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Case Study

Greater Accuracy and Accountability with Employee Time Tracking

How Chardon Local School District uses Frontline’s Time and Attendance to speed up the payroll process and ensure time worked and leave balances are correct.

Chardon Local School District Hero Image

District Background

At the highest elevation in the state of Ohio, Chardon Local Schools is the home of the Hilltoppers. Deb Armbruster, Treasurer/CFO, first started in the district over 20 years ago as a substitute and educational aid. She and the four other employees in the Business Office make sure the district stays fiscally solvent and that employees are paid on time, among countless other tasks.

The district operates on a bi-weekly payroll cycle. Until recently, classified employees recorded time on paper timesheets. If someone worked multiple positions – for example, an aide who also works an after-school program – they would hand in multiple timesheets. Timesheets would sometimes be handed in late, too late to be included in the regular payroll, and errors arose due to illegible handwriting or adding errors. Deb realized they needed a software system to make things easier.

Chardon Local Schools chose Frontline’s Time and Attendance for several reasons, such as the fact that it integrates with Frontline’s Absence Management. “Absence Management is our go-to system for leave balances,” says Deb. “Sick leave, personal leave, it’s more accurate in Absence Management than it is in our state software, which is two weeks behind.” That’s because when Absence Management calculates leave balances, it also factors in future leave that has been entered in the system but has not yet taken place. When an employee is out on leave for the day, Absence Management factors it into their time worked in Time and Attendance.

Deb had used Time and Attendance in a previous district. Many other systems were antiquated, and she wanted flexibility and software that would work well with the timeclocks she purchased. This eliminates errors because employees don’t need to hand-enter time anymore (except when teachers work additional hours), and instead either swipe in and out using their ID cards on the district’s Touchpoint SmartClocks, or in the case of tutors who work off-site, can clock in using their phones or entering their time via a web browser. “We were running 100-150 timesheets of payroll. We’re down to 20 to 30 timesheets of payroll. We do not hand enter time anymore, most of it, and that alleviates a lot of errors. It also helps process our payroll much quicker, so we love Time and Attendance.”

Deb Armbruster Photo

“We do not hand enter time anymore, most of it, and that alleviates a lot of errors. It also helps process our payroll much quicker, so we love Time and Attendance.”

Deb Armbruster
– Treasurer/CFO

When an employee submits their time, “It goes through the approval process,” Deb says, “which I love, and which alleviates a lot of paper.” The strict approval process ensures building administrators review each employee’s time for accuracy. If something is amiss, such as when someone forgot to clock out, Time and Attendance throws up a flag, and it’s easy to fix the mistake before the time is approved.

All substitutes and classified and hourly staff are set up in Time and Attendance. Each pay period, the payroll staff downloads the data from Time and Attendance and uploads it into their payroll system.


Greater Accuracy & Accountability

Deb says that Time and Attendance has given the payroll a higher degree of accuracy in several ways. Time is accurately captured and tallied – which was often not the case before. And legibility is no longer an issue. “With an electronic timesheet system, you never have to worry about not being able to read somebody’s name.”

It’s easy for supervisors to see when information is missing, such as if someone forgot to submit their time. “They have the triangle with the exclamation point: ‘Hey there’s something wrong here.’ And usually, it’s that somebody forgot to clock out, and you can easily fix that before it gets approved.”

Increased accuracy has also meant that the district always pays people for time worked. Legally, when someone is at work, they need to be paid — and while in the past some employees may have understated their time worked, now Deb knows her office is in compliance. “It worked in both directions for accountability. It helped us follow the structure of the law for paying overtime.”

At the same time, employees aren’t able to overstate their time worked. When someone doesn’t work the required 80 hours per payroll period, it’s easy to see. “There is definitely more accountability,” Deb says.

The system also works well when someone works multiple jobs in the district, like when a recess aide also monitors an after-school program. In the past, that required multiple timesheets, but now Time and Attendance keeps all the timesheets together and enables employees to choose which job they’re working from a pick list.

Faster Payroll

Every payroll period, the payroll team used to have to chase down timesheets from employees who had forgotten to hand them in. And sometimes employees would turn theirs in too late to be included. Now, they can quickly see whose time has not been submitted and approved. “It’s hard to notice that you didn’t get a piece of paper. It’s easy to notice when somebody didn’t approve something on a list.”

Each pay period, completing payroll by Wednesday at noon — the deadline to provide the information to the bank — was a mammoth task. “It was a struggle every two weeks, we were not getting the information on time, and then to turn around and we would enter it in the two systems to balance to each other to get our upload done. But now payroll is getting done by Monday.”

With Time and Attendance, Deb says they’re able to breathe a little easier. “It helps reduce our workloads so that we can enjoy life more, honestly, and concentrate and be accurate and good at our jobs.”

Visibility into Employee Time

Supervisors can now easily see what hours people are working, and if someone doesn’t show up, the Missing Person report quickly lists who is missing. “You can know, sitting behind your desk, if someone’s at work or not. You don’t have to go down to the cafeteria or to the south door to the gymnasium to see if somebody showed up at work. As an administrator of a building, you know who is in your building that day and when they got there.”

Deb helps her schools stay on top of this. “I’ll email the high school: ‘Hey, you have five missing people. What’s going on? Where are they?’ And then they jump all over it.”

Simple, Clean Audits

Payroll audits are no longer a headache. “We have clean audits,” says Deb. “We’re very proud of that. It’s super cool that I could just offer my auditors a login to the system and say, ‘Go ahead, look at how much time someone worked and then go ahead to [our payroll system] and see what they got paid.’”

Hand in Hand with Absence Management

Deb says that one problem she used to have was that when employees took sick days, administrators would have to remember to compare timesheets with their leave balance to ensure that pay and leave balances were both correct. “But now nobody has to do that because if [employees] don’t put in their sick days, they don’t get paid, and now it becomes a different story. So it really helped with a better tracking of attendance and attendance being more accurate.”

“What’s really cool is when somebody misses a day of work and they put in their sick time, it bleeds into their timesheet so that they get paid for it.” 

Deb Armbruster
– Treasurer/CFO

All in all, Deb can see the results from using Time and Attendance. “We are in year two, but it’s going very well,” she says, “and we are saving time, money and getting things done in a more accurate fashion.”