Time tracking is the act of tracing out the time spent on each activity in a particular period of time. With so much pressure on time these days, time tracking and management has become absolutely necessary. Though time tracking was initially just a method for keeping track of the way employees use their time, today it is a major program that is used for several other things like: payroll processing, employee productivity, revenue management, client management, invoicing, database management and project management.
Employee time tracking was first done using simple time cards or punch cards. Employees had to punch in their cards, when they came in or out, into a machine that would record the time. The timings were later copied onto spreadsheets and analyzed manually to determine how much time an employee spent in the office. This simple mechanism was sufficient in the days when there was not too much stress on the productivity of employees. However, with technological diversions like the Internet, e-mails, and phones, it has become very important to track the exact time the employee spends working. Besides, some enterprises have thousands of employees located at different locations across the world, working in different time zones, which make employee time tracking even more important. There are several advantages of employee time tracking: it makes payroll processing easier by tracking the exact hours an employee worked, increases revenues by correct invoicing, and makes database management easier. There are also some disadvantages: employees do not appreciate it they feel too much pressure for showing results for every minute; or the information may not be used properly.
Today, there are hundreds of employee time tracking programs and software packages available. These not only make tracking, but also billing, payroll, project costing and estimation easier. Besides, they can track the employee’s use of time in the absence of the supervisor. Employees located even thousands of miles away can be tracked using this software. These software programs can be downloaded easily onto any platform and used either offline or online. They can also be customized to suit exact requirements. Information about this software can be obtained over the internet.
Employee time tracking has been around for over a hundred years. It is said that the first time clock was invented in November of 1888 by Willard Bundy. Bundy’s brother then opened the Bundy Manufacturing Company, later to become IBM. While the idea of tracking the time and attendance of an employee remains virtually the same, the systems used to do it have vastly changed.
Since the 1990’s, computed based systems have become widely used to track an employee’s time. This can be done in many ways from using a magnetic card to scanning finger prints. While time tracking can be beneficial to any size or type of business, the benefits for a small to medium sized business are tremendous.
* Money Savings – it is estimated that up to 4% can be saved of annual payroll with a time and attendance system. With the hardships small businesses face these days, any monetary savings are a benefit. There are less data entry errors when payroll is calculated or attendance is recorded. The savings are increased when a biometric system is utilized. Biometric systems utilize one of more physical characteristics (such as finger prints) to identify an employee.
* Eliminates “buddy-punching” and tracks time off – Buddy punching is the practice of one employee clocking another employee in or out. This can cause hundreds to thousands of dollars in loss to a company. The systems can also capture and track sick time, vacation, holiday pay and conference time away from the office.
* Systems provide multiple reports – Reports can be compiled such as a wage report, timecard report, absence report, payroll summary, attendance report, employee list, early out report and overtime report. Automatic time clock downloads can also be scheduled and most systems can provide support to all payroll scheduling needs (weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly and monthly).
* Easy to install – The time and attendance software is easy to install as well as the time clocks themselves. Instructions are provided and most companies provide technical support for any additional questions or issues that arise. It is important to verify the system being purchased is compatible with any existing operating system.
While the benefits of these time clocks are more in the employers favor, they can also benefit the employees themselves. Employees can feel confident that these systems are providing accurate punches and that in turn, the employee will be paid properly.
When selecting the best time and attendance software for a company it is critical to read through the descriptions, benefits and features of the system. The ability to track this information is a highly cost-saving measure that every company should take advantage of. It also provides a more organized and comfortable atmosphere than the traditional time tracking methods can.