Stop Employee Time Theft And Embezzlement With Automated Time And Attendance

Stop employee time theft

Antiquated paper time sheet

We caught wind of a news story today about a Stamford, CT woman who embezzled over $150,000 from her employer by falsifying payroll spreadsheets over the course of a four year period.  Apparently the woman was manually increasing the number of hours that she worked each week then manipulated composite reports so they would not show any increase in pay.  All told over the course of nearly four years, she overpaid herself $150,689 in salary and $11,528 in Social Security and Medicare benefits.

After reading this article, we wondered if the employer might have been able to avoid this employee time theft if they would have discontinued using paper time sheets and instead switched to an automated labor tracking system that included a biometric time clock component.  We have written previously about 5 reasons paper time sheets suck and why you should stop using them, clearly this story is a an example on how employers can mitigate risk by switching to automated payroll systems that eliminate data manipulation leading to exorbitant payroll losses.

Investing in an automated payroll system that includes a “soft” clock application that can be used with or without biometrics and acts as a custom employee time data collection interface is becoming a more attractive option for employers.  Our RightPunch™ soft clock application works seamlessly with many leading Workforce Management platforms, such as Kronos, ADP, Empower, Qqest, Insperity, and others, to collect offline time stamps, locally enforce schedule restrictions, and facilitate employee self-service (ESS) functions. It is a more affordable alternative to the traditional time clock and more sensible option to the antiquated paper time sheet system which can easily be exploited.  It is designed to eliminate employee time theft, increase productivity, reduce payroll error rates, and ensure compliance with labor tracking laws.  It also creates payroll efficiencies through automated data collection and submission, to prevent employees from falsifying data and cheating the system.

Could this be the right time for you to invest in an automated payroll system?  Have you ever suspected employees were cheating you by falsifying their time sheets?  What questions or comments can you share about your experiences?

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Not Use Biometric Technology

Despite the numerous benefits that biometric technology brings to the table for the many vertical markets that it serves, there are some reasons to NOT use biometric identification technology.  May seem strange for a biometric software developer to be listing reasons to not use their technology, but bear with us as we explain some reasons that biometrics just may not be the technology that can help your business.

 

Reason #1 – You do not understand how biometric technology works.

We will be the first to tell you that if you have not done your homework and proper due diligence on how biometric technology works and which software and hardware application is best suited for your business then it probably is not a good idea to use it.  As with any investment in technology, businesses should spend time researching options, asking questions, reading case studies, engaging with others that currently use the technology, and evaluating long term return on investment (ROI) potential.

After completing adequate research, you may find that biometrics is not best suited for your needs.  However most businesses discover that when weighed against the alternatives, biometrics is usually the most efficient and secure identification technology that offers the highest potential for maximum ROI.

Reason #2 – You think that biometric technology is a passing fad that will soon be replaced with yet another more technologically advanced identification.

The simple truth is that biometric identification technology is here to stay and will be around for a long time to come.  Whether it’s for time and attendance/workforce management, healthcare, banking, membership management, public safety or point of sale biometrics has continued to spread throughout many vertical markets and is increasingly recognized for the many benefits that it brings to businesses and governments that use it.  Furthermore, the global biometric market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% through 2013.

Biometrics is the only identification technology that can verify with near absolute certainty the identity of an individual.  As word spreads of the tangible benefits that biometrics offers and the truth about how the technology works becomes more understood, expect to see more deployments for businesses that wish to invest in a technology that establishes the efficiencies that they expect.

Reason #3 – You like losing 2 – 4% of your payroll each year to payroll error rates and time theft.

Employee time theft costs U.S. employers hundreds of billions of dollars per year and among the most egregious of time theft practices is buddy punching.  Buddy punching is a preventable facet of time theft and biometric technology is the perfect solution, eliminating the ability of employees to clock in and out for a colleague and significantly increasing productivity as a result.  Plus, biometrics is more secure and efficient than ID cards or personal identification numbers (PINs), helps to save the environment and ensures compliance with labor tracking laws.

Reason #4 – Security and safety of your employees is of no concern.

