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Time Clock Software

Time Clock software, also known as time sheet software, automates the tracking of employee attendance, scheduling, and vacations. Time and Attendance software gives organisations an overall picture of how employees spend their time as well as an analysis of labour costs on a per project basis. Employee Time Clock software can be standalone, but often integrates with an organisation's accounting software. Time Clock software is related to Human Resource software, Payroll software, and Workforce Management software. Find the best employee time clock software for your organisation in Australia.

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Time Clock Software Buyers Guide

Time clock software is utilised by businesses and other organisations to track employee attendance, in-time and out-time, work schedules, and sick leave. Otherwise known as timesheet management software, or more broadly as clocking systems, such solutions are able to automate much of this tracking process, which has the dual benefits of freeing up more employee time to focus on alternative tasks while also improving overall accuracy.

Businesses need to track the amount of time employees spend at work—or working on specific tasks—for a whole variety of reasons. These range from ensuring staff members receive the correct financial compensation for their efforts to analysing individual employee performance and creating more accurate schedules for future work projects. Time clock software allows businesses to not only monitor employee time but also assess labour costs.

Understanding precisely where time has been spent is also vital for accurately invoicing the clients of many businesses. In addition, the use of time clock software can help organisations to identify trends in terms of how time is being spent, by whom, and precisely where it is being spent most and least. It then becomes easier to identify areas where improvement may be possible, as well as the areas operating with the greatest efficiency.

Most commonly, time clock software is offered as a standalone software solution, although some clocking systems form part of wider workforce management packages, or as part of broader accounting or payroll software. The features and purposes behind time clock software means it is often categorised alongside attendance tracking software and employee scheduling software too, and these solutions are often able to be integrated with one another.

The majority of software solutions of this kind will share some common features, while there are some features that are less common, and these can help buyers to more easily separate the different options. Moreover, there are some features that are so prevalent they can be described as category-defining. With this in mind, the vast majority of time clock software or clocking systems will allow users to carry out the following actions:

  • Utilise a clock-in and clock-out function in order to track attendance and the number of hours being worked
  • Track the total number of hours that have been worked and use this information to inform payroll and scheduling
  • Schedule employee shifts based on business requirements, staff availability, and contract requirements
  • Allow employees to submit requests for holidays and sick leave, and then track absences or add them to a calendar

What is time clock software?

Time clock software and timesheet management software are the names given to software applications that have been designed to assist users with the process of tracking employee attendance and the amount of time workers spend in and out of work, along with the times they clocked in and out. Having access to this information can be important for many reasons, such as informing payroll and ensuring employees are accurately compensated for their work. Clocking systems can also help business leaders to get a better sense of company and individual performance.

Much of this process can be automated through use of the software, so organisations can save significant time and effort without sacrificing accuracy. In fact, the automation provided by many of these software solutions can actually help to avoid issues associated with human error. Meanwhile, employees are also able to make use of this software in order to clock in and out at the beginning and end of work shifts, and to make sick leave or holiday requests.

Work schedules can typically be created and shared through the software, and in many cases, integration tools also exist, allowing the software to share data with external calendar applications. The centralisation of all information related to timesheets and work schedules is another major reason why companies invest in software in this category because it removes the need to switch between applications when carrying out the various associated tasks.

What are the benefits of time clock software?

The benefits of time clock software are predominantly based around tracking employee attendance in an efficient and accurate way. Through the software, companies can usually track not only whether or not an individual was at work but also the precise number of hours they worked and whether those were contracted hours or overtime. This is advantageous because it makes a number of critical business tasks easier. Of course, the benefits of clocking systems do not end there, and it can be useful to explore some of these in greater depth. With this in mind, some of the most crucial benefits associated with the use of clocking software are explored below:

  • Accurate payroll calculation: the process of manually tracking the number of hours employees have worked and then calculating what their pay should be is not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. Therefore, one of the single biggest benefits associated with time clock software and other clocking systems is the ability to calculate payroll more accurately. Best of all, much of this process can be automated based on when employees clock in and clock out. Not only can this reduce unnecessary pay disputes, but it can also save time and effort.
  • Invoicing and billing: many businesses bill their customers or clients based on the amount of time that has been spent on a project or completing a particular task. The use of time clock software can be crucial in these situations because it not only enables businesses to send invoices for accurate amounts, but also allows evidence to be presented to any customers or clients who may query the amount they have been charged. Without the use of software, companies are often left having to give estimates for the number of hours worked, and this can be inaccurate and costly while potentially undermining trust with clients or business partners.
  • Work time tracking for remote workers: modern employers do not necessarily have employees working in a single location, and remote work is only becoming more viable as communications technology improves. For this reason, the best time clock software will provide businesses with the capability of monitoring work hours for remote employees. This will usually involve the use of an electronic clocking in and clocking out system, which functions in much the same way as systems that employees use when working on-site. Remote workers can also potentially use the software to schedule time off or report illnesses to management.
  • Performance monitoring: another major advantage of acquiring time clock software is the ability to monitor internal performance, including the performance of specific departments and even individual employees. When organisations have a clearer sense of how much time is being spent on specific tasks, who is working on those tasks, and how their use of time compares with other employees, it becomes easier to identify inefficiencies or instances where time is not being used as effectively as it could be. Such information can then be used to allocate additional resources, where appropriate, and to inform staff appraisals and performance reviews.

