9 Best Time and Attendance Tracking Apps (In-Depth Post)
Old fashioned ways of managing time and attendance tracking — from pen and paper to using spreadsheets and wall calendars — present several challenges:
- Lack of Accountability: Workers not being honest with when and where they punch in, which skews your time data.
- Inefficient Payroll Processes: Reviewing and verifying employee workdays manually every pay period is both time consuming and prone to human error.
- Complexity of Creating Schedules: Crafting a schedule for your team using pen and paper or Excel sheets is tedious and can take a long time. Beyond that, as employee shifts change, the schedule can become inaccurate if you don’t update it.
In this post, we’ll detail how Buddy Punch — our time and attendance tracking software — solves the above problems, so that you can (1) make your staff accountable, (2) save hours on payroll, and (3) create schedules quickly and more accurately.
Then, we’ll list other workforce management and attendance data systems, so that you can make a more informed decision before you start tracking.
Table of Contents
- Buddy Punch
- TimeTracker by eBillity
- QuickBooks Time
- When I Work
Note: We’re proud of what we’ve built at Buddy Punch, and it comes with features we would have liked to have ourselves, back when we struggled to manage timekeeping for over 20 employees across three business locations. To learn more about Buddy Punch, sign up for a free trial.
1. Buddy Punch
In our previous business endeavor, we used paper punch clocks and attendance spreadsheets to track time for a team of over 20 employees across three different locations. This process was both time-consuming and prone to inaccuracies — and we realized there had to be a better way.
So we set out to build Buddy Punch — a management system that isn’t just a digital version of a paper punch clock and attendance records, but something that can also help with (1) employee accountability, (2) payroll processing and (3) scheduling.
In this article, we’ll cover Buddy Punch’s key features dealing with the above three areas. You can use the list below to navigate to each specific section:
Increase Accountability for Your Team with:
Streamline Payroll with:
- Buddy Punch’s Payroll Software
- Integrations with Payroll Providers
- Payroll Reports on Demand
- Project Tracking
- Time Off Tracking
Simplify Scheduling with:
- Drag & Drop Scheduling
- Repeating/Recurring Shifts
- Employee Availability
- Punch Limiting
- Notify Employees of Their Schedules
Keep Your Staff Accountable (IP Address Locking, GPS Tracking, Photos on Punch, and More)
Employees might not always be honest or transparent with you regarding where and when they punch when working. This is, without a doubt, one of the biggest frustrations we experienced in our previous business, and heard from the over 10,000 businesses we’ve worked with since starting Buddy Punch. A lack of accountability from your employees, after all, invariably translates to wasted time and lost profitability, mainly due to inaccurate timecards and outdated tracking systems.
To solve this problem, we created the following features for our attendance solution:
With our Geofencing functionality, you can leverage mobile devices and set up radiuses inside which employees clock in and out of work. All you have to do is enter the Buddy Punch platform, choose a specific radius on the map (pictured below), and if your team members try to punch in outside of it, our app will present them with an error message.
Geofences aren’t limited to just one per business. You can create multiple geofences to work in parallel at any given time, and assign each a unique code to differentiate them. This makes controlling data entry for both on-site and remote workers incredibly intuitive.
Another way in which you can leverage mobile phones’ GPS technology to keep your team accountable is Buddy Punch’s GPS Tracking feature. This feature tracks your employees’ location whenever they clock in and out of work and records that location in their timecard.
You can then access Buddy Punch’s platform to review all your employees’ locations and verify everyone punched where they were meant to. This system works on both iOS and Android since all you need to use Buddy Punch on a mobile phone is an internet connection.
IP Address Locking
This functionality allows you to determine from which IP Address or network your team can clock in and out of work. All you have to do is access the Buddy Punch platform and designate your desired IP Address (as pictured below).
Once you’ve done that, your employees won’t be able to punch in and out when connected to an IP Address other than the one you provided.
Photos on Punch
When you enable our Photos on Punch feature, your employees will be prompted to take a photo of themselves before they can punch in and out of work.
These photos are then recorded in their timecards. You can review them all at once or on a per-employee basis from within the Buddy Punch platform, which will allow you to verify if your workers punched in and out themselves, or had a co-worker do it in their stead.
Buddy Punch has an option to make use of biometric facial recognition whenever your employees try to clock in.
With this enabled, a photo will be taken of a team member when try to clock in to verify they are who they say they are (rather than someone committing time theft by logging time for their absentee friend.)
Streamline Your Payroll Process and Save Hours of Your Time (Payroll Software, Integrations, and More)
When we set out to build Buddy Punch, we wanted our customers to forget about the countless hours and dollars wasted dealing with inaccuracies of manually running payroll, which is why we created the following easy-to-use features and integrations:
Buddy Punch’s Payroll Software
You can use Buddy Punch to run your payroll. This is an ideal setup because it means you’re using the same software to track your team’s timecards and attendance — and pay them. This makes it easy to make sure you’re paying your team accurately, for the time they actually worked.
It also means you don’t need to toggle between multiple platforms or deal with exported files. You can access time cards and payroll from the same software.
