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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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17–10. Track Time with Mobile Phones

When employees are occupied with off-site service jobs, such as copier repair, security monitoring, or landscaping work, it is quite difficult to track the exact amount of time they spend on each job. Instead, they tend to wait until they are back in the office and then jot down their billable time from memory. Also, if they are paid based on their billable hours, this introduces a great deal of uncertainty into the determination of their payroll hours. The use of a Web-based timekeeping system is not a good solution, since it requires Web access and a computer, which are not always available to this type of employee.

The solution is to incorporate a timekeeping system into a GPS-enabled cell phone. Under this approach, a company acquires a cell phone and associated Nextel service contract for each employee, and then signs up for the WorkTrack service of Aligo (accessible through www.aligo.com). For a small monthly fee, this service allows employees to punch their job start and stop times directly into the phone, which transmits this information as a text message that the payroll staff can access through a simple Web browser. There is no other hardware or software required, since the text messages are sent to Aligo, which handles the reformatting of the resulting data for access through the Web. The system also allows the payroll staff to download standard time reports, as well as track employee locations on a map (which is useful for determining ...

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