Advanced Timekeeping Systems
The following bullet points itemize the various types of systems that are now available for use in tracking employee time for payroll purposes:
- Biometric time clocks. This is a computerized time clock that requires a hand or fingerprint scan in order to positively identify an employee. These clocks are expense and scan rather slowly, but completely eliminate the risk of one employee punching in on behalf of an absent employee.
- Computerized time clocks. This is a time clock that accepts magnetic or bar coded employee badges to identify employee entrances and exits. A variation is to use RFID (radio frequency identification) badges, which can be waved in front of the time clock. The information is either stored in the time clock for later polling by a central payroll system, or automatically transmits it to the central system as the information is recorded. These systems can be expensive, but eliminate the cost of timekeeping data entry. This method is best for production environments where large numbers of employees are concentrated in one location.
- IP phone timekeeping. If a company uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), it is accepting and receiving phone calls through the company computer network, rather than through phone lines. If so, timekeeping information can be entered through VOIP phones that is then stored in the payroll system.
- Smart phone timekeeping. A number of apps are now available that allow the users of smart phones to record their time and activities on their cell phones, and transmit the information to the company. This is a very useful application for mobile employees, such as consultants and field service repair people.
- Website timekeeping. A company can develop its own timekeeping portal that is accessible over the Internet, or rent the use of such a site from a third party provider. This approach is more useful for professional employees who may be located anywhere in the world.
Discussions of biometric time clocks and telephone timekeeping are available on Episodes 40 and 39 of the Accounting Best Practices podcast.