September 23, 2014

Time Tracking for Small Business: Review of Harvest

Time tracking is one of those tasks that causes otherwise sane people pull their hair out. It inspires procrastination. Harvest wants to make it super simple and easy. Harvest is an online time tracking tool that offers an elegant way to track time and timesheets for your employees.

GetHarvest

Harvest actually does a lot more than track time. With it you can analyze your time across clients, projects and tasks. You can use it to create and send out invoices (for your billable hours) and track those accounts in their invoicing dashboard. I actually learned about Harvest through my account at Outright, because Outright integrates their bookkeeping tool with Harvest’s invoicing. Pretty slick, in my view.  You can read my full review of Outright here.

Harvest has thought about almost every aspect of your time tracking experience, even for simple widgets. You can watch a short YouTube video on what the desktop widget does prior to downloading it. Leave it to a team that knows “time is money” to think about giving you a short 2-3 minute video to explain something fast. By the way, the widget lets you keep track when you’re not online.

What I Like:

  • Easy export to Quickbooks and other financial tools, including Excel
  • Ties to Basecamp and several other major Web-based apps for project management.
  • Mobile device applications for iPhone. You are probably out on the road doing project work from time to time; being able to time track from a mobile phone is a great option.
  • Harvest’s philosophy:  “Don’t get in the way. Small business people are busy. Create a system that is as easy to set up as it is to use. Be intuitive so there is a minimal learning curve for all users. Everyone has more important things to get done than just track time.

What Could Be Better:

This app is pretty solid, but I’d like to see a mobile app for Android and Blackberry, too.  It would also be helpful to see a couple of short case studies so that I can see how other small business owners are using Harvest.  (The testimonials cover some of this, to be fair.)

Who Is It For?

I imagine that large teams might want Harvest, but in searching the Web I found freelancers, small businesses and independent professionals using the tool.  Attorneys, architects, accountants and others who operate on a solo level most of the year or add team members at busy times of year also use Harvest; it looks like it would be perfect for nonprofits, too.

Harvest offers a “forever free” plan for microbusinesses; other plans start at $12/mo.  There is a 30-day free trial, no credit card required, just an easy and fast form.

Learn more about Harvest.

4 Comments ▼


TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue is the Product Editor for Small Business Trends and an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum and he loves learning about technology apps and software services.

4 Reactions

  1. Hi there, I’m the Community Manager here at Harvest, and I just wanted to say thanks for this review of Harvest, TJ, we’re thrilled you’re liking what you see! A few points:

    * The widget only works when your online, not when you’re offline. Our iPhone app DOES work offline though, and syncs up when you’re connected back to a network.

    * We have an Android app underway in-house, and also, Kyle Stewart built an awesome free Harvest Android app, which you can find on his website http://bit.ly/bDKyv9
    or download via QR code: http://bit.ly/cQh3Lc

    * Consider the Blackberry app request noted, thanks.

    * Another exciting thing that we just released this past week is the ability to accept online payments via several payment gateways, on our web invoice. You can read all about it here: http://bit.ly/aMqVnC

    Thanks for the feedback and suggestions, we

  2. Wow Karen, super fast response time! And thank you for the updates and the clarification on the widget. Good to know. Didn’t notice that on the description, sorry about that.

    Love the update on Android and BBerry. Smart to set up a QR code, too. Keep watching this comment stream because we’re an informal test bed for you, as customers will actually come in and say what they’ve been doing, using, liking, disliking.

    Keep up the great work. Thank you for joining the conversation here.

  3. Thanks TJ, we really appreciate the support – we work hard every day to bring the best to our customers.

    One last thing, to update your readers: We’ve just announced PayPal Business Payments w/ flat 50 cent pricing, to help you get paid online, with much lower fees! http://bit.ly/cmF8Hq

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