Managing employee time and attendance is an essential business function, yet many continue to rely on outdated, manual methods that are laborious and prone to mistakes. Timekeeping software, on the other hand, can improve productivity and regulatory compliance, which in turn, may reduce costs. By exploring the features and benefits of this technology, employers may be better poised to finally make the switch from paper timesheets to a digital solution.

What is timekeeping software?

Timekeeping software is a modern, intuitive way for employers to manage employee time, accruals, leave, absences and schedules. It’s often available as either a standalone workforce management tool or an integrated part of payroll solutions.

What can employee timekeeping software do?

Timekeeping software automates many labor-intensive aspects of time and attendance management. With the right solution, employers may be able to:

Autofill timesheets

If employees’ scheduled work hours are added to their profiles, the system will pre-populate their timesheets. This can be beneficial for employers who need to track leave hours for exempt or salaried employees.

Track time

Employees can clock in and out, request time off and submit web-based timesheets for approval via a desktop browser or mobile device.

Track overtime

Timekeeping software allows employers to configure pay rules to support overtime laws. The system will then analyze hourly labor based on the set parameters and calculate overtime accurately. Supervisors can see when employees are approaching or have reached an overtime situation, to help reduce costs.

Provide robust reporting

Convenient dashboards and alerts provide insights into hours worked, absences, overtime, labor costs and more. Employers may also be able to benchmark their performance against other businesses based on size, location or industry.

Sync with other software

Timekeeping software is often compatible with different types of time clocks and point of sale (POS) devices and depending on the vendor, can be integrated with payroll, HR and accounting software.

Send alerts and reminders

When schedules are published or modified, alerts can be sent to employees reminding them of upcoming shifts that they are working.

Benefits of timekeeping software

Employers who want to optimize their workforce must first understand what their employees are doing and how long it takes them to do it. In addition to providing these necessary insights, timekeeping software can help businesses:

Understand the true cost of labor

Monitoring wages, paid time off, leave, overtime and unplanned absences may help employers better control their labor costs.

Reduce input errors

Switching from spreadsheets and other manual timekeeping methods to a software solution that automatically flows information from employees to their online timesheets and into payroll can prevent human error and data-entry mistakes.

Make data-driven workforce decisions

Employers who have access to internal workforce data and external benchmarks may be able to arrange more adequate staffing levels and spot red flags before they cause problems.

Maximize productivity

Cloud-based, timekeeping software helps streamline communications, eliminate unnecessary processes and minimize under-staffing and over-staffing.

Maintain compliance

Automating work and pay rule governance can help prevent violations of company policies, collective bargaining agreements and wage and hour laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Minimize time spent on low-value tasks

Automation also expedites time-consuming tasks, such as approving requests for time off and shift swaps, while still ensuring proper coverage.

Have all systems in one place

Timekeeping software that is integrated with the employer’s payroll and HR solution streamlines the flow of data across systems and makes it easier to access important information.

Improve user experiences

Self-service options that allow employees to check their PTO balance or self-identify as willing to work without having to contact HR enhance engagement and alleviate administrative burdens.

Track time from multiple devices

Flexible access to information, especially from mobile devices, removes obstacles and allows managers and supervisors to perform time-sensitive tasks, such as filling last-minute shift vacancies, quickly and easily.

Timekeeping software for all business sizes

When deciding which timekeeping software best suits their needs, business owners and key stakeholders often consider the size of their organization first and foremost. Here are some of the features they typically look for based on size:

Small businesses
  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Payroll integration
  • Vendor tech support
Medium businesses
  • Payroll integration
  • Ease of use
  • Employee scheduling
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Schedule cost analysis
  • Shift swapping
Large businesses
  • Customizable features and integrations
  • Best-in-class security
  • Robust reporting and labor forecasting
  • Comprehensive compliance support

Employee timekeeping in a dynamic work environment

A growing need for flexibility has created dynamic work environments – one where work can happen anywhere, at any time. So, how do employers track employee time in such scenarios? Many rely on the mobile capabilities and security enhancements available with timekeeping software. For example:

  • Cloud-based timekeeping solutions that can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection let employees, supervisors, practitioners and executives continue to do their jobs on the go.
  • Self-service allows employees to enter their time via their own mobile device or at a point of sale (POS) device.
  • Timekeeping software can prevent “buddy-punching” by requiring workers to swipe an ID badge, enter a PIN or scan their finger, face or other feature on a biometric timeclock.
  • Mobile crew clocking, geo-fencing and offline punching help employees who work at remote job sites accurately log their time.

Why choose ADP timekeeping software?

Many companies offer timekeeping solutions, but ADP leads the industry with data, technology, support, and integrations that few other vendors can match. Employers who use our timekeeping software may be able to:

  • Manage employee time and attendance from a single platform unified with their existing ADP payroll and HR system, minimizing redundant data entry and making single sign on possible
  • Create flexible schedules that align with budgets and projected labor needs
  • Analyze hours worked, absences, overtime, labor costs and other important data with real-time visibility
  • Simplify compliance with a broad range of regulations, from city, state and local ordinances to more than 100 country-specific requirements
  • Access on-demand, online documentation and proven best practices to address common timekeeping issues

Timekeeping software FAQs

See what other employers are asking about timekeeping software:

What is a timekeeping system?

A timekeeping system is a means of capturing employee hours at the source and then calculating the time worked and time off based on the rules and policies established by the employer. When automated with software, this process is often more efficient and accurate. Some solutions can also analyze hourly labor and immediately identify patterns of overtime and absences, helping employers save resources.

What is timekeeping in HR?

HR professionals use timekeeping software to identify key performance indicators that can help them control costs and improve productivity. They may look at metrics involving workloads, labor shortages, employee competencies and skill deficiencies to make more informed decisions.

Why is timekeeping important?

Timekeeping is important because for many businesses, labor is their greatest expense. Without a secure and reliable means of tracking time and attendance, employers may face a number of consequences, including employee time theft, inaccurate payroll, excessive overtime and labor law violations – all of which can increase operating costs.

How do you keep track of time worked?

When it comes to tracking the number of hours employees work, employers have many options. They may choose to use paper timesheets, web-based timesheets, time clocks or mobile and POS devices with clocking apps. Digital solutions with biometric identification are often more secure because they prevent employees from logging time for others.

How do I keep track of my employees’ hours?

In addition to the number of hours employees work, employers must also track paid time off and leaves of absence. This can be done using spreadsheets, but timekeeping software is often more effective because it provides automated notifications of PTO balances and may help comply with multiple leave requirements, including the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA).

This guide is intended to be used as a starting point in analyzing an employer’s timekeeping obligations and is not a comprehensive resource of requirements. It offers practical information concerning the subject matter and is provided with the understanding that ADP is not rendering legal or tax advice or other professional services.