If you’re still using an old-fashioned punchclock or handwritten timesheets, that single sentence explains why an electronic time and attendance system can benefit your business.
So let’s talk “real money.” How much can an electronic time and attendance system save you? Here's an example of the savings for a 20-employee company that pays each worker $12 an hour: If the system stops just 1 minute in errors per employee per day, it will save the company $1,040 a year—more than the cost of many systems. In addition, the time to process the employee timecards or timesheets will be cut from hours to seconds, increasing productivity.
Electronic time and attendance systems have been around for years, but only recently has their cost become reasonable for small businesses. Many systems consist of a wall-mounted timeclock, software and a device—usually a magstripe card or a key-sized device called an “iButton”—that’s issued to each employee and identifies the employee to the system. Other systems, called "biometric" systems, use something distinctive about a person—their fingerprints, hand shape, irises or facial shape, for instance—to determine the identity of the person clocking in.
‘Employees know that you can’t cheat the system, so they are reassured that their co-workers aren’t getting away with anything. Everyone is held to the same standard—an hour’s pay for an hour’s work.’ -- Doug Marsh, TimePilot CEO
Generally, employees tap or swipe their ID device at the clock, which records their identity and their clock-in or clock-out time.
At a biometric system, they'll place their finger or hand on a screen or stand in front of a camera to be identified. In general, biometric systems are less reliable than other systems because they have a higher degree of complexity. Also, small things can cause problems; for instance, lotion or dirt on a person's hand can smear the sensor's glass, making it difficult for others to clock in or out.
At the end of the pay period, the person handling payroll uses the system’s software to examine the clock-ins and clock-outs, make any necessary corrections (if an employee forgot to clock out, for instance), generate reports and prepare the data for their payroll software or service.
Surprisingly, the electronic systems often end up raising employee morale, according to Doug Marsh, CEO of TimePilot Corporation (TimePilot.com), an Illinois-based company that manufactures time and attendance systems for offices, workshops and outdoor construction sites. “Employees know that you can’t cheat the system, so they are reassured that their co-workers aren’t getting away with anything,” he said. “Everyone is held to the same standard—an hour’s pay for an hour’s work.”
Electronic time and attendance systems save companies money in several ways:
OK, now you’re convinced that an electronic time and attendance system might make sense for your company. What are some of the things to look for in a system?
In short, ask lots of questions and insist on either a free trial or a return policy to make sure you choose the right system for you. These days, every dollar counts and making your company more efficient can result in a big return on your investment.