Digital Time Recording - Advantages and Functions

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Classic time clocks at the entrance to the company premises have already been replaced by digital systems for recording working hours in many companies. The working hours of the employees are thus recorded correctly and costs and effort for the evaluation of the time cards are reduced. The following article shows you how digital time recording is used in practice today.

How Does Modern, Digital Time Recording Work?

The best way to record working time is digitally. This is very easy with a special time recording app. The practical thing about it is that you can not only document your working hours, but also record holidays and breaks. The time recording can cover complete working days or be documented individually for certain projects.

The data entered not only serves payroll accounting for the correct documentation of your hours, but also provides a good reference point for planning projects. This allows you to estimate how many working hours can realistically be planned for certain activities and projects. Digital time recording systems are therefore a useful support for the preparation of offers and invoices for customers.

Is There an Obligation to Record Time?

Companies have only had a legal obligation to record time since the European Court of Justice ruled in 2019 that working hours must be recorded. However, it is still up to the companies themselves how this is done.

Small companies often give their employees a total number of hours per month or per week. However, the hours are not accounted for individually, but are compensated with a fixed salary. Employees are usually present at fixed working hours. To reduce overtime, working hours are often reduced when there is little to do.

Large companies often provide their employees with a concrete time recording tool via the intranet in order to better plan and evaluate projects. Time recording is even more flexible for companies that use a tool with a mobile app.

Here, employees can document every working hour and overtime as well as all breaks flexibly from any location; after all, the smartphone is a constant companion for many people today. Holidays can be easily submitted here via app. A look at shift planning is also possible, depending on the scope of functions.

Digital Time Recording - Advantages and Disadvantages

Digital time recording offers many advantages, but also some disadvantages.

An advantage is, for example, the possibility to easily document and evaluate working hours. At the end of the month, the payroll department can see at a glance how many hours and overtime have been worked, whether employees were sick or whether there are still open days of leave. This makes payroll accounting more efficient, as it is no longer necessary to submit all applications (such as for leave) on paper. Project planning also benefits from digital time recording. Costs for new projects can be estimated more realistically based on the time documentation of older orders and used for the preparation of quotations. At the end of the project, the working hours can be billed even more accurately. Digital time recording systems are also helpful for flexible shift planning and holiday planning.

One of the disadvantages is the effort required to install the time recording systems. Special software or an app as well as the corresponding end devices are required. If you want to use digital time recording free of charge, you will unfortunately not find it. In addition, it is necessary to train employees depending on the complexity. Some employees also feel monitored by their employer or colleagues when they enter all times into the system in detail.


  • Enter and evaluate flexible working times
  • Enables precise project planning
  • Facilitates the accounting of hours
  • Ideal for holiday and shift planning
  • Saves paper (e.g. for holiday applications) and the necessity to transport it


  • Sense of supervision
  • Costs for time recording tool / app
  • Training necessary
  • Modern, mobile devices necessary

Time Tracking Apps - Range of Functions Varies

An employee time tracking app is practical and comes with very different functions depending on the variant. They range from time tracking software for small businesses to applications for large companies.

The following functions are possible, but not available in every app or not necessary depending on the size of the company and working models:

  • Recording of hours worked
  • Project-related recording of hours
  • Documentation of breaks
  • Planning of holidays
  • Creation of shift schedules (only in companies with shift work)
  • GPS tracking (for employee monitoring)

Examples of Time Tracking Apps

There are no free apps for digital time recording. Instead, there are various software systems that also include a time recording app for mobile data entry. For a quick overview, we have compiled three widely-used software programmes with an app for you.


Crewmeister is a time recording tool that allows all employees to conveniently enter their working hours. This time recording app even works offline. It is possible to set fixed breaks or also enter individual break times. Working times can also be monitored via location tracking using GPS.

The price for Crewmeister depends on the number of employees and the scope of the functions used. Pure time recording is already available from 10 euros per month, more functions such as holiday planner and shift planner cost extra.


The time recording tool Papershift is also suitable for digital time recording. It comes with many useful features. The time recording app works on a tablet or smartphone. After logging in, employees can enter their working hours in the home office or at the workplace, but also on the road. Three packages are available for a price between six and ten euros per employee per month.


This time recording app is especially suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises. Besides time recording, it is also possible to create customer and project data. In this way, working hours are recorded exactly for each project. The costs for the time recording tool range from four to twelve euros per user and month.

It is important to have a well-functioning synchronisation between the app and the desktop application so that your team or boss always has a realistic overview of all working hours and other entries.


There are many options for flexible, digital time recording. It's best to choose a software with an app that fits your company size and offers all the necessary functions. A time tracking software for small businesses usually needs fewer functions than a software for large companies, where a large number of employees manage their holidays as well as shifts, breaks and working hours.

Florian Kassel

Florian Kassel

Online marketing expert

Florian Kassel is the founder of the online marketing agency Digitale Trends and has been dealing with all topics related to digital marketing for more than 10 years now. Whether search engine optimization (SEO), social media or brand building.

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