To this day I remember vividly a conversation my parents had when I was a teenager about the responsibility of balancing a check book.  My Dad, the CPA, was trying to explain to me how to document in my check book each check I wrote, subtract from my balance, review my monthly statements, and to ALWAYS know what my true balance was.  My Mother chuckled at the concept and described her method of not only balancing her check book, but also receiving a GREAT surprise at the end of the month.  She explained that with every purchase she made, she would round up and add it to the check book.  So if the cost of groceries was $154.28, she would document this as either $155 or if she didn’t have the receipt she would over round and make it $175.  At the end of the month she would be pleasantly surprised to find she had more money than she expected.  Of course to my father this was shocking.  This was money that could be invested and/or used to pay down any debt incurred elsewhere.  But to me and my Mom, it was like a little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully a little wiser, I have come to the conclusion that a combination of my parent’s ideas works the best.  If I round up my transactions and invest the difference, my money starts making money, which makes it an even bigger pot of gold.  Of course in the ’80’s this wouldn’t have been feasible.  Investing was not possible for the common person.  However with tools such as Quicken, Quickbooks, online banking, Sharebuilder, and my personal favorite ING, it is easier than ever to know exactly how much money you have at any given second in multiple accounts.  I could not imagine maintaining my personal account; checking, savings, stocks, etc, without my ING account, my BB&T online banking services, and my Quicken software.

In the business world I review labor very much the same way.  In the ’80’s and ’90’s we utilized punch cards to monitor the labor usage of our hourly staff at the amusement park.  The time clock punch cards were as reliable as the employees, so when times were off, who was to blame?  I would always think the employees were wasting time and not clocking in or out correctly.  The employees would blame the time clocks for the incorrect information.  In the end, we were spending so much time and money analyzing labor, it became clear we needed a better way.  So yes, we started rounding.  If an employee clocked in at 3:48, we rounded to 4:00.  It does not make much sense thinking about it today; however back then it made a lot of sense.  If we needed an employee clocked out by 4, then we sent them to wardrobe by 3:30, ensuring they would at least clock out prior to our rounding up.  We could then control our budget, because we knew all employees would be clocked out by our budgeted time and we were not spending additional time researching their correct clock in or clock out times. 

Very much like the banking industry where traditional check books have been replaced by electronic banking, the old punch cards have been replaced by sophisticated time clock and employee scheduling software.  Today time clock software can control “punching in and out” by a swipe of a card, an employee sign in using pin number and/or biometric fingerprint readers, which all but eliminate the possibility of a friend clocking them in or out.

At the end of the shift the time clock software will print the next scheduled shift for the employee to ensure you do not hear “I didn’t know I had to work”.  In addition the employee can print their entire shift, ask for time off, schedule switch, all through simple screen entry, and more importantly it is all captured for your records. 

The more feature rich time clock software packages also includes employee scheduling software.  With the addition of an employee scheduling software package, you can control how many minutes before a shift starts that an employee can clock in and how many minutes after a shift end that an employee can clock out.  Employee scheduling software also documents who works what position based on certification, time off requests, preferred scheduling requests, and much more, while controlling your budgeted labor hours and costs.  There is no more rounding!

I do not have specific figures because each operation is different.  However if by adding time clock and employee scheduling software you can save money by minimizing the labor it takes to calculate your weekly payroll, plus control the times the employees are allowed to clock in and out, while constantly monitoring your labor versus revenue; your bottom line will be affected.

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