Chronoblog
Category: Automated Reports
Why Employees Love Our Workforce Management System

Workforce Management SystemErin is a part-time employee (full-time college student) and works very hard – an exemplary employee by any standards. If you are a busy business owner you may not always know who your ‘Erins’ are. The company Erin works for recently started using our clock in, clock out workforce management system and she loves it. For years her company used handwritten timesheets and the “honor system”. Erin uses air quotes around the words “honor system” because some of her co-workers weren’t so honorable. They would brag about adding a few minutes to each shift every day and justified it by saying they aren’t paid enough. A few of the hardcore employees had their own system of not showing up for work at all and a co-worker would cover. The next night, they would take turns and everyone was happy to get paid for hours that they didn’t work. Everyone except Erin and her honest co-workers.

Erin understands the strain that time theft puts on a company. Her parents owned a cleaning business as she grew up and it ultimately failed because they could never get a good grip on employee hours. What she’s noticed is that the Chronotek workforce management system helps to document and distinguish between the good employees like her and the bad ones. And it was the bad ones who complained the loudest when her company signed up with Chronotek. A couple of the buddy-punching employees were soon busted because their supervisor received a text alert when they both “checked in” and the supervisor drove by to check on them. Erin loves it that her times are accurate and can be verified. Erin’s supervisor recently thanked her for always being on time to her scheduled shifts.  The supervisor can monitor employee punches with the Chronotek app.

Erin also uses the mobile app to keep track of her hours worked and her upcoming schedules. Keeping up with paper timesheets and schedules was a pain! Erin has even used the in-app messaging to make her supervisor aware of supply needs.

Erin has always been an honest and hard worker (something she learned from her parents), so she has to admit why she most loves the Chronotek time tracking system. It’s because her hard work can be easily verified and recognized, while the system will eventually help catch the cheaters. Then she reasons that it will be financially easier for her hard work and honesty to be rewarded. After all, college is not cheap!

If you have some Erin’s that you want to keep happy and save payroll dollars at the same time, give our clock in, clock out time tracking system a shot. Click here to sign up for a free 30 day trial.

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#8 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Payroll Processing Done Manually

payroll processingOne of our first website designs for www.Chronotek.net had an image of a guy holding his head in agony. Much like this guy. You would think that an evil person wired his brain to intravenously pump in Milli Vanilli on auto-repeat. That wasn’t the case. He was doing payroll with handwritten timesheets. That’s a painful practice and a horribly inefficient use of time. If you spend more time each week doing payroll than acquiring new customers, you may have a problem. In the last installment in our series, Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed In Your Business, we want to discuss how you can transform payroll processing from unpleasant to productive.

The first step in this transformative process is to stop using handwritten timesheets. Our remote employee clock in, clock out timekeeping system will get you on the right track. Automated, online reports at your fingertips lead to a clean desk, an uncluttered mind and access to a simplified, painless way to handle payroll processing. Do you currently use QuickBooks and manually enter employee hours? Stop the insanity! Experience the magic of our QuickBooks Interface. It seamlessly copies your employee hours from our system into the employee timesheet section of QuickBooks. Before you have time to skip to the next Milli Vanilli song, the integration is done and you’re ready to print checks or do your direct deposit.

We also have exports for several payroll companies, including ADP, Paychex, Paycom and Payroll Data Processing. Run the format you need, save to your hard drive and import into your payroll company’s program. In about 5 clicks you’ll be done and working on a list of prospects to contact next week. Let us help you minimize the time spent working in your business and maximize the time working on your business. Payroll processing is a necessary task, but it’s not necessary for it to be a burden.

Think about it. Go from headaches to high fives. Right now you are tracking down every weekly timesheet, manually calculating the hours (including overtime), trusting the scribbles, and manually entering the hours into your payroll company. And taking a lot of Tylenol. Instead switch to an online time tracking system with automated time card reports and a few clicks to import your employee hours into your payroll system. Was that a chorus of heavenly angels singing “hallelujah” you just heard?

