Paper Timesheets vs. Web-Based Timesheets: Which is Better?

paper timesheets vs web-based timesheets

Time-tracking is an essential function of all businesses. It serves to pay employees, bill clients, and track project progress. There are multiple ways companies track the time of their team members; the two most common methods being paper timesheets and web-based timesheets. How do you know which is best for your business? 

Paper Timesheets vs. Web-Based Timesheets: A Comparison

Ease of Use

Paper Timesheets: Paper timesheets are undeniably easy to implement, use, and change. Unless you have complex time-tracking requirements, logging time doesn’t get much easier than writing down the number of hours worked each day. Very little training is needed to bring employees on board, and if the company needs to add fields to the time-tracking system, they make the change internally and print new paper timesheets. However, when rolling out new paper forms, you may occasionally find old versions floating around that could necessitate individual follow-up. 

Web-Based Timesheets: Web-based timesheets can vary in complexity based on provider design and platform. They typically require a little more onboarding but help streamline this common business practice over the long term. It’s also significantly easier to track time beyond basic hours worked, assigning time to specific projects or logging billable client hours. Changes can be implemented at the macro level and instantly rolled out company-wide, or individual project budgets can be adjusted and saved by managers at the touch of a button.

Likelihood of Errors

Paper Timesheets: Paper timesheets have several opportunities for errors. Illegible numbers can result in over- or under-payments and billing errors. Duplication of numbers into multiple systems increases the chance of data-entry errors exponentially, and lost, missing, or late timesheets also pose problems.

Web-Based Timesheets: Web-based timesheets leave no room for problems with legibility. They also eliminate lost timesheets, and customized workflows make it easy to track down where an employee’s timesheet is stuck in the approval process. When using a platform that seamlessly integrates with your company’s payroll or accounting systems, there is no need to manually enter the same data into multiple systems.

Remote Accessibility

Paper Timesheets: Paper timesheets that are manually completed make it possible for remote, off-site, or field employees to log time from afar. However, they still need to find a way to turn their final timesheet into payroll via a trip to the office, fax, scan, or reporting over the phone.

Web-Based Timesheets: Web-based timesheets are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Any employee – either on- or off-site – can fill out and submit their timesheet from a computer or mobile phone. This gives off-site employees the flexibility to maximize their productive time in the field while minimizing administrative trips to the office. Some web-based timesheets can also be used to remotely clock in/clock out like a traditional punch clock.

Integration with Payroll Systems

Paper Timesheets: Traditional paper timesheets have no integration with company software systems. This minimizes frustrating technical difficulties but makes manual data entry necessary. This can be time-consuming and result in data-entry errors.

Web-Based Timesheets: Web-based timesheets can integrate with many popular payroll and billing systems. This minimizes the potential for human error and streamlines several common business processes. There is a learning curve involved in implementing new technology, but if you choose a platform with a user-friendly process and good customer support, the onboarding isn’t difficult and well worth the up-front time investment for the long-term ease of use.


Paper Timesheets: At initial glance, it would seem that this is where paper timesheets shine. Aside from the cost of printing hard copies, they are practically free. However, when you take a deeper look you’ll discover that paper timesheets actually have significant costs associated with them. Paper timesheets require staff time to review and process. Data must be entered manually into multiple systems, and staff may spend hours tracking down missing or lost timesheets, organizing and archiving old ones, and searching for archived ones when an issue occurs down the road. There are also significant costs associated with correcting payroll errors, so finding ways to minimize them is important.

Web-Based Timesheets: The up-front cost of implementing web-based timesheets can seem daunting, but they save you money over the long term when accounting for reduced staff time and fewer payroll or billing errors. This is true of both small and large organizations, though the savings can become increasingly more significant the more timesheets that are processed each pay period.

User-Friendly Web-Based Timesheets with Straightforward Pricing

MindSalt Time & Expense offers a user-friendly time-tracking platform with a transparent pricing structure and NO set-up fees. With easy integration with popular payroll systems, robust reports, and the ability to easily assign time to specific project budgets, MindSalt is the web-based time tracking system you need to automate one of your most time-consuming business practices. Sign up for a free trial today!