Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - May 2008

Do you like math? I always tolerated it enough to get by, but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed math in school. I mean, who wants to spend hours doing long division problems when a trusty calculator can cut the time to a fraction (now there’s a nice math term) and allow much more time to play outside. I’m sure we’ve all asked the question, “Now when am I going to use that in the real world?” As much as I hate to admit it, now that I’m in the ‘Real World’ I use math all the time. Without math, I’d think there was actually a difference between paying $3.99 9/10 per gallon of gasoline instead of $4.00 per gallon!

This issue of tips and tricks is dedicated to questions about Virtual TimeClock’s mathematical wizardry. This amounts to much more than just calculating hours and overtime for each of your employees. The software can also perform time rounding calculations, automatically deduct time for breaks, and convert your total hours from time to decimal format without you having to pull out the calculator.

Here are some math related questions we frequently get asked from our TimeClock users:

Sometimes when I start or stop work, the time recorded by the TimeClock doesn’t match the time on my computer. What causes that?
A Stand Alone TimeClock will always use the computer’s clock to record the time. If you’re running Virtual TimeClock in a client‐server configuration, then the time stamp is provided by the TimeClock server computer. So the time may indeed by different. This is a security feature that prevents employees from trying to change their computer's clock to manipulate their start and stop times.

Here’s a quick Tip:
To make sure your computer clock is always accurate and secure, check out the time and attendance article on our website for tips on synchronizing your computer clock with an Internet time server.

When I calculate the difference between the start and stop times on my timecard report it’s not the same as the hours worked. Why is there a difference?
The rounding rules you create in Virtual TimeClock are applied to the actual start and stop work times, not the total hours worked. Let me give you a visual that may help.

With quarter hour rounding enabled, you would see the following results:

A start time of 9:11 is closer to 9:15 than 9:00 so it rounds to 9:15
A stop time of 12:10 is closer to 12:15 than 12:00 so it rounds to 12:15
9:15 to 12:15 is 3:00 hours (rounding to the nearest minute would show 2:59 hours)

A start time of 9:08 is closer to 9:15 than 9:00 so it rounds to 9:15
A stop time of 12:07 is closer to 12:00 than 12:15 so it rounds to 12:00
9:15 to 12:00 is 2:45 hours (rounding to the nearest minute would still show 2:59 hours)

Here’s a quick Tip:
Since Virtual TimeClock stores the actual start and stop work times to the exact minute, you can change your rounding settings anytime to see what effects rounding has on your current timecard reports.

When I add up the hours worked from each column, they don’t match the total hours shown on the timecard report. Why is that?
There are two ways to display totals on your timecard reports: decimal or time. Six hours and fifteen minutes can be displayed as either ‘6.25’ or ‘6:15’. Remember that when you add up hours and minutes in time format that every 60 minutes is another hour of work. Therefore ‘6:48’ and ‘6:34’ add up to 13 hours and 22 minutes, not 12.82 hours (it actually converts to 13.37 hours in decimal format). When you choose to display totals in decimal format Virtual TimeClock handles all of these time conversions for you.

Why does there appear to be a one or two minute difference between daily hours reported as worked and the total hours worked for the period?
Remember how we said there are two ways to display totals on your timecard reports? Well, this is an effect of how numbers are displayed in decimal format. 20 minutes is one third of an hour, so 20 + 20 + 20 = 60 minutes. However, in decimal format 20 minutes is represented as .33, so .33 + .33 + .33 = .99, not quite a full hour. The article below does a great job reviewing the mathematics behind these ‘missing’ minutes.

Here’s a quick Tip:
For a more information on how Virtual TimeClock reliably totals employee hours, see the article we’ve written at:

Accurate Timecards

So whether you enjoy math or just barely tolerate it, I hope this month’s ‘Tips & Tricks’ Newsletter demonstrates how confident you can be that your TimeClock is impartially and accurately keeping track of how much time your employees are working.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow

P.S. Virtual TimeClock Pro Version 6.0

We’ve all been ‘head’s down’ lately at Redcort Software, working hard on our version 6.0 release of Virtual TimeClock Pro. After two years of development, I'm really excited about this major new upgrade coming this summer. It’s tremendously faster, easier to use, and contains dozens of features our users have been asking for. I’ll have more details for you next month!