Expanding your app-titude: a monthly look at apps and websites that can make the CPA's job and life better.

Author:LaFollette, Greg
Position:Certified public accountants

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that nearly 60% of U.S. employees are hourly workers. That's a lot of hours to schedule for almost 80 million people. Yes, I understand that many of those 80 million work a standard 8 a.m.-to-5 p.m., 40-hour week, but many others have variable shifts. Think about restaurants and retail. Anyone who has ever had to create and schedule shifts knows it consumes a huge amount of time.

Enter technology. Myriad scheduling systems are on the market. As you might expect, some are fantastic, most are adequate, and a few are abysmal. As a trusted adviser, you should be at least generally aware of the features and capabilities of these products. As you might expect, older products are desktop-based, and the newer ones are nearly all cloud-based (software as a service). To illustrate some of the capabilities in the genre, I chose to look at the When I Work offering.


When I Work is a web-based, employee-scheduling application designed to track time and attendance, create and maintain employee schedules and related calendars, and assist in properly staffing shifts. It also enables budgeting and general payroll management. For example, as an employee nears his or her budgeted hours for the period, the scheduler can be automatically notified. Finally, When I Work provides an approval process for employee-submitted time sheets, several methods to add employees, and a variety of options to create reusable schedules in daily, weekly, or monthly formats.

The mobile-friendly platform includes both native apps and browser-based apps to help with schedule management and time tracking. Nice features include sending mobile alerts to employees when their schedule changes and providing employees with a tool to request shift changes or time off. Those requests are routed directly to the appropriate manager for online approval. Another helpful feature is built-in communication channels such as automatic group email, texting, and social media (Facebook and Twitter). Managers can notify their...

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