When a business grows to a certain point, it inevitably will need time and attendance software to help with critical everyday tasks such as recording employee punches, managing break times, calculating payroll, and monitoring overall organizational efficiency.
Regardless of whether the business is a family-owned storefront operation or a multinational conglomerate, the benefits of having time and attendance systems that can handle these important yet procedural administrative tasks is the same.
One of the most important things any business can do to improve employee loyalty is to ensure that their workers are always paid accurately for their hard work. Conversely, the fastest and easiest way to undermine employee trust and encourage discord among your staff is to not take payroll accuracy seriously. It’s the single easiest way to turn workers off to your company, no matter how much trust you have built up in the past. You don’t mess with people’s money.
Time and attendance software can simplify the process of accurately recording employees’ time and calculating accurate payroll so that you never have to worry about making mistakes. It can also transfer responsibility for properly maintaining time from the company to the individual employee. If a payroll mistake is made, it’s because they did something wrong – such as missing a punch or not accurately recording their own time. You will be amazed by how responsible workers suddenly become, when the accuracy of pay depends on their following established protocols.
Choosing Time and Attendance Software
Time and attendance systems just make sense for established businesses once they reach a certain size and complexity. They can simplify complicated processes, improve accuracy, and give decision makers the data and tools they need to make the best decisions for the organization’s long-term success.
There are many companies today that provide high-quality time and attendance software that will improve efficiencies and add to your business’s bottom line. Each one is unique and offers different benefits. The one you need depends on your organization’s specific needs.
Here, then, is a simple and efficient checklist you can use to narrow down your choice of time and attendance software in eight easy steps.
1. Does It Automatically Apply Company Payroll Rules?
The first thing you want your time and attendance software to do is what you are already doing in terms of calculating payroll, managing attendance, and other critical employee management functions – only automatically.
The best systems are hands off: Once you program them to do what you need, they will handle all the required calculations, notifications and report generation on their own. Most of today’s systems will do this, but the degree to which they can perform these functions autonomously can vary from system to system.
2. Does It Generate the Data You Need to Be in Compliance with Government Audits?
One of the most time consuming and frustrating tasks of any payroll department is mining the data need to be in compliance with government standards. This type of information often needs to be reported to local, state and federal governmental bodies according to a standard schedule, such as monthly, quarterly or annually.
The best time and attendance systems will mine this data for you automatically so your payroll clerks never have to stop what they are doing so they can generate legally mandated reports. In fact, this is one of the biggest benefits of an automated time and attendance system because it can save your business hundreds of man hours per month.
3. What Kind of Data Collection Devices Does It Use?
Every business relies on some sort of data collection device to record critical time and attendance data. It could be an old school time clock and punch card system or a sophisticated device that uses biometrics such as facial recognition, fingerprints or retinal scans. Most systems today use swipe cards that include either a mag reader or IRF devices to capture key data, such as punch ins and punch outs or for recording break times.
The ease and convenience of the data collection devices a system uses can affect its effectiveness. For example, if a system uses biometrics that some employees find invasive, it can cause more problems than it solves.
4. Does It Generate Crystal Reports Easily?
Data management is another hallmark of a high-quality time and attendance system. How easily does the system 1.) Capture data and 2.) Use that data to generate crystal reports that decision makers can actually use to improve the efficiency and profitability of the organization?
5. What Key Performance Indicators Do You Need to See?
Related to reporting are KPIs, the key performance indicators your organization uses to objectively measure success against goals. The best time and attendance systems allow you to create any KPIs you need, or even to change or add on to your KPIs so you can continually measure the results you need to push your business towards operational excellence.
6. Does It Accommodate Labor Budgeting and Planning?
Getting the most from your time and attendance systems means using it as a labor planning and scheduling tool. Just about every business has a labor budget that calculates how much you can spend for hourly and salaried employees based on business volumes and revenues. The busier you are, the more labor you can afford.
Time and attendance systems that can not only make these calculations for you but also apply this critical data points to such things as scheduling offer businesses more versatility and functionality.
7. Does It Include Scheduling Software?
The best systems will generate work schedules as well as record time. They also compare hours worked to scheduled hours and generate reports so that performance against plan can be more easily measured.
8. Is The System Transparent?
Perhaps the most important quality to consider for time and attendance software is its transparency: Does it offer a high level of visibility regarding labor costs so that management can make the best decisions that positively benefit the organization?
When comparing time and attendance systems, use these eight criteria to find the features and qualities that work best for your business.