Accountability in Mobile Time Tracking–Approvals and Audit Trails

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Welcome to the latest edition of MobileTime, a blog about the issues affecting mobile time tracking and industry in general.  Our goal for this blog is to provide useful, helpful information presented in a concise format to our customers and all others who might benefit. Today’s article is the last in a series of posts that deals with internal controls embedded in mobile time tracking systems.

Have you ever wondered what internal control features make for a safe, secure mobile time tracking application? One that you can depend on to give you an accurately recorded, properly disbursed payroll. In this issue we will focus on the role of signatures, approvals and audit trails in assuring valid payroll data.

How do you keep from having disputes with employees regarding who worked what hours, and how do you handle a situation where an employee does dispute his hours worked? Without any supporting evidence, it comes down to one person’s testimony against another’s, a very untenable situation at best. This is exactly why many companies require their employees to attest, in writing, to the number of hours worked. This can be accomplished regardless of whether the time tracking method used is paper-based or digital.  This signing usually is prefaced by some sort of accompanying text that may read something like “I certify that the hours shown here are correct and that all work has been performed with no injuries.

” With the pre-requisite signatures in place, confusion and disagreement can be easily avoided!

In addition to employee signatures, many companies require time record approvals by management personnel, often at multiple levels. Most often, a foremen out in the field will approve his crew’s time records since he is most familiar with how long they worked, what jobs they worked on, and what tasks they performed along with other peripheral information.  The foreman’s records may then be reviewed and approved by a project manager or superintendent who has overall responsibility for the associated jobs or projects, and lastly, final approval may be done by the payroll or accounting manager to assure that all business and payroll rules have been properly applied.

What happens when someone changes the hours worked for an employee in your time tracking software? Will you know what was changed, who made the change, and when the change was made? Without this information, the adequacy of the accountability of your system really comes into question. Changes can be made at any time to your records and no one will have a clue as to the source of those changes, much less what changes were made. That is why it is crucial that your time tracking software contain features that provide a clear audit trail capable of establishing the facts pertaining to any changes made.

Employee signatures, multi-level approvals, and audit trails can not only strengthen the internal controls associated with a mobile time tracking application, they can prevent potential disputes regarding the hours worked by employees of the company. Does your time tracking system incorporate these very important controls?

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