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In the search for increased revenue, and thus, viability, businesses often look outward, rather than inward. According to a small business survey, a mere 20% of small businesses will invest in tools to improve employee productivity this year; support for this strategy lags behind others such as expanding into new markets and launching new customer acquisition methods. As Carl Jung famously said “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
According to an anonymous survey of retail and service industry employees by Kessler International, an incredible 80% of workers admitted to “time theft.” Yet as technology continues to revolutionize the way we do business, small business owners often neglect a crucial aspect of their model: their employee time tracking system. Time and attendance systems based on paper time cards or sheets, memory recall of the past week’s schedule and “buddy punching” lead to hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars lost each year. Switching to an automated system that utilizes time and attendance software will help you track your employees’ time, leading to a more productive, efficient and happy workplace for all involved.
Towards the end of each month, Select Labs’ Toni Seawell closed her office door, gritted her teeth and prepared for the long hours, late nights and high stress associated with preparing payroll for the company’s more than 150 employees. It was obvious that it was time to implement a new and better process to track the time and attendance of those 150+ employees. A bio-metric time and attendance system was put into place changing the way Select Labs processes their payroll. “I’m better able to handle month-end processes now that payroll takes less than a day,” she said. “It’s much more relaxed now, knowing it’s not going to take me so long. Now the door’s open and people can actually speak to me at the end of each month,” said Seawell.
The advantages of upgrading from a manual time tracking system to a dedicated time and attendance system aren’t always obvious. Here are 8 benefits of tracking time accurately:
1) SPEND LESS TIME ON PAYROLL.
The most basic benefit to your business is that less time will be spent, both by employees and HR, tracking, recording and processing their time spent working each day, week and month. By upgrading, some businesses cut their time calculating payroll each month by up to 70%. Employees can focus on their respective jobs, rather than the additional task of accounting for themselves.
2) PREVENT BUDDY PUNCHING AND OTHER TIME THEFT.
Time theft can include everything from taking a longer lunch than allotted or clocking in for a friend when they’re late to work, otherwise known as “buddy punching.” The American Payroll Association estimates that over 75% of businesses lose money from buddy punching. Whether intentional or innocuous, time theft can be costly, and automated time and attendance systems prevent it altogether.
3) PREVENT HUMAN ERROR IN BOOKKEEPING.
8 Benefits of Tracking Time and AttendanceNobody is perfect, not even if they have a calculator, spreadsheet or other computation device handy. Even the most accurate typist makes one mistake for every 300 keystrokes. One misplaced digit or decimal can lead to accounting errors that need to be corrected, or worse, are left uncorrected and can affect your bottom line negatively.
Human error in memory recall. Buddy punching or knowingly clocking in before starting to work is one thing. Asking employees to recall exactly when they started and finished work, not to mention accounting for breaks, lunches and other lapses; or conversely, when they started working overtime, can be an exercise in futility. Even reporting work hours multiple times a week often only leads to a “somewhat accurate” timesheet, according to a report by AffinityLive.
4) KEEP EMPLOYEES INFORMED
An all-too-common question for those working in HR is how much time off an employee has left this year, or whether they have any sick days remaining. Rather than letting discrepancies cut into work, quality time and attendance software will allow employees to access that information on their own at any time.
Allowing employees to see their time records on demand will help them see how well they’re utilizing their time at work. The insight gained from seeing how much time is spent on particular projects or at certain sites can be invaluable and will help them eliminate inefficiencies.
5) SPEND LESS TIME AND RESOURCES ON PAPERWORK.
Merely sorting through, organizing and processing paperwork can be time-consuming. Additionally, the cost of replenishing the items needed to maintain an old time and attendance system, paper, pens/pencils, printer ink and toner, etc. can be prohibitive in the long run
6) STAY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LAW.
State and federal labor laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, regulates things like overtime pay and record keeping, both of which can be problematic to track if you have a manual time and attendance system. Rather than opening yourself up to future lawsuits, which can result in millions of dollars awarded in back wages, stay on the right side of the law with accurate time tracking.
7) UTILIZE A SYSTEM THAT CAN GROW WITH YOUR BUSINESS.
A paper-based system may work, in some respects, for your small business now. If you expect your business to grow, and who doesn’t hope for the best in that regard, you’ll want a system that can grow with you as you hire more employees and have more information to track.
Rather than beginning the search for an upgrade before it’s too late, get out ahead of the curve and upgrade while your timekeeping needs are still manageable.
8) CREATE A CENTRAL DATABASE THAT CAN BE ACCESSED THROUGHOUT THE COMPANY.
If your company is spread out across multiple offices or sites, it’s much easier to calculate payroll via a system that is standardized for all employees. This creates a central database, with guaranteed practices, that can be accessed from anywhere, including on the go.
The disadvantages of relying on time-consuming and outdated methods of employee time-tracking are numerous, it costs time and money; it can get you in legal trouble; it can lead to stress-related illnesses for those who have to spend hours each week collecting, correcting and calculating timesheets; it distracts employees from completing the tasks they were hired to tackle each week. Rather than staying in the past, embrace the future by switching to a quality time and attendance system, and let your company enjoy the benefits of accurately tracked time.