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How to Choose the Best Time Tracking Software





Employee time measurement has come a long way since the days when staff would manually stamp time cards and hand them in.

Through the wonders of cloud technology, it’s now possible to track your employees’ activity, log information about time invested on certain projects, and produce meaningful reports to give you a clear picture of what’s going on in your small business.

Time-tracking software is useful for all types of businesses, from small startups to large enterprises. These applications are a great investment for many types of businesses, whether you’re in accounting and bookkeeping, construction, hotels, cleaning services, plumbing and heating, retail, or any other industry where tracking team activity and handling expenses are paramount to your business.

Time-tracking applications are useful for the whole team for tracking time, processing payroll, and dealing with important administrative processes. A good time-tracking app is scalable, and can be used at different levels (e.g. field or in-house staff, team managers, HR, Payroll) to save time and money, and give clearer insights into projects. Employers benefit by knowing how time is being used, while employees can relax knowing that they’ll get paid for every minute they work.



Types of Time-Tracking Software

Time-tracking software comes in several shapes and sizes. Some come as modules within accounting and invoicing apps such as FreshBooks, where employees can log hours from wherever they are and then automatically generate invoices through the software.

Likewise, comprehensive online project management software will often include time tracking features. Mavenlink, for example, offers time tracking and approval support, allowing for effortless billing and activity logging in a project-focused environment.





If you don’t have a time-tracking module within your existing business software, there are plenty of standalone time monitoring applications. Many of these have free trials, so they’re ideal if you want to shop around for something that fits your budget.

Choosing the Best Time-Tracking Software

When you’re researching which application to use, there are several functions to look out for. Of course, you’ll need to think about which of these features are surplus to your requirements, but the best time tracking software will serve most, or all, of the following functions:

Time Tracking

The ability to monitor the time of both hourly and salaried employees is the main purpose of a time tracking application. If you have staff in the field, look for a service that offers multi-device clocking in/out. Some solutions, such as Vericlock, offer the ability to punch in via text message or SMS, or through a smartphone app, for example.

Offline support is a must if you have staff who are working in locations where Internet access is limited or unavailable. Some time tracking tools, including TSheets, offer GPS features, so you can physically track what your field staff are up to.

Many tools will offer you the ability to set up alerts to remind your employees to clock in and out, and a safeguard feature for automatically clocking out those staff who aren’t supposed to be clocked in.





Timesheets

Timesheet handling is an important part of a time-tracking application. Software that allows you to divide timesheets by project is ideal, because it makes the billing process easier. When choosing a solution, pay attention to its approval workflows.

Ideally, you want a solution that allows a project or department manager to quickly and easily approve or reject a timesheet. Timesheets.com is an example of a solution that allows you to do just this. Many applications send you email alerts when a timesheet or expense has been submitted.

Overtime control is another aspect of time-tracking software that can make your life easier and save you money. Many of the best applications offer overtime alerts, which can notify a manager when an employee is clocking over. This can help you avoid paying for costly overtime in cases where it may not be necessary.



Project Management

The best time-tracking software will allow you to monitor project resources and track tasks, and some allow you to add project notes to tasks so that everyone involved is on the same page.



Support for recording billable and non-billable expenses and for invoice creation are other handy features that some time-tracking tools — like Replicon, for example — include, and help to bridge the gap between project management and payroll.

Reports

Reporting is a crucial advantage of an automated time tracking application. A good software like Toggl lets you generate a wide variety of different reports to help a manager gain insights into things like time worked, expenses, and invoices. Reports can generally be customized, allowing the user to define exactly what information they want to be included in the reports. Although software can gather all this data, it’s very important that managers have the right training to be able to analyze and interpret the data in the most effective way.



Be sure that the time-tracking app you pick includes the ability to export or print reports so that they can then be shared easily with bosses or employees.

Help and Support

While it’s imperative that you choose a time-tracking solution that is reliable and easy to use by everyone in the company, it’s also vital that you research the customer support service of an application before selecting one.



