Time and Attendance

Choosing A Time And Attendance System

For a business to function profitably and successfully, it’s vitally important for you to have the most appropriate time and attendance system for your company: one that will meet your company’s requi...
Sean QuinnPosted on Thursday, July 2nd 2020

For a business to function profitably and successfully, it’s vitally important for you to have the most appropriate time and attendance system for your company: one that will meet your company’s requirements with regard to employee attendance and leave.

So what should you consider when choosing a time and attendance system?

Your company’s specific needs
Assessing and identifying the bespoke requirements of your company will direct you to the most functional and suitable time and attendance system for your business. You may, for example, want to boost your company’s productivity levels, or you may have identified an unnecessary delay in the holiday approval process. By identifying these requirements, you will be able to source a time and attendance system that is most appropriate for your needs.

Your company’s working patterns
The cost and disruption caused by unplanned, random employee absence can have a negative impact on many aspects of a business, such as profitability and reputation. A good time and attendance system can ensure that you remain in control of all employee working schedules so you know who is in and when. If your company operates shift working or varied working patterns, it’s likely that you will need a time and attendance system that you can customise for your own requirements.

Handling employee leave
While it’s important that your company has an appropriate time and attendance system to monitor clock ins, it also needs to have a smooth process available for when employees are on leave, so you need to ensure that your chosen system offers this facility to enter and track remaining employee leave.

Another consideration here is whether the system can handle employees who leave is tracked in days and in hours.

On premise vs. cloud
The next decision that you will have to make is the choice between on-premise and cloud-based time and attendance systems.

On-premise software is software that is installed on a company’s own servers and behind its firewall – was traditionally the only option open to businesses. Now, cloud computing provides a simpler, cheaper option and has grown in popularity thanks to its greater flexibility and improved scalability.

The type of company you run will really dictate which time and attendance system option is best.

Modern companies have been transitioning to cloud-based systems due to it's low initial outlay, wide operability with existing phones and tablets as well as the optionality to switch providers easily compared to physical on-premise systems.
There are several differences between the two options:

Data Control: With an on-premise time and attendance system, your business will retain all of its data on-site. As such, it is often the preferred option for businesses in which data security is of paramount importance. On-premise software requires a business to purchase a licence or copy of the software to use it. This is typically a more expensive option than a cloud-based solution due to ongoing support of systems and maintenance.

Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, are hosted by a third-party provider, enabling companies to pay on a subscription basis. This means that the provider is responsible for data security, handling the servers and maintenance while you just use the product.

Compliance: Regardless of the sector in which you operate, it is more than likely that your company operates under some form of regulatory control. With an on-premise time and attendance system, you will need to remain compliant and know where your data is stored at all times and that it is completely up to date. The situation for cloud-based systems is similar, with companies having to ensure that their third-party provider is completely compliant with all regulatory mandates and that all sensitive data is secured and stored safely.

In addition, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came in in 2018, means that companies are under even stricter regulation with regard to the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of employee information and disclosures.

Cost is, of course, one of the main factors in choosing a clocking-in system. Traditional clock-in systems can prove expensive and, at times, prohibitive since, in addition to the actual clock-in terminal, there’s also the cost of initial wiring and the ongoing cost of accessories, power supply and maintenance. There may also be consultancy rates that will ‘spike’ every so often.
Digital time and attendance systems, on the other hand, can be accessed by employees on their phones or tablets. Tablets may have to be purchased, but in many cases, existing tablets can simply be repurposed. Initial outlay is minimal and there are no ongoing maintenance or upkeep costs as this is part of the subscription.


Another key consideration is the commitment level required for each system. An on-premise system typically involves a high level of commitment from your provider as they have to come out to your premises and fit a system in place. This is typically associated with a yearly license that you have to pay upfront. If you have to cancel, a penalty may be associated with these providers to remove the equipment or early termination,

A cloud-based system has little to no commitment and generally starts with a 14 day free trial. If you decide after a month you don't like it - just cancel the subscription. No hassle, no penalties.

Biometric Security
It may be that your staff clock in for each other - also known as 'buddy punching'. In this case, a biometric security entry option can solve this problem for you.

Biometric security software automatically recognises people based on their behavioural or biological characteristics. The most 2 popular options now available are:
● Fingerprint scanning: perhaps the most frequently used due to its reasonable purchase price.  Where this can cause problems though is people's fingerprints being covered in dust or marks as well being a poor option during the COVID 19 pandemic for it's potential for virus spread. See our article for more on why fingerprint scanners should be avoided.
● Facial recognition: analyses each persons facial structure to identify them. This can be analysed on a photograph or video from a phone.

When it comes to the best time and attendance system for your company, if you consider the above options and facilities, then the system that you choose for your business should enable you to provide a simple, secure clocking-in system that will help to eradicate unnecessary attendance and attendance fraud, not to mention the cost of processing timesheets. As a result, your business will run more profitably, with higher productivity rates and an increased bottom line.

Looking for a modern,  flexible cloud-based solution that solves your time and attendance needs then try out our 14 day free trial at TimeKeeper.

Ready to save your
business time and money?