Preparing for the Upcoming Time Reconciliation Algorithm Upgrade

At ExakTime, our top priority is providing a time and attendance solution that supports you in operating and growing your business efficiently. To that end, we’ve been busy working to improve the experience within our product and we’re excited to tell you about a performance upgrade to the ExakTime system. The Time Reconciliation Algorithm (or TRA as we like to call it) powers many features within ExakTime. This includes displaying timecard information for end users, running reports for administrators, and editing time records for managers. The TRA upgrade is the foundation for new ExakTime features that will be available later this year and into 2023.  The information in this article will provide relevant background on this change so you and your teams can prepare.

Table of Contents

What Is the TRA Upgrade and How Does It Enhance Exaktime

The Time Reconciliation Algorithm (TRA) is the process that the ExakTime application uses to convert punch information into time records. In the ExakTime system, users have different ways to log time worked (i.e. clocking in and out). As users log time events, these events are made into raw punches and those punches are then turned into time records so that the system can display and report on these in the form of time records. The upgrade moves all users to the second version of the algorithm. The algorithm powers many features within ExakTime, but just a few examples include: displaying timecard information for end users, running reports for administrators, and editing time records for managers.

The upgrade is important because it will improve the overall user experience of tracking time and reporting on time worked within ExakTime.

There are two benefits the newest version of TRA will provide:

  • Smoother delivery of ExakTime product enhancements. The upgrade enables better testing, as well as more efficient development for ExakTime teams.
  • Usability enhancements within ExakTime. For example, in the current environment, on the timecard screen, if a user creates a full-time record with a start and stop time, then creates a time record with only a new start time, that new start time will overwrite the old one. After the upgrade, all entries are preserved.
    • With the previous TRA, it was possible for manually created punches on ExakTime Connect to be overwritten by punches created on ExakTime Mobile or JobClocks if conditions are met. With the TRA upgrade, the manually created punches will not be overwritten.

What is Different

Time Cards on ExakTime Connect

Adding/editing time records will no longer require you to enter a stop time for a time record by default. 

If a time record does not have stop time entered, it will automatically copy the start time of the succeeding time record, if possible. If there is no succeeding time record to refer to, it will remain blank until a succeeding time record is entered or when the employee is clocked out, either by the employee or by a time editor.

What this allows is one less step when editing a time card so instead of editing both the start and stop time of every record, you only need to worry about the start times of your time records and only need to enter a stop time if the stop time should not look at the succeeding start time such as for their end of the day or before going on break. 

If you need to enter a stop time manually, you will use the “Clock Out” checkbox for the time record to enter a stop time and not use the "start time" of the succeeding record. 

You can also reliably enter an incomplete time record if an employee forgot to clock in for the morning and the employee can continue clocking themselves in/out for the rest of the day.

Previous Time Card Upgraded Time Card

When adding/editing a time record, every time record prompted you to enter a start and stop time to create a complete time record.

ETC_-_Time_Card_-_TRA2_-_Before_-_00.png

ETC_-_Time_Card_-_TRA2_-_Before_-_01.png

Reports

With the system update, our two audit reports (time modifications by affected employee and time modifications by editor) cannot be generated across the enablement date of the Time Reconciliation Algorithm Upgrade.

For example, if you want to generate an audit report for 1/1-1/15, and the system update happened on 1/10, you would need to generate two separate reports with respect to the update.  The application will show an error message to this effect if you try to run a report that crosses the update start date.  The first report would need to be run from 1/1-1/9 and the second from 1/10-1/15.

The reports will also receive be receiving a facelift to make them easier to review. An example has been provided below.

Previous Report Upgraded Report

image4.png

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Collection Details

In an ExakTime environment today this page will only have a punches tab that aggregates time-logged events to show them to administrators in the ExakTime system. In an environment that has been upgraded, there are two additional tabs on this page – the assigned and unassigned tabs. These now break out time-logged events by the external device that logged the time, i.e. JobClocks, Hornets, or the mobile app.

Previous Collection Details Upgraded Collection Details

image8.png

What This Means To You

For Time Cards on ExakTime Connect

With these changes, the overall experience of the ExakTime Connect time cards has not changed for you. The key difference is that when adding/editing a time record, there is one less thing that you would need to enter. In the example below, we are adding some time for an employee. The stop time does not need to be manually entered for every single record and is only needed for when the employee is no longer working, such as for a break or at the end of the day. 

ETC_-_Time_Card_-_TRA2_-_After_-_00.png

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How to Add a Time Record
  • Specify the date range you will be adding time for.

    Pay_Period_Chooser_-_00.png

  • Click the employee that will be receiving time from the employee list to the left.

    Time_Card_Detail_-_Employee_List.png

  • Click Add Time...
    1. at the top of the time card to select a specific date for the selected date range.
    2. next to the date to add more time for a specific date.

