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January 25, 2021 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

The True ROI of Automating Time and Attendance

One of the most common reasons we hear for organizations being reluctant to update their time and attendance systems is a fear that an upgrade will be too expensive. While it’s true that workforce management software is an investment, it’s one that will almost always pay off in the long run. Depending on what system your business is currently using, the potential savings of an automated time and attendance system are too enticing to ignore. Here are a few of the cost-saving results you may notice after investing in a new solution.

Fewer costly errors

People arguing against automation frequently make the case that more automated features deprive a business of “the human touch.” While that’s certainly a consideration in some fields, it’s important to keep in mind that part of the human touch is human error. In blunt terms, people make a lot of mistakes that software doesn’t, and those mistakes can be extremely expensive to rectify.

Time and attendance is an area that’s especially ripe for errors. A lot of data passes through your time and attendance system every day, and minor mistakes in logging hours, tracking labor costs by job, maintaining proper certification, distributing paid time off, or managing leave can lead to expensive fines, reimbursements for back pay, and even lawsuits. Automating those functions not only helps your team to avoid those pricey mistakes, it also reduces stress by allowing them to do their jobs with less worry about making a data entry or recordkeeping misstep.

Fewer compliance issues

Staying compliant with time and attendance regulations takes a lot of work, but that work pays off. With the cost of defending an FMLA lawsuit averaging around $80,000, noncompliance can become very costly very quickly. That isn’t even taking into account the amount companies spend on fixing the errors and cleaning up the processes that led to the violations in the first place, or the cost of restoring your reputation within your industry.

Automation provides an excellent ROI on the compliance front by heading off potential violations before they become a problem. By entrusting functions such as leave management, overtime and minimum wage management, and time-tracking to a reliable, automated software system, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of human error, outdated policies, and fraud that lead to compliance violations and the attendant fines and penalties.

Less time-consuming tasks

Time and attendance isn’t always the most glamorous branch of human resources. A large part of the role involves performing repetitive tasks and double-checking data. Not only are those functions generally uninspiring for workers, they also eat up a lot of time and money that could be dedicated to more essential things. Think of it this way — would you rather be paying a trained professional to research more effective employee retention strategies or to copy and paste the same timesheet information they entered last week?

Fortunately, many of the most repetitive HR and payroll tasks can be easily automated, effectively eliminating a daily or weekly payroll expense. Even better, an automated time and attendance system with a mobile app can allow your employees to handle functions like adjusting schedules, submitting paid time off requests, and picking up shifts on their own. Not only does that functionality put more time on your HR team’s schedule, it also helps to empower your employees and give them a greater feeling of control over their own work life.

Less unnecessary payroll

One of the sneakiest drawbacks of a manual time and attendance system is the way overtime hours can creep up on you. In a system where timekeeping functions aren’t automatically checked against employee schedules, issues of both over- and under-scheduling become all too common. Scheduling is a delicate balance — schedule too many workers for a particular shift and you’ll end up paying for more work hours than are actually being performed. Schedule too few and you end up running into expensive overtime hours.

The data generated by automated time and attendance tools are essential to understanding your true workforce requirements. Keeping an eye on attendance patterns can help your HR team identify shifts that regularly rack up overtime hours or regularly experience issues with over-scheduling. Your timekeeping tools can also help establish patterns in sick leave and paid time off, which can prove useful for everything from identifying time fraud to updating leave policies.

Less time theft

It’s an unfortunate fact that employee time theft is a major expense for around 75% of American companies and costs employers about 20 cents for every dollar earned. While fully eliminating an issue that wide-reaching is probably an overambitious goal, automation can go a long way. Common types of time theft such as buddy punching, timesheet alterations, overlong breaks, unauthorized overtime, and proxy attendance can be sharply reduced by automated systems that require biometric or multi-factor authorization. To put it bluntly, it’s harder to fool a software system than it is to fool a human, at least where most of these types of fraud are concerned.

An automated time and attendance software system is a big investment, there’s no two ways about it. Ultimately, though, the time and money an organization can save by reducing errors, avoiding compliance violations, and cutting down on repetitive tasks will make the initial cost more than worth it. Find out more about the many ways automated solutions from Ascentis like our ROI calculator can help you set expectations and make projections that will keep your workplace operating smoothly and cost-effectively for years to come.

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.