Tips & Tricks

Virtual TimeClock Tips & Tricks - February 2012

I recently worked with a customer who was having an issue with their time clock. They’ve been using the Virtual TimeClock Network Edition for about 4 months to keep track of time spent on different projects. They have about 50 employees changing activities numerous times throughout the day. The customer noticed it was taking longer and longer for them to run activity reports. After poking around for a couple of minutes we discovered they had never closed a payroll period. His response is one I hear often, “I didn’t know I was supposed to.” We brought his payroll period current and his reports are lightning fast again.

So in this month’s newsletter we’re going to review end-of-period procedures. Whether you’re new to Virtual TimeClock or you’ve been using it for years, this will be a good reminder on how to prepare your employee hours for payroll processing and start a new payroll period. Most businesses follow the following steps to close out a payroll period:

  1. Review employee timecards
  2. Edit employee hours
  3. Process payroll
  4. Close payroll period

We’ll talk briefly about each one of these steps. If you’ve never closed a payroll period, you’ll want to verify your payroll settings first. Go to the Tools menu and choose Payroll Period. Set your payroll frequency (how often you get paid) and the current period start date.

Step 1: Review Employee Timecards
The timecard detail report allows you to easily review the total hours for each employee, or monitor the recorded start and stop times. This is the default worker timecard report available from the main time clock toolbar. It compiles a timecard for each employee for the selected dates, including all regular hours, overtime, and any paid time off. It also contains a signature line so the employee can certify that the hours listed are an accurate record of all time worked during the pay period.

Here’s a quick Tip:
You can change the time display format between hours & minutes (8:15) and decimal hours (8.25) for any timecard report in the Format tab of the Report Writer.

Step 2: Edit Employee Hours
You can add missed punch times or make corrections to timecards by going to the Actions menu and choosing Modify Or Delete Entries. Once the selected entries have been displayed, click on the toolbar buttons to quickly modify or delete an entry. Sometimes, you’ll need to add timecard entries manually, like when an employee is working offsite or doesn’t have time clock access. You can also add a new leave entry for holidays, personal time off, sick leave, or vacation.

Here’s a quick Tip:
All timecard changes and manual entries are recorded in the audit log. Current and past audit logs can be found under the Tools menu in Pro Edition and from the Server Manager in Network Edition.

Step 3: Process Payroll
Virtual TimeClock can export a specially formatted file of employee hours that makes your payroll process easier, more accurate, and less time consuming. This time clock file can be imported into several popular payroll programs. Go to the File menu and choose Export Payroll. Payroll integration guides are available by clicking the More Info button.

If you’re not set up for payroll integration, it’s still easy to print a report of hours worked for manual entry into your payroll system or reporting to your payroll processor. Go to the Reports menu and choose Timecard Summary. You’ll get a one-line summary for each employee of the total hours, overtime, and paid time off for the payroll period.

Here’s a quick Tip:
Virtual TimeClock ‘12 will also have payroll integration with QuickBooks desktop for Windows.

Step 4: Close Payroll Period
Once all hours for a payroll period have been entered, reviewed and corrected, the payroll period should be closed. Go to the Tools menu and choose Close Payroll Period. Closing the payroll period will automatically advance the current period starting and ending dates to the next payroll period based on your payroll settings. When running timecards, Virtual TimeClock will always use the stored totals from a closed payroll period rather than recalculating the totals again. This is important since wages, overtime, and time deduction rules may change. By closing payroll periods, reports for a closed period retrieve the historical totals rather than calculating hours based on the current settings for each employee.

Here’s a quick Tip:
What happens if you don’t close a payroll period? Well, for one thing you might end up like that customer I mentioned at the beginning, with really slow reports. Another problem is that the current period dates will always be wrong when you run timecards.

Wouldn’t you know it? Before this newsletter was completed, I talked to another customer whose report export was taking a really long time. I bet you already know what the solution was.

Until next month,

Jeff Morrow