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What are Cloud-Based Time and Attendance Systems?

For tons of businesses today, cloud-based attendance systems and software are a must-have. They benefit businesses in tons of ways, and many companies’ operations simply could not function on a daily basis without it! What is a cloud-based attendance system and exactly how does it help businesses?

What is a cloud-based time and attendance system?

In the past, most businesses used to use manual attendance systems (such as “punch clocks”) to track employee hours. Then, they turned to other systems to manage other attendance-related matters, such as time off requests, benefits eligibility, payroll processing, etc. Nowadays, businesses no longer have to rely on outdated manual attendance systems to track employee hours – thanks to cloud-based technology.

Cloud-based attendance systems are all-in-one platforms for tracking employee time and managing attendance from anywhere. The system consists of both hardware and software in order to accurately track time and attendance. Employees simply clock in or clock out from shifts using digital authentication methods, such as an ID card or password. Then, time data is automatically synced with back-end software, payroll systems, and more.

As a result, business managers save tons of time processing and managing attendance hours, and enjoy tons of additional benefits.

Typical features of a cloud based time and attendance system

What features are typically included with cloud-based attendance systems? Take a look at just some of the typical included features below.

Remote schedule managementWage/hour compliance 
Labor costing / budgeting Payroll integration / processing
Digital timesheetsEmployee / manager self-service portal
Overtime alertsMobile app

Cloud-based time and attendance system options

There are several different options for cloud-based time and attendance systems. In terms of hardware – or ways in which employees can clock in and out of shifts – you can choose between one or multiple of the following:

  1. Biometric: Record fingerprint, palm print, etc. to begin/end shifts and track time
  2. Web-based: Use a unique password on a computer system  
  3. ID Card / Badge: Use an employee ID card to “swipe in” or “swipe out”
  4. Mobile app: Log in using your smartphone, using either a password or QR code

There are also different types of software you can choose from. Different providers offer different software platforms, so it’s best to find a cloud-based attendance system provider whose software you are most comfortable with using. Learn more about the different types of attendance systems and software.

10 Top benefits of using cloud-based time and attendance system

1. Flexibility 

With cloud-based attendance systems, your business has the flexibility to track time and attendance in a variety of ways. If your employees are on-the-go or remote, you can track attendance using mobile app or web-based systems. If you are working in-person, you can use a biometric or ID card system. 

In addition to flexible “clock in” methods, cloud-based technology gives your managers the flexibility to schedule from wherever they need to. Not to mention, with a cloud-based system, managers can manage attendance across multiple business locations using one platform.

It also gives employees the ability to request time off, view their schedule, and communicate with your business from anywhere. 

2. Remote management 

Cloud-based attendance systems use software that can be accessed from anywhere on any device, as long as you can connect to the Internet. This is massively convenient for business owners and managers, as they can manage and oversee their employees’ attendance without being there in person at all times.

Using cloud-based software, business leaders can create schedules, get alerts about tardiness or missed shifts, view time off requests, monitor attendance trends, and much more.

3. Real-time notifications 

Businesses can set up customized real-time notifications, depending on information they want to know about immediately. Plus, most cloud-based attendance software can send notifications to multiple mobile devices, so you can ensure you’re not missing any alarming information. 

For example, many businesses set up notifications to alert them about time off requests, swapped shifts, missed or late shifts, overtime hours, and more. This can help you to make sure your business is running smoothly even when you can’t be there.

4. Improved security 

With cloud-based attendance systems comes added layers of security. Most cloud-based systems, like biometric systems, take measures to avoid buddy punching and other forms of employee time theft upon clocking in or out. Plus, the back-end software keeps a time and attendance tracking log so you can always be aware of who is coming and going.

Additional safety measures that cloud-based systems provide are encryption for sensitive employee data and high-grade password policies. This reduces the chances your software or data will be exposed to unauthorized personnel. 

5. Labor and budget management 

Many cloud-based systems have built-in tools to help you better manage your labor costs and budget. This is a huge benefit, since calculating this manually is not simple and can take many hours! 

Your system can alert you to labor and budget management issues. For instance, it can show you how scheduling in a different way can save you money as well as alert you when you’re nearing your labor or project budget. Over time, using the labor and budget management tools can help your business cut expenses and add to your bottom line.

6. Payroll integration

Most cloud-based attendance systems can integrate seamlessly with your payroll process. In other words, your attendance system tracks employee hours on a regular basis, and that data is automatically streamlined with payroll. 

You’ll save hours - not to mention tons of money - on processing payroll manually. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about inaccurate paychecks or miscalculated time. The automated system tracks time and calculates payroll for you, all on its own.

7. Convenient digital communication

One huge convenience of using cloud-based attendance systems is that they often provide you with a digital communication system. Rather than calling employees to get in touch about attendance matters, or vice versa, teams can make use of instant messaging, time off requests, shift changes, and more. 

To do this, employees simply use their online employee portal, which often comes in the form of an easy-to-use mobile app. Similarly, managers can go to their digital dashboard to view any new requests and messages from employees.

8. Cost and time savings

Cloud-based attendance systems and software today are very cost-effective. Like payroll systems’ cost structure, attendance systems usually issue a per month base fee + per employee monthly fee. They typically include technical support, integrations such as payroll and HR, and other additional benefits.

Cloud-based systems help you cut expenses in areas such as time theft, payroll processing and errors, and paying employees to manually manage attendance and payroll needs. You’ll save hours upon hours of work and as a result you’ll gain an affordable all-in-one automated system that you spend little time upkeeping. 

9. Scalability 

If you are expecting to grow your business, cloud-based attendance systems can grow with you. Adding new users to the system is easy - you simply create a new user using the back-end software and issue them an authentication method (ie. ID card or password). 

Plus, this software is often integrated with HR and payroll. So when the new hire provides their paperwork, you can seamlessly get them set up with your attendance system.

10. Data and analytics 

Business owners and managers benefit greatly from cloud-based attendance software’s data and analytics tools. This data can be extremely useful in bettering business operations, lowering costs, staying aware of time and attendance trends, remaining compliant to laws and regulations, and much more. 

Some of the data reports you will be able to pull using your cloud-based attendance system include:

  • Time and attendance trend reports
  • Wage/hour compliance and violation flagging
  • Labor budget alerts 
  • Accrual calculations 
  • Payroll reports 

You can set up your system to pull data and issue reports on a frequency of your choosing. Then you can review the data with your team to discuss patterns and make better decisions for your business moving forward.

Cloud based Time and Attendance System Providers and Additional Resources 

If you are looking for a cloud-based attendance provider, we recommend looking into some popular options such as Kronos, ADP, and Paychex (also provides payroll). Keep in mind that many payroll service providers also offer time and attendance services. Take a look at these top 7 payroll providers, many of whom also provide time and attendance.

If you are looking exclusively for payroll, we recommend looking into how to choose a payroll service as well as the pros and cons of in-house vs. outsourced payroll.

You can also use our free online comparison service to compare different options for cloud-based attendance systems. Tell us just a few things about your business, then we’ll match you with our best attendance system providers that fit your needs.

Get free quotes from up to 5 time and attendance software suppliers!
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