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Easy and Efficient: Electronic Time Sheets are Live

When it comes to going green, composting and recycling aren’t the only things

Sherrell McNamara and David Sylva are just two of the individuals who collaborated in order to design and develop the Electronic Time Sheet System.

Sherrell McNamara and David Sylva are just two of the individuals who collaborated in order to design and develop the Electronic Time Sheet System.

UMBC is doing to help the environment. Recently, the university has also started the process of switching from paper time sheets to electronic.

The idea to go paperless started about eight years ago as other University System of Maryland schools started to make the change. A committee at UMBC was created, but the project was eventually put on hold due to the PeopleSoft system preparing to go live and other campus initiatives.

Earlier this year, the project was revisited and DoIT collaborated with Human Resources to create the electronic time sheet. “We’re automating the paper process and adding edits for improved data entry,” explains Stacy Long, Director, Administrative Affairs & Research Administration Enterprise Systems for DoIT.

With the current paper process, there is a chain of people that the time sheets must travel between after each pay period. Once an employee completes the time sheet, his or her supervisor must sign it and submit the sheet to the payroll preparer. That individual must then key all of the information into the time entry system.

“With the technology we have now, the paper process has become very antiquated,” says Sherrell McNamara, Human Resources and Information Systems Manager. “The current time sheet process does not provide efficiency to the overall time sheet, time entry and payroll processes at the department and HR levels.  Going electronic will add value in enhancing business processes as well as aid the campus in leveraging in technology.”

Now, the electronic time sheets will streamline the old process. It takes just two clicks for an employee to authorize and submit the time sheet, and then it is automatically sent to his or her supervisor. Supervisors can see a list of the employees they manage with their total work hours and links to the detailed time sheets. They can simply click the link to view the full time sheet and check a box next to an employee’s name to approve the hours. If there is an error, they can send it back to the employee to correct.  Employees’ time is automatically loaded into the Payroll system so the Payroll Preparers will no longer have to key in that information, which is a great efficiency gain.

On the user’s end, preferences can be managed so that time is filled in automatically for individuals with set schedules each week. Holidays are filled in by default, and users can also see leave balances.  Email notifications are sent to employees and supervisors to provide deadline reminders.

The electronic time sheet is also set up to work with the internal procedures and practices that different departments may already have in place for filling out time sheets. There is a comment box where employees or supervisors can insert notes, and there are optional code fields when inputting work hours. For example, student workers who work at multiple Residential Life locations can input the code for the different dorms or apartments. These codes give departments another way to run reports using the time sheet data.

Besides reducing the data entry time, the electronic time sheets also make communication easier for HR. The new time sheets feature a box near the top where HR can display custom messages. For example, HR can now display a message about how to account for a campus closure that will be seen by all employees when filling out work hours for that pay period instead of needing to send a campus-wide email.

The new time sheet is hosted in PeopleSoft and accessible through myUMBC, my.umbc.edu/go/timesheets. To help ease the transition between the paper and electronic time sheets, HR has worked with DoIT to ensure that the electronic version looks almost identical to the old paper sheets. HR will also provide training in the form of a few classroom-style sessions and videos as the entire campus makes the switch.  Plus, electronic time sheets documentation is available to UMBC employees now and can be found at my.umbc.edu/groups/ets.