James Evans, Senior Account Manager at STANLEY Security, makes the case for modern Time & Attendance systems and highlights some of their less well known benefits, including support for remote working
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ goes the well-worn saying. Long established companies often have long established business practices that have served them well over the years. Monitoring employee working hours using traditional clocking in/out systems that are then recorded manually to a spreadsheet is a case in point. It works smoothly, so why go to the expense and endure the upheaval of implementing a software-based Time & Attendance system?
Yes, a Time & Attendance system does come with a cost attached, but that cost is low and the return on investment (ROI) is fast. And no, there really is no upheaval involved. If you pick your system and supplier well, you won’t need to change your existing accountancy software and you won’t need to change how you do your reporting.
What’s more, a Time & Attendance system brings a host of benefits you may not even be aware of that can have a positive impact on your business.
What is a Time & Attendance system?
Time and Attendance systems automatically calculate employees’ worked hours, overtime, holidays and absences – all exportable to payroll in minutes – and provide evidence of compliancy with working time regulations.
A basic system will include terminal/readers and software.
Terminal/readers capture an individual employee’s clocking in/out data and are available in card or fob and biometric formats, depending on requirements. Biometric readers, based on fingerprint and eye scanning, are increasingly popular as they avoid issues such as lost cards or tags and forgotten pin numbers, or the sharing of these with colleagues to clock them in/out in their absence. With the emphasis in the workplace now turning to touch-free solutions, eye scanning is attracting more interest.
The software, which makes all the relevant calculations, is either placed on your computers or can be browser-based.
It pays to be accurate
By far the greatest benefit of moving to a modern Time and Attendance system is accuracy. Individual employee data is monitored and calculated in real time down to the second, including hours worked, breaks, overtime, absences and allowances. Every type of work pattern and schedule can be recorded, including flexi-time. Tracking and recording such information manually runs the risk of false reporting and/or human error, which can have serious consequences for a business. Nor will manual records give you the same level of detail.
Top features of interest
Time and Attendance systems have been around for a while, but new features and functionality are being added all the time. Here are some that are proving most popular.
*Remote clocking-in. With more staff working from home, this feature allows employees to log their working day and calculate their actual working hours from their computer or smartphone. The software also detects staff location via GPS.
*Cost centring. For companies that require job costs to be allocated to a specific project or budget, or to be invoiced, a Time and Attendance system provides details of the true cost, not just to the nearest hour.
*Presence Indicator Panel. Ideal for roll calls in the case of a fire, this shows in real-time who is present and who’s not. Our mobile version enables an evacuation list to be activated in case of an emergency.
*Automatic Payroll reporting. As well as calculating employee hours in real-time, Time and Attendance systems come with full reporting and exporting features, enabling you to interface with an external payroll service provider. Some systems and companies are restricted to leading solutions, such as Sage. At STANLEY Security, we can configure our system to work with any payroll software.
Of course, this matters little if the cost outweighs the benefit. Thankfully, Time and Attendance systems quickly pay for themselves. Taking into account the improved accuracy and time and cost savings compared to manual entry, we estimate the ROI to be around ten times the cost of the system. Check what the ROI could be for your business on our website,
Another option is to finance your system through a rental scheme like STANLEY Assure. This removes the need to justify and raise capital outlay in a depreciating asset and is good for cash flow as you know exactly how much you must pay each month.
Time and Attendance systems may not be new, but the increased functionality that has been added to them over recent years has been a real driving factor in their uptake. A manual approach to Time & Attendance is like being on a winding country lane – it’s nice, but it takes a while to get to your destination. Joining the fast lane with a software-based system will get you there in half the time with no wrong turns!