Try it today free for 30 days.

Well, that wraps up our series. We hope that the articles have been helpful and will keep you far away from pitfalls and on the road to prosperity.

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#7 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Miscalculating California Overtime

California overtimeIt’s been said that “as California goes, so goes the country.” This certainly seems true with culture, but California is relatively unique in one aspect: its overtime laws. While most states enforce overtime pay of 1.5 times regular pay for weekly hours over 40, California overtime has extra layers, like a Mission Burrito. These extra layers and their impact on almost 20 million California employees is what we will discuss today in our 7th installment of Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed in Your Business. 

According to California’s Department of Industrial Relations website, the following overtime rules apply to non-exempt employees:

  1. One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of eight hours up to and including 12 hours in any workday, and for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and
  2. Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.

That’s a lot of factors to manually track on paper. Did any of my employees work more than 40 hours last week? How about over 8 hours in a day? Did anyone go over 12 hours? Oh, and I almost forgot, did anyone work 7 days in a row? And did any of them go over 8 hours on the 7th day? Do you have heartburn yet? You can’t afford to be wrong in any of your calculations or suffer an oversight. As we mentioned in our last post, #6 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Overtime Lawsuits,  since January 2007, employers have paid out $3.6 billion to settle wage and labor disputes, with most lawsuits related to overtime. Websites exist for the sole purpose of soliciting employees to join class action overtime lawsuits in California. As a small business with remote, hourly employees, the burrito is stuffed against you.

You need a smart solution. Chronotek is a remote employee clock in, clock out time tracking system that can automatically apply the California overtime rules to our time card reporting. The same benefits we mentioned in our last post: tracking overtime exempt PTO items, easy semi-monthly pay period processing, splitting time cards across the midnight hour, and choosing the day and time your workweek starts are available along with correct California overtime reporting.

20 million California employees are 20 million opportunities for a lawsuit.

Protect your business and at the same time take the pain out of doing payroll.  In our 8th and final post in this series we will talk about our QuickBooks Integration and several payroll company exports we have for your use (ADP, Paychex, Paycom, generic).

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#6 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Overtime Lawsuits

overtime lawsuits

32,900 results in .31 seconds.

I did a Google news search on “overtime lawsuits” and that’s how many hits the Google machine returned faster than I can type “holy moly”. Businesses are being sued at an alarming rate for failing to properly pay overtime. Between 2000 and 2015, wage and labor dispute lawsuits skyrocketed by 358%.1   A lawsuit can derail your business dreams, but this doesn’t need to happen to you. In our 6th installment of Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed In Your Businesswe discuss how our clock in, clock out employee management system keeps the lawyers off your front steps with accurate and easy overtime reporting.

If you track employee hours with handwritten timesheets, you know it’s a nightmare. Then if you have overtime in the mix, it’s a wonder you get any rest. Toss in a semi-monthly payroll, and factor in non-overtime payroll items like sick leave, holiday and vacation time, and you have a full-blown hot mess to deal with every pay period. Wouldn’t you like a payroll report that calculates regular and overtime for all pay cycles? If the timekeeping system knows that PTO hours are overtime exempt, that’s even better, right? And what if your pay period starts at any other time than midnight, say 5am? Or you have employees who work across the midnight hour and you need to split their timesheets into 2 days, and these 2 days could split a week?   Manually calculate that, and the probability of being an overtime lawsuit statistic is high.  All of these variables affect correct overtime reporting, but they can all easily be handled by a Smart Time Tracking system.

It’s time to get smart about overtime reporting and not leave it to chance with handwritten timesheets and manual calculations (or any timekeeping system that can’t help you with all of the issues above.) Since January 2007, employers have paid out $3.6 billion to settle wage and labor disputes, with most lawsuits related to overtime.2    If you end up on the wrong side of an overtime lawsuit, you need accurate, organized and automated reports to back you up. You need a smart solution. Our online timekeeping system can keep your small business dreams safe. Let us help you get started with a 30 day free trial.

