There’s one thing we know for sure, though: Anyone can benefit from having timekeeping software. In general, it allows you to spend less time on spreadsheets and more time on the more important tasks in your day.
In fact, using timekeeping software can cut your payroll processing down by 3 hours each month. On top of that is the ability to save money by reducing time theft and preventing costly payroll mistakes.
What small businesses need in a basic timekeeping tool
On a very basic level, your time tracking software of choice should check some key boxes. These are the ways software elevates and streamlines your process compared to those, um, tedious manual spreadsheets.
Ability to handle time cards and timesheets
No matter the way your business structures its time requirements, your timekeeping tool should be able to handle it. Understanding the differences between time cards and timesheets is the first step in making sure that happens.
Time cards refer to the traditional way of tracking time, where employees punch in and out using some kind of clocking device. This can be with physical punch cards (talk about old-school), clocking stations with fingerprints or PIN entry, or even through an online app if you’re more tech savvy. Work hours are recorded down to the minute based on the punch time. Time cards are popular with shift-work industries, like restaurants and retail.
Timesheets, on the other hand, leave recording hours up to the employee. Total hours for the day are written down on the timesheet by the employee, without much detail of when they started or stopped. Since there isn’t a by-the-minute breakdown like time cards, timesheets are usually popular with hourly office workers who have a consistent work schedule.
Time approval by administrators
No matter your recording style, the ability for administrators to review, adjust, and approve employee work hours is crucial. Administrators and managers need to be able to see hours at a top level to review how much employees are working, when, and how accurately their time is recorded.
When an adjustment does need to be made, timekeeping software should keep it simple—once a change occurs in the system, it should automatically re-calculate things like regular and overtime hour totals and the resulting pay rates. Adjusting manual spreadsheets means you’re left to do this math yourself.
Clocking restrictions to prevent time theft
We’ve mentioned it before, and we’ll mention it again: Time theft is no joke. 49% of US employees and 63% of Canadian employees openly admit to time theft, clocking in early or leaving late to get a few extra minutes of pay each day. Though it seems harmless in small doses, this adds up to about 11 billion in lost revenue for businesses each year.
That being said, timekeeping software should include prevention features to make sure your employees are clocking hours accurately. This can be anything from time rounding to prevent late punches to location restrictions to prevent clocking off-site. The features your business will use will depend on your preferred clocking processes for your employees.
Built-in rules to assist in compliance
When it comes to employee hours, overtime law compliance can be a big concern for some businesses. Automating timekeeping should also factor in compliance regulations as well. Your timekeeping system of choice should at the very least alert you when an employee is edging into the overtime zone, and help you calculate what that means for your payroll.
As the workplace becomes more mobile-friendly, it helps to have tools that can follow you wherever your office may be. Especially with timekeeping, it’s helpful to able to get into your software and make any adjustments from anywhere with an internet connection.
Integration with payroll
This one is an added bonus. Integrations with other business platforms—especially something directly related like payroll—can save you time by reducing the need to manually enter data from one system into the other. Once your timekeeping software tracks your employee work hours, your payroll system should be able to pick up that information with ease.
When deciphering what system works best for your small business. keep these basic features in mind. Each of them can be found in Wagepoint’s own timekeeping app, Track, which is an available add-on for all of our customers.
How Track can streamline timekeeping and payroll
Let’s say you’re currently using a manual spreadsheet to track employee hours. That means every pay period, you have to manually gather your employee’s work hours (either from a timesheet or a clocking system), write them down, do the math on how much each employee should be paid, and then enter those hours manually again into your payroll system.
And if you’re not using some kind of payroll software, the laundry list gets even longer when you have to figure in doing payroll tax calculations. For some of you, that adds up to you spending 10 hours a month on payroll alone.
As we mentioned before, adding a time tracking system will cut that time down significantly. Adding a time tracking system that also integrates with payroll is even better.