Cloud based time and attendance system: Top 5 tools & benefits

by Time Doctor
Cloud based time and attendance system

It’s no secret that tracking your employees’ time and attendance can help you optimize workflows and grow your business quickly.  

And due to remote work, cloud-based time and attendance systems have been gaining traction. Besides offering powerful time and attendance management features, these tools are also easy to set up and maintain, making them suitable for all types of businesses and teams.  

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about a cloud based time and attendance system. We’ll highlight the top five time and attendance management tools, why you should use cloud-based systems, and what features to look for in one. 

This article includes: 

(Use the links below to go to a specific section)

Let’s begin. 

Top 5 cloud based time and attendance systems 

A cloud based time and attendance system allows you to keep an eye on employee work activity from anywhere in the world. 

Typically, employees clock in and out using authentication methods such as passwords or biometrics, and the software starts recording time. 

This accurate time tracking helps you gain insights into:

  • How your employees spend their work time.
  • Whether you need to address any workflow issues that can improve productivity.
  • How much to pay freelancers and hourly employees according to their work input. 

All this data is usually automatically synced with payroll and HR, enabling you to process payments, approve leaves, and track changing employee schedules. 

However, with so many cloud-based attendance tracking systems available in the market, finding the right one for your needs can get overwhelming. 

Don’t worry. 

We’ve listed our top five tools to help you choose the best software for your business. 

1. Time Doctor 

time doctor Time Tracking

Time Doctor is a powerful employee time tracking and performance management system. 

Trusted by small as well as large businesses, it has many features that can help you gain valuable insights into your employees’ time management. 

For maximum flexibility, Time Doctor offers employees both manual and automatic time tracking options

Employees can manually track their work hours using an interactive interface and a simple start/stop button. They can also have it run silently in the background during specific hours. 

Check out how Time Doctor’s automatic attendance tracking and Work Schedules feature make attendance management effortless.

Some other useful Time Doctor features are: 

Using Time Doctor, employees can also review their own time data on the intuitive dashboard and find ways to improve their own productivity. 

Available as a desktop app on Mac, Windows, and Linux, as well as an Android mobile app, employees can track work time anywhere. 

You can also ask employees to use Time Doctor’s Chrome extension. The extension syncs with the desktop app and integrates with many project management tools to account for all your employees’ work time. 

Time Doctor is very fairly priced, starting at $7/user per month. You can also take advantage of its 14-day free trial period without entering any card details.  

2. QuickBooks Time 

quickbooks time

QuickBooks Time is a robust time and attendance software system for businesses with mobile workforces, i.e., offsite, field service, and remote workers. 

It offers managers GPS tracking facilities to ensure a remote worker is working at their job site. It also allows you to set geofence boundaries, so employees only clock in and out from designated areas. 

QuickBooks gives you the flexibility to:

  • Create employee schedules.
  • Send clock in and clock out reminders. 
  • Approve or deny time-off requests. 

It also lets you view the expenses and progress of each project to ensure everything stays on track.

Offering a 30-day trial period, QuickBooks paid plan starts at $8/user per month with a $20 base fee. 

Read our detailed review of QuickBooks Time here. 

3. TimeClock Plus 


TimeClock Plus (TCP) offers time and attendance features, along with workforce management capabilities

You can find the following features on TCP: 

  • Time tracking. 
  • Employee scheduling. 
  • Overtime calculations. 
  • Productivity reports. 
  • Leave and PTO management. 
  • Geofencing and geolocation (periodically recording GPS coordinates to ensure employees are working from the job site). 

It also offers a biometric fingerprint scanner, touchless badge readers, and a thermal sensor time clock to keep your employees’ safety and security front and center. 

TCP doesn’t offer any free trials, and its pricing plan starts at $2.50/employee per month. 

While this is a competitive price point, this plan offers very limited features.

4. When I Work 

when i work

Geared towards small businesses with shift workers, like in retail stores, When I Work offers integrated scheduling tools so you can manage your hourly workforce. 

Using its native mobile app, you can create, manage, and track schedules on the go. 

It helps employees:

  • Swap shifts.
  • Request time off.
  • Receive notifications about schedule changes and leave approvals. 

When I Work offers photo punch-in capabilities to avoid buddy punching and other forms of time theft. Its break management features ensure employees are working the required hours at every shift. 

When I Work offers a 14-day free trial period with no credit card required. Its paid plan starts at $2/user per month for 100 employees. 

5. Clockify 


Clockify is a time and attendance tracking tool for in-office and remote workforces. 

Employees can track work time from any location using their web browser, desktop, iOS, or Android app. You can also use its GPS tracking features to pinpoint where employees are clocking in and out. 

Clockify’s visual dashboard allows both managers and employees to gain a holistic view of all employee work activities, such as how much time they spent on each task. 

Clockify’s core features are free for teams of all sizes. However, you can upgrade to a paid account starting at $4.99/user per month for extra features. 

If you’re wondering how these tools can amp up productivity in your organization, let’s check out the top 10 benefits they offer. 

10 benefits of using a cloud based time and attendance system

Using a time and attendance management system has many benefits – for you and your employees. We’ve listed some of the major ones below. 

1. No set up costs 

Since everything is on the cloud, you can be up and running in a matter of minutes!

The pricing plan is typically a monthly fee (base) and a per-employee fee which covers:

  • Integrations with the payroll and HR (Human Resource) department. 
  • Technical customer support.  
  • And other additional features. 

According to one study, you could save up to $1600 per employee the year after implementing a time-attendance system. 

