Spreadsheets are the backbone of all businesses and can be designed to deal with an amazing amount of data. However, despite their possible complexity, they are merely a facility for you to record, store and interpret data. How this data is entered and presented can make the difference between a tool that is available but never used, to one that becomes critical to the success of the business. We use Google Sheets but are equally skilled with Microsoft Excel.
Spreadsheets have evolved from being customisable calculators to highly complex business decision making tools, providing "what-if" analysis as well as financial and statistical operations.
Fully explaining how spreadsheets work would take more time and space than would be warranted by the nature of this website. However, I have included a spreadsheet to give you an idea of a simple version.
The spreadsheet is what could be used by someone completing a time sheet, entering time data according to the project that they are working on for example. The first page of the spreadsheet (page selection is selected at the bottom of the spreadsheet), titled "Time sheet", allows this data entry to occur. As an example of the flexibility and power of spreadsheet design, various limitations can be placed. For instance in the spreadsheet below, in cell B11 (Name), only certain employee names can be selected from a drop down list. In cell F11 (Submitted on), only a date that falls on a Monday can be selected. And finally in cells G16-G19 (hours) and cell H22 (Billing rate), only numbers that have up to 2 decimal places can be entered. This is just a small sample of the data validation that can be used to ensure an accurate collection of data.
The data entered on the "Time sheet" page is summarised automatically, and in real time, on the "Stats" page. The cells in this page show an analysis of the Time Sheet data by Project and by Day.
All spreadsheets can be highly tuned to your particular business, with security and view/edit permissions set appropriately, and even with automatic notification of spreadsheet changes.
Let us know if these types of documents can help your business.