What to Look For In a Time and Attendance System

There is an ever-growing number of time and attendance systems available to you. I talk with people daily who tell me horror stories about their current system. They tell me they wished someone would have told them what to look for in a time and attendance system.   In an effort to help, here are a few questions to ask.

Does it perform auto calculations and are the calculations correct?

I know it seems an obvious question, but there are some systems that still rely on the administrator to manually calculating overtime, double time or leave time. This allows room for human error. According to the American Payroll Association, the national average of clerical errors in manually calculated time is between 1% and 8%. Eliminating these errors can pay for a good time and attendance system.

Is it easy to enter, correct and approve time?

You could have the best system in the world but if it is too hard or time-consuming to use, it becomes counterproductive. Time punches or timesheet entries need to be performed by any device in seconds, not minutes.  The process of reviewing, correcting and approving time for supervisors should also be extremely easy and straightforward.  Then approvals can be made in a timely manner and not take away from productive time.

Will it provide the reports that you need?

Time and attendance systems are basically a way to collect data accurately. Now that the data has been collected the next question is, how do I use the data? How do I get it out of the system? In this day and age data is king. The more we can access the data, the better we can plan and forecast our profitability. The system should provide fast flexible reporting and the tools to analyze them.

Can you access the system 24/7 from different locations and time zones?

Today’s businesses are growing past the single brick and mortar location. Many have multiple locations nationally or even globally. This means that time and attendance systems should accommodate these businesses. Recording and processing time needs to be as fluid as you and your company. It should be accessible 24/7 for multiple shifts in different locations. Approving and processing time should be able to be completed anywhere, anytime.

Does it provide the tools you need so it can be utilized by your payroll software or processor?

With thousands of payroll software packages, this is a difficult question for most. Many times, a custom interface must be written. When this happens there is an additional expense. You should look for a time and attendance system that provides tools that will let you build custom exports so you can get the data from one to the other without re-entering it manually.

Is it priced right?

Pricing for time and attendance systems is all over the board from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds for purchase and training. There is also a wide array of prices for online services for time and attendance systems. I suggest that you review 3 or 4 systems and compare the features and benefits first. Once you find the features you want, then review the pricing and find the system that will bring you the biggest bang for your buck.

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