Time & Attendance Articles

Choosing Employee Time Clock Software - 4 Easy Review Criteria

If you are an owner or manager of a business, you know the frustrations that come with trying to keep track of employee time and attendance. There are lots of options available, depending on your needs. If you would like to move away from mechanical punch clocks and paper timesheets, then employee time clock software may be exactly what you need to help your business simplify payroll processing, ensure attendance compliance, and manage labor costs. Not all time and attendance software programs are created equal, so it is important to find the right time tracking system for your business. If a free download is available from the vendor, then you should give it a try. Just make sure that the free version of the software has all the same features as the actual program you will be asked to pay for. When reviewing time and attendance software, make sure you consider what features the program has to offer, what reports are available within the program, how user friendly the program is, and whether help is available during and after the review process.

Time Clock Software Features
Time clock software should do more than just track hours worked. Most businesses can benefit from more than just a replacement of that old mechanical time clock. Good time and attendance software will track holiday, vacation, personal, and sick leave accrual. Better time clock programs will allow you to customize your payroll cycle and overtime settings. Professional time clock programs can track breaks and lunch deductions, as well as the different projects your employees are working on. Make sure you focus on reviewing features that you intend to use most often and do not spend too much time on features that are less important to your business. Features that allow you to manage employees by department or location can increase efficiency and improve office communication. Think of features in terms of making your job as a manager or business owner easier, and ultimately making your business or team more profitable.

Time Clock Software Reports
The heart of all employee time clock software programs should be to instantly create a timecard report of all hours worked, both regular and overtime. Some time clock programs will have other useful reports such as attendance reports, labor costing reports, and leave accrual reports. Timecard reports should be compiled in seconds for payroll processing or exported directly to your payroll software. Built-in report writers make it easy to create custom reports or change report options. Database engines based on the popular SQL computer language will offer some of the best solutions for accessing your timecard data. Think of the different ways you may want to use your timecard data. Since you will already be using your time and attendance software to track employee hours for payroll purposes, it would be easy to use the same data for labor cost analysis, job or project tracking, and client billing. Different time and attendance software programs create different reports, so make sure to find timeclock software that meets your reporting needs.

Time Clock Software Usability
All employee time clock software should be easy to use. Even those who will be managing the administrative functions should have no problem learning or navigating the time tracking software. Managers must have easy access to employee data and the tools to audit it for accuracy. Good timeclock software should be easy to install, with an intuitive means to configure your time clock settings. Setup assistants that guide the user through setting up the timeclock software for the first time allow you to be up and running quickly. Think of how much time will be needed to train your employees on how to use it properly. They will need to know exactly how to punch in and out, print their timecards, and what to do if they miss a punch time. Most timeclock software programs use standard industry graphical user interfaces, and are flexible enough to accommodate common business rules.

Time Clock Software Help & Support
Employee time clock software should include a complete built-in help system and technical support via email, telephone, or an easy to navigate web site. Beware of timeclock software companies that do not publish common contact information like a mailing address or telephone number. Software maintenance or support programs that provide free upgrades are the most cost effective way to ensure you always have the latest and best version of your time and attendance software, and priority assistance whenever you need it. The best time to test the troubleshooting and training resources of the timeclock software vendor is during the review process, before going live with your new time and attendance system. Having time tracking software that works effortlessly and effectively will help keep frustration levels low and production levels high.