Entry-level Time Clocks and Their Limitations

Jim Courtwood
Author of the Time  and Attendance Consultant's Series

Entry-level time clocks are time and attendance products which provide accurate employee attendance times but are somewhat limited in the higher functionality that you can expect from an enterprise-class system.


Entry-level time clocks can certainly prevent time theft  (a high cost to businesses), and they can provide a convenient method of recording and archiving employee attendance records. Still, in many other areas they fall a long way short.

Entry-level time clocks generally have limited award interpretation. Rounding, balancing and overtime limitations mean that many of the employee payroll and daily hours calculations will require manual adjustment and that can be time-consuming.

Entry-level products rarely handle leave well and can be limited to just a few leave categories. It is often worth handling leave directly in your payroll system.

Entry-level software is generally single-user software, and this can be a real problem if you require more than one user to access the system. Furthermore, the basic software can be "clunky" mainly when the time clocks are connected over the internet with a less than perfect connection - the software is often just not robust enough to cope with any network issues.

While many entry-level products do handle payroll exports, only the most simple exports are generally supported. MYOB is a simple text file, but many others such as Quicken and Quickbooks are much more complicated, and integration can only be achieved using more advanced attendance software.

In truth, the payroll export from an Entry Level time clock system is rarely straightforward. Matching the import fields each time you import is often required, there will usually be limited payroll and leave categories allowed in the systems so the whole process for less than 30 employees may be faster to do manually.

An entry-level time clock system is a budget-priced system. It will do a very good job of capturing employee attendance times, and if you have straightforward attendance rules, it will calculate payroll hour reasonably accurately. Anything more than that such as perhaps 30 or more employees, then you should consider a more advanced system which will properly manage employee attendance, award interpretation, leave management export to payroll.

Just one final note on "simple" attendance rules. The most likely scenario is that your award, EBA or attendance rules are not simple at all. For an insight into time clocks and attendance systems, you can download the Time & Attendance Introductory Guide at our online shop for free. This is the definitive guide to time clocks and time clock systems.

 Jim Courtwood

Time & Attendance Consultant


Everything you need to know about employee time clock systems.


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