Driving Success. Make Time & Attendance as Easy as Your Project Costing IME TRACKING

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1 Driving Success Make Time & Attendance as Easy as Your Project Costing IME TRACKING

2 Introduction Accounting for time spent on the job is among employees least favorite tasks. But the information collected in this process is vital for paying them accurately, and for ensuring compliance with regulations governing overtime and time off. If your organization still relies on manual methods of tracking time for payroll and time off liability, you re already aware of the inefficiency and inaccuracy this causes. Probably you re reading this white paper to learn about solutions that eliminate those pains. While there are dozens of Web-based candidates for this, their capabilities vary dramatically. Many organizations have selected solutions but ultimately shelved them for a variety of reasons, including confusing interfaces (and thus low user adoption); inadequate configurability; difficult integration with other applications; maintenance and support headaches, and more. But some vendors offer time and attendance software that works well. They make it possible, with nearly zero conversion hassle and a remarkably short transition time, to begin enjoying the advantages of moving time and attendance tracking onto the Web. (If you use Replicon Project & Billing software for your project costing and/or client billing, note that Replicon s Time & Attendance software integrates with it automatically.) This guide shows you what to look for in eight key areas, as you evaluate prospective solutions. 1. Eliminate paper- and Excel-based tracking: Get a Web-based solution Your employee pool doesn t have to be large for manual attendance tracking systems to bog it down with slowness and inaccurate information. Consider how this hampers a medium-sized company with 400 employees and 12 physical locations. Just to get basic payroll information collected on weekly basis, you d have to gather hundreds of pieces of paper from multiple places, get them validated by a dozen or more managers, and transcribe the data. A manual method like that is rife with opportunity for errors, and the double-entry required slows the process substantially. The less time that people spend gathering data, the more efficient your organization becomes. Best practice: Use a system in which all attendance data is entered just once, and administration is performed uniformly via web-based software. (This data should be easily shared with your other applications as well see Share your data below.) 2. Ensure that attendance data is complete, current, and accurate Among the most difficult aspects of tracking and approving data about attendance are: getting it on time; getting it approved; and ensuring that it s accurate for payroll. With a manual system, as noted above, physically gathering information is always a challenge. And many organizations require multiple levels of approval be completed before triggering the payroll process. Once the data is in-hand, rules for pay rates, overtime, and time off must be calculated individually. Plus some companies, by the nature of their work, also must conform to contractual requirements that require audit trails. These factors combine to cause delays, errors, and the potential for non-compliance. Of course, you could limit this to an extent by resorting to Excel-based spreadsheets for data capture. But that only eliminates transcription chores and some errors. There are still the slow and inefficient needs to route for approvals, import to other applications, and ensure that everyone s pay and time off are issued and accounted for correctly.

3 But in automated, web-based systems, information about attendance is entered easily, and available immediately. Routing for approvals is simple. Rules related to pay and time off are applied automatically. Compliance with regulations and company policies are set in advance and applied as well. Audit trails are built in. So peoples jobs get easier, pay is timely and accurate, and regulatory issues are covered. Best practice: Get a time and attendance tracking system that simplifies timely, accurate information gathering and application. 3. Get a hosted solution for better efficiency and cost of ownership If you ve followed the trends toward cloud computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and web-based business systems, you know that the traditional way of running business applications on expensive, internal hardware that you monitor and maintain yourself is becoming a thing of the past. That model is being overtaken by web-based applications because the advantages are too great to ignore. You get much more than gains in billable productivity. You also get predictable operating cost and lower total cost of ownership. Your software becomes an operating cost rather than a capital expense. There s no need for new hardware or other IT infrastructure costs, and there s minimal implementation time just hours or days instead of weeks or months. A web-based system means there s nothing to maintain or upgrade: You always have the most recent version of software. And all your data is available from anywhere with an Internet connection. Best practice: Go with a web-based solution to ensure high efficiency and low operating cost. 4. Get software that employees will embrace There s tremendous value in being able to gather and view attendance data in a centralized system. But the real measure of a system s success with tracking relies on employees adopting the software. It s crucial that they view it as requiring the least possible extra effort. That s a basic value of best-of-breed tracking systems: It s extremely easy for employees to get in and out quickly. When employees can enter their attendance online, their adoption rate and your data s accuracy rises dramatically. The best systems also simplify the review-and-approval process for supervisors, and eliminate the need for HR and payroll personnel to provide time-off balances and answer many pay-related questions. A great time and expense tracking system causes its users to ask, Why didn t we do it this way before? Best practice: Get employees involved in the assessment process for every system you re considering. They ll be a great barometer for the rate of adoption you can expect. And you should set that expectation high. 5. Get software that makes administration and reporting easy We discussed above that many companies struggle with attendance tracking software because it is difficult to use. It s critical that you be able to spend time with a prospective solution before you decide on it. Its workflow and configurability should feel intuitive. It should even have built-in intelligence that anticipates what you need to get your work done. The best attendance tracking software gives you a comprehensive set of functions such as highly flexible and easy-to-run, realtime reports and makes it easy to expand upon them by adding things that suit your requirements. Do you need to apply special pay rates to a group of employees or even an individual? Setting them up should be easy and obvious. Do you need custom reports for specific audiences?

