The Dilemma of Timesheets, How Agency Software Can Help + the 10 Best Solutions in Comparison

Raise your hand if you love your timesheets! Nobody? We didn't expect that either. Filling out timesheets would probably be at the bottom of an agency's list of favourite activities, right after negotiating prices with stingy clients and preparing documents for unexpected tax audits. But you know what? It's precisely in cases like these that proper trackin gof working hours via timesheets, whether with a dedicated app or integrated into your agency software, can save the day.

If you do without timesheets, you lack the basis for evaluating project profitability, planning resources and optimising work processes.
And now please put your hands up if you want to do without time tracking! That's exactly what we thought. And that's why we've put together an overview of the different types of time tracking and the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. In addition to summarising the requirements for effective timesheets in advertising agencies, we have also compiled an overview of the providers of timesheet software and finally give you tips on how to successfully implement and promote a culture of time tracking in your agency.


Why Are Timesheets Important for Agencies?

Accurate time tracking can make the difference between success and failure for an agency. You make a living by billing your clients for your time. Creatives can plan and prioritise better, account managers can provide transparent reports, project managers can track progress accurately and finance can gain important data for budgeting, costing and analysing the profitability of projects.

That's the theory. It all sounds logical and in the best interests of all employees to fill in their timesheets promptly and accurately. So why is the issue a vexed one in so many agencies? 

Because it's easy to lose track of time, especially when you're in a creative flow or in the middle of a challenging project. And then there's the technology thing - sometimes time tracking tools seem more complicated than they should be. There are also always discussions about data protection and compliance, which doesn't necessarily make things any easier. And the feeling of being monitored by agency time tracking software isn't exactly pleasant either. But at the end of the day, no agency can get by without accurate time tracking. And the job of good time tracking software is to provide you with the best possible support.


What Types of Timesheets Are There?

In the past, many advertising agencies relied on traditional methods such as manual Excel spreadsheets or paper-based time tracking systems. However, these approaches were often time-consuming, error-prone and difficult to manage. Modern agency time tracking software offers a variety of solutions that can optimise workflows:

Time Clock Systems

Traditional time clock systems require employees to clock in and out when entering and leaving the office. However, modern systems can also be digital variants where employees record their times electronically, e.g. using RFID cards or biometric scanners.

Specialised Timesheet apps

There are numerous software solutions that have been developed specifically for time tracking. These programmes enable employees to record their working hours accurately, often with functions such as project allocation, work recording and reporting.

Integrated Solutions

Some advertising agencies use integrated solutions that combine time tracking with other aspects of their operations, such as project management, resource planning and invoicing. These systems often provide a comprehensive solution for managing working hours and resources.

The selection of the appropriate time tracking method often depends on the specific requirements and preferences of the advertising agency, including the size of the team, the type of projects and the existing infrastructure.

Time recording software for agencies

What Are the Requirements for Effective Agency Software Timesheets in Advertising Agencies?

Effective time sheets systems must offer more than just the recording of working hours. They should also include functions for project time recording, holiday management, budget monitoring and compliance regulations.

  • Working time recording: Recording of all working hours, including non-project-related activities and home office management.
  • Project time tracking: Accurate tracking of productive hours at project level, differentiated by billable and non-billable services.
  • Fast invoicing: Possibility to quickly generate invoices based on services rendered.
  • Compliance: Adherence to hourly approval workflows and transparent logging of changes and approvals.
  • Reports: Centralised control and evaluation of all recorded times for effective resource planning and budgeting.
  • Imports and exports: Seamless integration with other software and systems to optimise workflows.
  • Personal advice & support: Reliable customer service to assist with questions and problems.

Optimising Agency Work with LEADING Job: The Comprehensive Agency Software for Timesheets

With LEADING Job's agency software timesheets, we offer an industry-specific software solution that not only optimises time tracking, but also provides a variety of powerful functions for project management and resource planning. Here are the comprehensive features in detail:

Detailed Project Time Recording

With our software, productive hours can be recorded at project level and at service level. This granular recording of services provided enables detailed project analysis and optimised resource allocation. You can also differentiate between billable and non-billable hours to maximise the profitability of your projects.

