Payroll Tip: Put Construction Payroll Processes First, Then Adopt Mobile

Put Construction Payroll Processes First, Then Adopt Mobile

Everyone is telling you to ditch the paper time sheets and pick up a timecard app…Will it really save you money without having the proper construction payroll processes in place? There are numerous reasons to implement mobile labor tracking, and it’s not just the cost of the paper. The main idea is (1) that clear, efficient digital timekeeping data drastically reduces costly input errors and (2) that real-time clock-in/clock-out data keeps exaggerated or misremembered hours from adding up.

In construction especially, those costs cut two ways. First, of course, there’s what you pay in wages, taxes and benefits per hour, and those liabilities and expenses add up even if you’re not 100% confident in the timesheets that eventually land on your desk. Second, inaccurate labor costs recorded to the job can affect your bidding, your billing and finally your profits. Whether that’s as simple as underreported hours spent on a job — hiding your actual labor costs — or as fine-grain as Bill forgetting which cost code his overtime belongs to, bad data has a way of reproducing itself.

But are timekeeping apps a silver bullet? Not if an employee can still mistype hours on their smartphone and not if superintendents or PMs don’t see submitted time until days after it happens. In other words, without the right construction payroll processes in place, technology just helps mistakes to happen faster and farther.

Mobile timecards need internal controls, like timecard management features that can immediately route field hours for approval or correction, along with the ability to selectively sync with the system so that bad data doesn’t go straight to payroll. In short, look for technology that not only makes your processes faster — look for technology that helps improve your processes, and always take the time to put the people and processes in place that will allow your technology to be successful.