Timesheets: Paper Vs. Portal

In an age where new technologies are constantly evolving and developing, it is no surprise that we are seeing an increasing number of Recruitment Agencies using electronic timesheet portals rather than traditional paper timesheets. Whilst our clients use a mixture of both methods, TBOS can see some very clear advantages with electronic timesheet portals, and have highlighted a few of these below:

Whilst it’s not a daily occurrence, TBOS has had several experiences over the years whereby it has emerged that a candidate has been forging the signatures on their timesheets. With a simple paper, pen, scan method with timesheets, it isn’t easy to spot if the signature on the timesheet has not actually been written by the designated person. The advantage of an electronic portal system is that the authorised signatory/ approver either has to log on to their own section of the portal to approve the timesheet, or respond to an automated email confirming the timesheet. This method is a lot more secure and would make it almost impossible for the candidate to forge approvals on their timesheet which minimises risk to the agency.

Generally, electronic timesheets are a lot quicker to process than standard paper ones. Hand written timesheets are often sent in by the candidates with dates filled out incorrectly or where the minutes/ hours can be unclear. Any mistake or unclear part of a timesheet that is picked up after it is sent in can often mean a delay in processing them, and can be time consuming to resolve. Using electronic timesheet portals lessens the risk of the information on the timesheet being completed incorrectly, as the portal should automatically include dates/ time brackets, and these just need to be selected by that candidate rather than written out themselves. Fewer mistakes on timesheets means less time is spent on both sides resolving easily avoidable issues.

Raising invoices can be a time consuming task, which only becomes worse the larger your contractor book grows. An advantage of electronic timesheet portals is that they usually have a function that allows the invoice to be automatically created, pulling the information directly from the timesheet itself and collating the document. The invoices are then sent out with your desired message in the body of the text. This is infinitely more efficient than either having to manually enter time into invoice creation software or actually having to input the information yourself and send out each individual invoice as well.

With paper timesheets, the responsibility for a clear timesheet that is submitted by the given deadline lies solely with the candidate. This can be an annoyance as it often leads to consultants having to spend valuable time chasing timesheets where they could be making another placement. It also relies on the candidate sending in a clear, legible timesheet, which seems to be becoming increasingly problematic. More and more candidates are taking photos of their timesheets on a smartphone and sending them in; although this is a lot more convenient for the candidate, photographic timesheets can often be blurry, unclear and rejected by the client when it comes to invoicing.

Despite the clear advantages, using an electronic timesheet portal does come at a cost for the Agency, and this is something that should be taken into account if you are thinking of making the switch. Whilst there are fewer costs associated with traditional paper timesheets, if your contractor book is already at a considerable size or growing exponentially, an online timesheet portal could be something worth researching and using within your agency.

TBOS has a wealth of experience using several different electronic timesheet portals in order to efficiently manage  agency invoicing, as well as providing advice on daily processes to ensure that these are as effective as possible, saving you both time and money.

For more information on how TBOS can help manage your agency’s back office function, please contact our office.

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