ClockShark Blog

Employee Time Tracking Software

September 22, 2013

Employee Time Tracking Software is a great way to minimize payroll costs in your organization and streamline the payroll process for the people involved with processing your payroll. A properly implemented Employee Time Tracking Software solution will make it easier for employees to track and report time as well as improve the efficiency of accuracy of your payroll process while reducing the inflated time reporting that is typical in systems that still utilize paper time cards. There are many Employee Time Tracking Software Solutions on the market with varying costs and feature sets. Some of these solutions are designed with particular industry verticals in mind, with tailored features specific to that industry vertical. In this article, rather than cover the specific software options available, I will discuss some of the things a company should consider when choosing an Employee Time Tracking Software solution as well as the costly aspects of using paper time cards.

employee time tracking software vs paper timecards

Employee time tracking software or stack of paper timecards? What looks easier?

Prevalence of Employee Time Tracking Software Vs Paper Time Cards

In 2013, as many as 30% of companies are still using paper timecards instead of a Employee Time Tracking Software solution. This is a very costly practice for some of the following reasons. Employees round up their time worked. Supervisor approvals using paper systems are inefficient, clumsy and can take hours. Collecting timecards wastes time, fuel, creates delays and creates frustration for both payroll staff and employees. Manual time entry is proned to errors, such a miskeyed times. Manual entry and verification of times can take days, while an efficient software system can cut that time down to hours instead of days. The APA (American Payroll Association) estimates that a payroll employees spends on average 6 minutes entering the information contained on a timecard. This can easily work out to approximately $100 per year per employee, just in payroll editing costs alone not to mention the many other costs of paper timecards.

Still using old-fashioned time cards?

Still using old-fashioned time cards?

Human Error in Paper Systems

Human error is another reason that employee time tracking software saves money when processing employee times for payroll. The APA (American Payroll Association), estimates that between 1-8% of total payroll can be spent paying for errors created by manual entry of times transcribed from a timecard. That is huge! Even on the conservative end of this estimation, in a company of 40 employees, assuming a burdened hourly cost of $20/hr and 2080 hours per year, at 2% error this would be $33,280 assuming the errors are in the favor of the employee. It is much more likely that errors will be in the employee’s favor since errors against the employee are much more frequently reported and corrected.

Employee over-reporting of hours is a huge problem in companies that still use paper timecards. Employees who arrive late, take longer than reported lunches and breaks, and leave early to go home all cost you real money and lost productivity. Although there is plenty of research to back this up, it only takes common sense and observation to realize that employees are not in the habit of working longer hours than reported, rather it is the other way around. Obviously, not all employees are dishonest. Actually the majority are honest. However, it is human nature to state hours in one’s own favor and it is human nature to rationalize this as fair since people often perceive unconsiously that the company owes them something anyway since they work too hard for their money, etc. According to the APA, the average “theft” of time per employee is 4 hours per employee per week. That is over $4000 per employee per year. On the conservative side, using just one hour per week for the same calculation, it still equals over $1000 per year per employee!


Employee Time Tracking Software Features Consideration

In order to choose an appropriate employee time tracking software solution for your business, look at the following things. Cost is an important factor, although the costs of most solutions on the market pale in comparison to the average cost savings enjoyed by the company. In other words, assuming an equal feature set, when comparing solutions it makes sense to pick one with a lower cost although both solutions (even the higher priced one) are going to produce significant return on investment (ROI) for the company. So either choice is still a wise one!

Features are also a consideration when choosing an employee time tracking software solution. Web-based solutions hosted in the cloud offer the best of both worlds, a strong feature set along with portability. These web-based solutions are available from several vendors and allow times to be checked, approved and edited from any computer without the need to install software (or update it periodically). Other features that may be important to your company are web-based scheduling with exception flagging for missed punches, late punches, missed shifts, etc. If you have employees that punch in or out when they are not at the office, you should also consider a solution that has mobile apps that will allow employees to punch in from their smartphone. With the growing popularity of BYOD (Bring your own device) some employers may even wish to have employees clock in 100% from their own device rather than a central timeclock. This can make the employee’s life easier since they do not need to seek out a stationary timeclock for each punch.

Finally, when choosing an employee time tracking software solution you should consider both features and costs of the solutions. Cost of the software solution may not be the biggest consideration, since a company implementing a automated solution for the first time is about to experience a major cost savings! If you are debating switching from a paper time card-based system it is important to proceed with a move to an employee time tracking software solution. You will save considerable time and money in your organization by doing so.



Author: ClockShark | Mobile Time Tracking and Scheduling

ClockShark is the #1 time tracking and scheduling app for construction and field service companies.

ClockShark is the #1 time tracking and scheduling app for construction and field service companies! To learn more check out the video below. To get a free 14-day trial visit


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