Our next post will talk specifically about California overtime. We can help with that, too.

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  1. Lydia DePillis, “Why wage and hour litigation is skyrocketing”, Washingtonpost.com, November 25, 2015
  2. Larry Downing, “Get ready for an explosion in overtime lawsuits, America”, Quartz.com, May 18, 2016
#5 Business Pitfall to Avoid: Losing Money on Jobs

track employee hoursLiving paycheck to paycheck isn’t living the dream. Have you swiped your debit card at the grocery store and said a prayer at the same time? This happens when you don’t have a personal budget and you’re not watching your money come and go. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Mind your pennies and the dollars will watch themselves.” This same truth applies to small business owners, especially those with remote, hourly employees. In our fifth installment of Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed in Your Business we want to discuss how important it is to track employee hours by job to make sure that you aren’t losing money on jobs.

When you track employee hours by job it’s like putting your company on a budget. When you bid on a new client you factor in all of the services and variables to determine the number of hours it will take each month to serve that prospect. Then you back into a quote. But what do you do next? (Hopefully, you get the contract!) You don’t want to get to the end of the month and realize then you lost money on your accounts. You need an easy way to capture and track employee hours by each job, in real time. Our clock in, clock out employee management system is the answer.

Chronotek has many tools and reports available to track employee hours by your jobs. If you are a visual person who likes colorful charts and graphs, our Budget Manager tool is for you. It shows you with crystal clarity where you are with each job, and predicts where you’ll be at the end of the month.  It even connects with schedules so you can take corrective action if needed. Easily get back on track before it’s too late.  No more spreadsheets – simply use the  Weekly Labor Cost Report that compares your budgeted hours and dollars per job to your actual times. See by job any overtime worked. Nothing throws a budget off track more than unrecognized overtime labor costs that are 50% more than planned.

Finally, our Job Schedule v. Actual report is great to use when you have job schedules. Create each shift to equal how long the work should take and the report will show variances on a daily and weekly total basis broken out by each account. The no-show alerts are a nifty bonus to make sure you don’t lose the job.

There’s no reason to get to the end of the month and wonder if you’ve lost money on an account. Actually, with our online time clock system, there is no reason to lose money on a job at all. You will know in real time, on a daily basis, where you stand with each job. We want the system to help you even more as we work on new features for 2018 that alert you when employees work over a time you specify. Making employees accountable will help you move your business forward as you mind your pennies.

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New Series: Avoid These 8 Major Pitfalls to Succeed In Your Business

remote, hourly employeesIf you’re driving down a major highway and see a massive crater in the road, surely you would stop, right? Or at least go around it. It is said, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” As a small business owner with remote, hourly employees there are many pitfalls on your road to success. You may be aware of many, but some may be in your blind spot.

Over the next few weeks we want to highlight a few potential pitfalls that you can easily avoid with the correct tools. Some of these pitfalls are:

  • Relying on handwritten timesheets for employee hours used for payroll.
  • Not paying travel time to remote, hourly employees when the law requires it.
  • Paying employees for work not really done.
  • Getting fired by clients because your remote, hourly employees don’t show up to scheduled jobs.
  • Losing money on jobs because you’re not accurately tracking labor hours.
  • Exposing your company to labor board disputes because you aren’t accurately calculating overtime.
  • Failing to properly pay California overtime.
  • Spending more time on payroll than acquiring new customers.

 

As a remote employee management system with thousands of customers across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, we have heard a lot of horror stories from other small business owners. In this new series, we will outline the solutions we have for each pitfall listed above. These solutions will keep you safely on the road to success.

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Converting Time – Hours to Minutes

Businesses go through this every month, every 15 days, every two weeks, every week,  and I have even heard from a few businesses that do this every day!  The task consumes a ton of time and you didn’t envision it in your dreams of small business ownership. Worse yet, your ability to enjoy and grow your business is diminished by this task.  It’s the task of processing payroll. I’m specifically referring to the head-pounding practice of using handwritten time cards and then converting time to calculate payroll hours.

