November 16, 2023

How To Justify The Expense Of Time Tracking Software – Guidance From A 25-Year Payroll Professional


Written by Sabra Smith, Payroll and Benefits Specialist at Craven Community College

My journey with TimeClock Plus began 10+ years ago. At the time, I had just completed a time-intensive integration of part-time employees into my organization’s ERP, and I have to admit, I was not happy about receiving the news that I would then have to implement TimeClock Plus. While the ERP in question had significant flaws, I was very reluctant about having to rip and replace software that I had spent the past 9+ months onboarding and optimizing.

However, within a few months of TimeClock Plus software being deployed, I had a change of heart. My perspective began to change as I noticed that TimeClock Plus was more effective at meeting the college’s time collection needs.

I quickly realized how well the software would adapt to my organization’s unique reporting and employee classification needs. I am able to pull accurate data more quickly than ever before. I knew then that this software would solve so many payroll and time challenges across the entire college.

Looking back on my 25 years as a payroll professional, I can truly say that using TimeClock Plus has allowed me to work more efficiently than ever before and save hours and hours of work each month.

TimeClock Plus is delivering several benefits, including:

  • Unlike my college’s previous ERP system, which was limited to tracking part-time employees paid in arrears, TimeClock Plus can be used for all employees. Additionally, TimeClock Plus can be accessed off campus, which was another big limitation of the college’s ERP.
  • I’m now able to close out payroll within hours on a weekly basis. This process used to consume 25-30% of my entire workload each month is now reduced to a task I can complete in a single afternoon each week.
  • Not only have I recovered time that I can now use towards more strategic projects, but the move from paper to TimeClock Plus has also positively impacted the productivity of supervisors across all departments. Across the college, every department had challenges with paper timesheets. Not only was it incredibly time-consuming to track down employees whose timesheets were missing, but paper timesheets were difficult to read and also more likely to contain mistakes due to employees rounding their hours incorrectly.
  • With just a few clicks, myself and my colleague in HR can track employee hours in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Moving to TimeClock Plus to standardize timekeeping processes has also allowed Craven Community College to proactively manage labor-related risk and better control labor costs.

While we’ve never done the calculations, over the years TimeClock Plus has undoubtedly saved Craven Community College significant time and money. Between eliminating the cost of paper timesheets, reducing employee time spent completing and correcting timesheets, and allowing employees who manage pieces of the payroll process to optimize their time more productively, TimeClock Plus has been worth the investment many times over.

Securing internal support and justifying the expense of time tracking software

I’ve been so happy with the performance of TimeClock Plus and the impact it has had on my college that I’ve eagerly become an outspoken advocate for the software. In fact, I can often be found at Community College conferences sharing the impact of time and attendance automation with my peers in payroll at the other 58 community colleges within North Carolina. These conversations have even led to several of my peers successfully being able to secure budget for TimeClock Plus.

If you are considering deploying time and attendance software and facing some challenges securing internal support, keep reading. It doesn’t take much for payroll administrators to see the value of implementing a tool like TimeClock Plus—the time saved, productivity increases, and efficiency gains alongside the reductions in cost and costly errors are obvious.

What’s more difficult is justifying the expense of outside software solutions and securing support from management to implement the technology.

So how can HR and payroll professionals cultivate this critical support to successfully secure budget for a time tracking solution? What I’ve found to be most effective is to demonstrate to all stakeholders not only that there’s value, but that the value-add far outweighs any associated costs.

Here are 3 ways to demonstrate the impact of TimeClock Plus:

  • Maintain compliance and mitigate risk
    • Using the FLSA module and other out-of-box modules to manage compliance with various labor regulations saves hours of manual labor each pay period
      • TimeClock Plus is highly configurable and can be customized to meet compliance needs for any labor law
    • Easy to access reports make recordkeeping seamless for when audits arise—no more sifting through piles of papers to find the right timesheets or dealing with mathematical errors that cause unnecessary headaches
    • How to demonstrate savings/impact: Add up the amounts you’ve paid in compliance penalties over the past year or five years and compare to the cost of software that helps you manage compliance.
  • Improve accuracy and eliminate costly errors
    • Automated time and attendance software standardizes rounding of hours and calculates hours eliminating the risk of over- or underpaying employees due to human error
    • How to demonstrate savings/impact: The American Payroll Association estimates that payroll typically has an error rate of at least 1% and as high as 8%. Add up the total payroll hours for each pay period and then per year. Calculate what 1-8% of that amount is to estimate what those payroll errors are costing you each year.
  • Improve efficiency and productivity
    • Eliminate time-intensive administrative tasks required of supervisors (i.e. time spent trying to locate timesheets, interpret handwriting, correct mathematical errors)
    • Having one solution to manage timesheets for all employee types, including those paid in arrears and current, reduces the time it takes to review and approve employee time by a significant margin
    • Integrations with payroll, ERP, and HCM systems create additional visibility and added value
    • Ability to create custom roles allows administrators to categorize and then filter employees based on their employment classification to significantly streamline the process of reviewing and approving timesheets
    • How to demonstrate savings/impact: Industry experts estimate that it takes between 2.5-5 minutes per employee, per pay period to calculate payroll. Assuming it takes your payroll manager 5 minutes per employee to process payroll, multiply that by your number of employees then divide by 60 to determine the number of hours spent calculating payroll. From there, multiply that by your payroll manager’s hourly rate to estimate the cost of calculating payroll.

While budget is understandably hard to come by, I’ve found that the benefits of using time tracking software to optimize the payroll process is driving significant value. To learn more about the impact TimeClock Plus can have in your organization, see specific examples of how I’ve improved the payroll process at Craven Community College.