Choosing a Time and Attendance System

8 Questions to ask when Choosing a Time and Attendance System

As with many business systems such as HR, Payroll or Warehouse Management choosing a Time and Attendance system can be tricky. There is a huge choice out there. While manual systems such as clock card machines are still available, the use of automated software and hardware is becoming increasingly popular.

However, with such a wide choice available on the market it is important to consider a few points when comparing solutions. Below you will find 8 key questions to ask any potential supplier before choosing a Time and Attendance System for your business.

Is the system Flexible? 

In the UK, there is often a wide range of working rules utilised by organisations depending on their business needs and hours of operations. This may include rotating shifts, continental patterns or night shifts. You may work flexibly or with annualised hours due to seasonal demand. You may pay premiums and overtime. When choosing a Time and Attendance system it is important to identify early that the system will be able to cope with your company’s requirements. Keep in mind that you may change working rules in the future and the system you select should adapt easily and grow with you, otherwise you may face having to start the process again.

*Ask the supplier to demonstrate how the system is configured. Maybe give them a sample of some of your working rules and confirm the system can give you the results required.

Does it flag employee exceptions? 

A main purpose of an automated Time and Attendance system is that it will save you time in managing employee attendance and working hours. To do this the system should take away the need to check each employee, as you would with a manual system. Instead it should easily identify to you, employees who haven’t worked the expected hours or shift, or indeed have worked more than their expected hours and enable you to deal with the exception there and then. Lateness, Early Leave and excessive breaks are all areas you should be able to report on. Not only flagging exceptions the system should make it a quick and easy process to deal with them.

*Ask the supplier to show you how exceptions are flagged and dealt with in the system. Are they easily identified?


How adaptable are the reports? 

A key component you should consider when choosing a Time and Attendance system is the data and information you wish to get out of the system, in what format, and how easy it is to access this data. Many systems will come with a set of standard, printable reports but what you may wish to explore are options such as exporting to Excel, KPI reporting or even having reports automatically sent to your inbox. Along with this it is important to understand how easy it is for you to build your own reports in the system without the need to contact your supplier. A system with an in-built, easy to use report creator will give you the freedom to generate reports as and when you need them.

*Ask the supplier to show you the standard reports in the system, export options and ability how easy it is to create your own reports.


Can it link with payroll? 

Depending on your requirements and current set up it may be worth considering importing your time and attendance data directly into your payroll system. A good Time and Attendance system will allow seamless integration removing the need to manually calculate and enter the data into your payroll system, often one of the most time-consuming tasks.

*Ask the supplier to explain how hours and premiums can be calculated in the system and then how they are passed to, or made available, to your payroll system.


Is the system Scalable? 

Currently you may only require a small, simple Time and Attendance system but one thing that is worth bearing in mind is considering a solution that is scalable. Can the system grow with you should you take on more employees or require more clocking in points? Are there ways for the system to build in other areas of your business such as access control or integration with other business systems?

*Ask the supplier about other features of the system. Get an understanding of whether these are things you feel you may well need in the future. Is it easy to bolt these things on at a later date?

Can it work over multiple locations? 

Does your business cover multiple locations or sites? It is important to consider this when looking at Time and Attendance Systems, ensuring that the system you select will operate over a variety of locations.

*Ask the supplier about connectivity over different sites and locations, network requirements, solutions to poor, or no, network connections. Ask them to describe other installations where multiple locations are being used.


How easy is it to use? 

It may sound obvious but when selecting a Time and Attendance system it should be easy to use. Not only should it be easy to follow and find your way round, but also simple to configure to your own requirements. It is all well and good having a system installed, but then a year later your working patterns change. Requesting an on-site demonstration from a supplier who can show you how the system works, guide you through the operation and possibly provide some other system user contact details to speak to about how they use the system and how they find it.

*Ask the supplier to visit your premises, take time to view the system and get a feel for it. Speak to existing users and see how they find the system. Ask about end user training


What clocking methods are available? 

This refers to how your employees will register their attendance and departures. Here there are a variety of solutions, some you may have seen, others you haven’t thought about. You may want to consider Key fobs, Biometric, such as fingerprint or face recognition, PC clock stations, Mobile Phone, Apps and so on.

*Ask the supplier to run through their options and the pros and cons of each in relation to your business.


If you are currently looking for a new Time and Attendance system, or even just seeing what options are available please read some of the information on our website or get in touch for an informal chat about your requirements.

Posted in Permatek, Time and Attendance Systems.

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