The 7 Best Time and Attendance Software Solutions in the UK 2021

Woman at desk using time and attendance software

By Rob Binns | Senior Writer | Updated: 23 April 2021

Streamline rota, absence, and holiday planning – and make payroll a breeze – with a time and attendance solution tailored to your business


The success of the COVID-19 vaccine has meant that, sooner or later, your business is going to be opening back up again, for good. And that means you’ve got work to do, preparing your workspace for the safe, efficient return of your staff.

Here’s where time and attendance software comes in.

The best time and attendance software allows your staff to check in for work before they’ve even arrived, through their own smart device or computer. You’ll get accurate arrival times, along with real-time data to assist in managing payroll, HR, absences, holidays, and shifts.

But which time and attendance software package is right for your business? Let's take a look at the UK's top providers in 2021.


What is time and attendance software?

Time and attendance software is an application that tracks your employees’ hours as they arrive at and leave work.

Is it about spying on your employees? No. Is it about implementing a quicker, more effective, and basically foolproof approach to workforce management? Absolutely!

The data that your time and attendance software collects feeds straight into your payroll and HR systems. This helps ensure that you’re paying staff the right amount, and makes things easier when it comes to organising the rota. Time and attendance software also enables you to stay on top of employee taxes and holiday pay, and understand patterns relating to absenteeism or lateness.

Time and attendance software is almost always cloud-based, meaning it’s accessible from your browser, rather than on a pre-installed system only. This makes the software super mobile – you can manage staff records and juggle shift patterns from wherever in the world you happen to be working.

Oh, and the software usually makes up just one half of a complete time and attendance system. You’ll also want to consider what a clocking-in device can do for you – it’s a machine that allows your staff to physically check in, using either a card, fob, or their own biometric data (such as a fingerprint or facial pattern).

Here, we won’t be focussing on the hardware side of things – although we do that in great detail in our guide to the top 10 clocking-in systems for UK businesses.

For the best time and attendance software, though, read on.


The best time and attendance software for UK businesses in 2021

We compared the leading time and attendance software solutions on the market, analysing the features and totting up the benefits. Our top 7 time and attendance software providers are Bodet, Planday, Mitrefinch, TimeTrex, Replicon, Chronicle Computing, and Kronos.

Below you’ll find our top 7 time and attendance software reviews, which include pros and cons, key functionality and USPs (unique selling points), and (where we could find it!) pricing info, too.

If you’re a bit short on time, though, you can start comparing time and attendance quotes with us – right here, right now. Our free 30-second questionnaire lets us get to know your exact software requirements, which we then use to pair you with one or more leading time and attendance system suppliers.

If we can match you up successfully, these providers will be in touch soon, offering tailored time and attendance software quotes and advice. Again, our form is free, and takes less than a minute – ideal if you just want to get straight down to business. Hit one of the buttons below to dive in!

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Kelio by Bodet

Best for its range of versatile products

Bodet’s flagship time and attendance software, ‘Kelio’, has spent about three decades being fine-tuned and perfected – and it shows. Kelio’s user-friendly and intuitive interface underpins the software’s unfettered versatility. After all, Kelio doesn’t just handle time tracking – it takes care of job costing, planning, and personnel administration, too. Reporting is a breeze, while you can customise pretty much everything to your business’ setup. Our only grumble is a minor one – Bodet’s pricing isn’t transparent, so it’s tough to know exactly what your ongoing costs for Kelio will be.

To find out more about Bodet’s impressive range of time and attendance tools, head to our Bodet review.

Pros:

  • Adaptable to remote, office, and warehouse conditions alike
  • Monitors hours and absences in real time, and provides live reports and alerts
  • Comes with over 150 years of experience

X Cons:

  • Pricing isn’t transparent…
  • ...though we’re pretty sure Bodet’s industry-leading technology doesn’t come cheap!

