Understanding Time & Attendance

Jim Courtwood
Author of the Time & Attendance Consultant's Guide series.

Time and attendance products cover a range of technologies. The product family includes simple bundy clocks (simple mechanical time recorders), electronic time clocks ( those which can be connected to your network for more convenient data uploads) and at the forefront, software which converts simple in and out clocking events into meaningful information that is useful for uploading or keying in to your payroll system.

If your existing method of collecting employee attendance times is inaccurate or you simply don’t have a system in place then there are certainly savings to be made by introducing electronic attendance recording.

Firstly, you wont be paying your staff when they are not a work as can happen with honesty systems or with insecure systems where one employee can clock in or our for another. Other savings will come from eliminating accidental over payments and by generally improving business processes and the speed of payroll preparation.

However, none of these advantages will materialise unless you actually get the system implemented! Now this might sound strange but in a survey conducted by our telemarketers as part of our lead generation process, 30% of new prospects contacted had an existing attendance system that was either not implemented at all or only partially implemented.

Understandably, the most common cause of this was the source of the product purchased. The most prominent source being a purchase directly from a website where implementation was either an option that the buyer did not choose or it was a self install product.So, when looking at the cost of a new time clock there are more components that just the initial cost.

The other costs are the setup and configuration which is the time spend by your staff setting a time clock and software up when they could be doing other revenue related activities in your business and the annual running costs of the system. When you purchase a time clock with no local support and without an implementation package according to the survey you run a 30% risk of the system not actually working properly! That would seem a pretty good reason to think about investing in some implementation services which should include installing the software, configuring the actual clock and attendance rules in the software and perhaps configuring payroll export.

When looking at pricing for time clocks or employee attendance systems it is sensible to view the entire cost of implementation and not just the cost of the time clock and software.

So when comparing prices of two or more products which appear to have the same functionality make sure that the vendors quote the time clock, implementation and any annual costs separately as a true cost of the likely final price given that it is a very good idea to invest in an implementation service.

If you are considering self implementation take look at this article for a guide to what terms you will need to be familiar with to setup a time clock or time clock software.