A time sheet is used to record the work time spent by an employee. The sheet is set up in a matrix format, with each column assigned to a separate day. This format allows a person to write in the hours and minutes spent on various activities during each day. A time sheet has two purposes, which are:
- Wage calculations. The total daily hours recorded on the time sheet are used to compile the gross wages of employees for payroll calculation purposes.
- Job costing. The hours worked on specific jobs are transferred from the time sheet to the ledgers being maintained for the various jobs in which the business is engaged. The hours then contribute to the cost of individual jobs, which may be billed to customers.
- Bidding. The hours worked by employees can be used to compile a record of how long it takes to complete certain tasks, which is useful for determining the amounts of future bids for similar tasks.
Time sheets have traditionally been on paper, but can also be set up as online forms or electronic spreadsheets.
A time sheet differs from a time card in that the time sheet is intended to allow more free-form data entry by the employee, while the time card is designed only to be stamped with the start and stop dates and times for work. Thus, a time card can only be used to calculate wages.