Wood

Roger Wood

With a Baccalaureate of Science and advanced studies in business, Roger has successfully managed businesses across five continents. His extensive global experience and strategic insights contribute significantly to the success of TimeTrex. His expertise and dedication ensure we deliver top-notch solutions to our clients around the world.

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