Where does your time go? We know that sentence might put you in the mind of the Cheshire Cat but it’s not meant as a riddle. Do you know where your time goes? It may seem trite but your time is your most precious resource. You can always make more money but you’ll never be able to make more time. This is why a good time tracking tool is so crucial to your firm’s success. You don’t have to track your time for the purpose of billing your clients. In fact, we recommend you get away from the billable hour. But you should still be regularly tracking your time to ensure the profitability of your services. Finding a good time tracking software or application can be challenging for an Accountant, CPA Firm, or Bookkeeper. This is why we put together a list of some applications to get you started. Enjoy!
What is a time tracker?A time tracker is a simple solution that can help you solve your employee productivity and time organization problems. There are a number of potential tools in the growing number of apps an accounting firm uses to improve their business. It (time tracker) can eliminate guesstimates or awkward conversations with difficult clients who are not willing to cooperate because you’ll have the evidence of your work measured second by second. The truth is that you or your team members might be wasting a lot of time on unnecessary activities such as checking social media accounts or aimlessly browsing the Internet. To prevent this, time tracker tools create a sense of positive guidance that will make employees want to focus and work more efficiently without having to actually be supervised at all times. Employee privacy is salvaged while they get a better grip on how they invest their time. The data created by time trackers is also invaluable to you, the firm owner, for ensuring you’re pricing your services correctly and figuring out just how profitable your business is.
BigTimeBigTime was founded in 2002 and aims to bring together projects and time management. Known for its broad feature set focused on IT firms, BigTime has been one of the long-standing time tracking tools and applications. It’s based in Chicago and has had stagnant employee growth over the past few years. Watch BigTime’s company overview video here. Main Features
- Captures all time spent on projects or out of office activities through a mobile timesheet app.
- Employees can submit expenses through the online portal or directly from their mobile devices and attach scanned receipts.
- Offers comprehensive project management features that help managers monitor project status, define tasks and activities, assign tasks, and more.
- The built-in billing & invoicing tool helps businesses manage their accounting operations with automated expense calculations, multiple billing rates, and receipt management features.
- The solution can integrate with various accounting and ticketing solutions including QuickBooks, Slack, Zapier, and more.
FreshBooksFreshBooks is the 2nd largest accounting platform in North American and is largely known for its invoicing and time tracking features. Freshbooks focuses specifically on small to medium-sized businesses, although they clearly do not serve industries like retail (or businesses that rely on POS systems). The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Watch FreshBooks’ company overview video here. Main Features
- Key features of FreshBooks include invoicing, expense tracking, time tracking, reporting, and payments management.
- Users can brand their invoices, accept online payments, and set auto-payment reminders.
- Expenses can be tracked by attaching receipts to invoices, creating recurring expenses and taking snapshots of receipts.
- Financial statuses can be viewed through profit and loss statements, tax summaries and expense reports.
- FreshBooks categorizes credit card transactions fees and provides a summary of all deposits on its dashboard.
- The system’s time tracking module can extract unbilled project hours into invoices, record billable time and provide an analysis of time spent on projects.
- FreshBooks can also be integrated with Paypal, MailChimp, Zenpayroll and Basecamp.
HarvestHarvest is a leading time tracking tool that helps you manage your billable time. Based in New York, they are a medium sized company having anywhere from 11 to 50 employees. Harvest launched in 2006 which makes it one of the “older” time tracking tools in the market! Today, over 122 billion hours have been tracked with Harvest in over 100 countries. Main Features
- Simple Time Tracking
- Powerful Reports
- Fast Online Invoicing
- Security & Privacy
Jetpack WorkflowJetpack Workflow is a workflow software which utilizes project and tasks management to create a firm management solution. Jetpack Workflow was founded by David Cristello in June 2014 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From day one, it was built to help accounting firm owners manage deadlines and keep client work from falling through the cracks. Since launching, we’ve served thousands of firm owners in 17+ countries, and helped them complete millions of tasks monthly. Watch Jetpack Workflow’s company overview video here. Main Features
- Easily import client information via a CSV file.
