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The variety of tools which can help managers or business owners to optimize time management within their company is growing exponentially. The fact that this industry is becoming more and more popular has led to the differentiation of several types of software, three of which are especially common but also easily confused: time and attendance tracking apps, time tracker software, and employee monitoring systems.


Apart from the nomenclature being confusing, some of their features also tend to overlap. This results in many employers not quite knowing what exactly to look for when trying to answer some of their needs. This text will hopefully help you learn how to distinguish between these three types of business time management software and discover which is the one that you need.


Time and Attendance Software


Time attendance tracking software was the first one to be created and was initially used in restaurants, but has since found its place across many industries and especially in large enterprises.


The idea was based on punch cards, but instead of the actual cards, employees clock in using their phones or computers. Some systems also have integrated biometric clock-ins that require employees to confirm their identity with facial recognition or fingerprint scanning methods.


Apart from the basic functionality of letting your employees clock in and clock out using the software interface, time and attendance software can have additional features such as scheduling, shift assignment and swapping, vacation and sick leave management, geofencing and so on.


This type of software typically has a very narrow focus on attendance timesheets, but it does let you track this in an extremely precise way. It’s especially (though, of course, not exclusively) useful for HR specialists who want to automate attendance tracking and make it more accurate and immune to buddy punching. It can also come in handy for remote and field workers since they can use their phones to clock in.


Time Tracking Software


Similarly to time and attendance tracking, time tracker software was first primarily used in service industries, but is now becoming more commonplace and good practice in many different businesses. However, instead of being focused on providing clock-in detection, it’s mostly oriented towards tracking projects based on the duration of each individual task.


The fundamental feature of time tracker software, therefore, is measuring how long employees spend on their tasks and then assigning that time to a specific project to get the total project duration. The starting and finishing point of each task is usually indicated manually by employees, but if you have a design, architecture or insurance team that uses specific kinds of programs for work, you can have automatic time tracking management software that sorts tasks into projects based on file names alone.


Time tracker software can have additional advanced features that usually revolve around analyzing your project budget by including employees’ hourly rates and other costs, calculating payrolls, creating invoices and even sometimes project management.


This type of time keeper software can help a great deal in everything related to project time management, including project estimates, budgeting, task delegation, planning, and so on.


Employee Monitoring Software


If you’re looking to answer not only how to track the time on tasks and projects, but also how to monitor all activity on computer devices, including which apps and websites your employees are using, then you need an employee tracking software.


As the most detailed monitoring solutions, these systems can be focused on security, control and productivity. This is where they differ in terms of the features.


Control-based software offers you real time overview of which apps and websites your employees are using as well as reports on idle time. Most versions of the software have this functionality. Security-based computer monitoring software definition includes features like screenshots, keystroke logging, keyword alerts, etc. And finally, productivity-based systems offer activity categorization and productivity analysis based on the ratio of productive to unproductive time.


This type of software is your best bet if you’re looking for ways to analyze and optimize your business processes, measure and improve productivity, as well as increase access and performance control.




Time and attendance tracking, employee monitoring and time tracker software serve slightly different purposes but they can all help improve how you run your business. This is why choosing the right one out of the three is a good first step but figuring out how to use them in combination can get you even closer to making your business more successful and efficient.