A personal view of the time
sheet process as it has evolved
Going from a traditional hand-entry time sheet to an electronic
web based time sheet application seemed like it would have to
be a difficult adjustment. It wasn't, but at the time, it seemed
like at the very least, it was going to be one of those things
that made life easy for accountants and more difficult for the
rest of us. I definitely mistrusted it, I could not see how it
would really make my work life one bit easier. But then, it certainly
wouldn't be any more difficult than the existing paper time
sheet system - the infamous yellow time sheet.
The infamous yellow time sheet did take me quite a while to understand.
It wasn't like the old time cards you slid through the time clock
with the comfortable sound of crashing metal permanently embossing
my time forever on a cardboard time card. That felt so permanent.
That was also a thing of the past for me when the "big yellow
monster" entered my life.
The yellow time sheet provided a place for all sorts of personal
information including things like employee number, department
number, supervisor's name, manager's name, task name, charge
numbers - just to mention a few. And for every pay period my
time sheet required me to write all this information and more.
And everything had to be exactly right. Somewhere almost hidden
on that yellow time sheet, was a place for my hours worked. Wasn't
that supposed to be the reason I was filling it out? To record
The yellow time sheet was passed out during the beginning
of every pay period, and had to be kept safely in my drawer for
daily entry. Somewhere where it wouldn't get lost among other
papers, leaky pens, or my lunch. It was the most important paperwork
of my week. Without total completion and total perfection, I
wasn't getting paid. Without a proper reporting of my time, who
would know what to pay me? I couldn't just tell them I was there
- "don't worry about it, trust me just sign the time
And on top of everything else, our company required daily status
reports. It wasn't the worst thing in the world to report your
status and how your time was divided between various assigned
tasks, but it was another form - separate from the time sheet.
If I spent 2 hours time on a specific task, and 6 hours time
on another, on Wednesday the 14th of the month, my time sheet
needed to reflect that time and attendance exactly. If I missed
a day's status or marked my time sheet in such a way as it didn't
match my daily status report, then I was lost. Doomed forever
in a sea of time sheet accountability.
Its not as if my employer wanted me lost in this sea of time
sheet accountability. In fact, they would have been just as happy
to approve my time card anyway - my veracity was never in question.
But they had people to answer to - namely, clients. Clients who
needed to know exactly how many hours were spent on their jobs,
and what was accomplished during the time I recorded. For these
clients, both government and private sector organizations, my
time sheet was their window to the project. They could keep track
of how things were going, and determine whether they were on
schedule or not. They could use the information from my big yellow
time sheet and my status report to develop accurate predictions
for the task's future. They could determine the project timeline
accurately. Reports could be generated. My time sheet was of
the utmost importance to them. And that meant that my time sheet
wasn't going to be approved if it wasn't in order.
Since everyone makes mistakes, my time sheet was not immune to
a series of initialed changes and erasures due to my own errors.
There were pay periods when I couldn't even add correctly. I'd
look at those numbers, all divided into blocks of time, floating
in just the right places on a sea of yellow, and I would see
the correct number of hours all clocked in perfectly. My
perfect time sheet was a work of art. Except that I would miss
things. To my trained but hurried eye, everything was fine. I
would swear I added everything correctly. My time sheet was perfect!
Until someone from another department upstairs would show up,
yellow time sheet in hand, a look of frustration, and the always
polite "your time sheet isn't right."
My unapproved time sheet was missing this or that and I was
required to "initial these hours, please." Perhaps
I just forgot to sign the thing. Each of those embarrassing total
wastes of time only prolonged every process and had to make my
long-suffering friends in accounting want to strangle all of
us. Because it was never only me - time sheets were finding their
way back to employees quite regularly. Of course, the first reaction
is to defend what you've written, as if accounting would return
your time sheet just to make you crazy. It couldn't have been
my fault again, could it? Was I so stupid not to be able to fill
out a simple time sheet?
