Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - April 2010

New customers often tell me that improving employee timesheet accuracy and accountability are central reasons they began looking for time clock software. Sometimes it’s because they suspect employees may be abusing breaks, or not accurately recording tardiness. Many times they just know it’s unrealistic for employees to remember the exact hours they worked when they’re not filling out their timesheets until the night before payroll is due!

Every employer knows all to well that proper and balanced employee accountability can be tricky. Workers don’t want to feel like they’re untrustworthy, and business owners don’t want to micro manage their employees. Business owners and managers want to make sure they’re getting an honest day’s work, and workers want to make sure they’re not being cheated by those in charge. Time and attendance software achieves the perfect balance for this dilemma, at least in those areas related to accurate and impartial recording of hours worked and leave time taken and accrued.

Why Auditing Is Important
By helping employees understand they’re impartially accountable for their actions, managers and business owners can help promote positive employee relations. Employees are less likely to circumvent business policy if they know that their actions may be recorded. Regular auditing of your time clock software can help you monitor violations of business policy and maintain impartial employee accountability. These periodic audits can be combined with event specific audits as needed.

Virtual TimeClock provides auditing tools to track certain user activities. This allows you to perform auditing at two different levels. It’s easy to quickly audit your timecard reports for potential violations prior to processing payroll. Then if more in depth auditing is needed, you can review your time clock software program logs.

Auditing Your Time Clock Software Reports
Since you’re already reviewing worker timecard reports for compliance with your business policies, or getting employee hours ready for payroll processing by your payroll software, payroll service, or accountant, it’s the perfect time for routine auditing. Virtual TimeClock will draw your attention to those entries that have been modified or added manually. All modified entries will display an ‘M’ in the right most column of your worker timecard reports. Entries that have been added manually will have an ‘A’ in the far right column. Now we all know that timecards need to be changed from time to time. For example, a worker may have started their day offsite so they missed their regular clock in time. Their timecard would need to be adjusted to reflect their actual start time. Or a worker was called to report for jury duty so their manager created a manual entry for them for the day. What you’re looking for is unauthorized changes to your employee timesheets. These are the timecard entries that look suspicious because they bolster a worker’s overtime, or show paid vacation and actual hours worked for the same day. Your time clock software logs will help you investigate the details of those timesheet changes.

Here’s a quick Tip:
We’ve written a great time and attendance article with advice on correcting employee timesheets in Virtual TimeClock ‘10. You’ll learn the most efficient way to handle missed time clock punches, or missed worker breaks and lunches.

Auditing Your Time Clock Software Logs
Virtual TimeClock provides program logs that record events produced by both system and user activity. The information recorded will help you establish what events occurred, and who or what caused them. The log entry will specify when the event occurred, the user associated with the event, and what happened. So your time clock software audit logs can provide information about users suspected of improper modifications of their timecards. By recording the before and after details of timecard entries, comparisons can be made between the original and the modified information. This can help management determine if the changes were made according to your business rules.

If you’re running Virtual TimeClock Network Edition, then you’ll want to check the logs on your TimeClock Server. Launch Virtual TimeClock Server and click the Logs icon on the toolbar. If you’re running Virtual TimeClock Pro, then you can check your program logs from the Tools menu.

Here’s a quick Tip:
It’s easy to export your program logs directly to your desktop for further analysis. You can open them with a text editor and search for keywords, dates, or phrases.

Auditing can be part of your regular time tracking operations, or an insurance policy against violations of your business rules. Regardless of the frequency of your auditing activities, I hope they’ll help you more easily manage your employee time and attendance in a way that’s beneficial to you and your employees.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow