Time Tracking vs Time and Attendance Software – Where’s the main difference?
There are numerous online solutions available for tracking the hours employees put into their work, generally known as “workforce management tools”.
Although grouped under one umbrella term, they are fundamentally different in purpose and functionality.
Such tools could roughly be divided into two categories: Time and Attendance, and Project Time tracking systems.
Spica offers both
of these software solutions, each of which are cloud based:
After being in touch with hundreds of satisfied clients, we’ve noticed that in beginning when deciding on which solution to try and then regularly use, our (potential) customers can get a little bit confused between the two.
They look for certain functionalities in one app and vice versa, and so, we’ve decided to help out with some examples of what each of our tools can do for you.
Use case for an employee attendance and time tracking system
To be as practical as possible, let’s say that you own a website design company with 30 employees. This means that you employ web developers, graphic designers, marketing experts, administrators, HR …
Your company works for different clients, which you bill at different rates for different projects. Some employees work from home, others are present in the office, and now you need the right tools for time management.
Now let's look which tool you would use for what when it comes to workforce management.
All Hours: the time and attendance solution.
First of all, you need to prepare paychecks for your employees, and to do that you need to comply with state working time regulations.
This means being able to demonstrate that your employees do not work unauthorized overtime and that they are granted at least the legal minimum vacation days and breaks.
With All Hours, your employees use a time clock or a clocking app to register their arrivals, departures, and breaks. The sum of their total hours is calculated in real-time.
When you set a daily hourly plan, you can monitor and record overtime. You can also download timesheets when you need to prepare paychecks for your employees.
Employees file their leave requests (sick leave, vacation, etc.) via the web app, or the mobile app, which are then approved or denied by an administrator. You can assign team administrators to different departments.
All Hours keeps track of the remaining vacation days, which are available for the administrator and the employee to see at any time. It’s also easy to see who’s currently present at work.
You can set working times and core hours when you want everyone to be present at work (say for a weekly sync meeting) and be notified if someone is absent without permission. You can also apply different settings for different departments and even personalize them for individual employees.
Time and attendance software solution is most often used for:
- Accurate registration of time and attendance; namely arrivals and departures from work, lunch breaks, business trips, remote work, and more. This also gives you a good overview of who is present in the company and who is not.
- Managing and logging annual leave, vacation days, holidays, sick leave, and any other absences.
- Managing and optimizing payroll.
Attendance tracing isn’t anything new, rather one of the oldest HR processes in business, but before software solutions, employees did it on paper timecards.
With the rise of computers, attendance tracking was later done in spreadsheets, and some companies still use them, even though they are quite impractical. Today the majority of companies use dedicated software solutions such as All Hours.
My Hours: a project-based time tracking app
Project time-tracking solutions are used for much more detailed tracking of how time at work is spent.
The main purpose of time tracking is not just to know when an employee is present at work, but to know how they spend their time during the working day, and on which projects and tasks each employee is working.
My Hours is such a real-time time tracker. You can track time on the tasks performed as part of different projects for an unlimited number of clients.
You can delegate tasks to your team members and monitor their progress, and you will get detailed activity reports and be able to generate invoices for your clients at different stages of the project.
You can of course set different billing rates for your projects as well. For example, you can set a project-based rate of $20 per hour, which means that every hour tracked on this project will be billed at this $20 rate.
If you wanted the rates of your designers to be higher than the rates of your support team for example, you would set a team member-based rate. The third option is a task-based rate, where you set different rates for different tasks so, for example, your web developer Harry can do some website coding at a $40 hourly rate and website testing at a $20 hourly rate.
My Hours also allows you to keep track of your remaining project budget – whether in total project funds or in total project hours.
My Hours is also great for optimizing time, since you can see exactly where time is ‘leaking’ – for example you might find that your employees spend 2 hours a day replying to in house e-mails and you could consider optimizing communications in that case.
Time tracking software is most often used for:
- Tracking time on projects and tasks
- Organizing work and coordinating work on projects
- Visualizing and optimizing how time is spent in a company
- Reporting and billing clients
Comparison table - time and attendance vs time tracking
|Employee Time Clock|
|Sick leave management|
|Leave requests system|
|Work time settings|
|Daily hourly plan settings|
|Requested time settings|
|Tracking time on Projects|
|Tracking time on Tasks|
|Tracking time for unlimited Clients|
|Delegating tasks to team members|
|Labor costs and expenses|
We hope the difference between time and attendance and time tracking software solutions is clearer now.
If you have experience with both systems in your company and we have forgotten any of the differences between time tracking and time attendance, please write to us and we will add them to the list.