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Attendance Solution

Even in relatively small organizations, those with less than 100 employees, calculating work hours and translating those to payroll can be needlessly time consuming and complicated. In a typical small company, for example, employees traditionally keep their own time cards, sometimes with a time clock to verify their entrances and departures and sometimes without. At the end of every pay period, be that two weeks or a month or some other cycle, employees add up the hours they have worked and submit the totals to a supervisor, bookkeeper, or an accounting department.

Some employees are good about adding up their hours. On the other hand, some are not. When employees are doing the calculations, there is a natural tendency to be kind to themselves and simply disregard ten or fifteen minutes here or there. Breaks can become somewhat longer than they are supposed to be and arrival and departure times may vary from reality. It is not that the employees are being dishonest or even have a major desire to cheat the system. They simply do not understand the ramifications of their few minutes departure from actual truth coupled with the similar departures of dozens or hundreds of other people and the cost impact those minutes can make on the companys profit picture.

In a manual system, someone in the accounting or payroll department has to collect time cards, go through them for verification purposes, correct any errors, and re-add all the figures to make sure they are accurate. In a 50-person company, that process can take two people a couple days to complete. The timing has to be perfect or close to perfect to make the whole system work, and even more so if an outside payroll company is used. Such companies require that all information be submitted by a particular date in order to generate checks by a second designated date.

Manual systems for tracking time and attendance and generating payroll from the figures gathered take time and they cost money. Time and attendance software systems, even though they also cost money, tend to pay for themselves rather quickly.

A single system for a relatively small company might consist of electronic time clocks to be located at each entrance to the workplace, along with software to integrate all of the systems functions. Employees either scan a time card or an identification badge through the time clock when they arrive at work and when they leave. The software continuously gathers information from the time clocks and stores it in a central database. If the time clocks are hard wired to one computer, a single employee can check daily attendance and verify time spent on breaks and lunches in just a few minutes per day. Information can be exported directly to an Excel spreadsheet and generate reports of regular and overtime hours. The payroll processing that took two employees two or three days worth of time, can be accomplished by one employee in a few hours once a week or once every other week, depending on the pay cycle.

The accuracy and efficiency of time and attendance software can be exceptionally valuable to any company regardless of size. It can automatically generate payroll records, track any one of a number of variables requested by the employer, and helps to keep both employees and employers honest. The time that was once spent just on tracking employee attendance can be put to work in fulfilling company ojectives that are far more important.

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