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VeriClock review

Time tracking from the cloud

(Image: © VeriClock)

Our Verdict

If you run a business where staff must clock on and off, then VeriClock provides a flexible alternative to a punch clock, that works even when the employees are geographically distributed. But it is open to abuse, if not managed effectively.

For

  • Highly flexible
  • Phone, SMS and Web
  • Saves on other time tracking hardware
  • Geo-fencing even with dumb phones

Against

  • Limited tracking

A Canadian company based in Vancouver, VeriClock was founded in 2010 with the objective to eradicate paper timesheets while providing real-time information on employee costs to those managing them.

These are the practical problems that many businesses face each day, and VeriClock has built a substantial business addressing those issues.

If you’ve no desire to spy on staff but want to manage their time better, then VeriClock might be the tracking product for you.

Features

Let’s be clear; this isn’t a conventional surveillance tool that reveals that the sales team spends half their time playing games or chatting on Facebook.

Instead, VeriClock provides a means for employees to clock into work, using a phone or a computer, and at the end of work, punch out.

One neat aspect to how this is handled is that it will work with SMS messages, allowing even an old non-smart phone or a landline connected phone to be used with this system.

(Image credit: VeriClock)

Therefore, what VeriClock offers is a modern equivalent of the old Punch Clock, but one that you can put in your pocket and take wherever your working day takes you.

All the data the system collects, that includes punching in and out and potentially the geographic locations of where the employee was are all collated to a cloud-based service that can be accessed using any system with a browser.

The data capture enables real-time analysis of project costs and tracks any delay or special effort that might impact the budget.

Once acquired by the system, data can be downloaded in various formats or use integrations to enable it to flow directly into payroll systems, like Sage 50 and QuickBooks.

Without the extra human step in keying hours into the payroll, this solution should be more efficient and less likely to include errors.

If these objectives seem modest, then it might be worth considering the additional work that resolving payroll issues can create, and how it can damage the working relationship with staff.

Being more effective and making fewer mistakes has a real and quantifiable impact on the bottom-line profitability of a business, and VeriClock offers a simple mechanism that might easily pay for itself by addressing both these points.

(Image credit: VeriClock)

Interface

There is a good argument that making things simple avoids mistakes and complications. However, the interface on both the mobile and web portal is remarkably basic.

That simplicity does make it fast and responsive, but often the screen space could be used more effectively than it is.

Because in the web version the menu system is at the top of the screen and has two tiers for most options, the contents are relegated to a scrollable panel beneath.

The width of the web interface is also locked at 1000 pixels wide, irrespective of the screen resolution available. When an administrator has many users to manage, these arbitrary limits are an extra annoyance.

These issues could be easily addressed by a smarter style sheet or a switch to a side menu model.

On mobile devices, the interface doesn’t allow the full scope of controls that are in the web version, but enough to be useful. It’s mostly for the staff to use, rather than an administrator.

Although this code could do with a little work, as it doesn’t even recall the last Job that you did and offer it as the new job to clock into. And, it can’t add a new job, forcing the worker to only select existing ones.

Because of these limitations, we’d be tempted to use the web version from mobile devices, as it provides much more functionality than the mobile app.

(Image credit: VeriClock)

Security

System access by default is only a login and password, and the restrictions on the password contents aren’t especially strong.

However, it is possible to activate either Google account or SAML authorisation, and these are much stronger verification methods.

The obvious problem is that a worker could give his phone to a colleague to clock in and out for them while being elsewhere. But that’s more a management issue, and the system has ways to address that.

Another way that this can get bent is that it is possible, if the admin empowers them, for managers to clock in a group of workers in a single action, irrespective of how many turned up to work that day.

What powers you give managers with VeriClock needs to be controlled, as they could easily subvert this system if they’re allowed to manually alter work periods without any oversight.

Changes are logged, but it is easier to limit their powers.

One good feature about the mobile tools is that they can be locked to specific Called IDs, making it impossible for a worker to have a second phone for gaming the system.

(Image credit: VeriClock)

Plans and pricing

Most tracking software is licensed on a per-user or machine basis, but VeriClock has a monthly account fee of $10 and as a further $5 per user charge.

This model appears designed to dissuade very small businesses but wouldn’t be an issue for medium and larger operations.

The typical privacy and legality issues associated with tracking software mostly don’t apply to this product, as it mostly provides a digital equivalent of a punch clock. Although, the ability to Geotag users to find out where they punched in and out, and where subsequently went, could conceivably be abused.

As an employee could punch out to run a private errand, that doesn’t seem much of an issue.

VeriClock is promoting this product for use in the construction industry, security sector, cleaning services, and the oil industry. But it could be equally used in a courier business, or any operation where flexible working is the norm and staff are paid for time worked or tasks completed.

As staff would be employed on the contractual basis or using this type of tracking, then they agree to be tracked during work time, and that information is used to provide an accurate means to calculate pay.

(Image credit: VeriClock)

With the Sage 50 and QuickBooks integration that it provides, the cost of the service could easily be absorbed in the reduced workload for accountancy staff in any medium-sized company.

What this software doesn’t do is provide any record of what staff did with their time or computing devices during the work period, but then this isn’t spyware or anything like that.

Final verdict

VeriClock is merely a tool for recording working time and connecting that to staff and locations.

And, if that’s what you are interested in, then this tool does that job very elegantly.