At the end of every pay period, small businesses around the country turn into centers of stress and despair. Business owners and managers lose sleep and struggle with white-knuckled stress as they strive to tally employee hours by the all-important deadline, while still handling the myriad of other daily responsibilities.

Similar scenes used to play out every month at North Carolina healthcare company Select Laboratories, a 150-employee clinical reference lab. Now, with a biometric time and attendance system from Wasp Barcode Technologies, the business has relieved stress and reduced the time required to calculate payroll by 70 percent. Plus, Select Labs can be confident that employees are logging their time accurately.

"It could take me three days to get payroll done, plus a day that the South Carolina lab manager needed to tally his location's time," said Toni Seawell, vice president of human resources for Select Labs, which has three locations. "Knowing that the payroll deadline loomed, the pressure to make the date could bring me to tears as I worked on the time cards each month. With the old system, I had no flexibility if a medical or family emergency arose, which caused even more stress."

In the past, Select Labs relied on a paper-based system including time cards and a punch clock. Hours on the cards had to be tallied by hand.

"I would close my door and people would be afraid to interrupt me," Seawell said. "I had to come in on weekends just to catch up on other month-end work."

Select Labs installed the WaspTime time and attendance system from Wasp Barcode Technologies. With the time clock's advanced biometrics, employees can simply use their fingerprint to clock in and out, ensuring that small businesses can keep an accurate accounting of hours automatically.

When employees clock in and out, their time is captured by the time clock. WaspTime software automatically checks all time clocks and collects punches, accurately tabulating hours worked. This time summary is presented for review and editing by human resources or the payroll administrator. The administrator can quickly and easily view an employee's complete pay period, highlighting any issues for rapid recognition and easy resolution. Once time is finalized, WaspTime data can be directly transferred to payroll systems such as QuickBooks or exported to work with ADP and other popular payroll processing systems.

After implementing WaspTime across all three Select Labs locations, Seawell realized immediate, dramatic benefits. Now she completes the payroll process within regular business hours - in about 70 percent less time than before.

"I'm better able to handle month-end processes now that payroll takes less than a day," she said. "Now the door is open and people can actually speak to me at the end of each month. We have three administrators who can download reports. If I have an emergency, people will still get paid on time. And to me, that's a huge stress reliever."

Plus, Select Labs managers have the peace of mind that employees are being paid for the exact number of hours they work each day.

"Most of our customers choose the biometric time clock system," said Tom O'Shea, general manager of Wasp Barcode Technologies. "This eliminates the expense and hassle of replacing lost employee ID cards, or keying time in manually when employees accidentally leave their ID cards at home. What's more, since our biometric time clock relies on fingerprint technology, it eliminates 'buddy punching,' the opportunity for employees to fraudulently clock in or out for one another."