Say Goodbye to PTO Tracker Spreadsheets with the Right Tools

Avatar photo


HR tech that powers small businesses. Get in, get the job done and keep your business moving with an easy to use solution for time, HR and benefits.

How does your company track and manage paid time off (PTO)? How does that method work for you?

If your answer involves spreadsheets, this article is for you. When spreadsheets became available, they certainly offered advantages over hand calculation, offering a nifty way to store data and automate calculations.

However, in today’s world, they’re no longer an ideal solution. In fact, PTO tracker spreadsheets can increase your company’s risk of errors and challenges. Although spreadsheets are staples in business management, there’s a better option when it comes to tracking PTO accruals and usage.

Why Track Paid Time Off?

Paid time off (PTO) is a valuable benefit companies offer to employees. Employees rank paid vacation time as their second most-valued benefit after health insurance. Additionally, employees who believe their organization encourages vacations report higher job satisfaction.

But failing to track accrued time off can create issues. Companies that don’t have an absence management plan are losing an average of $775 per employee, per year. Time off management is even more critical in times of workplace disruption.

Employees who care are productive, motivated and engaged. Engaged employees are less likely to rack up unnecessary absences, and that’s good for business. Better attendance tracking and PTO management avoids destructive employee absenteeism.

How Do You Manage PTO?

Your company’s PTO management policy might include the following steps:

  1. Create and document your PTO policy in your employee handbook
  2. Train managers on your PTO approval system
  3. Track employee time
  4. Calculate employee balances
  5. Allow for year-end rollover if applicable
  6. Adjust for tenure if applicable
  7. Answer employee questions about their PTO
  8. Notify employees of soon-to-expire earned leave

But when you use spreadsheets instead of a PTO tracker, everything in this process is manual. You have to enter employee hours, set up the formula, and make sure it works like it should. Even a minor error in PTO tracking can lead to a major payroll mistake that costs money.

Vacation Tracker Options

Your business has a few options to consider when determining how to track accrued PTO and manage time-off requests.

PTO tracker spreadsheet

As mentioned, one of those vacation tracker options is a spreadsheet. But spreadsheets aren’t designed to handle PTO accruals, requiring the use of highly complex formulas. Even basic accrual policies require extensive Excel knowledge, and errors are still likely.

Pros of PTO tracker spreadsheet

  • Cheap: When a small budget is a determining factor, a PTO tracker spreadsheet might seem like the only option. But can your business afford the costs associated with mistakes? Penalties and fines can quickly add up.
  • Suitable for small teams: If you have a small workforce, it may seem like a PTO tracker spreadsheet is sufficient to get the job done. But as your business grows, it will quickly outgrow the capabilities of Excel.

Cons of PTO tracker spreadsheet

  • Time-consuming: Entering and calculating complicated formulas isn’t a good use of anyone’s time.
  • Prone to errors: Manual processes are more likely to result in errors, so automating your accruals and requests is the best way to reduce the risk of mistakes.
  • Doesn’t handle complex PTO accrual methods: Many companies offer PTO on an increasing scale with tenure, but a tracking spreadsheet can’t handle anything more complex.
  • Difficult for larger teams: As your team grows, the capabilities of your PTO tracker spreadsheet will no longer suit the business’s

A better option: PTO tracker software

The second (and far superior) option is software that tracks PTO accruals and manages the entire process from start to finish. WorkforceHub is one such solution, and it’s designed with the needs (and budgets) of small business owners in mind.

Employee PTO monitoring

When you set up an employee in WorkforceHub, you can establish a PTO accrual policy that allows them to earn paid time off. Custom policies are available and easy to set up.

Your team members will love the employee-facing PTO interface. They can view their balance any time. Cloud-based systems can be accessed from any connected device, day or night. This feature alone saves the HR team a lot of time checking balances for employees.

Time off requests

Employees also request time off through the same system. This step keeps everything organized and prevents requests from slipping through the cracks. It helps managers plan ahead for scheduling and ensures fair treatment when it comes to vacations.

For example, let’s suppose you have a first-come, first-served vacation policy. You can rely on the system to record the dates of all vacation time requests and approvals.

Busy managers don’t need to worry about forgetting a verbal vacation request. The system is objective and transparent. It lets managers outsource their memory to an infallible system, providing a benefit that’s very important to employees.

PTO synced to scheduling

When an employee vacation request is approved, the PTO tracker sends the dates to the schedule builder. If you try to schedule the employee during approved time off, it will give an alert.

This is just one example of how cross-module syncing works. Consider all the connections between timekeeping, scheduling and accruals. The level of efficiency and accuracy as compared to spreadsheets is profound.

Bottom line? You can automate 90 percent of PTO tracking while simplifying the management process.

Turnkey PTO tracking

Some companies offer self-provisioning or turnkey solutions. As with the vendor-supported systems, PTO syncs with employee timekeeping and scheduling. But the sign-up process is a lot quicker. You can sign up online any time. There’s no need to work with an account representative.

When you’re researching turnkey PTO tracking systems, make sure they accommodate the number of employees on your staff. You might want an “employee aware” feature that prevents punch mistakes. See if the templates work for you. Look for free trials and take a test drive. Compare features and ease-of-use.

Vacation tracker for remote workers

It can be a challenge to recognize when remote workers are out of the office, but being unaware could wreak havoc on productivity rates and overall morale. Make sure whatever tracking system you choose can accommodate remote workers, showing when they will be out of the office to help other team members plan ahead.

Other Features of WorkforceHub

In addition to tracking PTO accruals and time-off requests, WorkforceHub offers a range of features to help business owners manage their workforce.

Time tracking

Tracking employee time is a must when it comes to maintaining compliance with labor laws and ensuring accurate paychecks. WorkforceHub is built in time and labor tracking, with a range of collection methods and intuitive functionality that gets employees up and running on the system quickly.

Automated timesheets

Automating your time collection process can reduce the time spent entering employee hours or verifying timecard accuracy. Within WorkforceHub, all punch data seamlessly flows to individual employee timesheets to simplify the process of storing and managing time.

Payroll integrations

Accurate pay is another component of tracking hours worked, and WorkforceHub integrates with various payroll systems. As the data moves to your payroll software, you can feel confident that employees will receive paychecks based on the correct number of hours. The PTO accruals will also flow throughout the system, ensuring that employees receive the proper pay when they take approved time off.

WorkforceHub handles PTO tracking and much more. The configurable workforce management platform helps small businesses track sick time, vacation time and other employee absences. Its user-friendly interface allows for quick balance tracking and checks while delivering accuracy and automation. Learn more about how WorkforceHub can help you go from spreadsheets to PTO tracking software.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

manager in food factory solve late timecards

6 Tips to Say Goodbye to Constant Timesheet Reminders

May 14, 2024
Posted in , ,

Managers hate to nag about an employee’s timecard with ongoing timesheet reminders. It can feel like a power struggle with a bunch of five-year-olds. You hire competent professionals. You don’t want to think of them as kids who refuse to pick up their toys. Getting employees to turn in timecards is a problem that has…

Read More

How to Build a Thriving Atmosphere with Remote Employees

May 7, 2024
Posted in ,

Managing a workforce can be a challenge, even when you have opportunities to interact in person. Maintaining a supportive and collaborative atmosphere becomes even tougher when employees work remotely or adhere to a hybrid schedule with less in-person interaction. But you don’t have to sacrifice the atmosphere you want simply by allowing employees to work…

Read More

WorkforceHub takes care of business.

We’ll show you how.

Request a Demo - Footer Form

Looking for help? Please click here.

brand - dots