One of the major problems that barcode ID cards and PINs present is that they can be swapped, shared or stolen.  For example, barcode cards can be stolen and used for unauthorized access to secure areas of a business, jeopardizing the safety of other employees and acting as a catalyst for theft of merchandise, information or other assets.  Biometrics relies on human physiological characteristics for identification which can’t be swapped, shared or stolen creating a more safe and secure environment for you and for your employees.

Reason #5 – You don’t really care if anyone is held accountable for anything at anytime.

Of the many benefits that biometric identification technology offers its end users, establishing accountability is perhaps one of the top reasons to use it.  If the identification system you are using is archaic, subject to malfeasance and corrupting your staff by tempting them to abuse it for their own gain then why not consider incorporating a system that removes these inadequacies?  Biometric technology also ensures that there is a clear audit trail, thereby encouraging responsibility from your employees to act ethically and be accountable for their actions.

Take time to think about some of the problems in your business that biometric technology can solve.  Hopefully this post brought a few reasons to mind on how biometrics can help you.

What are some other reasons that biometrics would not be a benefit to your business?  Be creative…

 

Infographic: How Do Employees Steal Time?

Employee-Time-Theft

“ Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions.” –John Randoph

Time theft.  Widely considered the Achilles heel of employee productivity and profit maximization, it siphons billions of dollars a year from businesses all throughout the U.S.  Whether it’s checking a Facebook account, playing games like Sudoku during working hours, taking a longer than normal lunch break or fudging time sheets, time theft is a grave problem and difficult to remedy.  One of the most interesting revelations about time theft we discovered is that three out of four employees are guilty and most do it on a regular basis unchecked.  Moreover, our business culture is ingrained with the notion that a few minutes to check our personal e-mails or talking with a friend on our cell phones doesn’t do much harm.

Au contraire mon ami.  That extra 15 minutes spent at lunch can equate to an extra day of vacation every month.  Chitchatting with a co-worker about last night’s episode of American Idol?  The average employee wastes about 4.5 hours per week on socializing and lollygagging, the equivalent of a six week vacation every year.

Ever wonder exactly how much money your business may be losing to employee time theft?  We did too.  We conducted some research, crunched the numbers and present you with this Infographic highlighting some of the gory details.  Don’t give up hope though.  There are plenty of technological advancements available that curb sources of time theft.  Perhaps these statistics and revelations will stir you enough to take action and turn your Chatty Cathies and Surfing Steves into more productive employees.  Or perhaps they won’t.  What the heck, it’s only money.

Learn how you can take control of your payroll and start saving money by visiting:   http://www.m2sys.com/rightpunch-biometric-time-clock.htm

What other creative examples can you come up with of how employees steal time?  Please share them with us in the comments section below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Video: Biometric Time and Attendance Deployment Nets 300% ROI for KRONOS Customer

As unbelievable as it may sound, we discovered that one of our end users that is currently using our RightPunch time and attendance platform in conjunction with KRONOS Workforce Central time software has achieved a 300% Return On Investment in the first year of using biometrics.

Recently we had a chance to sit down with their Associate Director of Payroll Services and ask a few questions about what their condition was prior to using biometrics, the benefits they realized after instituting a biometric time and attendance system, employee reaction and future plans.  Here is what they had to say:

Workforce Management Biometrics For Emergency Medical Services

This guest post was submitted by ZOLL, the leading provider of solutions that help fire and EMS organizations of all sizes optimize their people, processes, and technology, leading to clinical excellence and business success.

This post was written by Tara Delone, Marketing Manager at ZOLL.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS), as in many industries, is starting to realize the benefits of using a biometric device for employees to sign into various applications.  ZOLL has partnered with M2SYS to integrate biometric identification technology with our time and attendance software solution that helps organizations optimize their crew scheduling needs and reduces cost at the same time boosting crew satisfaction, reducing overtime cost, improving schedule compliance, and increasing payroll accuracy.  With the addition of  biometric technology EMS organizations can also increase security, reduce or illuminate fraud or buddy punching, eliminate problems with lost ID cards or hard to remember passwords and boost efficiency when punching in/out of the application.

Increasingly, biometric technology is becoming more prevalent in EMS environments due to the distinct advantages that it offers and the efficiencies it creates.  Bill Savidge from Hart to Heart Ambulance, Inc. in Forest Hills, MD states,“ While no system is “fail safe”, Hart to Heart is greatly impressed by the functionality of  biometric technology for tracking time and attendance.  Biometric hardware is extremely durable and fairly priced. The biggest advantage is the simple seconds it takes to punch in/out daily vs. an employee actually using a physical time card or some type of hand typed punch system…..as we know, seconds add to minutes and to hours, especially in our business.  Biometrics tied in with ZOLL’s Crew Scheduler, have been a welcome addition and a vital cog in how Hart to Heart pays employees and keeps track of time to the second.”

For more information or a demo of EMS time and attendance software please visit Zoll’s Web site.

Could your EMS environment benefit from biometric technology for time and attendance?  What types of cost savings could you realize from using biometrics?

 

The Top 5 Ways KRONOS Customers Can Kick Butt With RightPunch From M2SYS

What Is RightPunch?

This just in.  BIG news being reported from the PC-based time and attendance workforce management market. M2SYS Technology has developed a customized biometric identification platform to interface with Workforce Timekeeper from KRONOS and customers are happier than Las Vegas bookies during March Madness.  The product is called RightPunch, and it is paying ginormous dividends for KRONOS customers who are choosing PC-based biometric time clocks as part of their workforce management software strategy.

RightPunch is a flexible, PC-based biometric time clock that has all of the features of a wall mounted biometric time clock at a fraction of the cost.  Without requiring any developments or upgrades, RightPunch instantly interfaces with Workforce Timekeeper offering offline punch captures, schedule verification and automated biometric template distribution to support “floating” employees.  Plus, biometric identification is powered by Hybrid Biometrics, which supports fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein, and iris recognition to ensure 100% employee read rates.

Top 5 Benefits Of Using RightPunch

#1 – Increase in employee productivity by eliminating “buddy punching.

#2 – Reductions in payroll inflation and payroll error rates.

#3 – Increase in security, efficiency and environmental conscientiousness by eliminating ID cards or PINs.

#4 – Reliability – 100% of employees are consistently recognized and authenticated.

#5 – Ensure compliance with labor tracking laws.

Read more about how biometric identification technology from M2SYS is paying huge dividends  for a current KRONOS customer using Workforce Timekeeper.

Is saving money, time and resources important to your business?  If you are a KRONOS Workforce Timekeeper customer, get in on the action and ask about RightPunch, the PC-based biometric time clock interface from M2SYS.

 

What Does The Recent Unrest In The Middle East/Northern Africa And Biometric Technology Have In Common?

 

Suppression Of A Society Will Take Its Toll

Unless you have been living under the proverbial rock recently, chances are you caught wind of the unrest, protests and civic rebellions that are sweeping across the Middle East and Northern Africa.  First it was Tunisia then Egypt followed by Bahrain and now Libya.  Countries that are fed up with oppression  and living under the rule of dictatorships, oligarchies and autocratic rule are rising up and defying government power in an effort to force change, modernize their economies and provide citizens with a voice in their society.

For these countries and others crying out for change, demanding reform and putting the wheels in motion to make it happen it can be a frightening and anxious experience knowing that the actions they are taking are necessary and will pay tremendous dividends in the future but the short term implications can be difficult adjustments and fraught with uncertainty.  However, these rebellions have been years in the making and whispered about clandestinely in social circles for many years.  Revolt in Tunisia seemed to be the tipping point for the rest of these countries to follow suit and summon the courage to act themselves against their tyrannical regimes.

The Current And Future State Of Biometric Technology

The unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa got us thinking about parallels that we can draw from these events to the biometric technology market.  Modern biometric technology applications are revolutionary scientific breakthroughs in identification technology, with the ability to accurately identify an individual that is unsurpassed by any other identification technology on the market.  It is currently being used in some capacity by countries all over the globe through a wide variety of governmental and commercial deployments.

From border security, workforce management, membership management, retail point of sale, public safety, healthcare to banking – biometrics is slowly permeating our lives to boost security, create efficiencies, improve productivity and save money (among many other benefits for applicable vertical markets).  However, in certain countries it is being rejected and questioned on the grounds that it violates individual privacy rights and the validity of capturing and storing biometric identification characteristics of an individual without any plausible governmental data collection guidelines and laws in place.

These are valid arguments and ones that should be debated and resolved for biometrics to be more readily accepted.  However, these issues will not stop biometric technology from being the steam engine of future secure individual identification.  It is inevitable that biometrics will become more widely adopted and replace identification technologies such as barcode cards, personal identification numbers (PINs) and RFID technology.  There simply is no other technology that is neither comparable nor as convenient as biometrics.

The Connection

Just as the citizens of countries spread out across the Middle East and Northern Africa are rebelling for change and a better way of life, businesses are using biometric technology to halt unscrupulous practices that are draining their profits and polluting their environments.  Countries and companies across the globe are putting their foot down and saying , “Enough!”  They are tired of seeing things like fraud, time theft, shrink and buddy punching sap their profits.  They are seeking technological competitive advantages to increase operational efficiencies, establish accountability, build customer loyalty and achieve higher returns on investment in infrastructure.  Businesses and governments are abandoning the old ways of identification, those archaic and administrative intensive Stone Age methodologies and beginning to adopt modern technologies that offer far more benefits.

While we could never understate the importance and impact of the events that are unfolding in the Middle East and Northern Africa, we can draw some interesting comparisons to the present state and  how the future of biometric technology will unfold.

What do you think?  Are there some similarities you can draw from the unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa that you can compare to your market?

Calling All Retailers – Please Take Our True/False Quiz

The M2SYS Technology True/False Quiz part deux.  I’m sure our loyal readers have been on the edge of their seats since our first True/False Quiz post – 5 months ago.  Yes, the Rip Van Winkle of blog posts series has finally awakened. Here is a link to the quiz – http://apps.facebook.com/fanappz/quiz/take?id=5132

So how did you do?  If you are here at our blog that means you clicked on the link to learn more details on why a question was true or false.  If you are visiting our blog first – then please click on the link above for the quiz, then come back and see the detailed answers below.  No cheating by looking at the answers before taking the quiz!!

Here are the detailed answers to the questions:

1.  Finger vein and palm vein are too expensive as an alternative to fingerprint technology.

Answer – False

Finger vein and palm vein technology are referred to as “vascular biometrics” which relies on capturing an image of the vein pattern beneath the finger or palm with near infrared light and using that image as the basis for individual identification.  Unlike fingerprint technology, integrity of the skin is not an issue with vascular biometrics.  In addition, vascular biometrics is definitely an affordable alternative to fingerprint.

2.  Using biometric technology can help save the environment.

Answer – True

Each year, Americans waste enough paper to build a 12-foot wall of paper from New York to California.  One way to reduce the amount of paper used in a business is to switch from antiquated paper and pen time and attendance techniques to biometric based desktop time and attendance software. Another way you can use biometrics to help the environment is by switching from plastic membership cards to a biometric check in system.

3.  Indonesia is currently using biometric technology to curb violence in bars and nightclubs.

Answer – False

It’s actually Australia.  Ok, so this question is not so retailish but pertinent nonetheless.  Australia is currently launching an ambitious public safety program where bars and nightclubs can opt into a biometric identification initiative that requires all patrons to submit their fingerprint in order to gain entry to the establishment.  So far, it’s received positive reviews.

4.  It is possible to achieve a 300% ROI (return on investment) during the 1st year of using biometric technology.

Answer – True

One of our end users actually achieved a 300% return on investment during the first year they used biometric technology for time and attendance! Cal Poly Pomona uses M2SYS biometric technology with its KRONOS time and attendance software which has eliminated buddy punching, boosted staff productivity and decreased backlogs.

5.  Biometric technology can help a retailer with PCI Compliance.

Answer – True

Biometric technology offers merchants an opportunity to incorporate a level of authentication security that is unsurpassed in the industry.  Biometrics relies on physiological characteristics (fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein, iris recognition, etc.) to identify an individual’s identity rather than something you know (personal identification number or PIN) or something you have (credit or debit card).  Due to the fact that anyone can steal your credit or debit card and obtain your PIN for fraudulent transactions, biometric technology is the only true way to identify someone with near absolute certainty.