Here’s how you run payroll with Buddy Punch.
Because Buddy Punch tracks all of your team’s time — including time worked but also PTO — you will select the relevant time period into Buddy Punch’s Payroll software.
You can easily review your team’s payroll, including everyone’s pay rate and hours worked. You can also add additional earnings to someone’s pay, such as adding bonuses, commissions, or a per diem.
When payroll is good to go, you click “Submit”. Buddy Punch offers both 2-day and 4-day processing for payroll. We also handle your tax obligations, so you can rest assured that your company is fully compliant.
How Your Team Gets Paid
Your employees will log into Buddy Punch’s self-service portal and add their bank info. This lets you pay them via direct deposit. You can also pay your team with a check.
But if you already have a payroll provider — or don’t want to switch payroll systems just yet — you can use Buddy Punch’s time and attendance software with your current payroll solution.
You can either set up an integration with your payroll provider or export your payroll reports as a . CSV file. We cover both options in detail next.
Integrations with Payroll Providers
To streamline your payroll process, Buddy Punch integrates with all the payroll systems pictured aboveand offers a Zapier integration. This means that with Buddy Punch you can automate almost all, if not the entirety of your payroll processing workflow, making paying your employees faster and easier than ever before.
To learn more about Buddy Punch’s payroll software integrations, click here.
Payroll Reports on Demand
With Payroll Reports on Demand, you can automatically calculate all you need to run payroll from without ever leaving the Buddy Punch platform. You can then export that data as an Excel or CSV payroll report (pictured above).
Time Off Tracking
Employees can request time off through Buddy Punch, which you can approve through our app. Then, come payroll time, you can oversee both paid and unpaid time off quickly with reports. Simply specify the date range, and you will get a breakdown of time off per employee. Never lose count of sick leave or vacation days again.
Buddy Punch’s Project Tracking functionality enables you to create pay rates tailored specifically to varying pay scales and jobs, which translates into multiple benefits: you can easily calculate potential labor costs, craft accurate budgets, and export project reports for you to review — all from within our online time clock!
Last but not least, we offer an Accruals feature, with which you can set up time off accrual rules based on either the number work hours, a specified pay period, or annual accrual.
Simplify Scheduling with Buddy Punch (Drag & Drop, Repeating/Recurring Schedules and More)
Our work schedule app makes the process of creating schedules for your employees fast and simple thanks to a wide variety of features, including:
Drag & Drop Scheduling
Buddy Punch’s Scheduling follows a Drag & Drop principle, which means there’s no need to create multiple drafts of a schedule from scratch. Decide first on what shift will best fit each specific employee one at a time (click on the empty slot next to their name to create a shift in the module).
Once you’ve set up all shifts, simply click, drag and drop to reorganize shifts visually until you’re happy with the result. Staffing made easy.
With Repeating/Recurring Shifts, you don’t have to waste time creating new schedules from scratch every week or month. Instead, you can have schedules repeat over specified regular periods (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.)
One of the biggest challenges when creating schedules comes from not knowing in advance your employees’ shift preferences. To solve this problem, we created our Employee Availability feature.
This feature streamlines your schedule-crafting process by having your employees tell you when and where they would like to work, before you even begin to think about their schedules. Ask your employees to login to the Employee Availability section of the Buddy Punch platform. There, they will be able to select the shifts they prefer, subject to your approval (unless you enable self-service options). That information will be waiting for you when you set out to create the schedule at the beginning of each work period.
Many businesses struggle with their employees punching in just a few minutes early or punching out a few minutes late. To prevent this from happening, we created a Punch Limiting feature.
This feature allows you to set Punch Limiting rules that tie your employees’ ability to punch in/out to their schedule. So, for example, you can set it so employees can’t submit a punch when outside their scheduled shift. Or, you can limit punching in/out to up to 15 minutes before or after a shift (as pictured above).
Note: You can have Punch Limiting rules apply to all employees at once, or on a per-employee basis.
Notify Employees When You Publish Their Shift
Employees can see their schedule anytime from our mobile app or website. In addition, you can configure Buddy Punch so that each time a shift is published, it notifies your staff via email and/or mobile notifications.
Buddy Punch also offers other types of scheduling notification, such as:
- Shift Start Reminder & Shift End Reminder
- Late In Alert & Late Out Alert
- Early In Alert & Early Out Alert
- And much more
We’ve covered just a few of Buddy Punch’s essential features, but there are many others.
As a teaser, we’ve included some of them below, along with accompanying links so you can dig deep on how each specific feature can best fit your business needs.
- Overtime Calculations
- Paid Time Off Request Tracking
- PTO Accrual
- Adding, Editing, or Deleting Punches
- Time Card Approvals
- Job Codes / Project Tracking
- Multiple Punch and Login Options
- Kiosk Functionality
- Alerts & Notifications
- And much more
Click here to explore Buddy Punch’s comprehensive feature list.
Buddy Punch Online Reviews
We’re proud to say that, at the time of writing, Buddy Punch has garnered a grand total of 812 reviews (and counting!) on the popular software review site Capterra, with a 4.8/5 star average rating.
