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Roster, Time and Attendance and Payroll. A Developer’s Perspective

Dr Graham Mylne 2

 Radiologist to Developer – Early days

roster and payroll software
At a particular point in my earlier career as a diagnostic radiologist, I identified the enormous potential of the personal computer and the internet for my profession.

As a working radiologist, the benefits of recording and storing reports of medical imaging by this means were suddenly obvious, not to mention the previously unimaginable future development of such diagnostic tools as CT and MRI scanners.

With an old school friend recently established as a software developer, I set out to develop what subsequently become known as a RIS (or Radiology Information System) for my partnership practice. This became known as Medisys and was used successfully for a number of years in Australia.

Enterprise Agreement and the Clock

In 1990 my interest shifted to the area of Industrial Relations. And specifically, to a new form of Australian employment system known as an Enterprise Agreement.   This contract enabled employers and employees to agree on the employment terms and conditions for their individual workplace.

Having discovered the existence of an accurate clock in the personal computer, I mused on the idea of building such an Enterprise Agreement centered on the self same clock. I rationalised that most of the workplace functions could be developed in the context of time. And so ClockOn came into being, as an Enterprise Agreement enabler.

Birth of ClockOn

In 1999 and under the guidance of a very well informed software engineer, I applied for an Australian Federal Government Start Grant. Somewhat to my amazement this was granted. Dollar for dollar funding enabled me to proceed with the registration of the name and trademark ClockOn and to recruit a team to develop what was described in the documentation as an “affordable time and attendance, rostering and payroll system”.

From that point, todays integrated system was built from the “ground up”, that is to say in an orderly and progressive way, supported by innumerable contributions and ideas from our growing and participating customer base.

Payroll is the ‘bottom line” – but where does it start?

Payroll as they say is the “bottom line” of an employment system. The pay slip in the employee’s hand is the final act in the process of processing the payroll. So how does this work and where does the integration come into effect?

The first step in the thought process was the design of a roster defining the configuration of all shifts and roles, while at the same time linking the roster to the rules of employment for each and every employee. With a configurable rule engine central to the design, many things were achieved:

Firstly, close employee compliance with the award or other conditions of their employment.

Secondly, the ability to calculate the exact cost of an entire roster for purposes of the budget and

Thirdly the accurate payrolling of each and every employee according to his or her success in conforming to the roster.

Today, we build the roster first, (with parallel processing of the employment conditions working in the background) and then set out to match the  roster with the recorded times of work.

If the two functions match perfectly and without exceptions, these can be approved for payroll processing with a single keystroke.

How do we capture times?

The desire to reinforce employee identity has led us to the conclusion that linking biometric identification to individuals’ time sheets is the preferred method of addressing employee identity enforcement issues, an unfortunate requirement at times in the workplace.

Experiments with video recording, facial recognition, iris recognition and other biometrics have led us to the conclusion that high end finger scanners are the preferred approach at the present time, because they are fast, non intrusive and widely accepted in society as a means of definitive identification. There could be no more striking endorsement of this than in their application for electoral roll identification in India, where a huge national biometric system is currently being rolled out.

Low cost USB scanners have been available for many years, but we have found these not fit for the purpose of our integrated system.  The devices can only operate over a very limited distance from a host PC and have proved to be inaccurate and often unreliable.

Suitable finger scanner hardware can be configured for individual locations, for use with multiple fingers and to offer an intelligent display showing the time, employee name, shift, breaks and other information of immediate value.

Once recorded, electronic time sheets must be reviewed and maintained on a daily basis, such that on payday it is the matter of a single keystroke to generate an error free payroll.


ClockOn AustraliaClockOn today offers high performance payroll processing to numerous businesses and their employees. And in the process peace of mind to many owners and administrators.


For more information on ClockOn and its products visit