4 It should be a simple matter and a big time-saver to configure them by specifying the data you need. In short, using your attendance tracking software should be easy and hassle-free. Best practice: Give your prospective system a thorough test-drive. See whether you feel confident that you can do everything you need, intuitively. 6. Share your data easily with other applications For most companies, capturing data in dedicated time tracking software is only part of a solution s value. Sharing that data with other applications completes the picture. This is critical for payroll, time off, compliance and other needs. The ideal is a seamless exchange of data across all of these via an open API (application programming interface). If your company needs to integrate with other applications, investigate carefully what s required for that to happen. The tracking solution you choose should make it easy to ensure that you comply with this, as well as with your company s internal policies. The most common cause of noncompliance is inadequate or inaccurate record keeping (this also leads to payroll errors). Key factors to help you avoid compliance problems are: Overtime should be readily viewable in timesheet and reports Moving time and attendance data to your payroll system should be automatic Timesheets should be easily auditable whenever needed, with historical records of changed entries and overtime hours Digital records should be backed up regularly The best time and attendance tracking software, in conjunction with your company s payroll system, can help reduce errors, and avoid costly litigation arising from non-compliance. Best practice: Choose a vendor whose solution includes the built-in means to comply with the regulatory requirements your organization faces. 8. Ensure that your data is safe, secure, and available When you choose a web-based time and attendance tracking solution, you pass the responsibility for safekeeping your data to a third party. It s extremely important that your vendor can ensure its security, integrity, and availability. The best time and attendance software makes it easy to share data with billing, payroll, and other applications. The best project and expense tracking software includes an API that facilitates data exchange via standards-based integration (such as XML web services). You should have the choice of developing the integration yourself, or working with your software vendor to implement it. Best practice: Choose a solution that guarantees you can share data as required. 7. Automate compliance with regulations Depending on the nature and location of your business, you may face numerous regulatory requirements related to tracking time and attendance. Chief among these is the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act). This is accomplished via a combination of factors including physical security and environmental controls, and independent certification that adequate data protection processes are in place (the industry standard for this is SAS 70 Type II certification insist on it). Other considerations include firewalls and antivirus protection; encryption of in-transit data; and offsite data backup with tested disaster recovery provisions. Also very important: Your vendor should have a service level guarantee for the availability of your data and the software you use. Best practice: Be sure that the vendors you consider can document their means for supplying all of the above.

5 Conclusion To get timely, accurate attendance information, you need a centralized system. Traditional methods for tracking this data are yielding to online systems that make it easy for employees and managers alike to account for and review their information. The best of these systems are easy to configure, readily share data with other applications, and provide low cost of ownership by offloading responsibility for hosting and security. Select one of these web-based systems and everyone who deals with time and attendance tracking will work easier. About Replicon Founded in 1996, Replicon, Inc. is the world leader in webbased time and expense management software. Replicon s flagship application, Web TimeSheet, provides professional service organizations with quantitative, realtime analysis of workforce productivity and a way to set employee productivity goals based on bottom line revenues. Replicon has more than 1.5 million users in 7,300 companies worldwide. For more information, please contact: Replicon Corporate Headquarters Suite 800, 910-7th Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P-3N8 U.S. Office 951 Mariners Island Blvd, Suite 130 San Mateo, CA Toll Free: North America Global

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