6.  Using biometric technology can enhance customer loyalty.

Answer – True

Instituting a biometric identification system, especially in a retail environment, builds customer loyalty.  To help combat fraud, biometrics is used as part of an overarching plan that helps keeps prices low and customers happy.

7.  Biometric technology is about as secure as barcode cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

Answer – False

Biometric technology is much more secure than barcode cards and personal identification numbers.  Read this post and you be the judge.

8.  Buddy punching can equate to 2 – 5% of total expenditures.

Answer – True

Don’t believe us?  Check out our dedicated web page on eliminating buddy punching and plug the numbers to see for yourself.

9.  Loss prevention in the retail sector is a good application of biometric technology.

Answer – True

The simple fact is that employees steal from businesses.  The numbers speak for themselves – employee dishonesty costs American business in excess of $50 billion annually and 20% of every dollar earned by a U.S. company is lost to employee theft.  Biometrics can help to curb this by eliminating the swapping of barcode cards and PIN’s and securing access to authorized only areas of a retail establishment.

10. Capturing an individual’s biometric information is tantamount to a violation of their privacy.

Answer – False

Biometric identity enrollment templates stored on a server or computers are not actually images at all.  They are a mathematical representation of the data points that a biometric algorithm extracts from the scanned fingerprintfinger veinpalm vein or iris.  The identity template is simply a binary data file, a series of zeros and ones.  The algorithm then uses the template to positively identify an individual during subsequent fingerprint scans.  No image is ever stored or transmitted across a network.

To the credit of those that fear privacy invasion, the real fear is that mass quantities of biometric information can be captured at once from hacking into a private industry biometrics system.  In addition, they fear the idea that biometric information cannot be changed if compromised, unlike something like a social security or bank account number.  We feel that this is a valid point, and one that’s difficult to refute however all biometric data is stored using the AES 128 bit encryption algorithm.

Hope you enjoyed installment #2 of our “Biometric True/False Quiz Questions” series.  More future quizzes to come…

Top 5 Reasons Paper Time Sheets Suck And Why You Should Replace Them

Some rights reserved by hawaii

Surprisingly, many businesses still rely on paper time sheets for employees to track their attendance on the job.  Not only is using time sheets so “Triassic”, many businesses aren’t quite sure how to go about effectively looking for a time and attendance software solution to vault themselves into the 21st Century and put a stop to the abuse that paper time sheets present.  Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 reasons using paper time sheets sucks and why you should consider replacing them.

Reason #1 – Paper Time Sheets Cause Payroll Clerical Errors

Payroll staff often times make gaffes when trying to interpret the scribble they come across on paper time sheets.  “Is that a 1 or a 7?”  “This name looks like John Smith but the handwriting is so sloppy it could be Jane Smith – which person do I give credit to for hours worked?”  “I can’t read that number, the ink smudged when someone spilled Red Bull on the sign in sheet.  Looks like a 5 to me.”  “The faxed timesheet I received is blotted, but I don’t have time to reconcile it before payroll is due, I’ll just mark this employee for his regular hours worked based on past time sheets.”

Using paper time sheets often times causes unnecessary interpretation errors and the chance for human error is multiplied when hours are re-entered into a payroll system  This can lead to over or understating time that employees worked causing unnecessary problems and losses.

Reason #2 – Paper Time Sheets Cause Losses in Productivity

Imagine a payroll staff that has to constantly chase down employees for their time sheets especially at satellite locations, scrambling to interpret hours worked and illegible handwriting so payroll submission deadlines can be met.  How about the extra time that it takes payroll staff to enter hours worked by re-keying the data into a computer payroll software program?  What other productive tasks could those payroll employees be doing in the absence of paper time sheets?

One of our end users had payroll staff that used to spend an entire weekend transferring  payroll data to Excel spreadsheets so they could meet their deadlines.

