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September 1, 2020 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

Time & Attendance Automation: 7 Benefits of Automating Business Processes

As the old saying goes, time is money. That’s close to the truth when it comes to employee time tracking in the workplace. Automating your time and attendance functions has a noticeable impact on your employees and your payroll operations, but the benefits don’t stop there. Higher up the ladder, your leadership team also has a vested interest in improving the functionality of time and attendance processes. Automating processes across your business can lead to increased efficiency, better-allocated resources, and more. 

There are tons of benefits of business process automation. Today, we’re going to explain why you should consider automating some of the more monotonous and error-prone parts of your business, like payroll, time and attendance, and more. 

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:
  1. Saving Time
  2. Reducing Errors
  3. Improving Compliance
  4. Eliminating Fraud
  5. Enhance Operational Efficiency
  6. Boost Productivity
  7. Reduce Costs

Before diving into the benefits of business process automation, you might be wondering, what exactly is it? Below, you’ll find our quick definition. 

What Is Business Process Automation?

Business process automation is the process of shifting time-consuming tasks from humans to machines to reduce manual effort. This allows time to be delegated to other areas of a business, rather than being spent on highly-repetitive tasks. For example, payroll can be a time-consuming, tedious, and difficult task that may result in many errors if not done slowly and carefully each time. Cutting-edge workforce management and payroll software allow you to automate features of your business like payroll, automatically determining the right pay, time off accrual, and benefits allocation for your employees based on their role and the hours they’ve worked.  There are many advantages of business process automation, like improved accuracy—especially where math is concerned—improved efficiency, and less time wasted overall. This has the other advantage of allowing you more time to focus on the more creative parts of your business: innovation, ideation, business development, content creation, and having meaningful interactions with clients and customers. 

What Are the Benefits of Automating Business Processes?

As mentioned above, there are many advantages of business process automation to keep in mind as you determine which of your processes make the most sense to automate. Consider each of the benefits of using a scheduling system below and the ways that you might be able to improve workflow at your organization by opting to automate.

1. Saving Time

Being able to access data and generate reports quickly and accurately is a big deal for a busy CFO. A time and attendance system that relies on outdated spreadsheets or paper records often means spending undue amounts of time searching through files or tracking down data from different departments. An automated time and attendance software with a centralized dashboard brings all of your vital data together in one place, ensuring that you can easily find the info you need for relevant reporting. Increasing the efficiency of day-to-day tasks like retrieving records and filing time sheets may seem like a small consideration, but those minutes add up quickly.

2. Reducing Errors

Time and attendance errors cost money. Miscalculating hours can lead to overpayments that eat into your organization’s budget and underpayments that leave you open for expensive lawsuits. A confusing or disorganized attendance system can leave you understaffed during critical moments, staffing too many workers with not enough to do, or paying out unnecessary overtime wages.  Studies show that companies that integrate automated timekeeping and payroll functions can reduce errors by more than 40%, a strong financial argument for investing in time and attendance software.

3. Improving Compliance

The time and attendance field is full of potential legal issues at local, state, and federal levels. Time-related violations of federal workforce regulations like the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can saddle employers with significant fines and even more harmful loss of reputation. And with courts certifying class-action lawsuits at a record level, any measure that can help pre-empt civil actions is worth the effort. Streamlining timekeeping processes and enabling a more uniform approach to handling records can go a long way toward heading off potential compliance issues before they get out of hand.

4. Eliminating Fraud

Automated business processing software also helps to eliminate fraud in your organization. For example, direct deposit scams can be hard to track without the right automated software. So can buddy punching, a scam where workers have their friends clock them in before they arrive if they are running late. Employers can also commit payroll fraud by cutting down the number of hours that employees work if it threatens to cost too much in overtime. 

Not only can automation help reduce the risks posed by accidental errors, new time and attendance software can also play a key role in eliminating more intentional forms of fraud. Time theft in its various forms costs employers around $11 billion annually, with buddy-punching alone accounting for $373 million. On the other side, one out of every 10 employers acknowledges underpaying employees at some point. Those underpayments cost American workers about $22 billion per year and can, in turn, cost employers a substantial amount in fines and lawsuits.

By using a specialized, automated system, you can avoid these sources of fraud, helping you run a more legitimate, profitable, and respectable business. 

5. Enhance Operational Efficiency

The fewer variables you have to personally keep track of (or hire someone to keep track of), the more efficiently you can run your business. One of the biggest advantages of automating business processes is keeping your business and workflow optimized and efficient, cutting off unnecessary labor wherever possible. 

For example:
  • Business automation software enhances overall operational efficiency at every level—with less time spent on manual tasks, attention can be placed elsewhere.
  • It reduces the amount of work involved in certain processes, such as payroll, which can also save money.
  • It frees up time for managers and other leaders to put their minds toward creative solutions rather than mundane, repetitive tasks.

With tight deadlines and heavy production schedules, every ounce of efficiency matters. Automated systems can deliver it. 

6. Boost Productivity

In addition to improving how quickly and efficiently you can get work done, automating attendance and other business processes helps to increase the total amount of work you get done, which is a significant boost to productivity. 

For example: 
  • Automating workflow boosts productivity by eliminating unnecessary tasks and making day-to-day operations more streamlined.
  • It also boosts employee morale, which can make them more productive.
  • By automating time and attendance, manufacturing workers won’t have to worry about filling out a manual time card every morning they clock in, and can instead get straight to work
  • In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates automation can boost productivity growth worldwide by 0.8 to 1.4 percent annually.

Productivity defines your bottom line. It only makes sense to enhance it wherever you see the chance to do so. There are several benefits of time and attendance systems, and boosting productivity is one of the key advantages that can help your business reach the next level.

7. Reduce Costs

Lastly, automating your business processes decreases the total amount you have to invest in them. For example, rather than hiring a full-time employee to track attendance, having an automated solution is much more cost-effective. 
  • Automating business processes can reduce costs in various ways, such as by eliminating human errors, reducing chances of fraud, boosting productivity, and costing less than a full-time employee would. 
  • Not having to perform manual tasks can allow employees to delegate time to other tasks that can bring in more revenue, like forming authentic connections with clients and customers. 
  • Dedicated compliance software ensures you don’t run into any lawsuits by accidentally violating state or federal regulations. 
If you can cut costs without damaging your business or laying off valued employees, that’s a major bonus. Automation can help get you there. 

Wrapping Up: Automating Business Processes

Automated time and attendance hardware and software help take those concerns off of a business owner’s mind, and boost time and attendance ROI. Timekeeping tools like biometric time clocks, automatic data collection, and employee self-service options like mobile apps for iOS and Android all help create a uniform, user-friendly time and attendance experience that eliminates much of the opportunity for time-related fraud.

To the uninitiated observer, time and attendance might not seem like a key focal area for business owners and managers. Look a little closer, though, and it becomes evident that your business’s time and attendance functions are closely tied to finance at every turn. Investing in a reliable set of timekeeping software and hardware solutions is an easy way to alleviate some recurring challenges and allow your leadership team to focus on more pressing matters.

Learn more about how Ascentis Time and Attendance can help your business save time, reduce errors and eliminate fraud today.

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.