The best ones should offer email, phone, and live chat support so that you can quickly solve issues with the software during the integration phase and quickly squash any problems that arise.



Integrations

One important factor to consider when selecting a time-tracking application is to pay attention to its integrations. Integrations are key because they allow you to synchronize your time tracking application with data from other business software that you’re already using.

Look for a time-tracking software that offers integration with the packages you’re using for payroll, CRM, accounting, content management, project management, and ERP, and you’ll be able to slot your time-tracking functionality into these.

Take the time to research all of these factors when choosing the best time tracking software, and the payoff will be an increase in employee productivity, better payroll control, and improved billing accuracy. What this means in real terms, simply put, is cost savings for your small business.





Factory Time Clock Photo via Shutterstock

15 Comments ▼


Christophe Primault


Christophe Primault Christophe is the co-founder and CEO at GetApp. GetApp is the largest independent business apps marketplace. Millions of businesses are using GetApp to discover, try and buy business apps (SaaS & Mobile). GetApp is also an important source of lead generation for thousands of business apps companies.

15 Reactions

  1. Good info Christophe! It is indeed hard to pick the best time tracking software, simply because there is so many choice. I have tried some tools, but in the end, I chose for Saus, which I am still using at the moment. I especially like the clear week dashboard, that immediately gives insight in your activities in the past week!

  2. When I had to choose my current time tracking software, Timeneye (https://www.timeneye.com), I was looking for a useful tool to track the time I spend daily to work on projects from different clients. I wanted a free tool with powerful reports as I often need to bill my clients.

  3. Thanks for the breakdown, Christophe! I’m glad you mentioned my favorite time tracking system of all, TSheets (www.tsheets.com)! I love their mobile time tracking, a seamless integration with QuickBooks, and make tracking time for both payroll and invoicing absolutely pain-free! Technology In A Box LOVES TSheets~

  4. I use Time Doctor for time tracking. Its major feature that is not available in other software is the priority feature and the ability to know how much of the day a person is focusing on their priorities. To start working or switch into different tasks, I can simply enter the task name and click on the Go button then the timer will start until you click on the Break Mode or Stop From Work button. I find it very useful as it fits our requirement in monitoring our freelancers who always slack off their time during their work.

  5. Christophe, am on GetApp from past 2 days, trying to figure out which time tracking app suits the best for the kind of work we do! As you have mentioned a few companies with hyperlink in the article, I will check them out for sure! Thank you πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for the swift turn around! Will get in-touch shortly.

  7. Hi, Christophe. Good article. Would have helped me a lot a while ago when I started browsing for a time tracking software (and was not entirely sure about what I was looking for, to he honest). Now that I am more familiar with not only the apps but with the entire concept, I have to agree entirely with your text. Also, it is more interesting like that than just making a list.

    Tried a few and have been using primaERP. Quite happy with it.

    Cheers!

  8. Recording of attendance and the time sheet of employees is a tricky business. If the system is manual, it needs a supervisor to keep a close eye on it. A payroll system that uses bio metric finger scanners provides the best solutions. It logs in and logs out an employee every time he or she enters or leaves the workplace. It is a tamper-proof system giving not a chance to anyone to play with it. It takes care of buddy-punching and of other means, used to circumvent the system. Such a payroll system can save a lot of revenue for the business.

  9. I have used TimeCamp since August last year. Why I’m using it now? Because it reaches my expectations, especially in one important field – I was looking for software which tracks time automatically. I hate timesheets, I also had a lot of problems with it… Now I don’t have to worry about mistakes which I’ve done.

  10. Integration is the important factor that is often overlook while selecting a good time tracking software, If you selected software has wide options of integrations with tools that you use then it would be easy to work and manage your task, So in my opinion integration with relevant software dashboards is important to consider.

  11. A feature that is missing in most Time Tracking Software is video monitoring. If I have a remote employee, who works from India, how would I be sure that he is really getting the work done and not someone else on his behalf. I was looking for something like that, a feature that would give surity about the employee identity. And I found this in StaffTimerApp.

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