Thursday, May 27, 2010

Using Time Clock Software Over the Internet

We get a lot of questions from businesses regarding using their employee time clock software from different locations. Sometimes they've got a couple of stores across town, or maybe it's a dental group practicing in several different cities, and other times it's a small business owner wanting to do payroll from home. With all these scenarios, businesses are looking for the same thing: they want all their time clock program data available from a single, centralized place. I should be able to clock in at Store A, then drive across town and clock out at Store B and have all of my hours worked show on a single timecard software report. That's the advantage of using Virtual TimeClock software over the Internet.

There are 2 requirements for setting up a remote time clock:
  • Obtain a static IP address from your ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  • Setup a port forward on your router

The key to remote access is to open a port on your router to allow remote time clock software clients to connect using the static IP address of your router. The router then sends the information to the time clock server. This is commonly known as 'port forwarding'. For information on setting up a port forward, take a look at the user's guide that came with your router, call your ISP, or visit helpful websites like

Server Location Setup
  1. Launch your Virtual TimeClock Server app and note the TCP IP address and port in use by the time clock software on your network.
  2. Access your router configuration settings and note the WAN static IP address assigned by your ISP.
  3. Setup a new port forward on your router using the IP address and port noted in number 1 above.

Remote Location Setup
  1. Install and launch your Virtual TimeClock Pro Client app.
  2. From the File menu, choose Connect Manually To Server.
  3. Enter the WAN IP address and port, then click Connect.

More detailed information about using network time clock software over the Internet can be found on our website.

Jeff Morrow
Time and Attendance Specialist

Friday, May 21, 2010

Importing New Time Clock Software Users

For most companies, it takes just a few minutes to get their new Virtual TimeClock software setup and ready to use. New users can be added manually at anytime. If you have lots of users, you may want to import them directly into your new time and attendance software.

Remember, Virtual TimeClock users include anyone who uses and manages the time clock software. This includes anyone who uses the employee time clock to clock in and out, managers who need to keep an eye on worker activities, and administrators who have access to all time clock software functions.

You can import users by creating a comma separated value (CSV) text file. You can use Excel, Numbers, or a text editor to create and format the import file. Each line within the file represents a user, and each comma represents a different field for that user. Unused fields may be empty as long as the line contains exactly 12 commas separating the 13 fields. Each password must be unique and the department name must already be setup in your time clock program. Create a CSV file using the format below.

Fields are imported in the following order:
Last Name,First Name,Middle Name,Address,City,State,Zip Code,Home Telephone,Employee Number,Social Security Number,Password,Wage,Department Name

  1. From the File menu, choose Import.
  2. Click the Select button and browse to the CSV file you've already created.
  3. Select the file and click Open.
  4. Now click the Import button.
  5. Click OK to confirm that the import was successful.
  6. Add additional user information in the Users list window.

Virtual TimeClock '10 Release 1.1 includes some huge optimizations, including user imports. I saw a user import of 15,000 records go from 2 hours to about a minute. You can take a look at other enhancements in the latest time clock software release notes.

Jeff Morrow
Time Clock Software Specialist

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Salaried Workers Need Time Clock Software

A traditional punch clock has always been used for the time tracking of hourly employees, primarily to record the time they start and end work. Employee time clock software allows you to do much more than just time tracking, and makes a great punch clock replacement. Often times when talking to our time and attendance software customers, I discover that they're still only using their time clock program for hourly employees. After a brief discussion, they realize there are huge benefits to using a time clock program for salaried workers as well. Here are some reasons why you'll want your salaried workers 'on the clock'.

Virtual In/Out Board
Virtual TimeClock software is a great way to improve office communication. The main time clock software window provides at-a-glance knowledge of who's clocked in, who's clocked out, who's at lunch, and who's on break. You can also instantly tell who's in a meeting, what time somebody will be back from an appointment, and what projects or jobs employees are working on. This is a great tool for management to keep track of employee progress. It's also a great tool for the front reception desk or the call center for knowing who's available, when they'll be back, and how to route incoming calls or walk-in appointments.

Job/Project Tracking
Have your salaried workers use Virtual TimeClock software to track time spent on various jobs, projects, or activities. This is a great way to generate labor costing reports using the built-in timecard software report writer. Since even salaried workers carry an hourly burden, adding gross wages to your timecard reports allows you to perform labor costing analysis. You'll also be able to provide more accurate client billing for your labor hours because you'll know hard labor costs for each project for any period of time.

Employee Leave Tracking
Have your salaried workers use Virtual TimeClock software so you can accurately and easily keep track of their accrued and used time-off. You can setup as many different leave categories as you need for keeping track of both paid and unpaid employee time-off benefits. Use the built-in leave categories to track time-off for holidays, personal time, sick leave, and vacation. Additional leave categories you might want to setup include funeral leave, jury duty, military leave, maternity leave, FMLA, furlough, unpaid sick leave, and unpaid personal leave.

As you can see, your time clock software can be much more than a punch clock replacement. Having your salaried employees use your time and attendance software can improve office communication, help you accurately bill clients for project hours, and easily manage employee time-off tracking.

Jeff Morrow
Time Clock Software Specialist

Thursday, May 6, 2010

PC Time Clock Software Backups

The importance of backing up your time clock software data can't be overstated. If your computer or hard drive crashes, we can help get you up and running again in just a few minutes if you have a recent backup of your time clock database. Otherwise, you'll be starting a new database from scratch. This means adding all your users again and manually entering timecard entries for the punches that were lost.

Your Virtual TimeClock software has a built-in backup utility that allows you to easily setup a scheduled or repeating backup. We've even got backup instructions to help you out. There's one thing you need to be aware of if you're running Virtual TimeClock Network Edition on Windows. Your backup may fail if you're attempting to backup to a mapped drive or shared folder. That's because the Virtual TimeClock Server background service is performing the backup, not the server manager GUI program where you select the backup folder. And the default login account for Windows services doesn't have access to shares.

The following solution works for shares only, it will not work with mapped drives or shortcuts.

  1. Create a shared backup folder according to your version of Windows.
  2. Make sure the logon user account has permissions to the shared backup folder.
  3. Launch Virtual TimeClock Server and choose the shared backup folder from the Backup panel.
  4. Set your backup schedule and save the settings.
  5. Open Windows Services and select the Virtual TimeClock Server service.
  6. Open the Properties of the service and click the Log On tab.
  7. The Log on needs to be tied to the logon user account and password, and not the default Local System Account.
  8. Stop and restart the service to allow the new logon name to take affect.
  9. Launch Virtual TimeClock Server again and click the Backup Now button from the Backup panel to test.

This logon assignment must be made each time the Virtual TimeClock Server service is reinstalled (typically, due to upgrades or troubleshooting).

It's so easy to make sure your time and attendance software data is safe, don't wait until it's too late!

Jeff Morrow