Practice Management |7 min read

Accurately Tracking Time Has Never Been More Important for Your Practice

It's HR Tuesday!

Nationally, conversations are starting to turn increasingly toward the prospect of businesses and the national economy reopening in the very near future. And, as we open, everything is being put into motion quickly for managers.

There are new considerations about PPE to sort out, the need to keep your team and your doctors grounded, and calls to make about reinstating or delaying benefits. Plus, there are still the usual challenges associated with hiring, onboarding, tracking employee time and time off, and more.

It’s all unfolding in front of you as we speak, and there is no end in sight.

But, as you bring your employees back to work, one way to make your life much easier is to look at upgrading your timekeeping system so that it is capable of tracking situations that are more complicated — and more immediately pertinent to your office’s financial situation — than ever before.

Accurately managing PTO and tracking time has never been more important to your bottom line than it is now. Here’s why:

PPP Loan Forgiveness

If your business received a PPP loan, then you know that you now have 24 weeks to spend that money in a certain way in order to have the loan forgiven, and that 60 percent of those funds must be directed towards payroll.

Thus, you’ll need to track your payroll expenses during that 24-week period carefully to be sure you can accurately report your expenses for potential loan forgiveness. You’ll also need to hold onto those records for six years and will need to be able to easily pull reports with those numbers to submit to your lenders, accountants, and your payroll provider.

The best way to do all of this? Have all of your employees clock in and out on a system that automatically tracks these figures and makes it easy to pull reports highlighting payroll expenses during the PPP fund distribution period.

If you are still performing manual calculations or are manually tracking hours worked for payroll, not only is this process going to be much more frustrating and tedious than it would be if your timekeeping system tracked these payments automatically, but your final results will also be more prone to errors.

Using a robust timekeeping system eliminates the pain and tedium of PPP bookkeeping so that you can focus your attention on getting your team back to work.

FFCRA Tax Credits

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) … Opens in a new window to CEDR’s website… , employers are required by the federal government to provide paid sick and/or family leave to employees who are directly affected by the outbreak of coronavirus under certain circumstances.

Though our current interpretation of the FFCRA suggests that dental offices may be able to exempt themselves from these guidelines under the law’s healthcare and small business exemptions, the promise of 100 percent tax credits to employers who paid out on emergency leave has encouraged many practices to payout anyway.

But, to qualify for those tax credits, employers need to carefully document what they are spending on FFCRA leave versus other types of leave.

Your timekeeping system should allow you to set up custom time-off categories for emergency paid leave, as well as all other standard types of leave offered by your company. By taking this step, office managers can ensure that recording and reporting FFCRA leave payments is as easy as selecting the correct category when an employee calls out and pulling instant reports for those categories when the time comes to do so.

Other Types of Leave

You need to be able to distinguish between state-mandated leave, federally mandated leave, and leave offered by your office as a matter of policy. These should all be set up as separate categories within your timekeeping system to ensure accurate recording and reporting.

Note that, in the event that one of your employees qualifies for FFCRA leave, they have the option of exhausting all other types of leave offered by your practice before applying FFCRA leave.

Remote Clocking

While dental practices have been required to largely remain closed to non-emergency patients for the last couple of months, many practices have had employees working on marketing and other administrative tasks from home. … Opens in a new window to CEDR’s website… 

But, even when your employees are working from home, it’s important that you are able to accurately track the hours they work (especially for hourly non-exempt employees) for compliance purposes.

Your timekeeping system should make it easy for your employees to clock in and out, whether they are working in the office or elsewhere. Bonus points if your timekeeping system allows you to limit access in unapproved locations by restricting IP addresses or geofencing.

Mobile Clocking

Can your employees access your office’s punch clock on their mobile devices? If not, your updated health and safety policies may create an accidental wage and hour violation.

If you are requiring your employees to wait outside your office to be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, they should be paid for the time they spend waiting on your designated screener to grant them access to the building. By allowing your employees to clock in on their phones outside your office once they get in line, you can prevent timekeeping mistakes and related wage violations.

Bonus tip: applying a geofence around your office can help you ensure that your employees can only clock in within a certain radius of that location, preventing employees from clocking in before they get to work.

Tracking Different Rates of Pay

During the coronavirus lockdown, some practices are offering different rates … Opens in a new window to CEDR’s website… of pay to employees for performing work that is outside the normal scope of their job duties. This can include paying employees a lower rate for job training, paying clinical employees an adjusted rate for performing administrative work, and even temporarily reclassifying salary exempt employees as non-exempt … Opens in a new window to CEDR’s website… in order to pay them an hourly rate while their hours are reduced.

If your timekeeping system is not set up to handle such changes, making those simple adjustments can create major headaches in the bookkeeping process. The best timekeeping systems allow employers to set up categories for differential rates of pay to make jumping between pay categories possible with a few clicks of your mouse.


The coronavirus crisis has affected the way we live and work in obvious ways — limiting the availability of work at dental practices, creating the need for social distancing in all in-person circumstances, affecting how you bring your team and your patients back into the office, etc.

But the pandemic has also affected business in other, more subtle ways, especially as it concerns documenting payroll for potential financial relief.

Even before the virus hit, employers were wasting way too much time on keeping track of sick time, vacation, and PTO for employees.

And, now, having a robust, customizable timekeeping system is no longer a simple matter of convenience. For practices hoping to 1) make the transition back to work as smooth as possible and, 2) maximize their potential for financial relief when the dust finally begins to settle, such a system is a critical component of your management system.

If you have ever considered upgrading your practice’s timekeeping system to one that allows you to keep detailed, accurate records easier, and to get more done in less time, now is the time to do so.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that all of the advanced timekeeping features mentioned in this article are included as part of the PTO & Time Tracking System available in CEDR’s HR Vault. To experience the difference that a better timekeeping system can make for you and your practice, sign up for your Free HR Vault Account from CEDR … Opens in a new window to CEDR’s website… and schedule a demo of our robust timekeeping system … Opens in a new window to book a call online… !

You’ll also find valuable rehire forms and documents you can use to bring your team back to work pre-loaded in your free HR Vault account. Use your HR Vault to customize those documents, share them with your team, and even collect legally binding signatures on them without ever leaving your home office!

Unlock Your HR Vault Now!

One thought on “Accurately Tracking Time Has Never Been More Important for Your Practice
  1. Avatar

    For employees clocking in on their phones, is there an app?

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