Choosing Employee Time Clock Software

I thought it would be worthwhile looking at the major factors that should be considered by any company when deciding whether a particular employee time clock software package is going to be suitable for them. Over the last few years I’ve had thousands of emails from companies who are looking for a new system to track their employee time clock data and this list of six review points is based on what I’ve learned from those emails.

Does the Time Clock Software Run on Your Computers?

Most companies have a mix of computers, new and old, a mix of different versions of Windows, with some (or more likely) most computers cluttered down with years of installed software and Windows service packs. Getting software to run on these older computers can be somewhat hit and miss. These points must be considered carefully especially if such a computer (or computers) have been ear-marked as the potential candidates to become the new employee timeclock computers. So, the question to be asked is, will the software you’re evaluating run on these computers? Don’t take the vendors word for it (they’ll almost never say their software won’t work on your computers). Take advantage of their free time clock trial (they do have one don’t they?) and verify that the software will run on all the computers you plan on installing it on.

Upfront and Recurring Costs

The next point to consider when reviewing your potential new software is the up-front and any recurring costs. Upfront costs are just those to purchase a license to use the software. On-going costs could include a fee to keep the software working each year, a fee for on-going technical support, and a fee for maintenance (access to software updates). It’s not unusual for software vendors to have a low up-front cost and then backend the deal with high ongoing costs so beware of getting caught out. I’d suggest calculating software costs out to a period of five years to work out the real cost of ownership of your new employee time clock software.

On-Going Technical Support

Any timeclock program for your employees is going to become an integral part of your company so you want to ensure that the time clock vendor is going to be there to support you during this time. This support should take many forms. The first (and most important) point to consider when evaluating a potential timeclock program is the quantity and quality of help documents, getting started guides, and tutorial videos. You’re going to want that sort of information at your fingertips when you are trying to sort out problems setting up features within the software. Things such as complex overtime arrangements, or vacation accruals, or time rounding, or one of dozens of other requirements companies have of their attendance systems should be well documented and easy to understand.

The second point to consider when evaluating technical support is the quality of the support you receive direct from the time clock software vendor. At some point you’ll probably want to contact them during your software trial period to evaluate both the timeliness and quality of their response. Remember you could end up using the same employee timeclock software for years so you need to ensure that the support staff are people you can work with.

Features of the Time Clock Software

Ensuring that the features that a time clock program will meet your requirements is potentially the most important factor when evaluating that software. Look beyond your need for employees to simply clock in and out and track their hours worked. Look at your deeper on-going requirements and determine what time clock needs you have that you’ll be using all the time. Great time clock software will allow your employees to accrue and track vacation and sick time, it’ll allow them to take and track breaks, and it’ll allow them to clock in and out of different jobs that you need to track. One the administrative side of things you’re almost certainly going to want the the software to do all of your overtime calculations for you and you’ll need some sort of built in time clock security to stop time clock fraud. The manager of the new time clock system should be involved in evaluating the new time clock system and be allowed to voice their needs for features they’d need the most. Be sure not to make decisions in isolation to the people who will actually be living with the software day-to-day.

Ease of Use

There’s no getting away from the need to track employee time and attendance if your employees are to be paid to keep them happy and you’re making sure you’re not paying them too much (to keep your business happy). If done well, and with a minimum of fuss then it will hardly be noticed, but if done poorly it can certainly negatively effect the internal workings of your company and make your employees less than happy. With this in mind when you’re choosing an employee attendance system you should ensure that it is easy to use. There are two key usage areas that you must examine closely when trialling the software. First, make sure it’s super easy for employees to clock in and out. If your chosen employee timeclock system adds even a few seconds per punch in and out then those seconds add up across the weeks of the year. And that time is wasted money. The second area to examine closely are the administrative and reporting functions. Adding new employees, editing time punches, adding time taken off, and tracking sick time should be easy and intuitive. Running payroll reports should be a snap. Make sure the software allows you to filter reports by date, employees, shifts and departments so that you can monitor your different cost centers easily. And finally make sure the software can export reports to payroll systems and your spreadsheet software of choice.

Quality of the Time Clock Reports

The last point to look at when you’re evaluating potential time clock software is the quality and quantity of reports available. There should be simple reports available allowing to review employee lists, employee PINs, active job lists, and at least one report that can quickly show you who is or is not at work. Then of course there should be payroll based reports that describe how many hours employees have worked, overtime worked, and of course pay owing. In more advanced systems you’d want to see reports such as job cost reports, weekly and monthly time breakdown reports, vacation and sick accrual reports, and detailed audit trail logging of employee time punches. Also, as I’ve mentioned previously, ensure that your chosen software can export reports to a variety of different formats and can create export formats suitable for export to your payroll system of choice.

I hope you’ve found this list of six key factors to consider before purchasing an employee time clock software system useful. If you’ve got any questions please feel free to Contact Us.

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