Make the Switch from Manual to Automatic Time & Attendance

When it comes time to make the switch from manual to automated time and attendance, the abundance of options can seem overwhelming at first.

Regardless of your requirements, company size, or business goals, automating your time and attendance processes is worth it. It will simplify procedures, eliminate errors, and provide savings for years to come.

Planning a time and attendance initiative is easier with a guide. Here, we’ll be outlining several steps for planning the transition to automated time and attendance systems, while providing expert advice to help you along the way.

Preparation & Team-Building

Regardless of your company size, it is recommended to form a decision-making team to determine requirements, identify areas that could be improved from automation, and select the best solution.

A representative from each major department should be involved to ensure you choose a comprehensive solution that will satisfy the needs of every department. Typically, a project leader is also chosen to spearhead the project, usually the head of HR or IT.

We recommend first preparing for the transition by having each team member evaluate the current time and attendance solution, discussing desired functionality versus limitations. This process will help you determine the requirements for your automated time and attendance system.

Acumen will work with your business to identify the perfect technology for your upgrade from manual to automatic time and attendance.

Acumen will work with your business to identify the perfect technology for your upgrade from manual to automatic time and attendance.

Once you’ve compiled the evaluations from your team members, you can assemble a preliminary list of requirements and identify which are critical versus optional.

Research & Planning

The research process should be comprehensive and in-depth. It is a crucial stage when switching to an automated time and attendance system. All vendors are different, offering diverse solutions with several deployment options and dissimilar pricing models.

While it’s not expected to master the complexities of every aspect of time and attendance deployment, we highly recommend taking note of the features, integration methods, hardware options, and other considerations that speak to your requirements.

The research process will also help eliminate potential vendors early-on because you’ll quickly find certain vendors’ products or deployment methods may not fit your requirements or business objectives.

Basic Considerations

There are many basic considerations when transitioning to automated time and attendance systems that are independent of vendor. In other words, regardless of what solution you choose, the following considerations should be universal. And if a vendor doesn’t offer one of these universal considerations, and you consider it to be critical, there are always more vendors out there.

  • Licensed Software vs. Cloud (Software as a Service)

    • Time and attendance software has evolved to the point where there should not be significant functionality discrepancies between licensed and cloud (often called Software as a Service) deployments. All of the features available in the licensed version will be available in the cloud version, and vice-versa. The criteria for choosing one over the other include corporate data policies (prohibiting cloud deployments), pricing structures, automatic updates (typically only applying to cloud models), and uptime requirements (ensuring your internal IT staff are ready to keep the system maintained).
  • Data Collection Methods
    • Every company is different. Some companies consist almost entirely of mobile employees requiring a mobile time and attendance solution while others want traditional employee time clocks. Others may want web-based clocking only. Experienced vendors offer a multitude of data collection methods to accommodate nearly any requirement. Acumen’s time and attendance software is compatible with nearly every data collection device, including employee time clocks, mobile devices, and smartphones.
  • Integration Considerations
    • It’s a plain and simple fact that some time and attendance systems just do not interoperate and synchronize with other business systems. If you have an obscure payroll or ERP system, and require integration with your time and attendance system, it is easy to identify potential vendors (and eliminate those that cannot integrate smoothly with your existing systems). Contact us to learn about the integration capabilities of Acumen’s time and attendance software with payroll systems, ERP, and manufacturing systems.
  • Complementary Products & Services
    • Employee time and attendance is part of a larger HR management suite that includes payroll systems, time and attendance, employee scheduling, employee self-service, facility access control, and other systems. It is far more convenient to manage these tasks from one central system instead of several disparate systems, each of which featuring another learning curve. Acumen’s line of complementary products and services allows for the greatest ease of use for the most powerful workforce management tools.
  • Regulatory Compliance
    • Certain requirements may be mandated in order to ensure compliance with certain regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley, FairPay Rules, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. It’s important to understand your company’s responsibilities regarding regulatory compliance and workforce management. Fortunately, Acumen’s systems make it easy to audit and store relevant regulatory information. Other providers may not have these capabilities, or may require add-ons or upgrades to service to provide auditing support (if any is offered at all).
  • Functionality
    • Many functionality considerations make vendor selection easy: either the vendor offers a function you require, or they do not. Some of these functionality considerations include biometric clocking, real-time functionality, advanced payment capabilities, advanced benefit accruals, task tracking, employee scheduling, labor costing, minor employee management, and many more. You should be confident that the time and attendance provider you are partnering with is one that uses proven technology to provide the features you need for your time and attendance system.


Instead of asking internal management for a budget, we recommend completing a return on investment (ROI) analysis first. If you haven’t researched the return on investment for time and attendance systems, you may be surprised. Acumen’s time and attendance systems pay for themselves within months thanks to the elimination of errors, automation of business processes, and the elimination of employee overpayment. We invite you to learn more about the ROI for Acumen’s automated time and attendance systems and consider the savings that can be found with automation.

Armed with return on investment information, you can be certain your investment in an automated time and attendance system is worth it.

Much of the stress involved with transitioning from manual time and attendance processes to automated systems is caused by uncertainty. With a better understanding of automated systems, purchase criteria, options, and features, you’ll be much better prepared and much more confident in your selection.

Experts in Timekeeping and Employee Scheduling 

Acumen Data Systems is a leading provider of time clock and employee scheduling software. We help organizations manage their most valuable resources, the human kind. Acumen offers robust solutions for time and attendance, scheduling and leave management.

We believe that technology is just one quarter of the workforce management pie. Employees, policy, and the environment are just as important. 

Do you have questions about making the switch to automated time and attendance? 

Contact one of our experts to discuss the best timekeeping solutions for your organization.  You can also reach us at 888-816-0933.