Adventure Time: Explore The Time & Attendance Maze and Win!

By Timerack

April 27, 2020

Choosing a time and attendance system for your business used to be easier.

Get a clock, find a nice wall to attach it to and boom! Ready to go.

Today, state-of-the-art software has created so many options and features that shopping for a time tracking solution is a little like reading one of those “choose your adventure” game books you might’ve read in middle school… only every choice is a confusing drag that might not even give you a happy ending.

Let’s Go Back in Time

Imagine you’re back in home room, absorbed in your copy of… let’s call it The Maze of Time & Attendance Solutions. Yeah, okay, it’s totally the kind of book the kid who always carried a briefcase would read, but bear with us for a minute.

So you’re in the maze. You need to figure out what direction to go into: turning to page five brings you a list of features … but are they even applicable to your specific needs? Page seven takes you to the, uh, Room of Capabilities (like we said, bear with us), but the costs are enough to sink your budget for the next few years.

Decide to skip ahead (and if you’ve ever read one of these books you probably have)? All of the endings leave you with a system that’s not a great fit and leaves you not far from where you already were before you started this adventure. Enough to make you wish you never bothered in the first place.

The best time & attendance systems out there can be leveraged for time savings and efficiencies across a range of business needs. Finding them is often a real time investment.

But when you take the time to make the right choice, you’re making a time investment your business can leverage to deliver increased ROI day after day. Digital technology may have made the selection process a little harder, but it has also made available a selection of highly customizable features that can repay your time investment in ways that will make you think you’ve stumbled upon the… Secret for Making Time, which coincidentally is the next adventure book in the series.

Our Quest Begins

Your first step is narrowing your options by reviewing the most in-demand features your industry needs. By prioritizing how you use time and attendance accounting in your industry, you can move quickly to identifying those additional features that will help you do more.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • Is regulatory compliance a challenge?
  • Is scheduling an obstacle?
  • Do you struggle to keep up with the demands created by seasonal hiring?
  • Do you need reporting that can bucket hours by location or by project?
  • A more effective way to reduce overtime costs?

Modern time and attendance software can do all of these things and more.

Next, determine the level of ongoing service that’s right for you. Do you want a provider specializing in time and attendance software with the capability to create additional reporting options and features as you need them? Or do you want a provider that can create customized integrations between time and attendance software and other platforms, like your payroll platform?

So let’s play a game: This is a “choose your adventure” blog.

How to Play

Below are several industries and a list of their particular challenges, each of which benefit from adopting a modern time & attendance solution. Each industry has its own number; just search for the number of the industry you’re interested in to go there:

  • If healthcare is your industry, go to section #1.0
  • For construction, build your future in section #2.0
  • Staffing’s your interest? Take section #3.0
  • Certified Public Accountant? Add it up in section #4.0
  • If you’re part of the franchise, hospitality and/or hotel industries, make reservations in section #5.0
  • Manufacturing’s your game? Make your best choice in section #6.0

By searching for your options now, we think you’ll be on your way to saving a lot of time later. Let’s get started! We’ll meet up at the ending (section #7.0).

Time and Attendance Features by Industry

#1.0 Healthcare

Supply and demand drives business. But what if the supply isn’t there?

In 2016, a study published in the journal Human Resources for Health forecast a global demand for 80 million healthcare workers by 2030. The problem? The same study found only 65 million healthcare workers would be available by 2030, creating a global healthcare labor shortage of 15 million workers.

It’s why labor shortages are an immense concern for healthcare organizations. Fortunately, new technologies allow the hiring process to become more streamlined. As a bonus, the same new technology is rapidly providing ways to help manage complex compliance requirements.

Having software that allows for quick and easy filing of staffing reports with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) makes compliance vastly easier. New technology also reduces the kind of mistakes which can potentially put facilities out of business and their patients’ lives in jeopardy.

Mobile applications are also in demand to accommodate the growing number of home healthcare workers. When considering time & attendance software, look for the following features:

  • Calculation of full-time and full-time equivalent employees to stay in compliance with the ACA
  • Facilitation of optimal staff coverage
  • Minimization of compliance risks
  • Management of employees in the field using geofencing GPS technology and other mobile applications
  • Elimination of buddy punching with biometric controls that can identify employees by facial recognition, handprints or fingerprints
  • Punch lockouts to keep employees from clocking in too early or on days when they are not scheduled
  • Training certification reminders
  • Management of time-off requests and approvals
  • Expense reporting tools
  • Web application
  • Benefits tracking
  • Scheduling and overtime alerts

#2.0 Construction

Fewer industries were more affected by the Great Recession of the late 2000s than construction. The St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) database found the industry lost 1.5 million jobs during the economic crisis. Over a decade later, many firms still struggle with replacing those workers.

It’s why finding qualified workers (and keeping them!) is such a critical challenge for businesses in this market. Plus, historically low unemployment in the labor market has made hiring very competitive. Add in issues such as the need to reduce workers’ compensation costs, keeping up with employment & immigration laws and recordkeeping obligations? Even seasoned construction veterans get overwhelmed.

Big wins can create administrative headaches, too.

Let’s say you’re a construction firm that landed a government contract. It’s a great opportunity, but additional reporting requirements come with that contract. The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) regulations bring their own requirements for time and attendance tracking systems, for example, which have to be flexible enough to allocate hours by project, by contract or by location in addition to requiring accurate and convenient tracking of employees working at multiple sites.

It’s a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. The right time and attendance solution can provide multiple options for increased efficiency while staying compliant:

  • The ability for employees to easily clock in and out using different job codes.
  • A way to manage employees in the field. For example, a GPS-enabled time and attendance technology requiring employees to clock in and out within a set distance of the job site.
  • DCAA compliant software, which can make it much easier to meet government reporting requirements and avoid failed audits.
  • Biometric solutions that eliminate time and attendance fraud such as buddy punching by using facial recognition, handprints or fingerprints
  • Punch lockout protection that keeps employees from clocking in too soon or when they are not scheduled. This can help you stay in compliance with labor laws that require a specific time for lunch or other breaks.
  • Training certification reminders for forklift operators and other workers who require recertification to stay on the job
  • Records of workers’ compensation claims
  • Drug testing records results and alerts to notify you when physicals are required
  • Easy uploading of I9 documentation
  • EEOC and ACA reporting capability
  • Work authorization alerts when visa numbers expire
  • Application tracking and onboarding
  • Expense reporting tools
  • Management of time-off requests and approvals
  • Benefits tracking
  • Scheduling and overtime alerts

#3.0 Staffing

The staffing industry keeps people working. According to the American Staffing Association (ASA), every year, staffing companies employ nearly 17 million temporary and contract employees, most of whom work full-time.

It’s important to remember that everything experiences cycles, including the number of unemployed. Staffing agencies with a modern time & attendance solution will have a substantial leg up over their competition when employers start hiring.

As useful as reliable time tracking can be, you would want a bit more with your time clock. Like software that streamlines recruiting and hiring … along with compliance and billing features.

Here’s what a savvy staffer should look for:

  • A dashboard allowing management of all clients in one place
  • Software that helps you calculate the number of full-time and full-time equivalent employees under the Affordable Care Act
  • Features that calculate bill rates, markup percentages and shift differential pay premiums
  • Software that helps you create custom onboarding forms and templates
  • Cloud-based software
  • Training/Certification reminders for employees who need to keep skills updated
  • Workplace injury tracking
  • Time clocks with built-in – and customizable – compliance questions for employees: Did you receive your breaks, meal and rest period? Did you get hurt on the job today?
  • Schedule clocking to prevent workers from taking too short a lunch break or other required breaks
  • Overtime alert capability
  • Wi-Fi enabled time clocks with biometric touch screen and options in multiple languages
  • Visa updates to keep current on work authorizations
  • Seasonal hiring features, like the ability to easily activate or deactivate employees
  • Progressive scheduling
  • Software that eliminates buddy punching

#4.0 Certified Public Accountants

It’s competitive out there!

Sage’s 2018 Practice of Now report found 67 percent of accountants felt that their field was more competitive than ever. So hanging on to clients – and gaining new ones – is job one for CPAs. Distinguishing yourself from the competition is going to be more important for the forward-thinking CPA.

In June 2019 during the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) Engage conference, attendees found that the CPA of the future might not always be a CPA. “Every business is having to transform today, no matter the size. It’s up to us to transform to meet those expectations,” said Barry Melancan, AICPA CEO and president. It’s why many CPAs have found that providing services beyond the traditional tax return preparation and tax planning services keeps clients happy and new ones coming onboard.

Time and attendance software, payroll and HR support are profitable additions to accounting services. Need an edge over the competition? The right time and attendance solution can help you leverage your time clock into a big win with the following features:

  • Integration with other software like Thomson Reuters Accounting CS
  • Dashboard for easy overview of multiple clients
  • ACA and EEO-1 Reporting capability
  • Payroll bridges or the ability to generate a payroll file for any payroll software
  • Cloud capability with a web application
  • Management of time off requests, approvals and accrual
  • Performance review tools
  • Overtime tracking and alerts
  • Expense reporting tools
  • Benefits tracking
  • Mobile application

#5.0 Franchise, Hospitality and Hotel Industries

Satisfied consumers are returning customers.

Finding the right employees and training them in high-quality customer service pays off in the hospitality business. Having a state-of-the-art time and attendance system eliminates the busy work that can prevent you from reaping the benefits that top-notch customer service provides.

Here are a few features you will want to consider when customizing a time and attendance system for your company:

  • Tracking and reporting that allows clocking in by level, department sub-department and location to track where labor is being used
  • A dashboard that provides visibility into any location or branch from a single page
  • Overtime reporting with features for tracking shift differentials or project-based hours
  • Smarter scheduling and cost control
  • Performance tracking HR Module for hourly employees
  • Progressive scheduling
  • Intelligent reporting including tardy reports
  • Cost center and employee productivity tracking
  • Management of time-off requests, approvals and accruals
  • Schedule punch locking
  • Web and mobile application
  • Expense reporting tools
  • Overtime alerts and tracking
  • ACA and EEOC reporting capability

#6.0 Manufacturing

Staffing and hiring challenges combined with compliance issues are keeping manufacturing companies very busy. Investing in expansion and modernization are top priorities.

When modernizing your time and attendance system you may want to consider adding software with:

  • Wi-Fi enabled time clocks with biometric touch screen
  • HR Module
  • Management of time-off requests, approvals and accrual
  • Software that allows the creation of custom onboarding forms and templates
  • Web and mobile application
  • Customizable training/Certification alerts
  • Workplace injury tracking
  • Time clocks with customizable compliance tracking questions built-in: Did you receive your breaks, meal and rest period? Did you get hurt on the job today?
  • Schedule clocking that prevents workers from taking too short a lunch break or other required breaks
  • Overtime protection with proactive overtime alerts
  • Progressive scheduling
  • Expense reporting tools

#7.0 Congratulations! You’ve Reached The End Of The Maze!

Okay, The Maze of Time & Attendance Solutions was pretty silly. But the benefits of improving efficiency and accuracy by updating outdated systems are going to pay off, and not just as a happy ending.

Timerack specializes in providing state-of-the-art time and attendance solutions with hardware and software customizable even for industries our game didn’t mention.

Our 24/7 cloud-based time and attendance software provides a wide-range of capabilities for time and attendance tracking, reporting, scheduling and compliance along with Timerack HR for greater streamlining of hire to retire business processes. Our software can be customized to create unique tracking, alerts, record-keeping, reporting and compliance features along with the ability to integrate with any payroll platform.

Whether you struggle with issues like seasonal hiring, government contract requirements, or complex compliance obligations, we have solutions that can make it easier – including the ability to bridge our time and attendance software to any payroll software you use.



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