Time and Attendance


Compare Timesheet Software and Time Clocks

  The software tools for tracking Time and Attendance offer many important functions that will be key to your business. We’ll cover important points for comparison and key evaluation questions.

Time Clock Systems Overview

Evolving from the timecard-punching clocks, today’s time tracking tools come in many forms. Today’s clocks can use a badge, a fingerprint, a hand, a key code, or some combination of the above.

Employees may have the option of logging in via a website or a fixed terminal. Remote works may use their cell phone to call in or an app to log their starting and ending times.

The software that is packaged with these tools has become more powerful as well. Sometimes payroll functionality is integrated, but at a minimum, there should be timesaving exports to send hours reports to any payroll system.

Timesheet Basics

Systems have at a minimum the ability to record hours worked, whether that is by entering a total hours number or recording in and out times. The punch location may be logged, by the physical location of the device used or by employee manual entry.

Exceptions can be added to the timesheet for vacation, holiday, sick, or other hours.

Biometric clocks, incorporating hand, finger, retina, or other validation, may be useful in preventing time theft. These devices ensure no one else can log in to cover for a late or absent worker.

Clocks can also be integrated to an access control system. A badge, fob, or other access method, can simultaneous log the employee in and unlock an access point.

Advanced Labor Tracking Functions

Strong time and attendance systems can help you manage other HR related items like PTO and scheduling.

The employees can benefit when their timesheet also serves as a portal to HR data. For example, this could include their vacation hours and sick hours information.

For many businesses, the time and attendance system can facilitate labor tracking. In production roles, the worker can log completed units, or charge to a specific machine. In consulting roles, the worker can indicate the client job they are working on for specific hours of time.

Power timekeeping systems can then provide highly accurate reports for client billing, product and job costing, and productivity analysis.

Keys for Comparison

To Begin: As with any software selection process, it is important to gather the key stakeholders. This could include human resources, information technology, executive leadership, and area managers.

Begin by setting goals for the review and implementation. What problems need to be solved? What are the top five most important factors in the final decision.


1. Complete an RFQ to get information on qualified vendors and their costs and offerings. If individuals in the group have prior positive experience on other tools, add these to the docket to be reviewed as well.

2. Schedule demos to ask questions and review interfaces. In-person demos can be preferable, as the group can see and try any devices.

3. Compare costs and make a final selection. Be sure to uncover any hidden costs. The software fee may be comparable, but the clocks have a wide range of pricing. Or perhaps the implementation cost is low, but the annual support is much higher than a competitor’s.