What are the features of time clock software?

The features of time clock software are primarily based around making it easier to track the hours that employees work. This can usually be achieved through a combination of automation and manual tracking. However, the vast majority of applications in this category include features that go beyond simply measuring work time. Although precise functionality will vary from one solution to the next, and the quality and implementation of these functions can also differ, almost all software options within this category will share the following core or defining features:

  • Online time clock: allow employees to start and stop time tracking, based on whether they are at work, on a break, or at the end of their shift. Generally, the online time clock function included within software of this kind is simple to use, with employees having access to their own account, which they can sign in to and clock in and out, based on their needs. This means they can check in at the start of their shift, mark themselves as inactive during breaks in their work, and check out at the end of their working day. Using this information, the software can then automatically calculate how many hours have been worked, and this can then be used for payroll and scheduling purposes, as well as for monitoring how many employees are in the workplace. Online functionality means that the time clock feature can be used easily by employees who may be working from home or off-site.
  • Timesheet management: view data related to the number of hours employees have worked and continually track this information over time. The ability to manage timesheets in the workplace is essential for payroll and accounting in general, and calculations in this area can become complicated without having appropriate software because of factors like overtime. This is especially true if overtime is paid at a different rate from contracted hours. However, timesheet management is important for several other reasons too. For instance, depending on the nature of work being carried out, clients or customers could be invoiced based on the number of hours employees worked on a particular project or task. Alternatively, the information could be used to determine how long specific tasks are taking or how much time has been spent in total on a particular project. Many aspects of timesheet management can also be partially or fully automated, with calculations like staff pay and total numbers of hours worked being calculated automatically based on employees' usage of the aforementioned online time clock.
  • Employee scheduling: create employee schedules and inform workers of what shifts they will have. Most time clock software with scheduling features will allow employees to log in and see their schedule, making it accessible at all times. However, the best solutions will also include integration options with other calendar software. This means that shifts can be synchronised with either company calendars, or the calendars of individual users, improving communication in the process. It can also be useful to have access to both timesheet management and scheduling tools in one package because the shifts allocated to employees may depend on the number of hours they have worked, the number of hours other employees have worked, and the terms of their individual contracts.
  • Mobile access: enable all of those who may need to access the clocking system, including the finance department and individual employees, to gain access using their mobile phones. The provision of mobile access can be especially important in an age where remote work is becoming more common. In solutions where mobile access is provided, employees have the ability to clock in and clock out using their mobile phones. This can also be absolutely vital for businesses operating with employees who work in the field.
  • Sick leave tracking: provide employees with a facility through which to make sick leave requests or to inform business leaders that they will not be able to make it into work. The information from the time clock software can be sent to department managers and senior staff, and requests can either be approved or declined based on the information provided and individual circumstances. Sick leave can also be tracked over time, allowing companies to build a picture of how many sick days individual employees have taken. Sick leave tracking can then be synchronised with payroll so that people are paid the right amount, based on a combination of how many hours they have worked, how many days they have missed, the company's sick leave policy, and relevant legislation.
  • Holiday tracking: allow employees to make holiday requests, have these requests delivered to decision-makers for approval, and keep track of holiday entitlement. Within this feature, it is usually possible to track time off in lieu too, which is time off that has been earned in place of overtime pay. Out of convenience, various other time off requests made by workers may also be handled through the same basic feature within a clocking system.

Capterra's time clock software directory page allows users to quickly and easily sort the available programs or packages based on the precise features they contain. This means options can be filtered out if they do not include a feature that a buyer needs, resulting in only the best matches being displayed. It is also possible to access user reviews. As a result, it becomes significantly easier to find the best possible option based on the precise needs of a business.

What should be considered when purchasing time clock software?

When purchasing time clock software, there are many different things that need to be considered. Ultimately, businesses need to not only find a high-quality package but also identify the optimal solution for their specific requirements. Achieving such an aim means taking the time to think about the surrounding issues carefully. A great way to do this is to ask some key questions and try to come up with answers that could illuminate the path towards the best software. Some of the most important questions to think about are as follows:

