Most optometric practices have some employees who are paid on an hourly basis, which works out well because it is fair to all parties. The more one works, the more they earn, and if staff must stay later than expected, they are compensated for it. When I first started my practice, I had so few staff members that I just had them record their start and quit times each day on a sheet of paper. At the end of the pay period, I would add up those times, convert hours and minutes into hours with a decimal point, and multiply by the hourly pay rate to arrive at gross pay.
When the practice was not very busy, it was pretty easy to supervise the accuracy of that sign-in record. But it did not take long for me to realize that it was impossible for me or my office manager to really know when people sign in and the payroll calculations were taking much time. I'm not saying that staff members are not honest about signing in and out - I think most are - but it is easy to round off when you simply write down a number. After I installed a time clock, I found that a few minutes here and there, every day, by many people, adds up to significant dollars.
Today, all offices have personal computers and very inexpensive software is available that allows any PC to function as a time clock. Actually, the computer software tabulates the work hours in decimals and prints reports that make it much better than the old time cards. I downloaded a free sample program years ago and after a brief trial, I bought it and my practice has been using it ever since. Each employee types in the last 4 digits of his or her social security number and they are in... or out.
I recently did an Internet search for "PC time clock" with Google and I found many programs for less than $100. While I can't endorse any of these companies personally, I will list some here that showed up on my search, so you can do your own shopping. If you use manual time records - you'll save money through more accurate records, and you'll save time with the calculations.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management