Despite the technological revolution of the last few decades, the construction industry has lagged behind many others, including agriculture and manufacturing, when it comes to increasing productivity. For most analysts, this is because the construction business has been slow to adopt automation as part of its core business practices – most construction tasks are being done the same way now that they were twenty years ago.
This doesn’t just apply to dry-walling a building or pouring cement though – it even applies to the routine business processes that construction firms manage. One of the most out-dated technologies used by construction firms today has to be construction time sheets. While paper time tracking has been the norm for decades, modern technologies that enable electronic time tracking via mobile phones has been shown to increase profits and save time for firms that make the upgrade.
The future is now when it comes to tracking your labor costs, and we’re about to convince you by highlighting the 5 major pitfalls of construction timesheets. Once you realize just how much time and effort you’re wasting, you’ll know that it’s time to make electronic time tracking a part of your business.
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Paper Timesheets are Inaccurate
Typically, a construction firm requires its employees to submit a completed timesheet on a schedule that coincides with bi-weekly payroll. As a result, workers may not record their hours on the day that they work, or sometimes even in the same week. The end result is that your employees are left struggling to remember which night they left early, which night they left late, and what time they showed up on Tuesday – and all that leads to errors.
This may not seem like a big deal – what’s a few hours here and there? In fact, an assessment conducted by the American Payroll Association (APA) determined that construction firms using electronic timesheets spent 2% less on their wage bill. When people don’t know the right answer, they guess, and those guessed hours end up costing you more money.
Paper Timesheets Overwork Your Staff
Every other week your payroll office is bombarded by stacks of timesheets. These paper time sheets trickle into the office at first before arriving in piles, and the time it takes to collect and process timesheets from every employee is significant, including entering the data into a computer system that records it and calculates any deductions required (401k, income tax, etc.,).
Electronic time tracking lets you skip several steps in timesheet processing – labor records are directly uploaded to your payroll software, making it a breeze to get everyone paid.
Construction Timesheets Are Falsifiable
Whether you’re a large construction firm or a solo contractor with a small crew, you simply can’t be everywhere at once. The truth about construction time sheets is that they can be filled out and submitted by employees who weren’t even present on the job site, or falsified by an employee that showed up late or left early.
People are generally honest, but sometimes they make bad decisions, and it’s important that those choices don’t end up hurting your business. Construction time sheets lack the accountability of an electronic system that requires the user to physically be on the job site in order to check in. You can’t supervise everyone all the time, but your time tracking system can ensure that anyone who records working hours was present on the job site when they checked in and checked out.
Construction Timesheets are a Waste of Paper
If you’re a small contracting firm, your next client would love to know that you’ve taken a step towards environmental conservation and consciousness by moving away from paper time-tracking. If you’re a bigger player in construction, you could save thousands per year on paper and ink just by recording labor electronically instead of on paper.
Either way, biweekly payroll can amount to a huge waste of paper. Each employee in the company fills out a separate time sheet and submits it, and once it’s processed, all of that paper goes right into the trash bin.
Paper Timesheets Could Lead to Compromised Data
While a cloud-based storage system for your company’s real-time payroll data would include state-of-the-art security, a paper timesheet offers little in the form of security. All it takes is your competitors going through your trash to find out what your star performers are making – and exactly what it costs in salary to lure them away from your firm. Or even worse – they could work out your labor costs and undercut you, making it difficult for you to find work.
These are worst-case scenarios, but the point is made. Data security is a big deal, and sensitive data about your business shouldn’t be floating around on pieces of paper.
This isn’t the 1900s anymore, and sticking with out-dated technologies like paper timesheets for your construction business is simply asking for trouble. Paper timesheets waste paper and are easily falsified. They lead to inaccurate recording practices by your construction employees and they result in needless data entry work for your staff. They also pose a significant data security risk and should be replaced by electronic time tracking software that is secure and cost-effective.