Time and attendance reporting is the most basic requirement for any business. Over the years, the methods of taking attendance have evolved. Today, time and attendance software is the most advanced tool for workforce management.
Efficiency and optimized operations are existential requirements for any business today, which is why adopting automation solutions is at an all-time high. According to Statista, recognizing the value of accurate attendance data, companies increased their spending by 14% on time-tracking tools during covid.
While free time and attendance software options exist, they have several drawbacks that must be addressed and can hinder a company’s operational efficiency.
In this article, we will explore the disadvantages of using free time and attendance software and why you should consider upgrading to paid solutions.
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Types of free time and attendance software commonly used in businesses
There are several types of free attendance software available for companies. All these solutions have limited features and can hinder the scalability of businesses. Let’s look at the most commonly used free time and attendance tracking solutions.
1. Manual excel spreadsheets
Generally, small startups and many old businesses use Excel spreadsheets as a free time and attendance tracking solution. It requires employees to manually record their work hours on spreadsheets. Thereafter supervisors or HR personnel manually calculate attendance, overtime, and payroll based on these entries.
There are several discrepancies or issues that might result from using manual excel spreadsheets Firstly, employee in and out data entry needs to be entered correctly as otherwise it results in inaccuracies and discrepancies in attendance and payroll.
Also, calculating attendance and generating manual reports is a time-consuming process. As a free software, Excel has no automation features that makes it difficult to handle complex scheduling or track attendance in real time.
2. Online free time clock software
Several online free time and attendance tools offer basic functionalities of more comprehensive paid solutions. Most of these free time clock software solutions are cloud-based platforms where employees can log their work hours, and supervisors can access attendance data online.
Free online tools often provide essential time and attendance tracking features. Without advanced functionalities such as facial recognition and GPS tracking, these solutions are prone to time theft.
Furthermore, free tools often restrict the number of users or employees accessing the system, limiting their usefulness for growing businesses. Also, only some companies provide customer support for free versions.
3. Open-source applications
Open-source free time and attendance software options offer flexibility to be customized to fit a company’s specific needs. However, it requires technical expertise for setup and maintenance. Using open-source solutions will be challenging unless you have in-house IT expertise or external consultants.
Also, free, open-source solutions typically have a community of contributors and often need more dedicated customer support. If an issue arises, you will be on your own to fix it. Regular updates, security patches, and ongoing maintenance of such software make them high maintenance.
4. Basic time and attendance mobile apps
You can find hundreds of free time clock software apps on Google Play Store and App Store. All these apps offer basic time-tracking features, allowing employees to clock in and out using their smartphones. While simple to use, these free apps often need more advanced functionalities.
An effective time and attendance tracking app should have advanced features like facial recognition, geofencing, or shift scheduling that most free apps lack. There is no accountability for using free mobile apps, which means employee data security is a major concern. Paid time and attendance apps use robust encryption and data protection measures.
5. Spreadsheet templates
Some businesses use free time and attendance spreadsheet templates available online. These templates have a structured format for tracking work hours but do not offer automation and integration capabilities of dedicated software.
While these free time and attendance software options may offer initial cost savings, they often have limitations and drawbacks that hinder efficient workforce management and payroll processing.
Upgrading to a paid solution, such as Truein, can provide the necessary features and support to address these challenges and ensure accurate and streamlined time and attendance tracking.
Disadvantages of Free Time and Attendance Software
1. Limited access
As with most of the free time and attendance software solutions we listed above, limited access is a primary concern while using such free solutions. A free time clock software often restricts the number of users or employees accessing the system.
You do not want to use attendance software that can limit your company’s growth. The limited access may require frequent software switches and data transfers, adding to costs.
2. Lack of customization
Free attendance-keeping solutions do not offer customization options. Simply put, you cannot adapt a free time clock software to your business needs. It will be challenging to integrate it with other tools, such as payroll or HR management, that your business might use daily.
3. Inaccuracies in attendance recording
Free time and attendance software may lack advanced features like face recognition or GPS tracking, making it susceptible to buddy punching and inaccurate attendance recording.
Also, free software that involves manual data entry, such as Excel sheets, increases the risk of human errors. Such inaccuracies can lead to incorrect payroll calculations, compliance issues, and even disputes between employees and management.
4. Limitations in tech and customer support
Free-time attendance software often needs more technical support. Using free software, you will have to handle any technical issues independently. When problems arise, the need for dedicated customer support can result in prolonged downtime.
For any business, such downtime can severely impact productivity. Inadequate technical assistance can also be frustrating for your workers, who need the acumen to resolve technical glitches or difficulties with the software. This limitation can lead to frustration when using the time and attendance software, negatively affecting user experience.
5. Integration problems
Free time and attendance software have limited customization, which may not seamlessly integrate with other business systems, such as payroll software or HR management tools. Free tools result in data consistency due to a lack of integration. Manual data transfer requires additional work for your staff, which can be time-consuming and lower productivity.
Another issue of free software can be incompatibility between systems. Such tools not integrating with existing systems will hinder efficient workforce management and payroll processing, resulting in potential errors and delays.
6. Difficult to maintain
Free software may receive limited updates, improvements, or security patches. This can make software challenging and outdated, leading to vulnerabilities and compatibility issues with evolving technology.
Adopting free time and attendance software results in a lack of ongoing maintenance, requiring dedicated IT staff. Addressing technical challenges and ensuring the software remains functional as your business grows becomes a lot more difficult in the need for regular maintenance.
Why should you consider upgrading to the paid time tracking software?
Evidently, free time clock software is not appropriate for growing businesses. Whether you are a fast-growing startup or an established business, you should upgrade to paid time-tracking software. Adoption of the right paid software like Truein can revolutionize your workforce management.
Here are some features that make upgrading to paid time and attendance software worth it.
1. Face recognition:
Paid software has advanced recognition and tracking features such as face recognition that ensure there is no time theft. Truein comes with AI-powered advanced facial recognition technology that can recognize staff even if they have glasses or masks on. It provides accurate attendance tracking and eliminates the risk of buddy punching.
2. GPS Tracking:
Another reason to upgrade is GPS-based attendance recording. It allows managers to monitor employee location and verify where they should be during work hours. Truein has GPS geofencing, making it appropriate for remote access.
3. Shift Scheduling:
Premium time and attendance software enables efficient shift scheduling, helping you easily create and manage employee schedules. Managers can create schedules considering workers’ skills, availability, and preferences.
Access to comprehensive reporting and analytics tools allows management to make data-driven decisions by providing insights into workforce productivity. It improves business productivity and optimizes workforce management.
5. Integration with payroll software:
Paid time and attendance software like Truein are designed to offer seamless integration with popular payroll software. It streamlines payroll processing and reduces the likelihood of manual errors.
Upgrading to paid time and attendance solutions like Truein provides businesses access to necessary features. Such solutions also come with reliable technical and customer support, ensuring your business never runs into downtime due to unattended technical glitches.
When should you consider upgrading from a free to a paid time and attendance tracking software?
You must consider upgrading from a free time and attendance software if your business is experiencing the following:
- Rapid growth that necessitates the need for a more scalable and feature-rich time and attendance solution.
- Increased instances of inaccuracies in time and attendance data due to free software.
- Your existing free time clock software solution does not integrate with other essential business systems.
- Limited customer support and maintenance issues.
Free time and attendance software may seem like a cost-effective option initially, but it has significant limitations and drawbacks. Upgrading to paid time and attendance software like Truein can facilitate smooth time and attendance tracking and workforce management optimization.