Stop using Excel for timesheets, use Outlook instead

Throw away the excel spreadsheets, Timewatch’s new calendar timesheet is a game-changer, and syncs with Outlook

Why this company threw away their weekly Excel timesheets…

… and now uses Outlook for their timesheets instead.

MyHealth Access Network links more than 4,000 providers and their patients to a state-wide health information system. Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the idea is simple: if you’ve ever had to fill out the same form several times, or new forms with the same information, you’ve experienced the need for information sharing between doctors.

“We needed a way to track billable project hours…” The solution? Timewatch.

“We have a small staff – about 20 of us – but we have a lot of projects that we are working on and we needed a way to track billable project hours,” says Lance Butler, Project Manager at MyHealth Access Network.

“We started off keeping track of time in Excel spreadsheets. Each week people would track the amount of time on projects each day but we needed more detail.”

The team at MyHealth Access Network made something of an upgrade by using Outlook Calendar. Clients were billed according to calendar inputs that accounted for every hour of the day.

“If you spent 15 minutes on a project then you filled in a 15-minute appointment for that project,” Butler says.

“We set up a master list of billing categories and then extracted everybody’s data at the end of the month. This led us to realize we needed professional timekeeping software. The current system was taking too much time as it was a manual process.”

The Outlook Timesheet

“There was a lot of timekeeping software available, but Timewatch struck us immediately,” says Butler. “The key factor was that it plugged into the process we already had in place. We can use the appointments we already have scheduled on our calendar for timesheets while also entering time manually.”

“Users have to enter all data manually with most timekeeping software but Timewatch is different.”

“This is a merge of Outlook calendars and manual entry. It was simple and it was a natural fit for us.”

Outlook timesheet
Timewatch supports both spreadsheet AND calendar style timesheet entry. Outlook users love the calendar timesheet.
This is the calendar timesheet. It looks and feels like Outlook, which makes users instantly familiar with the system – and it shows the Outlook appointments that are available to post to your timesheet!
Blue entries are ones that are already in the timesheet. Notice there are 2 items on Monday, which add up to 5 hours for Monday.
Transparent Green and Red items are Outlook appointments that are available to post to your timesheet. The Green ones already have a Customer / Project allocated and are ready to post to your timesheet.
Transparent Red and Green items are Outlook appointments that are available to post to your timesheet. The Red ones already need a Customer / Project to be allocated to post to your timesheet.
The total value of posted (blue) time is shown for each day.
In the mobile app, time already in your timesheet is blue, like it is in the PC/Mac calendar timesheet.
Green bars in the mobile timesheet shows the total time in Outlook appointments that are ready to post to your timesheet on each day.
Red bars in the mobile timesheet show the total time in Outlook appointments that need a customer / project before they can be posted to your timesheet on that day.

Perfect Integration

“Our Outlook timesheet was the perfect solution for My Health Access Network,” says Timewatch Product Specialist Anthony Vaccaro.

“OutlookTime® seamlessly integrates with Outlook to lets users turn appointments into timesheets, but also allows non-appointment time to be entered on the same screen. There’s no flipping between one screen and another or popping up a screen for Outlook items, it’s all there in one place. It makes timesheet entry incredibly easy for users as it uses data they are already familiar with, as they entered it in Outlook in the first place. Using data already in Outlook saves them from entering all that information again for their timesheet. Most customers tell us that it used to take them between 4-8 hours a month to enter time in their previous system, but OutlookTime® reduces it to minutes.”

“There are other systems that have outlook links,” says Vaccaro, “but the big difference with OutlookTime® is that it is not an add-on to an existing timesheet system or an add-on for Outlook, it is a complete system designed from scratch specifically for Outlook with both manual and Outlook time visible and able to be entered on one screen. It’s why it is so slick and so fast.”

“Everyone who has seen this so far has said ‘Wow, it feels like Outlook, and looks like Outlook,’” Vaccaro explains, “You can see from the pictures that OutlookTime® was designed to look like Microsoft Office. We did this because we felt it would make for a smoother transition for new users, and this really works. Most people actually ask if it is a Microsoft product!”

As a cloud solution, OutlookTime® is available for PCs and Macs, and allow users to convert appointments from any version of Outlook, from PC, Mac, Phone or Tablet. Although not needed to turn Outlook appointments into timesheets, there is also a free plugin available for those that want to add OutlookTime® into Outlook itself†’.

† The plugin is not needed to turn appointments into timesheets, it is an option for those that want a plugin. Please note that all plugins run code within Outlook, and as a result slow Outlook down and can stop working when new releases of Outlook are released. This is a drawback of all Outlook plugins and is why Timewatch offer a full cloud solution that does not interfere with Outlook’s mission-critical operations and offer the plugin as an option, not a requirement for Outlook timesheet entry and time tracking.

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