Time & Attendance Articles

Comparing Time And Attendance Software - 4 Questions To Ask

There are many reasons businesses choose to update their employee time and attendance systems. For some, the cost of maintaining mechanical and electronic punch clocks make them impractical choices when cutting costs is paramount to survival in a difficult economy. Others are wanting to hold employees accountable with something more than a paper timecard or manual timesheet. In other words, they are looking for an accurate and impartial way to pay employees for actual hours worked. If any of these reasons sound familiar, then employee time clock software may be the perfect option for your business. It may be helpful to keep in mind these important questions when comparing computer time clock software.

Is the time clock software easy to use?
Employee time and attendance software should be easy to use for employees encompassing all levels of computer literacy. Employees need to be able to clock in and out quickly and easily, view timecards when needed, and quickly tell how many vacation hours they have remaining. Biometric time clock fingerprint scanners from companies like UPEK and DigitalPersona may help employees punch in and out more securely. The time tracking system should be intuitive. If something is intuitive, it means that it is easy to use and understand. That is exactly what you should be looking for when comparing timeclock software.

Can it expand as my business grows?
You certainly need to choose a time and attendance program that can handle your current number of hourly and salaried employees, but also keep in mind where your company may be in 1-5 years. It is a good idea to plan for future expansion so you can minimize the number of times you will need to upgrade or expand your punch clock system. Many network time clock software programs allow you to add additional time and attendance stations later so you can scale your time clock software with the growth of your business. Other time and attendance systems require new licensing each time you add a new employee. These ongoing costs should be factored into your employee time clock software reviews and final investment.

Can it do more than just track employee time?
Look for employee time clock software that can perform multiple functions. Time clock software is primarily designed to track the hours your employees work, but it is great if it can also keep track of paid and unpaid time off, or integrate directly with popular payroll systems like Paychex®1 and SurePayroll®2. Built-in features that allow management to send messages to staff regarding mandatory meetings, or allow workers to request time off can greatly enhance office communication. Time and attendance software programs that double as virtual in/out boards give management at-a-glance knowledge of where each worker is at and what they are working on. It also provides a great tool for receptionists and call centers to know when and where to route incoming calls or visitors.

Who am I doing business with?
It is important to evaluate the time and attendance software vendor you intend to do business with. Beware of companies that do not provide important contact information like a mailing address or phone number. Email contacts are fine, but if that is the only method of communication, investigate how long the software company has been in business and what other products or services they provide. The software vendor should have an easy to navigate web site with all of the features and pricing clearly defined. If a free download is available from the vendor, then you should give it a try. Make sure the free time clock software trial has all the same features as the actual program you will be asked to pay for. Understanding the future plans of a vendor can be an important factor in your decision, but do not purchase a time and attendance software system based on the 'next release' or 'future feature'. Some vendors offer time tracking software as a part of a suite of programs. This can be an advantage because your time clock can be integrated seamlessly with employee scheduling, staff management, or payroll systems. These more complex labor management systems are designed for larger companies and feature more functionality and robust reporting.

It is important to perform a thorough comparison in order to determine which time and attendance software program will be right for the needs of your company. There are many employee time clock programs available, so there is no need to make a hasty decision and regret that you did not take the time to make sure the program can run as a network time clock, will work with the operating system of your computer, or can handle multiple payroll rules. As you compare employee time clock software, focus on the features that you will use most often and do not get distracted with less important ones. Asking yourself some simple questions when comparing employee time clock software will ensure you purchase a time and attendance system that is a good match for your business.