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Time is money. Benjamin Franklin said it first, and while it seems cliché, every small business owner knows how much truth there is in that simple statement.
Modern attendance tracking systems, also known as attendance management systems, have features and functionality vastly superior to their predecessors: handwritten timecards. The handwritten timecard attendance system was less than ideal for employees as well as business owners because it took both away from the real work that needed to be done. Inaccurate reporting, labor and payroll errors were understandably (and unintentionally) common.
Accurately tracking employee attendance with an automated attendance system can help you control labor costs by standardizing rules pertaining to work and pay, and minimizes compliance (FSLa, union) risk by enforcing and tracking requirements. The most valuable benefit of an electronic system is its ability to reduce time-consuming manual and administrative tasks (and paper records), resulting in more time for hands-on work and, ultimately, improved workforce productivity. Assess your company’s attendance system needs with the following criteria in mind.
Program (Software) Accessibility
Ideally your team will be able to access project information from multiple sources: internally on the company’s network server (non-Internet access), from remote locations via the Internet, and on mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets. Off-site, or mobile, access is imperative if your employees are spread across multiple locations and time zones; each person must be able to update their activities on an ongoing basis. Think about whether you want, or need, to access to employee attendance from your own iPhone®, Blackberry®, or Android™ device.
The handwritten timecard’s day has passed, but many industries still need attendance tracking hardware – time clocks. Automated attendance system clocks do much more than punch an employee’s card with a timestamp. There are fixed and portable models on the market, many built to withstand the harsh conditions of industrial and outdoor job sites. Time and attendance records are accurate down to the minute, eliminating payroll guesswork. Other hardware tracking options are biometric and fingerprint attendance systems that collect, report and track employee work hours, breaks, and leaves with a simple finger scan.
Software and Reporting
Automated attendance systems will become an integral part of your accounting and payroll personnel, so they must be able and will to use the attendance system software. Study online user reviews and user forums to gauge how easy or difficult a particular system is to use. Many attendance management system manufacturers offer free trial use of their products. Take advantage of these offers and have your employees get hands-on experience with multiple software packages before you decide which one to purchase.
Work with your accounting department – or outside tax professionals – to see how much of your quarterly and annual reporting can be automated with an attendance tracking system. Having access to information throughout the year can reduce the stress associated with filing taxes.
Room to Grow
Be forward-thinking when you’re ready to automate your company’s attendance management system. What you need today could change as you grow in the coming months and years. Look for an expandable attendance system that’s expandable, able to process 25-50% more employees than you currently have.