Time and Attendance Systems

Time and Attendance Systems

10 Things to Consider When Buying Payroll Time Clocks

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Many businesses have to manually input payroll data into their system - including hours worked, meal breaks, vacation and holidays, and overtime - which can be time consuming and lead to errors. A better solution is to use payroll time clocks to track every time an employee clocks in or out.

Here are 10 areas to focus on when you're comparing solutions.

  1. Type of time clock - A simple punch card time clock will keep track of employees arriving and leaving work, but could still require manual inputting of this information into your payroll, which could still lead to the errors you're looking to eliminate. Electronic swipe cards, PIN, and biometric time clocks capture the same information but make integrating the information into your payroll much easier.
  2. Compatibility - If you decide on a time clock that allows you to download all your employee information to your payroll system, you'll need to check that the two are compatible. Make sure your time clocks are able to provide their data in a form that can be used by your payroll system.
  3. Data integration - You also need to think about how you're going to get the information from your time clocks to your payroll system. Most swipe card, PIN, and biometric systems will let you download information as a simple file that can be imported into your payroll software, and some can even be linked directly to do this automatically.
  4. Number of employees - There's no limit to the number of employees who can use a basic punch card system, as long as you have enough cards. However, the more sophisticated electronic time clocks are often limited to the number of employees they can keep track of. So make sure you choose one that can handle your current workforce and has room for any possible expansion.
  5. Mobile workers - Because your workers are mobile doesn't mean you can't keep a track on how many hours they're working. If you have staff members that work in different locations or should be moving around as part of their job (e.g. security guards), choose a solution that's capable of tracking mobile workers.
  6. Installation and maintenance - A basic punch card system simply needs installing and then plugging into a power source. But more sophisticated time clocks could require a little more effort to get them set up properly. You might want to choose a system that is relatively easy to install and maintain if you're doing it yourself, or look for a supplier who will provide these services for you.
  7. Ease of use - For the employees, getting used to a new time clock system shouldn't be too hard, but the people who look after your payroll may have a slightly steeper learning curve. Choosing a setup that is fairly straightforward to use will make any integration easier and ensure your business gets the most out of the new system.
  8. Flexibility - When you're choosing your new payroll time clocks, make sure your system is flexible enough to allow you to increase the number of locations, keep track of salaried and hourly paid workers, or handle any other new requirements that might come up as your business grows.
  9. Durability - In a busy manufacturing environment, your payroll time clocks might have to process hundreds, maybe even thousands of employees each day. Make sure you choose a solution that's up to the task and durable enough for the job it needs to do.
  10. Cost - Finally, cost. To a large extent this will be determined by the type of time clocks you choose. Basic punch card units are available for less than $200, although bigger electronic versions can be twice that, and a wide range of models run in the $300 to $600 range. Swipe card and PIN units start around $400, and biometric units can be purchased for $400 to $500. Most of the sophisticated electronic time clocks will come with software to integrate them with your payroll system, although stand alone time-tracking software can be purchased for about $100 as well.

Integrating payroll time clocks into your existing setup is relatively straightforward and inexpensive, and there are enough options to make sure you don't have to compromise on the benefits you're looking for.

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