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OnTheClock Celebrates 20 Years in Business

OnTheClock Celebrates 20 Years in Business

OnTheClock 20 YAnniversary

In the spring of 2004, Dean Mathews set out to change the world – one punch at a time.  

Armed not with fists but with lines of code, Mathews, a software developer with an entrepreneurial spirit, created OnTheClock, a cloud-based time tracking and employee scheduling program designed to streamline workforce management for businesses of all sizes.

Today, OnTheClock continues to revolutionize the American workspace, partnering with 155,000-plus people and overseeing more than a million punches each week.

Mathews smiles when sharing OnTheClock’s story, finding joy in acknowledging the broad influence the company has had on businesses large and small

“Whatever you choose to do in life, it’s important to ensure you’re always helping people. That’s a core value here at OnTheClock,” he said. “Knowing we’ve made a difference at the end of every day is a big thing – the most important thing. I’m blessed, and I feel we as a company and human beings should always strive to be a blessing to others.” 

Once Upon a Time

In 2003, Mathews was working as a consultant through his company Paradigm Information Solutions, offering services ranging from software development, accounting, payroll, and more to clients in metro Detroit. 

While scrolling through various online accounting forums one late night, he uncovered a recurring trend.

“I kept seeing threads from small business owners who desperately sought an ‘easy and reliable time clock,’” said Mathews. “I’d never built a time clock before, but I was certain I could. I was immediately intrigued. My entrepreneurial spirit wouldn’t let it go, so I dove in.” 

A few weeks later, Mathews emerged with a fairly basic program designed to digitally record the times employees punched in and out. 

“It was super simple,” said Mathews. “You couldn’t edit timecards, and there was no paid time off function. You simply logged in and tracked time – that’s it.” 

Despite its sparsity, the program drew acclaim from small business owners who began to add it quickly. Once logged in, users heralded its ability to deliver precisely what they sought: easy and reliable time tracking. 

If You Build it, They Will Come

Driven by the software’s blossoming popularity, Mathews devoted more of his time and resources to his new software program. However, no matter how diligent he was, he struggled to keep up with the software’s – and its users’ – demands. 

“As a developer, I had a pretty good grasp on the product, but there’s so much more that goes into building a business from the ground up,” said Mathews. “I had to learn how to market the product, how to use SEO, how to build a website – all those auxiliary functions that are necessary to run a successful business. When a customer had a question or needed assistance, I was the one providing answers.”

Recognizing he was unable to do it all on his own, he began hiring employees – a step he was initially reluctant to take. 

“I couldn’t do everything myself, especially as things continued to grow,” said Mathews. “I’ve always struggled to delegate tasks, so this was a difficult step for me. But, ultimately, I started to slowly bring people on. Several of our earliest employees are still with the company today.”

As he set out to build a leadership team, Mathews plucked some fruit from the family tree, as his brother, Mark Mathews, joined the company in 2008. 

“Mark and I are both developers and consultants, and we both think very similarly,” Mathews said. “It got to a point where I said to Mark, ‘Hey, this thing I’ve got going on over here is doing pretty well. You’ve always been interested in building an app, why not build one for OnTheClock?’ He jumped aboard, and, in just a few months, we had an Apple and Android app.” 

The Mathews brothers have surmounted the sibling rivalry stereotype and have worked harmoniously toward a common goal: OnTheClock’s success.

“Mark compliments me well,” said Mathews. “While I’m an idea guy, he’s great at following through and executing. Mark, who now serves as the company’s CFO, has been a huge part of everything we’ve accomplished.”

A Time Tracking Trailblazer

When the company first started, there were three or four time tracking options in the market. Today, per Mathews’ estimation, there are more than 50 businesses boasting time tracking software. 

Over the years, the OnTheClock team has relied on feedback from end users to remain competitive, identifying and solving their needs through new features, options, and updates.  