Here are just a few reviews that highlight what our users love about Buddy Punch, including aspects we sought to build from day one, such as simplicity and ease-of-use and a stellar customer support:
Click here to read all of Buddy Punch’s Capterra reviews.
Interested in learning more?
If you’d like to learn more about Buddy Punch’s key features, watch the full Buddy Punch demo video below:
You can also:
FYI: Even if you end up preferring one of our competitors, you can still use Buddy Punch’s blog as a resource for tools such as free excel templates for time tracking. Otherwise, here are some other time tracking software options that may better meet your preferences:
Connecteam is a great cloud-based attendance tracking software with features such as Employee Time Clock, Checklists & Forms, Employee Task Management, Employee Training, Employee Communication and Employee Scheduling.
At the time of writing, Connecteam has:
- 239 reviews
- Average of 4.8 out of 5 stars
Pricing varies depending on features and team size. Two reviews that highlight how Connecteam helps businesses track employee attendance are:
Click here to read all of Connecteam’s Capterra reviews.
Another solid employee time and attendance tracking system is Hubstaff, though this is mostly considered a streamlined HR software with intuitive features making for easy onboarding on new employees. They offer a whole range of HCM features, such as Online Time Reporting, Employee Time Tracking & Absence Management, Employee Productivity Monitoring, GPS Location Tracking, and Automated Payroll & Invoicing.
At the time of writing, Hubstaff has:
- 1382 reviews
- Average of 4.6 out of 5 stars
Two reviews that highlight how Hubstaff helps small businesses track employee time and manage human resources are:
Click here to read all of Hubstaff’s Capterra reviews.
Clockify is a time and attendance system with key features including Teams, Time Tracker, Timesheet, Reports and Dashboard.
At the time of writing, Clockify has:
- 4435 reviews
- Average of 4.7 out of 5 stars
Like Buddy Punch, Clockify is both web-based and functional on mobile devices. Here are two reviews that highlight why Clockify is considered one of the best attendance and project management apps:
Click here to read all of Clockify’s Capterra reviews.
5. TimeTracker by eBillity
Another great employee hour and attendance system is TimeTracker by eBillity. Their key features include, but are not limited to Employee Time and Attendance Tracking, GPS Time Tracking, Employee Time Approval and Time Clock.
At the time of writing, TimeTracker by eBillity has:
- 2841 reviews
- Average of 4.4 out of 5 stars
Two reviews that highlight how TimeTracker by eBillity helps businesses track employee time and attendance are:
Click here to read all of TimeTracker by eBillity’s Capterra reviews.
Homebase helps businesses track employee time and attendance thanks to features such as Employee Scheduling,Time Clock,Online Timesheet, Health & Safety Screening,Team Communication, and HR & Compliance.
At the time of writing, Homebase has:
- 913 reviews
- Average of 4.6 out of 5 stars
Two reviews that highlight how Homebase helps businesses track employee time and attendance are:
Click here to read all of Homebase’s Capterra reviews.
7. QuickBooks Time (Formerly TSheets)
Cut down on employee absences by using attendance sheet software like QuickBooks Time, formerly known as TSheets. Some of their key features include Time tracking, Scheduling, Payroll Integrations and Time Card Reports.
At the time of writing, QuickBooks Time has:
- 5261 reviews
- Average of 4.7 out of 5 stars
Two reviews that highlight how QuickBooks Time helps businesses track employee time and attendance are:
Click here to read all of QuickBooks Time’s Capterra reviews.
TimeCamp offers a large range of features to help you with attendance management, such as Real-Time Time Tracking, Timesheet Approvals, Attendance Tracking, Time Tracking Reports, Productivity Tracking and Easy Invoicing.
At the time of writing, TimeCamp has:
- 583 reviews
- Average of 4.7 out of 5 stars
Two reviews that highlight how TimeCamp helps businesses track employee time and attendance are:
Click here to read all of TimeCamp’s Capterra reviews.
9. When I Work
When I Work is a great attendance software, and it helps businesses keep track of time and attendance with features that include, but are not limited to Employee Scheduling, Employee Time Clock, Timesheets and Team Messaging.
At the time of writing, When I Work has:
- 1014 reviews
- average of 4.5 out of 5 stars
Two reviews that highlight how When I Work helps businesses track employee time and attendance are:
Click here to read all of When I Work’s Capterra reviews.
Note: We’re proud of what we’ve built at Buddy Punch, and it comes with features we would have liked to have ourselves, back when we struggled to track time and attendance for over 20 employees across three business locations. Click here to learn more about Buddy Punch and sign up for a free trial.
For more information about time tracking, check out our posts on:
- 5 Best Time Clock Kiosks
- 10 Best Clock In and Clock Out Apps for Small Businesses
- Best Employee Time Tracking Apps for iPhone and Android Devices
- Downsides of Using Excel Templates as Employee Attendance Trackers
- An In-Depth Look at the Best Web Based Time Tracking Software
- When to On Site Time Clock Software (Plus, an Alternative)