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Time and attendance: how to untangle the most complex payroll process

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we’re quite sure that many HR teams have put ‘Improving the administration of time and attendance’ right at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions for 2023. How do we know? Our 2023 Payroll Proficiency Index shows that a whopping 45% of European companies see ‘time and attendance’ as one of their top 5 most complex payroll subprocesses. If this sounds familiar, there’s a straightforward way to turn the tide. Here’s how.

    Top 3 Most Complex Payroll Processes

    Time flies

    Today’s workforces are increasingly dynamic. People work at different times, from different places, and with flexible schedules. In many industries, 9 to 5 has become a distant memory. This makes it an order of magnitude harder to keep track of time and attendance, including time worked, overtime, holidays, and illness.

    On the other hand, time and attendance figures are still essential to support business decisions. They help to forecast sales predictions, workforce demand, number of hours available for your workers, and more.

    So, how do you manage to keep a flawless time and attendance record in such a dynamic business environment? Let’s be honest, your only shot at being successful is embracing HR technology. But not just any HR technology. Our advice: keep an eye out for 5 key features.

      Time and attendance software: the big five

      #1 A self-service portal for managers and employees

      It goes without saying that a self-service portal can significantly reduce administrative workload for your HR team. Not only will employees be able to manage clock-ins, absences and overtime themselves, but they will also be able to fix anomalies on their own. This results in fewer errors for managers to correct, while those same managers will benefit from a real-time overview of workforce capacity and costs. Your employees, on the other hand, can use the self-service portal to check their own balances for overtime and holidays, as well as planning for the entire team.

      #2 Integration with payroll software

      A flawless payroll depends on reliable data and correct processing. More and more companies are therefore moving away from exporting data manually, which is a time-consuming and error-prone activity. Instead, automation is the new holy grail – and rightfully so. If you choose a customisable time and attendance system that integrates well with your payroll software, you’ll hit two birds with one stone. Your employees’ pay checks will be spot on. This minimises the need for retroactive corrections, another highly complex payroll process, according to our 2023 Payroll Proficiency Index.

      #3 A user-friendly interface

      Time and attendance is not the sexiest of payroll processes, but that doesn’t mean you have to go for a software tool that breathes the same greyness. On the contrary, modern time-tracking technology follows the latest usability and UX standards. The outcome: easy-to-understand interfaces, straightforward commands, an ergonomic appearance, minimal clicks, and so on. All users will see the tool as their ally instead of another example of organisational tech clutter. Additionally, ensure that the software you choose is a match for your company size, industry and profile. This also relates to user friendliness.

      #4 Mobile compatibility

      With many employees on the move or working from different locations, you want a system that is compatible with all types of mobile devices and can be accessed from anywhere. This means that your employees will be able to register time and attendance in the flow of work, as opposed to a cumbersome system they can only use at certain times and places. On top of that, with a mobile system, employees will always receive proactive alerts when they, for example, forget to clock in or are nearing overtime. Such an integrated control system adds to the accuracy of time and attendance.

      #5 Reporting and analysis

      Time and attendance is not an end in itself. It is a means to make smarter, better-informed business decisions. To illustrate, you could use reports for future staff forecasting, but just as well to detect the cause of high overtime balances or attendance anomalies. Things you could monitor include frequency and duration of absences, leave breakdown, labour costs, time allocation, variations between department and more. In other words, carefully consider the reporting and analysis features of time and attendance packages before you invest in a software system.

        Looking for time and attendance software that combines all 5 elements?

        Request a demo from SD Worx

        Want to gain more insights on the ins and outs on European payroll?

        Explore the Payroll Proficiency Index