Magazine Article | May 1, 1999

Saving Money And Gaining Efficiency Through Automated Time And Attendance

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

The FL-based non-profit organization, Give Kids The World, has cut administrative costs and increased payroll accuracy with a Windows-based time and attendance system.

Integrated Solutions, May-June 1999
Give Kids The World, a non-profit organization providing all expense-paid Florida vacations for terminally ill children, reduced payroll costs by installing a time and attendance system from InfoTronics (Farmington Hills, MI). The non-profit organization eliminated costly tabulation errors, and expects to handle future growth without hiring additional payroll specialists Give Kids The World recently installed a WindowsR-based time and attendance software package, Attendance Professional™ for Windows.

Since it was founded in 1986, Give Kids The World has hosted over 34,000 families from all 50 states and more than 40 countries at its 51-acre villa, situated near Walt Disney World. The organization provides families with complementary accommodations, meals, transportation, daily surprise gifts and tickets to all area theme parks and attractions. Give Kids The World relies on an active board of distinguished advisors, a caring group of nearly 2,000 volunteers, in-kind donations and a staff of over 80 employees.

Creating weekly schedules and assembling time and attendance data throughout the organization was a complicated process. Scheduling is complicated since shifts vary by job classification. For example, management and administrative staff work regular weekday office hours; development staff attends evening and weekend appointments; housekeeping works full and part-time shifts over a week. In addition, wage rules apply to a range of positions from hourly maintenance and engineering, to salaried administrative staff.

Tracking Time And Attendance Manually
Until recently, Give Kids The World created employee schedules and tracked payroll data using manual methods. Department supervisors hand-wrote weekly schedules or issued informal, verbal schedules. The organization tracked payroll totals through a manual punch card system. Employees punched time clocks, and at the end of the pay-period, supervisors manually totaled the hourly shifts. Departmental totals were then manually added by administration on a master time sheet. Master calculations were called into a payroll processing company.

While this arrangement met the organization's basic needs, management was concerned with the amount of time supervisors and administrators spent manually keeping records. The payroll specialist spent more than two days a month pouring over punch cards, verifying totals and manually transcribing them into the summary journal.

It was virtually impossible to check employee time cards each day. Consequently, supervisors relied on their memories when completing missing in/out punches at the end of a two-week pay period. This often led to incorrect employee hours. Each supervisor had to round up or round down punch times when calculating pay period totals. It was difficult to ensure that rounding was consistently applied throughout the village. Duplicate data-entry was another concern. The same information was rewritten at least two times when totals were compiled at the end of a pay period. An incorrect figure entered on a calculator could easily throw off totals.

As a non-profit organization, Give Kids The World was not in the position to make a capital investment to acquire payroll software technology. Funds were limited, and expenditures were devoted to the operation of the village and to the direct benefit of participating children. The organization would have to make the best of these manual methods, even though management was well aware of the associated inefficiencies and cost implications.

A manager at Give Kids The World had worked in past years with Infuturo Technoloiges, a Memphis, TN-based software distributor specializing in the installation of time and attendance systems. Infuturo donated its services, and coordinated an in-kind software gift from InfoTronics. Through the generosity of both Infuturo, Inc. and InfoTronics, Inc., time clocks were installed in the housekeeping and engineering areas. Attendance Professional was installed on Pentium II 486Mhz personal computers located around the village, accessible to over 20 supervisors and administrators through a LAN multiplexer. Infuturo provided installation, training and support.

System Benefits
With the new methods, Attendance Professional automates scheduling, pay calculation, attendance, and labor tracking in a true Windows environment. Supervisors create employee schedules with a simple point-and-click action. The system regularly collects employee punches from Infotronics' badge-based time recorders and automatically compares punches to the schedules stored in the system.

The software also tracks exceptions such as tardiness, absenteeism or abuse of break or lunch periods. And, it calculates gross pay with the village's unique payroll practices, instantly assigning the appropriate base wage. Supervisors make edits to the electronic time card with a click of a button. Edits are recalculated immediately, displaying accurate totals. Departmental pay period totals are automatically exported to the payroll specialist each week, and will soon be electronically transmitted to the payroll processor.

The organization has reduced the time it takes to calculate payroll. Supervisors track system totals daily, and no longer waste time hunting down lost cards or missed punches. Manually calculating figures is a thing of the past. The payroll specialist prepares payroll totals in a few hours instead of days.

Managers also see more accurate payroll figures. Rounding errors are eliminated since the system applies rounding rules consistently throughout all departments. The errors associated with manual calculation and duplicate data entry have also been completely eliminated. Schedules are more accurate, since they are created quickly and changed easily for last-minute modifications. This means that employees are all sure of their shifts.

The software lets the organization accommodate future growth. Expansion will nearly double the size of the existing village, adding 40 more employees. Managers estimate they would have added another payroll specialist to help process payroll for the new staff members. In the future, Give Kids The World plans on using extensive reporting capabilities such as pay designation summary reports, schedule coverage, and year-to-date history.