Planday

Best for employee collaboration

Unlike most of the other time and attendance software solutions here, Planday doesn’t require a physical clocking-in machine to operate. Rather, your staff can simply check in for work via their smartphones, using Planday’s slick, user-friendly app. Shift planning is a breeze, with colour-coded, drag-and-drop rotas helping you stop up any gaps in the staff calendar.

Reporting features help you drill down into the metrics that matter, while a chat tool helps you keep in touch with employees while connecting them with each other. This makes shift swaps a breeze, and helps staff let management know in case of lateness or absence.

Planday time and attendance software interface on a smartphone, punch clock functionality

Planday’s geofencing technology allows your staff to sign in for work when they get close, and add notes to inform of any issues or lateness


Oh, and did we mention? Planday is highly affordable.

You’ll pay a monthly fee of just £2 per user for Planday’s cheapest plan, ‘Advanced Scheduling’. With payroll reporting, basic labour cost tracking, and templates for employee and job role scheduling, it’s a feature-rich time and attendance software package.

Advanced SchedulingWorkforce ManagementEnterprise
£2 per user, per month£4 per user, per monthOn request

For teams with more comprehensive needs, ‘Workforce Management’ offers value at the price of £4 per user, per month. It adds overtime management and advanced reporting, plus employee file management capabilities.

Basically, Planday offers all the tools you’ll require to spend less time managing your staff, without getting bogged down with the hardware.

You can try it free for 30 days.

Pros:

  • Affordable, with a generous 30-day free trial
  • Simple to use, sporting a striking, aesthetically pleasant interface
  • Highly rated online
  • Strong customer support

X Cons:

  • Lacks the functionality to auto-populate rotas
  • Not supported by any physical devices for employee attendance data capture

Mitrefinch

Best for employee self-service tools

Mitrefinch works with you to understand your business’ needs, and tailor a software package that's a snug fit for the size and nature of your workforce. You can adapt Mitrefinch’s time and attendance software in almost limitless ways, with a variety of scheduling and rota functions. You can avoid having too many employees away on holiday simultaneously, and track unusual shift patterns with ease. Moreover, Mitrefinch empowers your employees to take their calendars into their own hands – they’ll have the ability to view their data, and request time off in real time.

Like all time and attendance solutions, Mitrefinch has both its drawcards and drawbacks. On the bright side, its range of software products – including HR and payroll, plus modules for workforce and absence management – are all split out, so you’ll only pay for the specific features you need.

On the other hand, Mitrefinch doesn’t advertise any of its rates online… so this particular investment is a tough one to budget for!

Up next: Mitrefinch Time and Attendance System Review

Pros:

  • Boasts mostly excellent customer reviews
  • Payroll and other reporting functions integrate with your existing software
  • UK-based support
  • GDPR compliant

X Cons:

  • Rates aren’t transparent
  • Not as customisable as some of the other time and attendance software providers here

You're almost finished with our list of the top 7 best time and attendance software solution providers in the UK. Time to start comparing quotes?

Simply hit one of the buttons below to start our quick questionnaire. It takes just 30 seconds to do, and by telling us more about your business and premises' specific requirements, we can help ensure that you receive the best, most personalised time and attendance software rates.

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TimeTrex

Best open source time and attendance software, full stop!

We’ll level with you. If you’re looking for eye-catching, stylish time and attendance software, skip back to Planday – because TimeTrex isn’t for you. Still, despite having only looked modern around the time of the dot-com boom, there’s plenty to love about TimeTrex. Because what it lacks in visual flair, it makes up for in its industrious, no-frills approach. Easy to get the hang of and with all the essential payroll, scheduling, and leave management functions you’d expect, TimeTrex should tick most of the boxes for small UK businesses.

And we haven’t even got to TimeTrex’s best feature yet – that it’s completely open source.

This means you can mess around with the code, using it as a blank cheque upon which to write the unique requirements of your team. You’ll need to be fairly tech-savvy, of course – but, for the right type of business, the flexibility that open source time and attendance software provides is truly liberating.

