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Buyer’s Guide to Time Clock Software
Time clock software is any type of program that logs employee clock in and clock out times and creates a record of hours worked. HR departments and managers of various stripes use time clock software to improve employee data accuracy and to streamline payroll tasks. Instead of employees logging their hours on spreadsheets or manual-punch time cards, hours are automatically stored in a database and can be exported at a later time.
This guide is designed to provide an overview of the time clock software market, including common features and leading vendors. We’ve also included a case study and information on how to choose the best time clock software for your needs.
Use Cases and Common Features
An anonymous survey of 500 retail and service workers found that 35 percent of workers have forged documents — often timesheets — in their careers, and 80 percent admitted to time theft through checking personal electronic devices. Time theft results in wage waste and reduced morale as employees see their co-workers getting away with fraud. Companies that ignore the importance of accurate time tracking could lose big money.
80 of employees admit to time theft through checking personal electronic devices.
Due to updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that are slated to take effect in December of 2016, many companies and industries that previously did not worry about tracking time will be required to comply with new rules. These rules state that any non-exempt employee who makes less than $913 a week are required to track time, and employers must pay overtime wages for any hours over 40 a week. These new standards for overtime pay will force over four million workers and companies in all industries to begin tracking their time to stay compliant.
Automatic time tracking and time clock software save time for payroll employees. Bookkeepers and accountants can spend days combining payroll timesheets and punch cards from the entire company, whereas a time clock software automatically adds time in and out and adds all hours together. This not only cuts down the time bookkeepers spend consolidating the payroll, but also reduces the chance of human error in wage calculations.
Managers and HR professionals will also love how the best time clock software choices aggregate all worker data into a central location. This means that sign-offs on hours won’t require organizing a bunch of individual time cards. Instead, managers and HR can check the expected vs. actual hours within the software’s interface and move approved hours to payroll with the click of a button. Managers can also pull up all of the past time data to help build new schedules based on seasonal demand.
Many companies avoid fees and reduce bookkeeping costs by implementing electronic time tracking systems. These programs include many features, such as:
On-premise Time Clock
This option is available for companies that require employees to be on-site, or who fear time theft through buddy-punching. You’ll find these options running terminals where employees swipe a card, enter a pin number, scan a barcode, or use biometrics such as facial or fingerprint recognition to confirm their identity. Clock in and clock out data then transfers automatically to a database of the entire company’s time, ready to be exported or uploaded to payroll software.
Computer/mobile Device Tracking
When employees punch in and out on a computer terminal or mobile device, exact time data feeds directly to the time clock system. These options work well for distributed workplaces and fleets. Employees who work remotely, or who start their workday outside of the office will appreciate mobile software’s ability to track their time from any location.
Either through mobile devices or permanent fleet fixtures, GPS tracking pinpoints an employee’s location, either at in or out times or throughout the day. Find out when your fleet spends too much time in one location, where they can reduce time spent between stops, or analyze the effectiveness of your routing systems with GPS tracking.
Geofencing is the ability to draw a digital perimeter around a particular area, and track when devices enter or leave that area. This is especially helpful in construction, utilities, and sales workplaces where much of the workforce is mobile. Geofencing tracks when an employee moves in or out of the perimeter, automatically sending that information to a database.
Scheduling and Time Off Request Management
Many time clock software options have time off request management built right in. Companies with complex schedules like retail stores and restaurants will find scheduling and time off request features simplify the process by importing default hour requests, one-time vacation requests, and sick leave data directly into the scheduling interface. These features compare all employee schedules, instead of shuffling papers and building schedules by hand.
FLSA, EEOC, IRS and local laws require workplaces to report time worked and wages earned for many employees. Why keep track of all of this data on paper or spreadsheets where it’s subject to human error? Time clock software compiles your labor data all in a single place, where you can easily export that data to other programs, your accountant, or directly to the government.
Many time clock applications offer direct integrations with your current HR or payroll software, so your labor data syncs at the push of a button, rather than requiring manual entry. This saves time for your bookkeeper and reduces the chance of clerical errors.
Time Clock Software Case Study
The University of Leicester Implements Mitrefinch
The University of Leicester commercial services used paper to handle between 500-700 employee schedules and skill sets during varying season needs and across three campuses.
This caused many problems from scheduling through the final payroll reports. Andrew Ghagan of University of Leicester reports3 that tracking down the paper records from all three campuses and sorting out human scheduling errors used to take up to a week.
The University of Leicester switched to Mitrefinch’s time tracking and payroll consolidation software to organize their staff, and upon implementation found an almost immediate reduction in time spent consolidating time cards.
The introduction of Mitrefinch to the University of Leicester campuses gave payroll accountants near-immediate access to all records. The last clock-in is on Sunday night, and payroll can begin processing as early as Monday morning.
- The University also reports:
- More accurate clock-ins
- A reduction in payroll errors
- Easier personnel upscaling during busy seasons
Other Leading Vendors
Choosing the Best Time Clock Software
When choosing the best time clock software for your company, first take stock of the existing system and your current software. Does your company
- Require a system that allows for clock in via mobile phone?
- Want employees to enter their own time off requests and scheduling requirements?
- Require GPS tracking for mobile or distributed workforces?
- Need payroll or HR integrations to existing systems?
We’ve brought together reviews, customer feedback, and detailed product information to help you make your time clock software decision. If you’d like to see how time clock software can save you time and money, we’d love to talk to you. Contact our Technology Advisors for a free consultation, or use the questionnaire above to compare products.