Time-Tracking Templates: Benefits and Examples for Client-Based Firms

By Kit Lewis
Content Manager
Feb 14 2023 read

Working a 9-to-5 isn’t so cut-and-dry these days. Most businesses now need to factor in remote and hybrid teams and multiple time zones. For professional services teams, the addition of complex client projects can make tracking employee hours feel like a full-time job in itself.

Even if you’ve done away with punch cards and paper timesheets for more modern time-tracking methods, supporting client work may still require more advanced solutions for tracking billable vs. non-billable time.

If you’re looking for an easy way to start keeping more accurate records of employee time and billable hours, time-tracking templates are an excellent place to start. 

The Benefits of Better Time Tracking for Client Work

Tracking time is important for all industries, but for service businesses that charge an hourly rate, it becomes even more essential for running a successful business. Better time-tracking methods can bring a variety of benefits to you, your employees and your clients, including:

  • Improved employee utilization. To accurately calculate your employee utilization, you need to know exactly how much time your team is spending on billable work. With better time-tracking processes in place, you can monitor team utilization to ensure your work is profitable.
  • More accurate client billing. If you’re charging clients for billable work without tracking your team’s time, it’s likely you’re missing out on potential revenue. And if clients have questions about an invoice, you risk not having the data to back up your requested payment. With better time-tracking strategies you can ensure your team is getting paid for the work you’ve completed — and you can improve transparency and trust in your client relationships.
  • Better profitability insights. When you have time-tracking tools and reliable reporting, you get full visibility into project and client profitability. With this new knowledge, you can more easily determine if certain clients are helping or hindering your potential growth.

Ready to step up your business’s time management game? Below, we’re sharing some time-tracking templates to get you started. 

READ NEXT: Employer Tracking Your Time? Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing

3 Essential Employee and Project Timesheet Templates

Simplify your time-tracking process with pre-built templates to track your team’s time. Download our Google Sheets templates and customize them to create a time-tracking process that fits your business needs. Having the right templates to support your work will help you better manage your employee time and more accurately bill for client projects.  

Weekly timesheet template

This simple timesheet template can keep track of an employee’s regular hours, paid time off, breaks and more on a weekly basis. Our download includes columns to track the date, time in and out, a daily break, total hours worked, the employee’s hourly rate and the calculated total weekly pay.

➡️ Download a weekly time-tracking spreadsheet

Monthly timesheet template

A monthly timesheet template uses a similar format to the weekly timesheet but allows teams that pay by the month to track an entire month’s worth of work and accurately calculate an employee’s paycheck. This template includes columns to track the date, time in and out, a daily break, total hours worked, an employee’s hourly rate, total weekly hours worked and the calculated total monthly pay. 

➡️ Download a monthly time-tracking spreadsheet

Project-based timesheet template

A project-based timesheet template is used by service businesses that need to track their billable hours in order to invoice clients after delivering a project. This template includes columns to track project name, client, task, start and end times and total billable hours.

➡️ Download a project-based time-tracking spreadsheet

NOTE: While these templates can get your team started with more accurate time records, it’s important to adjust them to fit the needs of your team and your specific client projects. 


4 Common Considerations for More Accurate Time Tracking

  1. Hourly rate - Whether you’re tracking hours for an hourly employee or billable hours for a client project, you will likely have a predetermined hourly rate to use to calculate a paycheck or invoice. Make sure to use a timesheet that can account for varying rates by employee or client, and make sure any confidential rates are hidden from view in a timesheet that multiple employees share to manually enter time. 

  2. Breaks - Lunch breaks and other breaks throughout the day are a common part of the typical workday and may even be required depending on local laws or company policies. Make sure your timesheets reflect this recurring break so you can accurately track the hours spent at work.

  3. Overtime hours - When your workload is higher than normal, some employees may need to work overtime. If they’re paid an hourly rate, you’ll need to ensure your timesheets have a way to account for overtime so you can deliver paychecks that reflect the actual hours worked. If overtime is an option on your timesheet, make sure to develop a company-wide process for when overtime should be used and how it should be approved.

  4. Sick time - Your company policies on sick time may vary, but if an employee is allotted sick days, you will need to determine how to track them in a timesheet template.



READ NEXT: Agency Timesheet Software: What To Look For

Cost-Saving Benefits of Time-Tracking Templates

If your team is just getting started or looking to improve company-wide organization and visibility, a time-tracking template is a great first step. Starting with a pre-built template requires minimal training for your staff but still provides your team with better access to time data.

The results are threefold: 

  • You’ll improve billing accuracy and have the information you need to make more informed business decisions. 
  • You can customize time-tracking templates over time as your team and business changes. 
  • You’ll save money because most templates can be built and accessed in common business management tools like Google Sheets or Excel.  

Why Manual Time Tracking Impairs Productivity and Reporting

While templates can offer a better process for collecting time entries, they still rely on manual entry. Even if your employees are consistent, manual work always increases the chance of human error in calculating paychecks or client invoices. On top of this, the manual time entry required for maintaining templates is non-billable work that takes you and your employees away from your number one priority — your clients. With too many manual tasks, your team’s productivity will suffer.

For businesses supporting client work, templates will only take you so far. When you support multiple clients or deliver complex projects, the best option is to take a step beyond manual templates and implement a time-tracking tool that can automatically record employee time.

The biggest disadvantage a business faces by using a time-tracking template instead of a more robust time-tracking tool is the limited access to real-time data and reporting. When you’re manually managing your team’s time entries, the insights you gain will likely be after the fact. To efficiently address project bottlenecks or workload imbalance, you need access to time reports in the moment, not after the project is already delivered.  

TIP: The best time-tracking solution for professional services businesses is a system that connects your time tracking to all stages of your client work. From projects to tickets to billing, finding a tool that automates time tracking across your entire business will save your team time and offer new insights into your employee utilization and profitability.

READ NEXT: Timesheet Software for Client Work: What To Know

Every Billable Minute Counts With Accelo

Your team works hard to deliver top-notch client work. Make sure you’re getting paid for all your efforts with more accurate time records that seamlessly connect to your client billing.

A client work management platform like Accelo can do just that and so much more. Our end-to-end system centralizes all aspects of your client journey — from prospect to payment — and tracks employee time at every stage. With automated time tracking, your team can feel confident about billing for client work and gain better insights into employee utilization and performance with access to real-time data.

Want to see how time tracking with Accelo could transform your business? Sign up for a trial or request a demo to speak with a product expert about the features that could best support your business. 


About the Author


Kit Lewis is a Content Manager at Accelo, where she manages content projects, social media and content reporting. With a decade of writing for industries ranging from education to tech, past experience supporting client work and a commitment to building efficient systems, she is passionate about creating valuable content to help professional services teams.

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