2. Reduce human error 

Manual timekeeping is a tedious task that’s prone to human error. Even entering data into spreadsheets can lead to an error rate of 18%-40%

Employees who enter this data can feel pressure from management, leading to high stress, which reduces productivity

An automatic, time-tracking solution can eliminate data inaccuracies by collecting employee hours through biometric clocks or browser and mobile apps. You receive accurate attendance data for each employee, down to the second. 

Most systems also accommodate complex scheduling for freelancers, part-time, shift, and hourly employees while considering labor laws in various countries. 

3. Increase employee productivity and efficiency

Going through each employee timesheet, authorizing overtime and leaves, creating schedules, and approving payroll can take hours. 

If all this information is scattered across departments, it can further delay decision-making.

On the other hand, a cloud based software system can collect all this data automatically in a single database. This allows your HR and payroll department to streamline these processes. 

As a result, you’ll increase employee productivity across the board and improve employee satisfaction as well. 

4. Access detailed reports 

Similar to charting your company’s growth, you need to analyze your employees’ time data. 

An automated attendance tracking system can provide accurate reports on: 

  • Total numbers of hours worked by each employee. 
  • Employee overtime available and worked.  
  • Leave accrual. 
  • Paid time off (PTO) and other absences. 
  • When employees clock in and out. 

All this data can help you address any potential issues your employees may be facing and reduce absenteeism

5. Make better scheduling decisions

Using attendance tracking software, you can check:

  • Which employees are working long hours.
  • Which employees are scheduled for time off.
  • Whether you need to move tasks around to compensate for employee absences. 

It can also help you forecast customer demand and ensure you have the necessary resources, including the workforce, for peak periods. 

You can create an effective employee attendance policy with data regarding schedules, working hours, and absences. 

6. Enable real-time notifications

Most absence management solutions allow you to set up automated notifications for: 

  • Employee absences. 
  • Late clock-ins or clock-outs. 
  • Employees nearing overtime. 
  • Swapped shifts. 
  • Time-off requests. 

A manager can quickly approve requests on their mobile device without the need for face-to-face communication. Similarly, employees can also receive notifications for approved requests, available overtime shifts, etc. 

As a result, you can streamline basic payroll and leave workflows, ensuring your business runs smoothly. 

7. Improve transparency 

Attendance tracking software levels the playing field and provides employees with access to their own data. 

For instance, your employee can easily view their leave balance and schedule their vacation accordingly. When said employee requests time off, other employees can receive a notification for potential overtime they can apply for.

Such transparency positively impacts your company culture, improving employee engagement and loyalty. 

8. Ensure legal compliance

An automated attendance solution ensures that you keep accurate employee records – their work hours, absences, overtime, etc. 

Especially important for shift employees and freelancers, these timecards can help reduce the chance of any payroll error. 

Additionally, the automation software can alert you if an employee is at risk of overworking. As a result, you can look out for your employee’s health and well-being while complying with your country’s labor laws. 

9. Avoid security issues 

A cloud based system has many security advantages over traditional, manual timekeeping. 

These systems provide encryption for all passwords and employee information. Typically, they’ll require employees to use strong passwords that can’t be easily compromised. 

If your software uses biometric data, e.g., retinal scans, facial recognition, etc., it can prevent buddy punching. As mentioned above, this can help you maintain accurate records and reduce administrative costs. 

Cloud systems are also significantly safer, protecting you from data breaches, ransomware attacks, etc. It also means you always have a backup in case of software failure or internal system malfunction. 

10. Scale easily 

Adding new employees to your cloud software takes minutes at most, allowing your company to grow with ease. 

Since most systems also integrate with payroll and HR, it automates the hiring process considerably. All you have to do is issue them an authentication method, e.g., a password. 

To avail of all these benefits, your chosen software needs to have certain features and capabilities. Let’s explore what those are. 

Let’s now explore what features you should look for in a cloud-based time and attendance system. 

5 features to look for in your cloud-based time and attendance software

You need to consider many things when choosing a time and attendance system, such as your security requirements. 

Regardless of whichever software you choose, you should ensure the following five features are available before purchasing one. 

1. Time tracking 

Ideally, the software should let employees clock in and out through a browser or mobile app and track their work time. 

For remote employees, it should adjust automatically to the employee’s time zone. Ideally, employees should be able to access their online time data as well. 

2. Employee scheduling 

The system can either integrate with your existing scheduling software or provide features for the same. 

The scheduling features should enable you to create employee schedules, shifts, and workdays effortlessly.  

3. Leave management 

The system should allow managers and supervisors to quickly view employee leave accruals and other forms of PTO, such as jury duty.

It can also offer employee self service features, like requesting time off within the software itself. 

4. Job and project tracking 

You can pick a system that allows employees to log work hours on specific projects or tasks. This is particularly useful for calculating billable hours for clients. 

It also helps you keep an eye on how much time an employee spends on a task for their performance evaluations. 

5. Payroll integration

Some systems integrate with your existing payroll software, while others offer payroll processing capabilities. 

This payroll system integration can help save your employees’ time by automatically running overtime calculations and time-off deductions.  

Wrapping up 

Employing a cloud-based time and attendance system is the right choice for any workforce – regardless of their geographic location. 

It can help keep track of your employees’ work hours, what they do during that time, and how to optimize your workforce to reduce the overall labor cost. 

While there are many features available, you need to assess which ones are best suited for your company and decide on a system that fits accordingly. 

We’ve covered the top five software systems in the market today. However, Time Doctor is attractively priced and offers all the key features we’ve mentioned.  

Start your 14-day free trial with Time Doctor today

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