I’ve always been a fan of Harvest, an online time and expense tracker geared towards entrepreneurs and small businesses. The Harvest service also provides tools for sending invoices and creating estimates, both incredibly handy for small business owners.
The Harvest people have recently launched an iPhone app to compliment their web application. The app is simple and polished, and it allows you to do the two main things that Harvest does best: track time and track expenses.
Adding the application is simple, and if you don’t already have a Harvest plan, you can quickly create a trial account via the application. (Harvest accounts are all paid accounts, but each comes with a 30-day free trial.)
Time tracking with the Harvest app is simple. You can use the stopwatch mode, which allows you to manually start and stop a timer. The timer runs even when the app is closed, and doesn’t require network connection to record the time.
Once you’ve recorded the time on the app, you can assign the time to a project and/or task, and add notes describing the type of time spent. If you’ve forgotten to start the timer or just manually want to add time to your Harvest account, you can easily do so. There’s also a detailed calendar view, which allows you to add time based on the date, and gives you a daily overview of your time spent.
Tracking expenses is also simple with the Harvest app. Simply add an amount, add a description, and categorize the expense. You can even upload a picture of the receipt, which is helpful for those business write-offs come April 15th.
You can also add expenses based on the date with the helpful calendar view.
Things I Liked About the Harvest App
- Great interface. It really is a beautiful application, with nice, contrasting colors and a well-planned user interface.
- Easy registration. The fact that you don’t have to leave the application to create a Harvest account is really helpful.
- Automatic account syncing. The app constantly syncs to make sure that whatever happens on your phone is recorded to your online account.
- Doesn’t require network connection. Don’t worry about no-service areas or even putting your phone on airplane mode. The app will store the data locally and sync with the online account when it’s available.
- It’s free. Can’t hurt to at least try, right?
Things I Thought Could be Improved
- It’s not really free. While the application itself is free, it still requires a Harvest account which starts at $12/month. You get a 30-day free trial with each account, but this is only a companion application. The fact that it requires a paid account to Harvest could be a major barrier for many.
- Can’t add tasks or edit project details. As of the time of this writing, you can’t edit tasks or project details via the iPhone application. Hopefully they’ll change this in the future.
- Can’t create estimates or invoices. This may be outside of the scope of the application, but it would be helpful to have the ability to create and edit estimates or invoices via the application. It would be really handy to create estimates on the go. The application just launched a couple weeks ago, so it’s likely that they’ve left out a few features for future releases.