Payroll companies require labor hours in a decimal format.  Converting time from hours and minutes to the decimal format needed for payroll, requires us to use a 60-base number, not the usual 100-based math we are used to.  It is not easy and can lead to costly errors. For example, 5 hours and 35 minutes is not 5.35 hours. Do the math.  5.35 hours is actually 5 hours and 21 minutes.  The calculation is .35 x 60 = 21 minutes or 21/60= .35. I talked to a business owner recently who had an employee complain about her hours. She thought she was shorted. She was right. The owner made the mistake I just outlined. She took the example of 5 hours and 35 minutes and submitted 5.35 hours to her payroll company;  for every shift for every day for 2 weeks.

A common practice for admins who calculate hand written time cards is to round hours (not recommended), so that converting time  is easier.  Know your state laws.  This may not be legal.

To show this in the terms we know let’s look at the basic time conversion (see the last row in the chart):

  • 15 minutes is a quarter of an hour, .25
  • 30 minutes is a half of an hour, .50
  • 45 minutes is three quarters of an hour, .75
  • 60 minutes is one hour, 1.00

 

Converting Time Chart

Feel free to print the chart as a reference when you are faced with the challenge of converting time manually.  If you are a small business owner who must manually convert time for payroll hours calculations you might consider letting a timekeeping system do that for you.  Chronotek can also calculate Overtime, even for semi-monthly and the special California Overtime rules.  When a system does the work it will not matter how often you do payroll and the risk of error is greatly reduced.  Free up your time. Eliminate your payroll headache and revitalize the small business dream you once had. We believe that you will also save money when you stop using handwritten timesheets.

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Are Your Numbers As Good As You Think?

Job Cost Reports

I beat my son on Wii Golf the other day 40-47 on 9 holes. At first glance, one might think that my son is awful, while I am the next Rory McIlroy. The numbers are convincing. On average I beat him by a stroke on almost every hole. I could market this version of the truth and sell it to a naïve buyer. But let’s dig deeper before we make the purchase. How did we compete on a hole by hole basis? Ah… a different story comes to light. I only beat him on 5 holes. He beat me on 4. It was a tight match until the last hole and he was ahead going into it. The 9th hole was a train wreck for him. As a small business owner, you may ask yourself the question, are your numbers as good as you think? This question may create some uneasiness if you don’t have good job cost reports.

Some small business owners may look at the end of the week numbers and think that life is good. They made payroll, paid all of the bills, and there’s money left over for groceries. Time to uncork the champagne, right? What if you could dive deeper into the numbers? Let’s say that you have 10 customers and you could easily run the numbers for each one. The analysis reveals that you’re losing money on 5 customers, breaking even on 2, and only 3 are profitable. These 3 customers are profitable enough to bring your total bottom line into the black, which disguises your problem with the 7. But in-depth job by job cost reports aren’t easy to get – unless you use our online employee time clock for labor hours.

Our time clock app and employee call in system allows your employees to clock in and out of different jobs. You get accurate hours for payroll, and for job cost reports. The Weekly Labor Cost report is a job cost report that breaks down total weekly hours by job, and then by employee. See how many weekly hours were worked at each of your 10 customers compared to their budgeted hours. The report also shows the labor dollars spent at each job site. Compare the dollars spent against the dollars budgeted for each job. And because this is a WEEKLY job cost report, you catch any issues quickly. The report shows if any employees hit overtime on these jobs. Not just overtime, but on which job and how many overtime hours on each job. This is extremely valuable information. Overtime hours cost you at least 1.5 times more at these jobs. Just shift your employees around to avoid overtime next week.

One final golden nugget is that the Weekly Labor Cost report allows you to enter a labor rate multiplier to get a REAL labor cost for each job. You may pay $9 an hour, but that’s not your total cost. Add in 7.65% for your share of the payroll taxes and maybe 2% for worker’s comp, and that $9 an hour employee is really $9.87 per hour. If you neglect to factor in these numbers, you will be about 10% off across the board.