  • What are the features of time clock software? The first consideration when looking into the various time clock software options on the market is the range of features on offer. Although core features are going to be similar across the board, at least in terms of what they are intended to deliver, there can be substantial variation when it comes to how well designed these features are and how well they work. Furthermore, the best solutions may be separated from other options via their supplementary features and how well these additions have been implemented.
  • How can you monitor employees working remotely? Despite the various benefits associated with remote and hybrid work, employees carrying out their roles from home can throw up some challenges, and monitoring the time spent working is a good example. The best software solutions will provide users with the ability to clock in and out remotely, while some solutions offer tools for monitoring activity levels too. There is a balancing act here, however, as monitoring of activity needs to be offset against employees' rights to privacy. Some clocking systems also provide support for biometrics, offering an additional layer of security. This could mean that employees clock in through the use of tools like fingerprint scanning or facial recognition in order to confirm their identity when off-site.
  • What is the ideal software deployment method? Next, it is crucial that buyers give consideration to which deployment method is most suitable for their needs. On-premise software is deployed on-site, with the buyer managing installation and data storage. This has benefits in terms of control, and the total costs may even end up lower. However, initial costs can be high. The main alternative to this conventional approach is cloud-based software. Here, much of the responsibility for managing the software and data storage is outsourced to a third-party service provider. Data is stored on the cloud and is accessible remotely on a wide range of devices. Although total costs sometimes end up being higher, the expense becomes a monthly or annual subscription fee. This means upfront costs are much lower, and long-term costs are predictable. Gartner projects that end-user spending on cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions will reach $145.4 billion in 2022, having increased from less than $103 billion in 2020, highlighting its rapid popularity growth in recent times.
  • Can clocking systems integrate with other software? While many clocking systems will include built-in features related to tasks like scheduling and payroll, most businesses will still want to use other software packages alongside their time clock software. This raises the issue of compatibility, and the best options should provide integration options, allowing the software to form just one part of a wider technological eco-system. Aside from offering options that allow for integration or compatibility with workforce management software and payroll software, it can be important for time clock software to integrate with online calendar applications and similar tools, too.
  • How much does time clock software cost? Finally, it is always crucial to think carefully about the costs associated with different software packages. Buyers need to select the best possible option that fits with their budget. With that being said, it is important to think about this issue holistically rather than focusing solely on the price of a particular product. In reality, companies need to think of the total cost of ownership, access and/or use. This means factoring in any ongoing subscription fees, as well as expenditure that would be linked with setting the software up, training employees to use it effectively, and accessing software updates and expert help and support.

The most relevant time clock software trends are another important focus area for buyers exploring the options available to them. Understanding trends can help buyers to make more informed purchases, and it is sensible for businesses to prioritise software that has been built with an awareness of emerging technology, behaviours and processes. In particular, the following trends are relevant when seeking out clocking systems.

  • Use of artificial intelligence: Improvements to artificial intelligence (AI) are influencing almost all kinds of software because AI and machine learning provide additional options for automation. One way in which artificial intelligence is being deployed to great effect within time clock software is through the provision of chatbots. These chatbots can then be used to handle user support efforts for workers accessing the software remotely, and such support can be delivered on a 24/7 basis. Chatbots can also respond to reports of sickness and pass important messages on to senior staff once they have clocked in and have the time to respond.
  • Electronic time capturing: Improving efficiency is a crucial aim for most businesses and electronic time capturing helps organisations to achieve precisely this. Essentially, this refers to the practice of automating the process of clocking in and clocking out, usually through the use of electronic devices or biometrics to confirm identities. When functioning properly, this electronic time capturing will allow workers to attend the workplace, clock in, carry out their work, and then clock out again with minimal effort and no unnecessary friction.
  • Companion mobile apps: Mobile technology forms an increasingly important part of modern workplace offerings and can assist with efforts to optimise productivity. Yet, it is no longer enough to provide mobile support through web-based offerings alone, as users are demanding companion mobile apps for the core software solutions they are required to use. A Gartner survey from 2019 found that mobile apps would have the biggest impact on business success by the following year, while the years ahead will see an increased focus on multi-experience services, with mobile apps and wearable devices acting in support of more traditional software.
  • The rise of voice control: Another technological trend that is likely to become even more relevant for time clock software developers in the years ahead is the rise of voice control. Smart speakers, mobile phones and various other devices that form part of the internet of things (IoT) have helped to normalise the process of users issuing voice commands and expecting electronic devices to perform intelligent actions in response. With clocking systems, voice control can further improve efficiency and remove friction because users can potentially clock in and out of work through their voice alone. Voice assistants are able to identify individuals through their voice alone, and this technology could also potentially be used in the future as a way of validating who is issuing the voice command. Aside from ease-of-use, voice control also has the potential to improve accessibility and aid the user experience.
  • Location services on mobile: The rise of mobile companion apps has had a knock-on effect, which has been the increased use of location services within workplaces. When integrated with time clock software, businesses can potentially track where employees are at any given time. This is particularly valuable when dealing with field agents, who may need to be at different locations over the course of the day and who may need to respond to changes in their schedule while still out in the field. Nevertheless, location services can also be useful in situations where everyone in an organisation works in the same building. The information provided through GPS tracking can provide useful information about where individuals were at a particular time. It can also offer insights into which parts of the building are busiest and at what times of the day these busy periods actually occur.