“One of the first requests was to add paid time off [PTO], so we did,” said Mathews. “Initially, employees would have to make PTO requests, and managers would have to manually enter in any changes. This functionality has continued to improve over time. The next item we addressed was overtime rules. Each state has different rules and regulations, so we had to incorporate unique calculations for each state. Then, in response to internet safety and security, we added an IP restriction option, allowing employers to limit where employees could punch in and out. We’ve worked to stay ahead of the curve, making sure we’re always providing customers with value-added options.” 

This attention to detail has proven beneficial, as OnTheClock’s best year has always been the current year. Each year has been better than the previous year, and the company has continually climbed “up and to the right,” said Mathews. 

“One day, very early on, it was like, ‘Wow, we’re actually making money,’” Mathews said. “It’s been a lot of fun watching our customer count jump from 25 to 100 and then 1,000, 10,000, and now to 18,000.” 

Over the years, OnTheClock has encountered several hurdles – much like any small business. Navigating 9/11, the Great Recession, and other cultural events has proven challenging; however, from an occupational standpoint, COVID-19 posed the grandest threat. Luckily, for OnTheClock, the pandemic brought forth a surprising result. 

“2020 was one of our best years yet,” said Mathews. “When workers went home, some employers were nervous that employees may not be working all of their hours. As a result, a lot of small businesses turned to time tracking to help monitor employees’ productivity. Because OnTheClock is so easy to access and use, many companies began utilizing it, and we’re grateful for that.” 

Two Decades in the Making

Today, more than 155,000 people and 18,000 customers rely on OnTheClock to manage their time – numbers that continue to astonish Mathews.

“I’m pretty happy about where the company is today, but there’s still work to be done,” said Mathews. 

In the near future, Mathews intends to expand OnTheClock’s features, adding options such as embedded payroll, human resource features, onboarding functionality, and anything else that may help business leaders better run their companies. 

“We’re aiming to make OnTheClock a multiproduct tool that caters to many aspects of a business’s needs,” Mathews said. “We would like to expand into different languages, begin to incorporate artificial intelligence, and continue evolving our development framework.”

While the long-term future is a bit more difficult to predict, Mathews said he does have a roadmap in place. 

“I’d like to continue expanding our reach,” he said. “Our overarching goal is to serve 1 million customers, so we’re only about 15% of the way there. Additionally, we’re interested in incorporating an international audience, working with employees all around the globe. Finally, I’d love for OnTheClock to become a household name. Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Through all the ups and downs, OnTheClock’s willingness to help others remains a cornerstone principle. Philanthropically, the company continues to give back, partnering with numerous organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Kids Kicking Cancer, the SaddleUp Foundation, and many more. 

“Giving back is a core belief of mine and the company,” said Mathews. “We obtain joy by giving. Whether it’s your time or revenue, it’s important to help those in need. I truly believe we’re blessed, and I feel it’s our responsibility to bless others.”

The Future Is Bright

For a company that prides itself on tracking every minute, Mathews is amazed at how quickly the last 20 years have flown by. 

“It’s gone fast,” he said. “As you age, you realize you have less time left. Every year goes by faster and faster. We’re already in May of 2024. We all try to make the most of our years and, ironically, we’ve been driven to do just that at OnTheClock since day one.” 

OnTheClock’s team is small but mighty, consisting of 24 full-time employees. As the number of staff, customers, and revenue continues to climb, Mathews beams at the difference OnTheClock has made – and continues to make – everyday. 

“When I first started OnTheClock, I did it because it was fun and challenging,” said Mathews. “I did it because it was helpful to people and their busiensses. I never set out to work with X amount of companies or earn X amount of dollars. None of that was even a possibility when it was first started. I took this on as a passion project, and I’m even more passionate about it today.” 

From an intriguing idea to a tangible product to a program that’s had a profound impact on millions of small businesses, Mathews is incredibly proud of OnTheClock’s first 20 years and even more excited at the prospect of what lies ahead. 

“It goes to show that if you work hard and put your mind to it, anything’s possible,” Mathews said.

OnTheClock Employee Time Tracking

Written by

Herb Woerpel

Herb Woerpel is a copywriter with OnTheClock. He has 17-plus years of professional journalism experience working for community and national media outlets.

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