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Time Tracking and Invoicing Clients

Art Ardolino
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2016 Posts

I'm trying to find the best way to track time against projects using smart sheets in a way that billable time can be easily invoiced.  Ive read through many community posts, but still cannot find something that is helpful, or a smart sheet template that I think will work wel.


We currently use Zoho Projects for time entry.  It has a really simple entry screen where you select your project, task, and then enter hours for each day of the week.  We then export this time and import it into our billing system, and that part works fine.  But would much rather use smart sheets to enter time.  It has to be simple, easy, and exportable so we can invoice when needed.  We invoice weekly.


i'm debating whether time should be entered directly on each project or in a separate smart sheet.  I could create a column on each project and have people enter total hours, but that just seems problematic because if that number represents cumulative hours, how would you know if you entered in all of your time each week correctly, and how would you know how much time was spent on each task each week?  I then thought about creating a column for each week on each project, but that can get messy and out of hand.


If I use a separate smart sheet, how can I easily identify the project and task an employee was working on without copying and pasting it from the project smart sheet every time?  Or should I forget about trying to track time to every individual task and just track time against certain types of activity instead?  And if it is a separate smart sheet, do I create one for each employee and they use that same smart sheet indefinitely to track all time?  How can I link this back to the actual project smart sheet that the time relates to For reporting purposes to be able to then go back and look at projects to see which tasks ran way over estimate so we can compensate and adjust project plan templates in the future?


I'm curious how others have been successful entering and tracking time in smart sheets, and how that translated to invoicing clients for time spent on projects, and also for analysis of completed projects to improve similar projects in the future.  Any help or suggestions people can provide would be greatly appreciated.


  • cjab

    Me too. I don't have the anwer but I am interested in solving the same question. We first enter out projects and tasks into a bespoke database then export to Smartsheet ( currently by pasting in from an excel report) we would then like to log times and further comments into smartsheet. Finally we would export data back to our bespoke system for marking tasks as complete (or part) and billing.


    This can all work but we would like as much automation as possible.


    Chris Brown, servat

  • JohnHinkle
    JohnHinkle ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Art, some of this would depend on how often you are tracking and for how many people. 


    How many people are you tracking?


    How often are they entering hours? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Will they add "40 hours for January" or ".5 hours on this date, 3 hours on this date, 1 hour on this date, etc"?


    Do you care about start and end times or just total hours?


    For tracking and reporting, you could have a separate sheet (created from a custom template you create) for each employee’s time tracking.


    Each sheet can have a header row with information that rolls up all the info from the sheet.That row can then be brought into a report with all the other rollup rows from other sheets.


    Now, each user has individual sheets to track time and you have a report that shows a rollup from each sheet (each user). 

  • Art Ardolino
    edited 02/27/16

    Ok so we came up with a custom solution which we believe works for us.  We u our standard project template to include 4 columns:


    ActivIty Type (drop down) - this is the type of activity being performed - some are billable and some are not (eg tasks assigned to Clients have a Client task activity type which is not billable)

    Assigned To (already had that one) - this is the resource performing the work

    Weekly PS Hours (number) - the total number of Ps hours worked that week

    Total PS Hours (number) - the total number of PS hours logged against the task for the entire project

    Non-Billable (checkbox) - an override for the PS resource to indicate if a billable Activity Type should be considered non-billable


    PS resources enter their time in the Weekly PS Column and then run a report to verify that they entered their time for the entire week across all the projects that they worked on that week.  Once verified, every Monday, we run a process that uses the Smartsheet API that takes all the weekly PS time across all sheets, adds it to the Total PS Hours column, zeroes out the Weekly PS Hours, and then aggregates the total number of PS hours for that week by project, activity type, resource, and billable/non-billable.


    Since we happen to be a software company that has a data management platform (helloData), we built this into a Smartsheets connector for the Smartsheets API.  We then take the aggregated data and automatically append it back to a another Smartsheet called "Weekly Time" so Smartsheet users can see the time that was logged each week. We then integrate that data over to Netsuite so we can invoice our customers.  Once we get into a good rythym, we will automate this and schedule this to run every Sunday night at midnight (all time must be entered by then).


    The only downside to this approach is that we have totals by week instead of by day.  For now this is ok since we invoice weekly, but we could eventually modify this to run daily and become a daily PS hours field instead of weekly.


  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
  • Mariana
    edited 08/30/16

    Hi, we are using TrackingTime for Timetracking with smartsheets. It takes only one formula and you can get timesheets and reports out of your data automatically. 

    Here's the link https://trackingtime.co/time-tracking-for-smartsheet


    Hope you find it useful.



This discussion has been closed.