GPS tracking and geofencing FAQs for employers

Everything employers need to know about geofencing and GPS tracking with QuickBooks Time

What are the benefits of GPS tracking?

GPS tracking tells you which employees are on the clock and where they’re located. You’ll be able to see who is closest to a customer when scheduling a new job on the fly, more effectively manage employees at various locations, identify inefficiencies in workloads and routes, and build trust by adding accountability safeguards that benefit everyone. Access our knowledge base to learn more about using GPS tracking as an admin or manager.

What business improvements can I expect to see with location tracking?

GPS tracking benefits
  • Safety: Know where employees are, no matter which job site they’re at. According to a recent survey, safety was the No. 1 reason employers implemented GPS tracking.
  • Accountability: Cut down on buddy punching and time theft by employing a tool that keeps everyone honest.
  • Efficiency: Knowing where employees are can help you assign more people to the right places to get jobs done faster.
  • Documentation: Is a customer claiming an employee didn’t show up to a job or was late? Now it’s easy to verify those claims.
  • Flexibility: Feel more confident in allowing employees to use company vehicles or work from home. With increased flexibility comes increased employee morale and a company culture of trust and accountability where everyone wins.
Geofencing benefits
  • Easy for employees: Set geofences around job sites, so employees are reminded to clock in when they get to work and clock out when they leave. Make it easy to clock into the correct task by displaying nearby job codes.
  • Less work for managers: Tie certain job codes to each geofence, so employees clock their time accurately on projects. Reduce the number of timesheet edits, so payroll isn’t delayed.

How much data does the QuickBooks Time app use?

On average, QuickBooks Time mobile app customers use about 5 MB of data per month. 95% of QuickBooks Time mobile app customers use less than 30 MB of data per month.1

Why does my or my employee’s iPhone say, “QuickBooks Time has been using my location in the background”?

If you or your employees are using an iPhone with iOS 13, you may see a notification like the one shown below. QuickBooks Time uses the phone’s location “in the background” to ensure accurate clock in and clock out times. And when geofencing is enabled on your account, QuickBooks Time can use background locations to recommend nearby job sites to clock into. Admins do not have access to employee location data when workers are off the clock. The GPS points shown in this notification are not the same GPS points admins see in QuickBooks Time when employees are clocked in.

How long do employee GPS points take to update in QuickBooks Time?

It can take up to 15 seconds for QuickBooks Time to receive and display a new GPS point. If an employee’s phone isn’t connected to the internet, new GPS points won’t display until the employee is back online.

Does GPS track employee locations while employees are off the clock or on a break?

No. QuickBooks Time does not gather GPS points when employees are on a break. The QuickBooks Time app may still have access to employees’ locations, but GPS points recorded off the clock or on break will never be accessible by employers or admins.

When employees clock in for the day or clock in from a break, their location data is tracked once again.

Can I choose whether location tracking is optional or required?

Yes. To make location tracking a prerequisite for an employee to track time, just go to the employee’s “mobile options” tab on your QuickBooks Time dashboard and select “require location to track time.” The employee will only be able to clock in once location tracking is enabled for QuickBooks Time on their smartphone.

If an employee goes out of cell service or shuts off their phone while clocked in, will GPS points still record?

Admins and managers can only view GPS points when the employee’s device is online. However, you can rest assured that GPS points are still being recorded. Once the employee is back online, the device will sync and the GPS points will display. If the phone is turned off, QuickBooks Time can only track time, not locations.

What happens if my employee turns off location services while they’re clocked in?

If your company settings require GPS to be turned on while an employee is on the clock, and an employee turns location services off while they’re clocked in, the employee will be clocked out and prompted to turn location services back on to clock in.

Can I apply my GPS tracking preferences globally and to individuals?

Yes. Our GPS location tracking feature can be turned on or off for employees on an individual basis, within groups, or companywide.

Can employees see each other’s GPS points?

Employees can view their own GPS points, but only administrators, managers, and anyone granted the “Manage Timesheets for All Employees” permission can see another employee’s GPS locations.