2019 Time and Attendance Software Buyer's Guide
Businesses using time and attendance software benefit from increased efficiency in workforce management. By tracking employees' hours digitally, businesses can learn more about their employees' work patterns. Time clock software also helps companies to remain compliant with government and union regulations.
Different time and attendance software programs offer a variety of features, not all of which will be necessary for all businesses. However, companies of all sizes can benefit from tracking employees' work hours digitally.
Benefits of Time Tracking Software
More and more companies are recognizing the benefits of time and attendance software. Here are some of the most important ways businesses benefit from tracking employees' work hours through a software solution:
- Improved accuracy in tracking employees' hours worked
- A centralized system for tracking and approving requests for paid time off
- Ability to compare assigned schedules to hours actually worked
- Increased efficiency in managing payroll
- Greater convenience for employees
- Assistance in ensuring compliance with labor regulations
Key Features & Modules
Software options range from basic to highly advanced, but any time and attendance software worth paying for should include several basic functions:
- Manual time entry: The defining feature of time tracking software, this function allows employees to clock in at work when they arrive and clock out during breaks or when leaving for the day.
- Tracking vacation days and absences: Time and attendance software should allow companies to keep track of employeesâ€™ paid time off and how much paid time off each employee has remaining. Approved requests for time off can also be processed through time tracking software, informing employees when their requests are approved.
- Employee scheduling: Managers can assign employee schedules, and compare schedules to employeesâ€™ actual time worked. Features associated with scheduling modules can also notify employees about issues such as tardiness, absences, and working overtime.
- Payroll management integration: Some time attendance software programs have their own built-in payroll applications. If thatâ€™s not the case, the software should be able to integrate to businessâ€™ payroll software. This critical feature allows paychecks to be disbursed accurately and quickly.
- Workforce management: Tracking employeesâ€™ hours helps to ensure that they are taking breaks in accordance with legal and company policies, producing documentation of businessesâ€™ compliance.
Other useful functions that many software solutions offer:
- Mobile capacity: Mobile integration allows employees to clock in and out of work on their own personal devices. This feature is particularly useful for companies whose employees work remotely some or all of the time. GPS tracking features may be included.
- Job costing projection:Data obtained through time and attendance software can help businesses to more accurately project labor costs for future projects by using data from comparable initiatives.
Critical Considerations for Buyers
When selecting a time tracking software, there are numerous questions that buyers need to ask in order to find the optimal solution. Before making a purchase, ask yourself some basic questions.
- What features must be included in a solution? Do you just need to track employees' hours, or will you require more advanced functionality that includes features such as a biometric log-in mechanism?
- How much money do you intend to spend on time and attendance software? Note that a more advanced program will cost $600 or more. But in setting a budget for this purchase, keep in mind that you will be saving money on payroll by utilizing time tracking software.
- What is the typical lifespan of time and attendance software? When will you have to upgrade?
- How many employees will be using this system? Ideally, how would they access the system-through a computer or mobile device?
- How much employee training will be required to implement this solution?
- Who will be responsible for administering the system?
- What is the process for installing the solution? How long will the process take, and what supports will be available?
- How does this software integrate with other solutions already in use, such as the payroll system?
- When will your business begin to see a return on the investment?
- Does this time tracking software generate reports? Which data is included in these reports?
- How much customer support does the vendor provide after purchase? Will the vendor be easily accessible in the event of a problem? Are support staff well-prepared to meet your business needs?
Asking yourself these questions should give you an idea of your requirements in a time tracking software solution.
Types of Solutions
Many different types of solutions are available. Here are some types of time and attendance software that you can select:
Many industries have specific requirements for scheduling and tracking hours. There are a number of industry-specific software programs available to meet the unique needs for restaurants, retailers, and other business types.
Software as a Service
With the SaaS model, businesses pay a monthly subscription fee to access software. The software itself is web-based. The SaaS model comes with many advantages, including greater flexibility in upgrading or switching software programs.
In contrast to a SaaS model, on-premises software is installed on computers at the business itself. When using on-premises software, businesses are less vulnerable to network connectivity problems.
A hybrid software solution uses aspects of both the SaaS and on-premises software models. Software will still be installed on business-owned computers, but data will also be accessible on the cloud.
Large ERP vendors such as Oracle were among the first to offer Human Resources functions through their software. However, more recently products specifically focused on HR and time tracking functions have emerged. Now, this software has become a category independent of ERP.
Currently, a number of time tracking and attendance software solutions are available on the market, ranging from programs for small businesses to enterprise-scale solutions. Kronos, SuccessFactors, and Ultimate Software are major vendors in this space. Workday is a newer vendor that has received recognition for its innovations.
While major players continue to be a force to be reckoned with in this space, there are also a growing number of companies who serve niche markets, such as small businesses or specific industries. Today, buyers of time and attendance software have a wide array of options available.
Time and attendance software is a quickly evolving market. Here are some of the most important trends happening right now:
- More products are providing multiple HR functions within one software program, providing greater convenience for HR teams.
- SaaS solutions are becoming increasingly popular among all types of businesses.
- Companies are seeking software solutions that allow them to customize the program according to its needs.
- Predictive analytics are now recognized as an indispensable tool that can help businesses make strategic decisions.
- The ability to use time tracking software on mobile devices is more important than ever.
- Mobile time tracking applications do more than simply track hours. Many systems can take over the functions of identifying swipe cards, keys, and badges.
- The most advanced systems use biometrics (like facial recognition or retinal scanning) to log in users. While this technology doesn't come cheaply, it successfully prevents employees from using a coworker to clock them into work.