    ETC_-_Time_Card_-_Add_-_00.png

  • Select the location and cost code to be used and enter the start time.
    • The stop time for a time record will automatically use the start time of the succeeding time record as an implied stop time. If there is no succeeding time record, the stop time will have a Overview__Time_Card_Detail__115002665908__Incomplete.png symbol until a succeeding time record is created or if the "Clock Out" checkbox is enabled.
    • The "Clock Out" checkbox should only be used if the employee would no longer be tracking their time, such as for a break or the end of their day.
    • If you are adding multiple time records for an employee, you can create additional records with only start times, then use the "Clock Out" checkbox when the employee would be taking a break or is done for the day to enter a stop time.
    • A comment can also be added as a reminder as to why the time was manually added.
    • If you are entering a time record because an employee forgot to clock in, you can simply enter a location, cost code, and start time. If the employee is still working that day, they should be able to clock themselves in/out as normal
    • When adding a time record, you can use the TAB key to go to different fields. If you have highlighted the "Clock Out" checkbox, you can press SPACE to enable it.

    ETC_-_Time_Card_-_Add_-_01.png

  • Click Save after making all your necessary changes. The policies for the employee will apply and calculate the totals for the employee.

    ETC_-_Time_Card_-_Add_-_04.png

How to Edit a Time Record
  • Specify the date range you will be editing time for.

    Pay_Period_Chooser_-_00.png

  • Click the employee with the time card that you will be editing.

    Time_Card_Detail_-_Employee_List.png

  • Click the Edit icon Overview__Time_Card_Detail__June_Update___360003910674__Edit_Time.pngor the field that you want to edit. Boxes will appear around all the time record fields for the day that you can edit.

    ETC_-_Time_Card_-_TRA2_Edit_-_00.png

    ETC_-_Time_Card_-_TRA2_Edit_-_03.png

  • Edit/enter the necessary information for the time record(s).
    • The stop time for a time record will automatically use the start time of the succeeding time record as an implied stop time. If there is no succeeding time record, the stop time will have a Overview__Time_Card_Detail__115002665908__Incomplete.png symbol until a succeeding time record is created or if the "Clock Out" checkbox is enabled.
    • The "Clock Out" checkbox should only be used if the employee would no longer be tracking their time, such as for a break or the end of their day.
    • If you are editing/adding multiple time records for an employee, you can create additional records with only start times, then use the "Clock Out" checkbox when the employee would be taking a break or is done for the day to enter a stop time.
    • A comment can also be added as a reminder as to why the time was manually added.
    • If you are entering a time record because an employee forgot to clock in, you can simply enter a location, cost code, and start time. If the employee is still working that day, they should be able to clock themselves in/out as normal
    • When editing a time record, you can use the TAB key to go to different fields. If you have highlighted the "Clock Out" checkbox, you can press SPACE to enable it.

    ETC_-_Time_Card_-_TRA2_Edit_-_03.png

  • Save after making all your necessary changes.

For Reports

When generating either of the audit reports, you will not be able to generate a report that goes across the date of the time card update. 

For example, if you want to generate an audit report for 1/1-1/15, and the system update happened on 1/10, you would need to generate two separate reports with respect to the update.  The application will show an error message to this effect if you try to run a report that crosses the update start date.  The first report would need to be run from 1/1-1/9 and the second from 1/10-1/15.

The audit reports have also received a visual update so they should be easier to review.

ETC_-_Reports_-_Audit_-_By_Editor_TRA2_-_01.png

ETC_-_Reports_-_Audit_-_Affected_Employee_TRA2_-_01.png

FAQs

When will my site be enabled with the Time Reconciliation Upgrade?
The TRA upgrade is being phased out to customers slowly over the second and third quarters of 2022. As the upgrade is turned on for ExakTime portals, all customers will receive an email notifying them before the upgrade will be enabled in their portal. Users will also see a notification message in the ExakTime application near the same time. You can expect that the upgrade will be enabled within a month of these notifications being sent.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare my team for the change?
No, the change will take place without any additional work or configuration. Enablement is handled by the ExakTime team.
What do I do if I see an issue?
Please contact product support and the representative can log an issue with the appropriate team. If you are unsure of how to log a ticket with our support team, please refer to the following article.
What if I have a site that uses AccountLinx?
The most recent versions of AccountLinx support records processed with the TRA upgrade.  In order to ensure there is no disruption, please have your team update the application to a version that supports the TRA upgrade.  Instructions on how to update can be found in the following support article: Complete Guide to Installing AccountLinx.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare if my organization uses SyncLinx?
No, the Time Reconciliation Upgrade supports all functionality of the SyncLinx product by default.
How is my organization affected if we use custom reports?
There is no action required. All custom reports will function the same after the Time Reconciliation Algorithm Upgrade takes effect.
Can I opt out of the TRA enablement?
No, this will not be possible. The move to the new Time Reconciliation Algorithm is a prerequisite for future enhancements to the ExakTime application. As such, we want to ensure all customers are using the version of this algorithm that allows for use of all ExakTime’s features.
Is the Time Reconciliation Upgrade the same project as Policies Engine Upgrade?
No, these are separate projects. Both affect ExakTime time record processing and occur outside of the visible user experience on the backend of the application. The projects will have separate timelines and be communicated separately.
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