5 Reasons Biometric Time Clocks are Worth the Investment

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Once the stuff of science fiction, biometric time clocks are now becoming standard for growing businesses that require a more comprehensive time and attendance system. Biometric technology utilizes the unique attributes of employees (such as fingerprint or iris recognition) to keep track of when they’re clocking in and out, as well as where they’re clocking in from, an especially useful advantage for companies that need to grant security access to certain areas.

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Yet, perhaps because biometric time clocks are hallmarks of futuristic films and novels, the perception is that this technology is beyond the reach or means of small businesses, an unnecessary expense that won’t provide the return on investment necessary to stay viable. Small businesses are notoriously resistant to spend money on themselves, including investments in tools to increase employee productivity.


Related Article: 8 Benefits of Tracking Time and Attendance

It’s been shown, however, that outdated time and attendance systems end up costing the companies that use them. An upfront investment in a biometric time clock will be worth it over time, and can even start paying dividends immediately. (As Warren Buffett can tell you, smart and continuous financial reinvestment in your company is crucial to its survival, particularly in the startup stage.)

1) They reduce accounting and payroll errors.

An estimated 40% of small businesses still do payroll manually. Our ability to catch or avoid errors within data sets is severely flawed: A UNLV study showed that humans, using visual confirmation, make an average of 10.23 errors per 30 data sheets, compared to virtually zero when information was pulled from a unified database by an automated system. It’s no wonder that even the most diligent record-keepers make payroll errors each month. When employees make mistakes recording their hours, or HR representatives make mistakes tallying them, it can cost hundreds when those errors go uncorrected (and even the time spent finding and correcting errors is expensive).

Sewll Labs Utilize Time and Attendance Software

Beyond basic payroll errors that result in overpayment for employees or misplacement of funds that could be reinvested in your business, another source of monetary loss due to accounting mishaps are fines from the government. An incredible 33% of small businesses are fined for payroll issues, due to mistakes such as failing to set up payroll correctly, forgetting to record paper checks, submitting deposits late and neglecting to run payroll on time. A biometric time clock system eliminates these possibilities.

2) They remove the risk for time theft.

Unfortunately, time theft is a very real problem for businesses of all sizes. One of the easiest ways to get paid for time not worked is to engage in “buddy punching,” which is when a co-worker clocks in for another who isn’t actually present. An estimated 74% of employers see payroll losses due to buddy punching, resulting in 2.2% of gross payroll. Even a few extra minutes before or after lunch can add up over time.

Biometric time clocks make buddy punching impossible. All kinds of number fudging, extended breaks, hours that are marked as overtime, etc., are eliminated, and payroll is accurate and fair across the board.

3) They are good for the mental health of your employees.

While filling out time cards and remembering swipe badges are no fun for anyone, your employees in HR undoubtedly suffer the most from using an outdated time and attendance system. For some companies, calculating payroll can take days, not to mention a toll on those who are forced to perform under a time crunch each month. Companies that switch to a biometric system are investing in the health and viability of their employees, as Toni Seawell, vice president of human relations at Sewell Labs in North Carolina, explains:


“With the old system, I had no flexibility if a medical or family emergency arose, which created even more stress.”


“It could take me three days to get payroll done, plus a day that the South Carolina lab manager needed to tally his location’s time. Knowing the payroll deadline loomed, the pressure to make the date could bring me to tears as I worked on the time cards each month,” Seawell recalled. “With the old system, I had no flexibility if a medical or family emergency arose, which created even more stress. I would close my door and people would be afraid to interrupt me. I had to come in on weekends just to catch up on other month-end work.”

Consider the toll that stress-related illnesses have on the American workplace, between $200 and $300 billion is lost between employee turnover, absenteeism, compensation claims, productivity losses and more each year. Rather than run your employees into the ground, build them up.

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4) They are more cost-effective than other systems in the long run.

It’s obvious that a biometric time clock system is more cost-effective and efficient than doing payroll manually, but what about other automated systems, such as an HID solution utilizing radio frequency identification technology? In the long run, time card-based systems can end up costing more than biometric time clocks, due to employees losing or forgetting their time cards at home and managers needing to either take the time to manually clock employees in or print them a new one. The cost of replacing time cards adds up in myriad of ways.

Additionally, biometric time clock systems are scalable and easy to integrate with existing software already in place, such as QuickBooks and PayChex.

5) They help the company stay focused on its collective goals.

Employees are not hired to fill out time cards, chase down managers for authentication, or help track down the genesis of calculation errors. They are hired to do the jobs necessary to make your company profitable. Similarly, managers and HR workers should no longer have to look through mounds of paperwork to figure out an employee’s schedule, sick days taken off, or other historical data, a biometric system is accessible in real time, and can be configured on the fly with internal controls.

Quality biometric time systems also generate professional management reports that detail incomplete time card reports, unscheduled absences, total employee work hours and more; these reports minimize legal issues and help both employees and managers work harmoniously without possible differences of opinion on when, where or how they clocked in that day.

As Mary Kay Ash once said, “Don’t spend dollar time on penny tasks.” The amount of time, money and effort that so many small businesses are investing in time management far outweighs the results, which are often filled with errors, inaccurate due to time theft and come at the expense of your employees’ health, efficiency and focus. Biometric time clocks may seem like a big leap for your company, but in reality it’s just a step forward into the present (not future!) of accounting and management. Turn payroll accounting into a task as simple as a press of the finger with a biometric time clock system.

How could updating your time and attendance with biometric time clocks save your company money?

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Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter