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punch cards and time sheetsPunch cards and paper timesheets have been around for ages. It’s been a way to collect employees’ time in order to pay them correctly for the hours that they worked. There are many issues that can arise from using this system.

1. For starters, it’s time consuming to collect the time manually and calculate out the total hours worked for each employee for each day they worked. However, the total number of hours worked isn't the only item that needs to be calculated, especially with union contracts that require very unique rules. Overtime calculations, pay differentials, blended overtime rate calculations all exasperate the time constraints when calculating employees’ pay. Reading off of a paper timesheet requires manual time entry into Excel or into a payroll system which makes this even worse. Sometimes payroll administrators have to enter the time in manually in multiple places.

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 The amount of time spent making all these calculations based on all of these various aspects takes up a lot of time for these payroll administrators.  Imagine a payroll admin that needs to perform these calculations twice a month or every two weeks or, at worse, every week. Most spend their Sundays working on payroll so that the employees of their companies can get paid on time. This even occurs on holidays as well. One story includes a manager working on payroll all day on Sunday, while in a tree house as her kid played soccer.

2. Paper timesheets are also prone to error because it could be difficult to distinguish time data from employees that hand write their time. This causes error in transcribing the data. This also translates into employees not being paid correctly and corrections needing to be done after the fact. This could lead to frustration on both the employee and payroll admin. There also many errors that can take place when trying to calculate out all of the varying and complex rules that vary within each company. A manager can forget to apply the rules or have an oversight of them as well.

3. Another issue with manual timesheets is the ability for employees to buddy punch each other. This happens far more often than is caught. The reason is simple. There is no employee verification. One employee can enter someone else’s time and nobody would know. This is also a method for managers that create ghost payroll, where they make up hours for employees that no longer work there or never even worked there.

The above points all point to wasted money and time. These managers of human capital management tools and payroll admins can be working on more value added items rather than spending exorbitant amounts of time working on payroll.

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