3 Ways for Small Businesses to Track Employee Hours

As back-office functions go, tracking employee hours can sometimes get overlooked. This is especially true for many new businesses with small teams. But the issue of time theft, no matter how big your business, is anything but small.

Even a single hour of padding on each employee time card per month can cost a business thousands of dollars a year.

When employees improperly document their hours, whether intentionally or not, this can lead to payroll and tax reporting issues, and can even cause legal concerns for your company.

Tracking Employee Hours Reduces Time Theft

Beyond your bottom line, time theft can also undermine the confidence and morale of coworkers, and create a negative atmosphere for everyone.

Traditionally, business owners have relied on one of three ways to track employee hours:

  1. An analog solution, such as pen and paper, or a shared spreadsheet
  2. Timeclocks and punch machines
  3. Time & attendance software

Which time & attendance method offers the most protection from time theft? Let’s have a look at the three.

Is time theft an issue for your small business? Take our interactive Time Theft Test to quiz your knowledge of time theft, and explore key industry data related to its true costs.

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The 3 Ways Small Businesses Track Employee Hours

Tracking Employee Hours with Pen & Paper

  1. Tracking employee hours with pen and paper seems like an outdated approach, but many businesses still rely on it. Eventually, these businesses might decide to switch to a shared spreadsheet as a way to move things forward.

The simplicity of this approach, along with the fact that there’s no cost involved, can be attractive at first. And in theory, things should work smoothly: at the end of a payroll period, employers just need to call their payroll provider with their employees’ hours. But as a small business grows, the limitations of this method quickly become apparent:

  • Employers might begin to suspect that employees are incorrectly tracking their time.
  • Employee handwriting can be difficult to read, and an employee might not get paid for their actual hours.
  • Manual reporting increases errors, and generating back pay can be time-consuming for management.
  • Finally, without electronic time tracking and recordkeeping, pay disputes with employees can create legal problems for even the most meticulous businesses.

Using Time Clocks to Track Employee Hours

  1. Hardware-based timeclocks can help eliminate error-prone time reporting. They are a superior solution to manual reporting, but have drawbacks as well.
  • Timeclocks vary in their levels of sophistication and cost. It can be difficult for businesses to decide how much they need, vs. how much is too much.
  • Simple punch machines are relatively inexpensive, but can be difficult to maintain, and might be subject to employee abuse.
  • PIN entry, card swipes, fingerprint biometrics, hand scanners, and tel-clocks provide more accuracy, but can quickly become expensive, especially when a business needs such scanners in multiple locations.
  • Finally, hardware is difficult to upgrade or repair, and can quickly become outdated.

Track Employee Hours with Time & Attendance Software

  1. Time & attendance software offers next-gen solutions made for nearly every business, such as stratustime from nettime
  • Today’s best-of-breed employee time tracking solutions are accessible from a web browser and easily integrated with retail point-of-sale (POS) systems and payroll.
  • Most cloud-based solutions will be updated frequently to make sure users stay aligned with changes to state and federal wage & labor laws.
  • Pricing models vary, but most subscription services help keep monthly costs low while your business is small, and then scale as you grow with additional options to help track your expanding workforce.
  • Features like scheduling, paid time off accrual, tracking and requests, labor-cost forecasting, and ACA compliance features are available as your business expands.
  • And mobile features sync up nicely with the needs of your remote workers.

Is your payroll department tired of deciphering handwritten notes? Has your business outgrown your timeclock? Put stratustime to work for you. We can help you say goodbye to good enough.

stratustime is a flexible time & attendance solution that plays well with many backend office solutions. Talk with one of our professionals today about how stratustime can help you solve your time & attendance needs.

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