Transparent Working Time Recording

In addition to project-related hours, LEADING Job also tracks non-productive hours such as holidays, illness or other non-project-related activities. Recording is simple and transparent, including automatic inclusion of mandatory breaks and rest periods. The option to also track non-project-related hours means you always have an overview of your employees' total working hours.

Flexible Recording Methods

Our agency software for timesheets offers various recording methods to meet the individual needs of your employees. Choose between the quick 3-click timesheets, the precise stopwatch with start-stop function or weekly timesheets, depending on your working methods and preferences. With timesheet templates already pre-filled with jobs and positions, hours can be recorded quickly and easily without interfering with your employees' workflow.

Monitor Project and Budget Status in Real Time

By integrating timesheet data directly into job management, project managers can compare the actual effort with the planned budget and recognise potential budget overruns at an early stage. You can track the time spent on individual tasks or project phases in real time, identify resource bottlenecks and take countermeasures in good time before the litteral staff roof is on fire. This ensures that projects are completed on time and within the agreed budget.

No Forgetting Anymore: Automatic Reminder Function

LEADING Job has a two-stage reminder function that ensures that all working hours are recorded on time. Employees first receive an email notification if not all hours from the previous week have been entered. If hours have still not been tracked after a defined period of time, a notification is automatically sent to the person responsible for approving the employee's hours. This ensures that no working hours are lost due to forgetting and that invoicing is always complete.

Legal consistency guaranteed: LEADING Job's compliance features

For agencies with strict compliance rules or clients with similar special requirements, LEADING Job offers dedicated features:

  • Hours approval workflow: implementation of a workflow system in which timesheets must be approved by a supervisor or an employee assigned for this purpose. This ensures a dual control principle that meets the requirements of internal controls and compliance rules.
  • Audit trail: All changes, deletions and approvals of timesheets are logged and recorded in an audit trail. This enables seamless tracking of all activities related to time tracking and facilitates verification and traceability for compliance purposes.

Clarity Through Comprehensive Reports

LEADING Job provides a variety of reports that include key metrics such as client hours, project participation and cost summaries. These reports allow you to analyse the workload of your employees, assess the profitability of your projects and make informed decisions for the future.

Seamless Data Exchange: Import and Export Options

Our software makes it easy to import and export timesheet data to other software solutions. This allows you to seamlessly synchronise your data with other systems and minimise the amount of work involved in data entry. In addition, LEADING Job offers interfaces to time clocks and keycard systems to automatically record attendance times and breaks.

Freelancers Under Control: Effective Freelancer Management

For agencies that work with external freelancers, LEADING Job offers a special function for managing freelancer timesheets. Tracked hours can be converted directly into invoices to ensure smooth invoicing of external employees.

Rebooking Hours

LEADING Job allows you to rebook hours retrospectively and adjust various parameters such as service category, billability and service item. This means that your invoicing always remains correct and transparent, even if the conditions change.

Retainer Management

Our agency time tracking software offers flexible management of monthly hourly flat rates, which are sold independently of the actual time worked. This allows you to offer your clients transparent billing models and optimise your revenue planning at the same time.

Multiple Options for Hourly Rates

LEADING Job allows you to store different hourly rates, internally and externally, and in different currencies. This allows you to calculate your quotes precisely and minimise exchange rate risks. In addition, you can define individual hourly rates for each client to take their specific requirements into account. When hours are rebooked from one client to another, the corresponding hourly rates are also automatically taken into account.

Vacations and Attendance Overview

Our software provides a simple overview of holiday requests and the display of attendance times in the dashboard. This means you always have an overview of your employees' availability and can take absences into account in resource planning.