Reason #3 – Employees Lie On Their Time Sheets

Who?  My employees?  Never!  The truth is that according to a survey by the American Payroll Association, the average business wastes 4% of its payroll in clerical errors (see Reason #1) and improperly recorded time.  In fact, time theft through buddy punching affects 75% of businesses in the U.S. and can cost a business up to 7% of gross payroll annually.  For example, if your payroll is $500,000, that’s $35,000 per year.  Yikes.

Reason #4 – Paper Timesheets Lead To Inaccurate Job Costs

As John Meibers pointed out in a recent blog posting:

The lag time associated with paper-based field data collection delays job cost updates. And having inaccurate job costs makes project management tasks more difficult and accurate projections particularly challenging. Diligent project managers often keep their own job cost logs in spreadsheets to aid their decision-making. While admirable, one might argue whether this is really the best use of a project manager’s time.”

Enough said.  Well put John.

Reason #5 – Paper Time Sheets Get Lost, Misplaced Or Damaged

Relying on paper time Sheets for time and attendance is like giving someone a piece of paper, asking them to go for a three mile jog in shorts and a t-shirt in the pouring rain with only an umbrella and to return with the paper undamaged and dry.  Sure, you have no doubt that they will do their best to protect that piece of paper and it’s certainly possible that they could keep the paper dry, but what if a sudden wind gust blows it out of their hand or blows the rain sideways?  What if a car drives by and splashes them before they can protect the paper with the umbrella? Why set yourself up for failure by relying on paper time sheets that are prone to getting lost, misplaced or damaged?

Meeting payroll deadlines is tight, steadfast and one of the most crucial aspects of running a successful business.  Why risk missing it or submit an erroneous payroll summary?  Unhappy, unpaid employees = poor business performance.  Overpaid employees = angry business owners/shareholders.

How To Solve The Problem

Invest in biometric time and attendance solutions.  Biometric identification for time and attendance increases productivity, eliminates buddy punching, lowers costs, increases speed, boosts operational efficiencies, helps to achieve higher returns on investment and establishes accountability.  Please take a moment to browse some of our previous blog posts by clicking on one of the underlined words in the previous sentence and learn more about how biometric technology is a smart move after ditching your paper timesheets.

The dinosaurs would be proud that you moved on.

Please share with us your most tragic paper timesheet story in the comment section below.  We are all ears….

Fingerprint Technology – Not A “One Size Fits All”

Fingerprint or vascular biometric technology?

In yesterday’s biometric news, I ran across a story published by 234next.com, an online Central Africa news resource published by Timbuktu Media Group.  The article, entitled “Obasanjo, Mark unable to register” reports on difficulties that the country of Nigeria is experiencing in it’s ambitious project to register all of the eligible voters in the country through biometric technology. Apparently, both the former President and the President of the Senate’s fingerprints could not be recognized by the fingerprint readers being used for registration.  A little embarrassing  for the biometric technology company in charge of the project and probably doesn’t do much to instill confidence in voters that biometric technology is a viable option for voter registration.  Heck, just read some of the comments and you can plainly see that some Nigerians are distressed over this issue.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post.  Biometric fingerprint technology is excellent.  In most cases, it works well and provides a great modality for end users to deploy.  However, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.  Studies have shown that approximately 5% of the population do not have fingerprints that can be read by a fingerprint reader, even modern ones that use cutting edge sensor technology (the sensor in a fingerprint reader can be likened to a camera that captures an image of the fingerprint for matching purposes).

Other factors such as environment, age and ethnicity can also affect fingerprint integrity causing prints to be unreadable for certain people.  However, the dawn of vascular biometric technology has helped to alleviate this problem by using near infrared light to capture a finger vein or palm vein pattern beneath the skin surface to identify an individual.  This bypasses the need to have quality fingerprints in order to successfully use a biometric identification system and allows end users to use biometrics in environments that otherwise are not conducive to fingerprint technology.

Are you considering biometric technology for your business, possibly in a workforce management capacity for time and attendance? Take a close look at your conditions and consult with an expert on whether fingerprint technology will be successful for your needs.

We are here to help if you need advice or consultation.  Contact us and we can discuss your needs and at the very least, help you decide which modality is the best for you so you can shop around for the best offer.

Have you had any negative experiences with fingerprint technology you can share?  Let us know in the comments below.