This week, we’re looking at Time and Attendance systems for small businesses. We chose stratustime as our overall best solution for small businesses but we recognize that not every business will be able to accommodate the costs of stratustime in their operating budget.
We think it’s important to acknowledge that not all businesses have a need for time and attendance systems and you should think carefully about whether such software will bring about a demonstrable return on investment prior to investing in it. If, however, you do need time and attendance software but don’t really have a huge budget to bring to bear on it – the best budget time and attendance system for small businesses is uAttend.
Why Did We Choose uAttend?
We chose uAttend for a variety of factors and these include:
uAttend is owned by Processing Point inc. which was founded in 2005 and is based in Carlsbad, California. While the company hasn’t been around as long as stratustime’s parent – technology companies that are over a decade old are normally very stable and offer a reliable service which is unlikely to disappear overnight. This is pretty important as you don’t want to have to keep changing services once you’ve implemented one because training and development costs time and money.
Value for Money
We picked uAttend as our best budget service for time and attendance for small businesses because it’s incredibly good value for money. You can set up for 10 employees for less than $20 a month and up to 100 employees is only $99 a month. That’s about half to a quarter of the price of stratustime.
Despite the low price; there’s no lack of options for clocking in and out. You can use time clocks, web browsers, smartphones or telephones for staff to register themselves present.
This is unusual. Many time and attendance packages aimed at smaller businesses with tight budgets don’t offer traditional time clock support – they save money by sticking to web based solutions.
We also liked the fact that uAttend supports shift scheduling as part of the standard package and project specific scheduling too.
However, it’s worth noting that there are some additional charges that you can incur when using uAttend. If you use more than two time clocks; it costs an extra $10/month for each additional time clock. And if you want more than one administrator account for uAttend that’s $6 a month per additional admin.
You also have to pay 6-8 cents every time someone clocks in by telephone. Then there’s a $5 fee per month if you want to use the payroll export function.
None of this makes uAttend significantly more expensive but it’s worth bearing in mind when doing your cost analysis.
There are two other nice aspects of uAttend’s pricing. There is no set up fee involved and given that some companies charge $1,000+ for this – that’s a big saving (possibly equivalent to the first year or two’s usage charges). They also offer very good value hardware; their time clocks are between $100 and $300 to buy that’s substantially lower than the market rate for time and attendance providers.
Ease of Use and Functionality
uAttend is cloud-based software. That means you access it online and there’s no local installation required. As with many cloud-based internet applications – it’s very straightforward to use. The tab and menu structure is cleanly labeled and it’s quite clear what does what from the instant you start using it.
There’s also a mobile app which can be installed on iOS, Android and Blackberry handsets but not on Windows phones. This can be used by employees not just to check in but to pick up their schedule ands monitor their productivity too.
uAttend also integrates easily with a wide-range of payroll services and that means you won’t need to spend hours messing about with your accounting software to get the payroll data moved from one system to another; though as we’ve already stated – this functionality does come at an extra cost of $5/month.
You also get a reasonable range of reporting and analytical tools so that you can make better use of the time and attendance data within your organization. Managers and leaders should be able to spot trends and identify potential problems easily.
Finally, it’s easy to configure the system to ensure that users can only clock in or out in specific geographic areas preventing them from gaming the system and clocking in when they’re not where they’re supposed to be.
As with all forms of software; you want to be sure when you purchase it that you’re going to be able to get some help when things go wrong. Customer support is a big deal for business critical applications and you won’t get much value out of your time and attendance software if it isn’t working properly.
The good news is that uAttend’s customer support is excellent. Their reps are generally helpful and have enough specific knowledge that they can answer every question with the kind of detail that you would expect from a knowledgeable support agent.
Their live help services are available over the phone from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday (EST) and they also provide a decent level of manuals and guides on their website when there’s no-one available so you can troubleshoot problems yourself.
Drawbacks of Using uAttend
Given its excellent price point you could be forgiven for expecting a long list of drawbacks when it comes to uAttend; we couldn’t find much to complain about.
We’d like to see, as with many software providers that we review, longer customer support hours and particularly some coverage on weekends if not later into the day. We’d also like to see the e-mail style notifications that serve as an alert to employees reaching an overtime threshold that other software seems to send.
Overall, uAttend is superb value for money and holds its own in the highly competitive time and attendance system market.