All in all, LEADING Job offers a comprehensive solution for time tracking in agencies that makes your employees' day-to-day work more efficient and increases the profitability of your projects at the same time. With our powerful features and user-friendly interface, you are optimally equipped for the challenges of modern agency work.


Agency Timesheet Software: Comparison of Features of Timesheet Software Providers*

FeaturesLEADING JobClockodoTimetacTimr (Troii)helloHQZEPTimeTrackMocoQuoJobTimez
Differentiation of hour categories
   Client-related, billable
   Client-related, non-billable
   Non-client-related hours
   (eg. vacation, sick)
Project time recording
   at project level
   at service level
   Distinction between
   client-related chargeable
   and non-chargeable hours
Working time recording
   Recording of all non
   (unproductive) hours
   Recording of vacation,
   sickness, time
   compensation, etc.
   Automatic calculation
   of statutory breaks and
   rest periods
Recording of core working hours
Homeoffice management          
Different methods for filling timesheets  
   3-click timesheets            ✓    
    Weekly timesheets      ✓  
2 text comments (internal & external) per  entry      ✓      ✓    partially
Changing timesheets retrospectively (document type, chargeability, etc.) Temporally limited   Temporally limited Temporally limited    
Retainer management            
Variable hourly rates
   Different hourly
   hourly rates for internal
   and external calculation
   Possibility to determine
   hourly rates per client
   Hourly rates in foreign
           ✓  ✓    
Compliance  ✓ partly  partly  ✓    
   Timesheet approval
   workflow with four
   or six-eyes principle
partly partly partly    
   Audit trail for
   transfers, deletions,
   changes and approvals
partly partly      
Reminder function for missing timesheets          
   Notifications for
   not recorded hours
   Two-stage reminder
   system for incomplete
Imports and exports
   Import and export of
   timesheet data
   to/from other software
   Interfaces to
   time clocks,
   keycard systems, etc.
Reports and analyses via Rest API
   Real-time analysis in
   job management
   Employee hours according
   to productivity and project
   Project hours with
   billing information
    Client overview with
   chargeable hours
   Comparison of internal
   and external
   hourly rates per project
   Logging of changes in
   the system
   Financial analysis based
   on working hours,
   costs, FTE
    Performance comparison
   between teams and
Overtime management
Freelancer administration             partly
Vacation & absences taken into account in resource planning      
Availability and presence management
Access to timesheet data only with corresponding rights

How Does LEADING Job Help Promote a Culture Supportive of Timesheets?

How well and how promptly timesheets are filled in in your agency depends on several factors: Communicate clearly why time tracking is important in your agency and the consequences of not tracking hours. Demonstrate how accurate time tracking contributes to accurate billing and timely payment of salaries.

Ensure that the agency timesheet software used is intuitive and easy to use. Complex and time-consuming systems can discourage employees and cause them to neglect time tracking. With LEADING Job, each person can decide for themselves which of the three types of timesheets offered they use to enter their hours.

Offer training courses to show employees how to use the time recording software effectively. Our dedicated support team is always available for training, questions and assistance to overcome any obstacles. Video tutorials on timesheets are also available.

The two-stage reminder function in LEADING Job has a particularly positive influence on regular time recording: not only the employees themselves are reminded of the time recording, but also the persons responsible for approving the hours.


Timesheet software agencies

Watch & Marvel: Timesheets in LEADING Job in Action

Ready to take your agency to the next level? With LEADING Job, you get a comprehensive solution for your project management that helps you plan projects efficiently, utilise resources optimally and keep budgets under control.

Experience the efficiency and precision of our timesheet solution live! Arrange a guided demo today and discover how LEADING Job can optimise your agency work.





Our articles are carefully researched and compiled. The timesheet features listed in the comparison table are based on publicly available information from the respective provider websites as of 22 May 2024. Fields that have been left blank indicate that we were unable to research this feature on the providers' websites. Please note that this table may not cover all available functions in full and that the software providers' offers may change at any time.
We accept no liability for the topicality, completeness and accuracy of the information.