A Primer on Timeclock Apps and Your Business

By Andrew Martins,
business.com writer
|
Jan 14, 2020
Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / Getty Images

You need an accurate record of when your employees are on the clock. Here are some apps that can help.

  • Timeclocks have evolved over the years into mobile, tech-friendly iterations that can be accessed anywhere.
  • Businesses of any size can benefit from a good timeclock app, though which one is right for you depends on your enterprise.
  • Accurately tracking how long your employees are on the clock, as well as where they are each day, can save your business thousands of dollars a year.

When the Apple App Store initially launched in 2008, the term "app" hadn't yet made its way into the common vernacular. Applications were something that ran on our personal computers, not our phones.

Today, there are countless apps available for our phones that can be downloaded instantly with a single tap or click. One of the most important business-related apps for any small business owner is the timeclock app.

If you run your own small business, you likely already recognize the importance of a good timeclock app. Being able to set and track your employees' work hours is important no matter how big your company is. These days, however, thanks to our highly connected and cloud-based options, business owners can use modern time-tracking apps to view their employees' locations, respond to time-off requests, and view specialized payroll reports at a moment's notice. A good timeclock app can offer peace of mind by reducing the amount of time spent filling out employee timesheets and providing the tools needed to reduce your business's labor costs.

 

Editor's note: Looking for a time and attendance system? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

 

 

With so many timeclock solutions available today, in addition to varying features, clock-in styles, and more, it can be difficult to determine which one you want to use.

You may want to know what the best employee timeclock app is out there, but that's a difficult question to answer, considering how varied one company's needs may be compared to another. So whether you need a time-tracking app to track and manage schedules, track remote employees through the use of real-time data or just need an all-around good option for your small business, here are some things to keep in mind when you start your search.

Things to consider when choosing a timeclock app

As with any business-related search, you want to go in knowing exactly what your business needs are. If you only have a dozen employees at a single location, there's no reason why you should splurge for a timeclock app designed for multinational enterprises. A little introspection not only saves you time and money, but can ensure that whatever option you choose will be the best fit.

How closely do you want to track your employees?

For years, clocking in for work meant grabbing your timecard and punching in at a station. While that system worked for a long time, one major flaw existed in the system. Less-scrupulous employees used a tactic dubbed "buddy punching," which entailed having their friends punch them in at the employee timeclock even though they weren't at the office.

Timecard fraud remains a real problem, but there are options in today's web-based timeclock apps that curtail that costly problem, if you want to implement those features.

Depending on which service you choose, your managers can track employees' locations through their smartphones' GPS location functionality. Since nearly every app is mobile-friendly for Android and iOS devices, geolocation functionality can pinpoint where the employee was when they clocked in and out.

Geofencing is another feature that uses GPS tracking to restrict where employees can clock in or out, requiring them to be at your business's physical location in order to do so. A biometric timeclock can require a fingerprint scan or use facial recognition when clocking in or out.

It may seem like a lot of data for managers to collect on employees, but in the case of employee schedules and your company's bottom line, time is literally money.

Do you need a timeclock app that has additional employee scheduling features?

While having a timeclock app is incredibly important, it's not the be-all and end-all in terms of employee scheduling. There is a range of additional functions that can make your and your employees' lives much easier.

Depending on what you need, your managers may benefit from a timeclock wizard, time-off management capabilities or the ability to draw up reports detailing the impact of your employees' schedules on the company's bottom line. With enough data in hand, you can make sure your payroll is exactly what it should be while complying with existing labor laws.

How well does a timeclock app integrate with other programs?

Running a modern business is a lot like spinning plates. There's a lot to consider at any one moment, and if you don't have your attention on multiple things at once, something can go wrong. You can mitigate that issue through the use of various business programs. Since things like QuickBooks and Google Calendar are just as important as a cash register these days, you want to make sure your timecard app is compatible with programs you've already implemented.

There are plenty of time-tracking apps out there that tout their ability to integrate with most of today's popular business software. With the right app, you can have employee schedules automatically imported into a company calendar that can then be sent to employees' email inboxes or texted straight to their phones. Some integrations also allow your online timeclock data to go directly to payroll, further ensuring that you're accurately compensating employees for their time on the job.

Is there a best timeclock app for Android or iOS?

When considering a timeclock app, nearly every company that offers one tries to get their apps on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Smartphones are among the most ubiquitous pieces of technology today, so it only makes sense that they'd want to have their product on as many devices as possible.

If you come across a timeclock app that only supports one or the other, you should probably skip that one and go to another service that covers both mobile operating systems. Unless you provide a business phone to your employees, you don't want to hamstring your time-tracking capabilities by only supporting one over the other. If you were forced to choose one over the other, however, it's important to note that iOS has 10% of the global smartphone market share, while Android has 84%.

How much does a timeclock app cost?

Good timeclock apps, like most time and attendance programs, come with a price tag. How much that app (and the associated service) cost varies between providers and is based on multiple factors.

For example, if the software is hosted in the cloud, you may need to pay for additional online storage. Some companies charge extra based on the number of employees that will use the system or how many locations it will service. If you want to use a wall-mounted timeclock to give yourself additional protections against timecard fraud, that will likely come with an additional cost as well.

According to our research, businesses with 20 employees generally could see their time and attendance programs costs end up anywhere between $20 and $300 per month. Some providers have a monthly minimum cost, especially if they charge on a per-employee basis. There may be additional setup and implementation fees.

Regardless of where your small business is in its evolution or how many employees you currently have on staff, a good timeclock app can be a huge help in making sure you're fairly and accurately compensating employees.

When looking for such an app, remember that the question may not necessarily be "Which is the best?" but rather "Which is the best for my business?"

I am a former newspaper journalist who has transitioned to strictly cover the business world for business.com and Business News Daily. I am a four-time New Jersey Press Award winner and prior to joining my current team, I was the editor of six weekly newspapers that covered multiple counties in the state.
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