Thursday, August 25, 2016

Automated Timekeeping - Still Haven't Made the Jump?

There is really no reason any longer for Government contractors to use paper timesheets or timecards. The cost for a robust, DCAA compliant, automated timekeeping system is negligible and the benefits (more about benefits later in this post) far outweigh those costs. If your accounting system does not already include an integrated timekeeping system, you can sign up for one that integrates into most entry-level accounting systems (like QuickBooks) and most payroll programs for $25 per month plus $4 or $5 per employee and perhaps cheaper than that.

There are dozens of automated timekeeping systems on the market and there is not too much that differentiates one from another. Its considered a mature application and there's probably not much R&D money being spent there these days. To be considered adequate for Government contracting, the application must, at a minimum, have unique login/password combinations for each user, a feature where supervisors/managers can review and approve employee timecharges, and an audit trail. Most systems today have smartphone apps that allow users to complete their timecards from anywhere as well as automatic email notification to employees and supervisors when timecards have not been completed on a daily basis.

The biggest advantage that automated timekeeping systems have over manual systems is the elimination of manual, time-consuming processes, finding, penciling, collecting, reviewing, collating, tallying, distributing costs, etc. Such processes are streamlined with automated systems. Accuracy is improved - don't have to worry about transposing numbers and letters on a charge-line. Review and approval is expedited resulting in dramatically reduced time and effort. The integration with accounting and payroll systems offer additional accuracy and time savings. Finally, with the mobile apps capabilities, the process of submitting completed timecards is a one-click event.

 Automated timekeeping systems are easy to find (google "dcaa compliant timekeeping systems). There are plenty there that should fit your needs. For QuickBooks users, "tSheets" and "Replicon" seem to be very popular though neither one is optimized for a manufacturing environment. Most of these applications operate as SAAS (Software as a Service) so if you choose one and decide you don't like it or it doesn't do what you need, just cancel the service and move on to another - you won't be losing a big investment.

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