The Benefits to Moving On from Tracking Time with Excel Spreadsheets

John Reeve | October 15th, 2018 | , , ,

Time tracking with Excel spreadsheets

Let’s be honest, time tracking is not fun. But, that doesn’t mean it has to suck. There are several online tools available today, including our own Intervals, that can make time tracking less painful. And if you are currently using Excel to track your time, the benefits of moving on are even greater and far outweigh the time and money invested in onboarding and monthly subscription fees. Here are three big benefits…


Most companies that track time using Excel spreadsheets have one person responsible for entering the hours on behalf of all the employees. This is terribly inefficient and introduces significant delays. The data isn’t available until someone enters it, and that is typically up to a week later.

Using online software, like Intervals, each person has their own login and enters their own time. The account administrators can review the timesheets and make any necessary adjustments. Empowering each user to enter their own time reduces bottlenecks and delays to almost nothing. The time tracking data is available immediately for running reports and billing clients.


One of the bigger problems with tracking time using Excel spreadsheets is that much of the data goes missing. There is often a lapse of several hours, sometimes days, between the work being done and the time being recorded. Despite our best efforts, a significant number of hours slips through the cracks. Over days, weeks, and months, those missing hours really add up.

I’ve interviewed several Intervals customers who’ve shared the same story — their billable hours increased, sometimes by 30%, simply because they traded up Excel for online software better suited to the task of tracking time. Additionally, companies that do flat fee billing gained huge insights into where their time was actually going. In both cases, the end result was increased profitability.


In our earlier days as a web design and development agency, we too tracked our time using Excel spreadsheets. Our faithful project manager would spend hours each weekend entering time from the previous week. We had to wait a full week before we could run any kind of report to find out if we were hitting our estimates or not. And the reports we could run were basic and lacking any kind of insight. That was over twelve years ago, and was one of the biggest pain points that pushed us to create Intervals.

When employed effectively, online time tracking software will reward you with immediate insight from your data. Coupling time tracking with a diverse suite of reports makes it easier to stay ahead of estimates, budgets, and deadlines — and still have the time to reply to client inquiries with informed responses. Neither you nor your clients will have to guess at where your time and their money is being spent, because the answer is always just a few clicks away.


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John Reeve
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Jennifer Payne
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Jennifer Payne

Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
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Michael Payne
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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