The Best Time Tracking for Payroll Records

6 min readDec 31, 2020
Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

When keeping your payroll records, you must include timing records for reference if you ever need to look back on payments or in the case of an audit by the Department of Labor. Having payroll record files on-hand will cover your business, as you will have all evidence necessary to demonstrate that you are properly paying your employees their fair earned wages as agreed upon their hire. This is also important for tax payment references.

If an employee ever recognizes a flaw in their payment, whether it’s less than the amount they thought it should be, or far more than normal, you can reference their timesheets with their work hours for the weeks covered in the payroll period.

That’s why properly tracking your employees’ time worked and having documents with these listed hours is necessary for businesses to cover themselves. Tracking time will also ensure they’re properly compensated for their time and efforts committed to your business. Protect your employees and hold yourself accountable with time tracking strategies that prove you are following labor law regulations.

When it comes to hourly, minimum wage requirements, overtime or time-off payments, useful time tracking will assist you. Evidence of time tracking will be necessary to keep in your payroll records during their employment and after for a committed period of time.

Here are effective time tracking methods to implement for your business payroll records:

Shift Timesheets

This is a simple, basic method for approaching your time tracking. There are plenty of useful templates available designed for simple filling-in. On these sheets, your employees will enter the time when they start their work (not necessarily when they arrive, but when they actually start their shift.) They’ll also sign their break time, and when they restart, work afterward. Your staff will also mark when they have completed this shift.

On these timesheets, you can add the total work hours to keep in payroll records. They’re useful for monitoring daily and weekly hours, which will make it easy for you or your accounting team to process employees’ payments.

These sheets can be completed through online platforms, saved documents/templates or pen and paper for physical tracking. Depending on if your team is working remotely or in the office, you will want to choose the most convenient timesheet system that works for your business.

Tracking Location

A more modern time tracking system that businesses are using is location-based tracking. This is known as geofencing or geotracking. This tracking system works with a phone’s GPS and automatic clock timing through an app. When your employee is within your workplace vicinity, the clock will automatically start timing. When they step away, they will be clocked out.

This automatic GPS tracking is convenient, and depending on your office setting, can be effective. However, if it still takes 15 minutes for your employees to get inside, take the elevator and get to their desk, this may not be the best time tracking tool. It could lead to time theft and paying more than you should to employees. Your employees may also level concerns about their privacy.

With the data saved from geotracking, you will have the information necessary to keep in your payroll records for proper payment processing and to protect your own business in case of audits.

Clocking In-and-Out

Traditionally clocking in-and-out is an easy, manageable method for time tracking. Your employees will be able to do this when they are ready to begin their shift, leave for their break, clock back in and finish the rest of their workday.

  • Digital: With a punch-in and punch-out station in your workplace, your employees can punch a personal code that they’ve chosen or been assigned. By simply typing a code for the start, breaks and the end of their shift, their hours are tracked efficiently for your records.
  • Biometric: Make this system easy for your staff with fingerprint or facial recognition. This will benefit you because it will prevent time theft schemes or tricks like having a coworker punching in on their behalf when they’re not present or working.
  • Wall-mounted card swiping: Your staff can use their employee card to start their clock and stop it. By swiping their card, your employee can efficiently clock in and out without hassle.

The clock-in/out system’s possible issue is that it relies on your employees’ proper use. It leaves room for error with the possibility that they will forget to start or end tracking their hours or possible trick systems, so they are being paid without actually working.

Clock-in systems will leave you with either physical records for your payroll filing or digital documents. You can add these to employee payroll records and keep them secure for your employees’ protection.

Time Tracking Software

Digital time tracking through effective software platforms can make it easy for you and your employees. They don’t need to clock in and out with excessive conscious effort. Instead, it may take a simple click of a button or automatic processing, so no hours go untracked.

You have multiple options for time tracking software use:


Automatic time tracking software may involve scheduled tracking, so there is no need for your team to activate their timer or clock in and out. This type of software could be convenient for you, as it involves background monitoring of your employees’ online activity.

If your team is working remotely, automatic tracking is an effective way to watch their productivity levels. Some apps involve URL-tracking, where the clock stops if your employee is on a website that’s not related to work. That way, there is no room for time theft.

You can even choose to track your workers’ timing secretly with incognito automatic tracking. However, this can be quite invasive on their privacy. Furthermore, if your employees learned you were doing this, your relationship could be impaired as they may feel you do not trust them.

Automatic time tracking will give you automated documents with calculated total daily and weekly hours to keep your payroll records.


Manual software will include your team’s ability to log their hours by inputting them in a timesheet for you to monitor. Your employees will share their daily work hours for your payroll records so they can be fairly compensated for their work.

Manual time tracking software will give your business all the necessary resources for monitoring your team’s work hours and progress on their daily tasks or deadlines. You can keep all records of these logged hours for efficient payroll processing without mistaking any details.

Rely on actiTIME for Your time tracking and Payroll Records

actiTIME offers an efficient manual time tracking system with timesheets and other useful resources for you to monitor your staff productivity, review and approve requested time off or vacation dates and more. You can organize and sort timesheets for your payroll records to ensure your business has the appropriate files as a reference for any payment inquiries or audits.

Online timesheet interface in actiTIME where every user can select task parameters they want to see in their timesheets

actiTIME helps with time tracking and project management, billing your clients, and other accounting matters like your revenue and costs. To begin effectively tracking your employees’ work hours for the proper payment process, start your actiTIME free trial now.




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