Pros:

  • Sufficient (albeit basic) mobile app
  • Free demo available
  • Deployable as both a cloud-based and on-premise solution

X Cons:

  • Feature-wise, TimeTrex lags behind the other suppliers here
  • TimeTrex’s (fairly rudimentary) interface lacks polish
  • Prices aren't transparent

Replicon

Easiest time and attendance software to use

Replicon’s wide range of time and attendance software products and pricing plans means there’s something for businesses of all shapes and sizes to enjoy. And, while those prices are a little tough to get your head around initially (see below for what we mean here!), at least you’ll know exactly what you can expect to pay. Add in Replicon’s smooth user experience (UX), industry-specific feature roll, and litany of effusive customer reviews, and it’s one of our top time and attendance software picks.

Replicon’s ‘TimeBill’ – its flagship time and project hours tracking solution – starts at $60 (£45) for up to five users, for the ‘Quick Start’ package. Upgrading to ‘Plus’ for $22 (£16.50) per user, per month adds features such as timesheet validation and custom fields.

Monthly pricing for Replicon’s cost management solution ‘ProjectTime’ begins at $18 (£13.50) per user, while ‘TimeOff’ – Replicon’s software for coordinating your employees’ paid time off – starts at a mere $6 (£4.50) per user.

Replicon’s module for expense tracking (mercifully just titled ‘Expense’) costs between $3 to $5 (£2 to £4) per user, per month.

TimeBillProjectTimeTimeOffExpense
QuickStart$60 per month*$18 per user, per monthN/A$3 per user, per month
Plus$22 per user, per month$22 per user, per month$6 per user, per month$5 per user, per month
EnterpriseN/AOn request$8 per user, per monthN/A

* For up to five users. Additional users cost $10 per month each.

For small businesses, we’d recommend opting for the ‘TimeBill Quick Start’ package, with the ‘Expense QuickStart’ added on. Larger businesses – let’s say, teams of 50 or more – will want a mix of all of Replicon’s products.

Pros:

  • 24/7 support
  • Free 14-day trial available
  • Replicon provides regular live and on-demand webinars

X Cons:

  • Prices are billed in US dollars, and difficult to get to grips with
  • And, all told, it’s pretty expensive!
  • Its reporting features are a bit lacklustre

Chronicle Computing

Best for data visualisation and reporting

Like all good time and attendance software, Chronicle is completely cloud-based, allowing you to access information about your staff from anywhere in the world. Chronicle also works with any app, in any browser – all you need is an internet connection. Pick Chronicle, and you’ll (literally) never be out of touch with crucial information about your staff and business.

Chronicle's savvy software solution lets you track time and attendance data in real time, while you can generate hour and payroll reports – and stay on top of wage bills – in a matter of clicks.  Crunching your business’s key data is simple, and the engaging graphs and charts Chronicle produces are as simple to export as they are to understand.

Did You Know?

Chronicle can save you a tidy 5% a year on your staffing bills. We can’t tell you exactly how, though, because the company doesn’t showcase its prices online.

Best of all, though, is Chronicle’s attractive, vibrant interface. Straightforward to use, and with a learning curve that’s about as flat as the topography of East Anglia (that is, very flat), Chronicle is ideal for time and attendance software newbies.

Pros:

  • Free demo available
  • Completely UK-based customer support
  • Works with a wide selection of clocking-in hardware
  • Includes a WhatsApp live chat feature for convenience

X Cons:

  • Not as customisable as some of the other time and attendance software solutions here

Kronos

Most feature-rich time and attendance software

Refreshingly, Kronos offers a couple of different time and attendance system software options to choose from. Workforce Central is a suite of tools, comprising time tracking, labour scheduling, absence management, workforce analytics, budgeting, and forecasting – basically, the lot! As a feature-rich bundle, it’s well-suited to larger, more well-established companies. Prices are bespoke, and you’ll have to enquire directly with Kronos to get a quote.

