The top performers in our review are TimeClock Manager, the Gold Award winner; TSheets, the Silver Award winner; and Workforce Ready by Kronos, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 systems.
Time tracking and management software can help owners of small- to medium-sized businesses stay organized and up-to-date in managing their employees' time. Your employees get paid for the work they do, and you can better manage time-management responsibilities, such as scheduling and tracking time-off requests.
Modern time tracking and management software offer web-based and mobile options; you or your employees can access various levels of features through any web browser or through a mobile site or app. This means that you can either use hardware that you already have or purchase any modern computer, smartphone or tablet hardware to handle the system. More than half the software options we looked offer the option to integrate into dedicated time clock hardware.
Time Tracking & Management Software: How It's Priced
We looked at basic packages for businesses with 50 employees or less. Companies use one of two pricing models: a monthly subscription fee or an upfront package price that includes limited software licenses. Some companies also offer dedicated time clock hardware, which are usually an additional upfront fee. A few companies, such as the higher-ranked ones, include training and some setup in the regular fee. Others, such as our lower-ranked ones, require additional upfront fees to cover training and setup.
The software is built with an employee portal for your employees to clock in and out, submit time-off requests, and track and view their time-off accrual. All software on our lineup support hourly employees, while only half support salary employees. These time management software options include an administrative portal for you and your supervisors. This portal lets you set up pay rules and view and manage your employees' times and time-off requests. Many software options have scheduling tools for scheduling employees to specific shifts or projects.
What Other Software Might I Need?
Although every business needs a way to track employee time through time tracking and management software or time and attendance systems, each business type varies in how employees work and how they record time. If you are a business with employees who work on projects in a variety of changing locations, you may consider Time Card Software to track employee time on different projects and to know where to send invoices when a project is completed. Employee Scheduling Software offers a standalone scheduling option if you already currently have a time management tool and need a supplemental software to make schedules from week to week. Workforce Management Software options are a great option for businesses who staff projects according to the type and length of a project and need a way to schedule and track employees from project to project.
Time Tracking & Management Software: What We Tested, What We Found
Time tracking and management software can vary in how it's implemented in your business. Some are web based and you access them via web browser, while others integrate directly with a variety of time clock hardware. Each system we tested offered a web-based or virtual time clock system that we ran on an available PC computer. We looked at systems designed for small businesses with 50 employees or less.
During our testing, we went through both the employee and the administrative portals for each system to check for included features and to see how easy it is to use the features on both sides. The primary considerations we accounted for are how uncluttered the interface is and how intuitive it is to navigate and find features. Many of these systems are web based and manage real-time information. We checked each to see how quickly and accurately employee time information was recorded and registered on the administrative side.
While setting up software demos, we also considered the response we received from the company's support staff. Companies with staff who responded quickly to a variety of contact methods and offered thorough information upfront ranked favorably. We also looked into the types of support offered to companies who sign up for their service both initially and in the long term. Companies offer varying levels of help and support. We found that some companies charge upfront setup fees not clearly mentioned on their website, while others, like our top three, offered setup and training upon sign up at no additional cost.
The software features are testable through demos and online walkthroughs from each company. Although the type of employee and administrative features as well as the company's help and support response should be your primary factors in considering software, your hardware requirements can be an important variable. Here are considerations you can make about hardware for your time tracking software:
Computer & Mobile Devices
All software options we looked are accessible through a computer or a mobile unit. If you and your employees already have access to a computer or mobile device running current operating systems, then you generally don't need to purchase any additional hardware.
Dedicated Time Clocks
Almost all comparable software we tested can integrate into dedicated time clocks. Although you must purchase this hardware separately and upfront, dedicated hardware means your employees won't be tempted to use it to access non-work-related programs or information.
There are several different common equipment options for dedicated hardware depending on your type of business. Almost all software can integrate with standard time clocks, which let employees clock in and out, usually by entering a username or passcode. This software has a higher chance of fraud, however, as anyone with the login information can punch in for an employee.
Badge terminals are another option; employees use individualized badges to swipe in and out to record their time. The most secure equipment currently on the market for businesses concerned with the extra security are biometric time clocks. These hardware options require employees to use biometric ways to log in, such as a fingerprint. This method makes it so employees can't record time for other employees.
The last equipment integration we considered are rugged time clocks. These options are dedicated time clock hardware that travels out into the work field wherever employees go. They are a great option for employees who drive long distances or business with employees who work on outdoor worksites where equipment may be damaged by weather or related conditions.
The type of hardware you ultimately need for your business is based on your industry, your employees and your management responsibilities. Our reviews and articles on time tracking and management software offer insight into what each software can offer your business.
Of the comparable time tracking and management software options that we looked at, TimeClock Manager, TSheets and Kronos' Workforce Ready came out on top, primarily for their intuitive and uncluttered program page layouts. These companies also offer the best customer support, and their software was the best at accurately managing real-time employee time tracking. All three companies offer training options and setup help at no additional cost, regardless if the system is web based or integrated into hardware.
TimeClock Manager, our Gold Award winner, ranked the best for its excellent pay rules system in addition to its great help and support representatives and its variety of time tracking tools. The company will set up pay rules for all your salaried employees automatically; you tell it how many salaried employees you have and their pay rate and pay codes, and TimeClock Manager will set the pay rules into the system for you. The software also stands out for its ability to let you set up pay rules for individual employees.
Depending on your business, you may consider looking into a few other notable software options on our lineup. For example, if your business uses a single computer with a Mac operating system for time tracking, a great consideration is Redcort's Virtual TimeClock. For business concerned with adhering to standards set by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), then you may consider ADP's ezLaborManager, which offers great scheduling tools to help you keep compliant with government standards. If your business sends out workers to outdoor worksites where the standard conditions might harm regular hardware, or if you run a business that employees staff such as truck drivers, then TimeForce is a great system with rugged time clocks that let you remotely clock in and out.