Our Weekly Labor Cost report eliminates the uneasy feeling that guesswork causes and gives you enlightened, true numbers that help you understand your small business better. This job cost report provides targeted, real data that is broken down and helps you devise a plan of attack for the rest of the month. If you need a clearer grip on the “real” truth about your business that accurate job cost reports can provide, sign up for a free trial with us.

Legendary golfer Ben Hogan said, “The most important shot in golf is the next one.” This may be true of your next business decision, also.

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What Picture Do Your Labor Numbers Paint?

blog-what-picture-do-your-labor-numbers-paintThe paint by numbers sets were so much fun as a kid. Just follow the pattern established by the numbers and you could paint a beautiful picture. Numbers are funny that way. They can paint pictures that are worth more than a 1000 words. If you are a small business owner with off-site hourly employees and you’re not minding your labor cost dollar numbers closely, the picture they paint may not be very pretty.

Let’s look at some numbers.

You started out with a target labor cost of 50% for the job.  You spend an entire day gathering payroll data and putting numbers in a spreadsheet. Not only is this number gathering wasting your precious time, but because you don’t utilize an automated time tracking system your labor costs are 70% of revenues and you eke out a 10% profit. The struggle is real.  But why are labor costs at 70%?

In studies done by the American Payroll Association and the Robert Half Agency, it’s shown that employees steal 10 minutes a day.  (It’s extremely easy to take an extra 10 minutes a day when using handwritten time cards.)  Employees can write down whatever clock in, clock out times they want.  You’re lucky if it’s only 10 minutes a day. But we’ll say 10 minutes a day using an example of 15 employees – that comes to 150 minutes a day or 3262.50 minutes a month (54.375 hours) based on 5 day work weeks.  Chronotek’s new Weekly Labor Cost Report can calculate your actual Labor Cost for you automatically.  The report also takes into consideration the fully loaded pay rate.  So if the employees’ pay rate is $8/hr, it might be that you are actually paying close to $9/hour considering taxes and workman’s comp.   So you’re throwing $489 out the window every month on these handwritten time cards (that hurts a little bit).

Instead, embrace the wonder of technological accountability with an automated timekeeping system and take back your money.  An investment in our system of $89 a month for 15 employees yields a return of $400 back in your pocket.  That’s 4.5 times your investment and raises your net profit by 25%.  If you pay your employees more than $8 an hour, then you’re making more money faster.

It’s time to get your money back.  No more unearned pay and no more laborious spreadsheets.  This is why we created the new Weekly Labor Cost Report that enables you to track true labor costs (pay rate + payroll taxes) against your labor budgets.  A picture is painted using the exact numbers.

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Know Your Labor Cost

blog-remote-employeesWell-known financial advisor and motivational speaker, Suze Orman asked her audience how many had personal debt, of any kind.  Almost 100% of the people in the audience raised their hands. To paraphrase her response she said, “So you all have debt, and you come here asking me to show you how to manage money you don’t have?” Such a poignant question. Just like families who discover that they don’t have enough money to pay their bills each month, many small businesses with remote, hourly workers struggle to make payroll, and pay their vendors and other overhead expenses.

It is hard for small businesses that aren’t efficiently tracking their largest monthly expense: time worked by hourly employees.  Our clients have the advantage when they use the new Weekly Labor Cost Report. This report quickly calculates true labor costs (pay rate + payroll taxes) compared to the job’s labor budgets.

In an interview we did last year with David, the owner of a successful janitorial company, he stated that a service business can pay up to 50% of their gross revenues in payroll, but it should not exceed that number.   However, we have talked to several small business owners who estimate that they pay up to 70%, and they struggle for a 10-15% profit margin.   Profit margins and hourly payroll expenses are tied together in a constant, unequal tug of war.  This results in cash flow problems at the very least.

While Suze tries to help her crowd manage money they don’t have, we want to help small businesses reclaim the money that is rightfully theirs. Run the new Weekly Labor Cost Report  to stay on track. It’s an easy step towards getting your dream back as well.

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