Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - June 2011

When commercial time clock software first made its appearance in the 1990s, businesses started moving away from mechanical time clocks and paper time cards. These new computer time and attendance systems reduced the reliance on mechanical and electrical time clocks that were subject to failure and expensive to replace or repair. This allowed business owners to enjoy the benefits of reduced payroll processing costs. We’ve come a long way since our first employee time clock program started to change the way businesses process payroll 25 years ago, but we’ve stayed true to our first rule: make it quick and easy to go from time clock to paycheck.

As promised, this month’s newsletter continues our discussion on those Virtual TimeClock settings that affect the way employee time cards are calculated and displayed.

Start and stop times can be rounded to the nearest tenth (6 minute intervals) or quarter hour (15 minute intervals). However, the actual start and stop times for each punch entry are recorded and displayed to the exact minute, even when rounding is turned on. That’s the reason new users often wonder why their manual calculations between the start and stop times are not the same as the total hours being reported. Let me give you an example of how rounding works:

With quarter hour rounding turned on, you'd 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).

You can change or check your rounding rules by going to the Tools menu and choosing Time Calculations.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Since Virtual TimeClock always records the actual start and stop times to the exact minute, you can change your rounding rules anytime to see what effect it has on your current timecard reports.

Time Display Format
Hours can be totaled and displayed as either hours & minutes or decimal hours. Let me give you an example. Eight hours and fifteen minutes can be displayed as either '8:15' or '8.25'. Both represent eight and a quarter hours. New users are sometimes confused when they try to add up non-decimal hours & minutes on their calculator and the total doesn’t match their time cards. The conversion itself comes down to basic math. To covert minutes to decimals you need to divide by 60. To convert decimals to minutes you need to multiply by 60. The good news is that your Virtual TimeClock software will perform all these calculations for you.

Go to the Tools menu and choose Time Calculations to change your time display settings. You can change how totals are displayed in different parts of the program and there’s even a link for changing the time display on your time card reports.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Workers typically like to see their total hours worked as hours & minutes (it's a lot easier to understand :50 minutes than .83 hours), but decimal hours are usually required for payroll processing. The solution is to use the built-in report writer to create a custom payroll time card that displays total hours as decimals. For some tips on how to use the report writer, take a look at one of our time & attendance articles.

Continuous Time Worked
Sometimes, you may have a time card that just doesn’t make any sense to you at all. Let me show you a scenario and then we’ll discuss what caused the issue.

Mon 6/6
08:05 AM     12:09 PM     In
12:09 PM     01:11 PM     Lunch
01:11 PM     08:05 AM     In
08:05 AM     12:03 PM     In
12:03 PM     01:06 PM     Lunch
01:06 PM     05:02 PM     In

Total Hours         30:52

Wed 6/8
07:56 AM     12:20 PM     In

So what happened to the punch times for Tuesday? They’re still there, they’re just included with Monday because that’s when the shift started. Here’s what happened. The employee forgot to punch out when they left on Monday. When they came in on Tuesday and saw that they were still clocked in, they quickly clocked themselves out and then back in, recording the same punch time for the prior clock out and the new clock in. Virtual TimeClock interprets this as continuous time worked from an overnight shift that originally started on Monday at 8:05 AM. The big clue is the large number of total hours worked for Monday.

To fix the time card, open up the Entry Editor and modify the entry that has a start time of 1:11 PM on 6/6/2011 and a stop time of 8:05 AM on 6/7/2011. Change the stop time to the actual stop time for 6/6/2011 and run the time card again.

Here’s a quick Tip:
To help control forgotten clock outs, you may want to consider setting up shifts with auto clock outs turned on.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow