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Manual vs Automated Time and Attendance Systems: Which is Best For Your Business?

By Timerack

April 13, 2021

As a business owner, you’re constantly juggling multiple tasks throughout the day. Therefore, the last thing you want to be worrying about is measuring your employee’s time and attendance.

Employee time and attendance monitoring is a necessity for every business. That being said, finding the best possible time and attendance system is often overlooked. We get it. Running a business is time-consuming, and sometimes it’s challenging to take a step back and look into the different types of attendance systems out there and how they could benefit you.

Thankfully, we’re here to help. In this blog, we’re going to look at the advantages of an automated attendance system, the downsides of a manual time and attendance system, and explore what the benefits of automated time and attendance records are.

Let’s get into it.

What is a Manual Time and Labor System?

A manual time and attendance system is a traditional system that requires employees to fill in attendance sheets manually. These are usually used by smaller business operations. However, rather remarkably, some large businesses still do it this way. 

Disadvantages of Manual Time and Attendance System

Manual time and attendance systems assume a huge degree of trust between employees and employers. It requires employees to fill out their hours accurately and honestly and not carry out time theft or buddy punching. However, in a larger business, this can be difficult to control. 

Furthermore, HR managers or business owners face enormous pressure when collecting details about employees’ working hours and processing payroll without any errors. 

Advantages of a Manual Time and Attendance System

That being said, there are still a few benefits of using this slightly antiquated method of time and attendance monitoring:

  • Cheap – Manual time and attendance measuring systems don’t require any hardware or software, making it an initial saving. However, as data is recorded manually, it can be easily manipulated. Employees may put the wrong information to garner extra wages. Therefore, it may end up costing you more in the long run. 
  • Simple to use –  The perception is that manual time and attendance systems are easier to use. While the level of familiarity makes this true, the emergence of biometric time and attendance means that automated time and attendance may now have the edge. Clocking in and out is as simple as using your fingerprint or facial recognition.
  • Resistant to power outages – In the rare instance of a power outage, manual time and attendance systems have the upper hand. However, if you use an automated time and attendance system that’s connected to the cloud, the daily backups will circumvent this issue. 

As you can see, despite there being a few positives to using manual time and attendance systems, even those can have holes picked in them.

So, while they seem attractive in the short term, they don’t benefit your business in the long run.

Quit living in the past! Book a free demo with Timerack to see how an automated time and attendance solution could save your business time and money. 

The Advantages of Automated Attendance System

Now that we’ve looked at the slim advantages and significant disadvantages of a manual time and attendance system, we’re going to look at the advantages of an automated attendance system.

Automated Attendance Systems Increase Productivity and Proficiency

As we’ve touched on, running a business or working in HR means you’re constantly busy. Therefore, monitoring and managing attendance manually can be time-consuming, laborious, and, ultimately, draw you away from more urgent tasks.

Let’s break it down. A manual attendance system means you have to handle all of these tasks on your own:

  • Process paper sheets and time cards
  • Create schedules
  • Authorize employee leave and overtime
  • Manually create payroll

An automated system does all that for you. This frees up precious administrative time for your business and allows you to funnel your focus into other more pressing matters.

Realtime Reporting Gives Productivity Insights and Eliminates Errors

Automated time and attendance systems can give you reports and valuable insights in real-time. However, this is far removed from a big brother scenario where you’re watching employees’ every move. It simply allows you to review productivity, time, and attendance and gather a valuable window into your company’s workflow.

For example, you may have toyed with the idea of staggering work schedules to ensure you keep your office COVID secure. Automated time and attendance systems allow you to analyze the best way to stagger your employees’ returns and ensure a minimal drop-off in productivity.

On top of that, if you decide to set up a time and attendance and payroll integration, an automated system can allow you to make changes or inputs to payroll processing in real-time, e.g. correcting a clock in error from an employee. This helps eliminate human errors when it comes to payment. 

Cloud-Based Storage Provides a Centralized Filing System

This saves your business from having to invest in a massive storage facility to collect timecards (and not to mention implementing a fail-proof filing system).

With automated time and attendance, you just store everything in the cloud. As a result, if you need to check something, you can go directly into the cloud and search for records. Furthermore, automated time and attendance monitoring allow employees to check their schedules, hours worked, time off requisitions, and payment details quickly and easily.

Improves Your Employee and Office Security

Automated time and attendance allows you to add security features unavailable with a manual time and attendance system.

Let’s take Timerack’s time and attendance solutions as an example. Employees’ unique time and attendance records are protected behind their own unique four-digit code. However, if you want to take employee data security even more seriously, you can also use biometric time and attendance technology.

Facial recognition technology and revolutionary fingerprint scanning not only ensure that employee data is protected but also stops unauthorized personnel from entering your workplace. This is particularly useful if your business has an expensive inventory or demands sanitary conditions. 

If you do decide to use a biometric time and attendance solution, familiarize yourself with biometric time clock laws before doing so.

Keeps You Compliant With Employee Law and Regulation

While on the subject of laws, automated systems ensure that your business remains compliant with labor and overtime laws. 

This is because inaccurate records result can not only cost your organization a lot of needless money in overtime payments, they can also result in expensive legal defense and fines.

What’s more, a lot of time and attendance software – including Timerack – comes equipped with valuable HR and employment law documentation. This ensures you have all the necessary knowledge and resources to stay compliant with the latest employment laws and regulations.

Manual vs Automated Time and Attendance? It’s No Contest

You may be thinking – “hey, where are the disadvantages of an automated attendance system?”. The truth is, there aren’t any.

Automated time and attendance solutions are now more of a one-stop-shop for all of your time and attendance, payroll, and HR needs. This can truly benefit a business of any size. What’s more, the increasing use of biometrics at work has made automated time and attendance solutions more secure and helped completely eliminate employee time theft.

As a result, in the battle between the two, there is only one winner. 

Schedule a personalized demo and see how an automated attendance system can benefit your company.



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