Of course, it isn't a matter of stupidity, and it wasn't a
simple time sheet, was it? If it was so simple, I would have
mastered it better, and my friends in accounting wouldn't have
to be so understanding all the time. There had to be a better
way - perhaps something more automated - a time sheet without
so much human error built into it. A time sheet that required
only the barest of input from me. Where my name, employee number,
social security number, department designation, section information,
address and phone, customer, contract and task information, pay
period information, and all the rest was already done for me
ahead of time. That's the kind of time sheet a guy can really
A time sheet that merges my status reporting requirement right
there with the actual hours I worked. A time sheet that required
only a few seconds of my time each day, and would automatically
sign itself for me at the end of the week. A time sheet that
wouldn't get lost or wrinkled; that wasn't full of confusing
initials whenever something strange happened on the project.
A time sheet I didn't have to worry about all the time. A time
sheet that didn't make me look stupid as I diligently tried to
make it perfect.
Then along came xpdtime. It was reassuring to know that someone
higher up the corporate ladder was feeling the same pain as I
was, because xpdoffice promised to take that pain away. And it
Because it was web-based, I could access my time sheet from
anywhere. Whether I was at home or in the field, I could access
my time sheet right then and there and record accurate information
quickly - for specific tasks. And I no longer had to figure out
customer numbers, or task assignment numbers, or whether I was
going to go over the allotted amount of time for a given task
- xpdoffice already figured all that out for me. I didn't have
to even enter my name. No more department blanks to fill in,
or charge numbers to remember. And my status report was incorporated
right into the time sheet application. All I had to do was log
in, and then enter the number of hours spent as they related
to specific tasks. Entering time took seconds. Adding a status
report for each task worked became easy. No more time wasted
looking for the actual physical yellow time sheet. No more calls
from upstairs, and questions about why I did what I did. No more
comparing my status report with the time sheet, or the time sheet
with correctly assigned tasks.
xpdtime created my personal profile, including all the pertinent
information about who I am and to whom I am assigned. It includes
my personal employee number, the date of the current time sheet,
and my section and department information. My xpdoffice time
sheet application also lets my manager assign whatever tasks
he wishes, directly to me. And as soon as he clicks submit, my
time sheet reflects those additions. My manager can even determine
how many hours he wants me to work on a certain project, and
notification is made when I exceed them. My time sheet doesn't
even need to be signed or approved to make the current up-to-the-minute
data available for project analysis and needed timely reports.
And best of all, my time sheet only takes a couple of minutes
of my precious time each day.
I haven't received a visit from accounting yet about my time
sheet since we started using xpdoffice. All totals are computed
without my involvement. All I need to do is make sure my time
is recorded on the right day and my xpdoffice time sheet takes
care of everything else. It even computes the percent complete
for the hours assigned to me on any given task. Holidays are
already marked, so there's no forgetting those, and I can apply
for and receive leave approval instantly through my xpdoffice
web based time sheet.
My old yellow paper time sheet was cumbersome, even if it
was just one sheet of paper. It was difficult to work with, and
easy to lose. My old yellow time sheet required me to be accurate
and didn't allow for any forgetfulness or incorrect addition.
My xpdoffice web based time sheet takes care of my addition for
me, and guarantees the accuracy of my time sheet.
And I can check the web based time sheet from several different
views. I can see my daily entries, including my daily status
reports, for any day of the year. I can view the entire week,
if I like, or the entire pay period. My time sheet is available
to me and my corporate officers to overview at any given moment
and will be as complete as my last entry. And when my time sheet
is due at the end of the pay period, a click of the button will
electronically sign it for me and notify my immediate superior
that it has been completed and is waiting for approval.
But my new xpdoffice web based time sheet is more than just
a simple time sheet. From my xpdoffice time sheet, I can work
with and submit my expense report, create requisitions, handle
my correspondence, and work with contracts and projects on whatever
level I need. I can keep in touch with deliverables and reports
as required, and I can manage my time more effectively.
Now, I can hardly remember the big yellow time sheet. It seems
like so long ago - an unwanted relic, full of inaccuracies and
wasted time. The old yellow paper time sheet was my master, but
no longer. Thanks to xpdoffice, my time sheet gives me more time
to actually work - less time spent fixing mistakes. My new xpdoffice
web based time sheet improves
my productivity and give me the flexibility to concentrate on
what is truly important - the needs of my clients.