Ditch Your PTO Spreadsheets

By Brett Derricott

Spreadsheets are great for a lot of scenarios within a business, especially those dealing with numbers and money. In a very small company, with very basic PTO rules, a PTO tracking spreadsheet might even work for a time as the company’s system-of-record for PTO tracking and management. But there are many reasons to graduate from using a spreadsheet for time off tracking to implementing on online time off tracker like Built.

HR/Admin Time Saved Managing PTO for a company of any size can be extremely time consuming. The larger the company, the more inefficient and difficult this process is. Responsibilities include at least the following tasks:

  • Define and document all time off policies.
  • Calculate and record accruals.
  • Train managers on your approval process and requirements.
  • Update employee account balances as time off is taken.
  • Ensure managers do not approve more time off than an employee is allowed.
  • Calculate carryover/rollover at year end.
  • Enforce any account maximum balances.
  • Increase accrual rates as employee tenure increases.

Using spreadsheets for all of this means the process is entirely manual, and the risk of errors is high. Switching to an online PTO tracking system automates nearly 90% of that work, saving many hours per week!

Employee Time Saved

When employees don’t have real-time access to their PTO account balances and history, planning their time off is challenging. Paystubs might contain account balances, but those balances might not be 100% accurate by the time the employee receives the paystub. An employee wanting an accurate, current balance may have to request that information from HR. This extra step wastes time for the employee and the HR staff.

In a spreadsheet-and-emails process, an employee has no way of knowing the status of their time off request. The manual, slow approval process means the employee may need to ask for status updates repeatedly. This is especially true if the PTO approval process involves multiple people.

PTO Data Accuracy

Tracking accruals, time off, and balances in a PTO spreadsheet requires a lot of manual data entry. Every manual data entry represents an opportunity for a mistake, and eventually mistakes do happen.

An incorrect account balance isn’t just frustrating for an employee; an incorrect account balance requires additional wasted time as HR, accounting, and the employee work through the numbers to arrive at the correct balance. Beyond the time wasted, data inaccuracies also result in lower employee trust and morale. If an employee feels they cannot trust the process, they’ll always double check everything and they’ll view the company in a slightly less favorable light. Perception does matter!

Employee Satisfaction

Employees view their PTO account balances as a form of compensation, not that different from actual money. Retaining great employees requires a fair PTO program, but it also requires that the program is run well. Using spreadsheets, paper forms, and emails for your PTO program is less likely to lead to employee satisfaction. Moving to an online paid time off tracking program gives employees confidence in your company, saves them time, and makes using their time off easier.

Ability to Support More Scenarios

If you rely heavily on manual processes and basic tools for managing your PTO program, your natural incentive is to find ways to keep things as simple as possible. Although that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it may mean your employees miss out on the benefits of a more complex policy.

With a robust PTO tracking system, you can more easily support scenarios like pay-period accruals, carryover of unused time, years of service tiers, and more.

Time to Upgrade

As you upgrade from a PTO tracking spreadsheet to an online time off tracking system, you can say goodbye to the inefficiencies and problems of your manual process. The time off tracking spreadsheets and forms have served you well, but it’s time to retire them and bring your company into the 21st century! The time you save and the other benefits you gain will make you wonder why you didn’t do this years ago.