On the other hand, Workforce Ready is a time and attendance software solution built for small businesses. Designed to increase employee productivity and engagement, Workforce Ready includes tools for talent acquisition, applicant tracking, and performance management, among others.

Kro-nice!

Pros:

  • The system helps track labour laws and union rules for you
  • Highly scalable
  • Adaptable to fit businesses and teams of all sizes and industries
  • The interface is a tad dated, particularly when compared to Planday or Replicon

X Cons:

  • Not as customisable as some of the other time and attendance software solutions here
All the time and attendance software prices above are accurate as of 8th January, 2021.

Next steps

So, will it be a feature-rich time and attendance software like Kelio by Bodet, Mitrefinch, or Kronos that fits the bill? Perhaps you’re better suited to the vibrant visuals and simple setup of providers such as Planday, Replicon, or Chronicle Computing – or would you prefer the customisability and cost benefits of TimeTrex’s open source solution?

Since you’re here, we’re guessing you probably (hopefully?) have a decent idea about which time and attendance software is right for you.

No? Well, don’t fret. We can help.

Simply provide us with a few details about your business – namely, your industry, and the number of employees you're looking to track. 

We'll also ask a couple of questions to find out whether you're already using time and attendance software, and, if not, when you'd need your brand new cloud-based solution installed by.

Oh, and we'll require your postcode, so we can match you only with time and attendance software suppliers servicing your area.

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Once all that’s taken care of, you'll receive tailored, no-obligation quotes from top time and attendance system software suppliers. It’s that simple.


FAQs

What is open source time and attendance software?

‘Open source' refers to software solutions that make their source code freely available. This means that others can redistribute and change it – that you can view, copy, and tweak the code to produce an application that’s expertly tailored to the specific requirements of your business.

Open source time and attendance software is typically very easy to get hold of through the internet. And, in many cases, it’s free!

Of course, taking a fairly complex piece of source code and turning it into a fully-functioning business application isn’t the easiest thing in the world – but, if done well, you’ll get a system that’s infinitely more scalable than a typical, off-the-shelf time and attendance software solution.

What is cloud-based time and attendance software?

Most – if not all – time and attendance software these days is cloud-based. 

Put simply, this means that your business’ time and attendance data is stored ‘in the cloud’ – on the servers of your software provider, rather than in a data storage facility housed on your business’ own premises.

Put even more simply, it means you’re not restricted to managing the system from  a single computer, or from a set of devices in a fixed location. You can view, update, and share data in real-time, from whenever, wherever.

Close up of hands at a keyboard using time and attendance software

What is timesheet software?

Though often (incorrectly) used interchangeably with the time and attendance software we’ve been discussing here, timesheet software is actually a more basic – yet more budget-friendly – solution for businesses.

While timesheet software’s functionality is more or less limited to rota organisation and payroll processing, time and attendance software encompasses a much broader range of functions. That includes workforce management, HR integration, and access control – not to mention seamless interactivity with the clocking-in terminals and business security systems you’ll want installed on your premises.

To learn more about what time and attendance software’s stripped-back alternative can do for your business – and explore top UK providers, of course – head to our guide to the best timesheet software.

How much does time and attendance software cost?

Time and attendance software costs vary from provider to provider. Some, such as Planday, start at £2 per user, per month, while most don’t advertise their prices at all. This is usually because time and attendance software prices are bespoke, and will typically be tailored to your business’s team size, along with the features you require.

Like other SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products, time and attendance software is leased. This means that – unlike with the hardware, which you’ll purchase outright – you’ll pay a monthly license fee to use the software.

For a full rundown of what you can expect to pay when you invest in a time and attendance system, explore our guide to time and attendance prices.

Of course, the easiest (and quickest) way to getting acquainted with the most accurate time and attendance software quotes is still through our free questionnaire. You already know how it works – simply hit one of the buttons below to get going. Happy researching!

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Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.

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