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TimeCreep - The Hidden Cost of using Paper Timesheets

As a small business owner, you may be familiar with the term "time creep" or the phenomenon of employees working fewer (or more) hours than expected, without recording them correctly.

This can happen for various reasons, such as forgetfulness, procrastination, in a few cases willful dishonesty or the lack of a streamlined time-tracking system. Whatever the cause, TimeCreep can lead to costly expenses for your business if not managed properly.

One of the main culprits of TimeCreep is the use of paper timesheets.

While they may seem like a convenient and traditional way of tracking hours, they can be prone to errors, inefficiencies, and abuse. Here are some of the likely costs of TimeCreep caused by using paper timesheets:

  • Overpayment of Wages: If your employees are not accurately recording their hours, you may end up overpaying them for work they did not actually perform. For example, if an employee claims to have worked eight hours but only worked six, they will be paid for the extra two hours, resulting in unnecessary expenses for your business.
  • Underpayment of Wages: While less common, TimeCreep can also lead to underpayment of wages. If employees work extra hours that are not recorded, they may not receive the appropriate compensation for their time and effort. This can lead to low morale, turnover, and potentially, legal issues such as non-compliance with the Minimum Wage Act etc
  • Inaccurate Billing: If your business charges clients based on the hours worked by your employees, TimeCreep can lead to inaccurate billing. You may end up billing clients for hours that were not actually worked or underbilling for the extra time spent on the project. This can damage your reputation, credibility, and bottom line.
  • Administrative Costs: Paper timesheets can be time-consuming to fill out, collect, and process. You, your payroll team and/or your line managers may spend hours each week reviewing and verifying timesheets, which can take away from more productive tasks.
  • Compliance Issues: Depending on your industry and location, laws such as the Minimum Wage Act, Holidays Act, and Employment Relations Act may require you to keep accurate records of employee hours worked. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, penalties, and legal actions. Paper timesheets may not provide sufficient evidence of compliance, especially if they are easily altered or falsified. Manual systems like paper timesheets are extremely difficult to extract historical data from or analyse trends.

To avoid these costs, it is important to invest in a modern time-tracking system that is accurate, reliable, and convenient for both you and your employees. This can include digital timesheets, mobile apps, shared devices like tablets, or other automated solutions. By using a digital time tracking system, you can:

  • Eliminate errors and inconsistencies caused by manual timesheets
  • Save time and resources on administrative tasks
  • Improve employee accountability and productivity
  • Enhance billing accuracy and client satisfaction
  • Ensure compliance with labour laws and regulations

In conclusion, while paper timesheets may seem like a simple and inexpensive way to track employee hours, they can lead to significant costs and risks for small businesses. By adopting a modern time-tracking system, you can reduce the impact of TimeCreep on your business and improve your overall efficiency and profitability.

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