- Add projects, set recurrence and duplicate – Set up a custom recurrence and duplicate it across all clients. Created projects become a searchable item.
- Add a task, recurrence and duplicate
- Easily search for projects, tasks or clients within seconds.
- See what your staff is working on and view what is overdue, due today and due this week.
- Easily reassign work to another team member.
- Stay on task with the help of automated summary emails
TickTick is a relatively unknown application but has made many strides in the time tracking space. They aim to combine projects with time tracking. Tick is a very popular integrated with the project management tool basecamp, and have a focus on managing budget vs actual in terms of track tracked vs time allocated. Watch Tick’s company overview video here. Main Features
- Manual time entry
- Instant budget feedback in the timecard
- View and export reports
- Desktop App for Windows and Mac
- Apple Watch App
- Mac Widget
- Mac App
- Chrome Extension
- Native iPhone application and Android/Google application
- Integrates with Basecamp, Asana, and Trello.
- SSL encryption ensures outside sources are kept out
- Account administrators have full control over permissions and access levels
- Zapier Support
- Seamless invoicing options through QuickBooks or FreshBooks
TimeCampTimecamp is an IT focused time tracking solution that boosts many integrations with task and projectment solutions. Timecamp is part of a number of applications coming out of Poland. Timecamp time tracking started in 2008. Watch TimeCamp’s company overview video here. Main Features
- Automation of the processes connected to project and task management by the use of automatic time tracking.
- Tracks billable and non-billable project hours, enabling its users to generate invoices automatically and use timesheets.
- Can be integrated with over 37 other project management solutions − Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Podio, Insightly, Wrike, or tools used to the marketing automation, such as Zapier, Freshbooks, Slack.
- Provides great reporting and allows you to assign users with different roles.
- Visibility of what colleagues are doing.
Get everything you need to manage projects and meet deadlines.Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, and get 32 free accounting workflow templates today! sign me up! Toggl Time Tracking Toggl is a popular time tracking app, headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia. Similar to Tsheets time tracking and Harvest, they also launched in 2006 (what a year for time tracking!). Toggl is known for the user friendliness of the application. As of August 2016, Toggl had more than 1.6 million registered users. Watch Toggl Time Tracking’s company overview video here. Main Features
- Takes one click to start a new time entry or to continue tracking a previous task.
- Toggl detects idle time and lets you decide what to do with it later.
- Less navigating between pages means fewer distractions. Integrations put the Toggl Button inside your favorite online apps, allowing you to start tracking immediately.
- All reports can be exported into Excel, CSV or PDF’s.
- Spot problems early and fight off scope creep with easy-to-read visual data.
- Assign billable rates to your tasks, and make sure you’re paid fairly for all your work.
- Quickly see how much time each member is tracking and if they’re taking on too much or too little work.
TSheetsTsheets, which is now a part of Intuit, is a time tracking and employee timecard software. It has a robust web and mobile experience which allows for users to login from wherever they are located. TSheets was developed as an alternative to excel and paper based timecards. Tsheets currently employs over 100 people, although after Intuit acquired Tsheets, it’s challenging to know the exact size and scale of Tsheets. Watch TSheets’ company overview video here. Main Features
- QuickBooks Integrated
- Mobile Time Tracking with GPS
- Simple Payroll
- PTO, Vacation, and Timesheet Approvals
- Real-Time Reporting
- DCAA/DOL Compliant
ZipBooksZipBooks is a new application on the market, and aims to pair both accounting features as well as popular time tracking features. The company is based in American Fork, Utah. ZipBooks was founded by Tim Chaves in June 2015, backed by venture capital firm Peak Ventures. They offer a free plan, however to access the time tracking features, you would need to upgrade to a paid plan. Watch ZipBooks’ company overview video here. Main Features
- Allows users to create customized invoices with logos, themes and messages.
- The online bookkeeping functionality of the software includes accounts receivable and bank reconciliation.
- With the help of bank integration, the system automatically imports transactions and generates real-time reports of company expenses.
- Offers project management tools that allow users to create tasks, assign them to team members and track performance with a built-in time-tracker.
- ZipBooks Accountants can text their clients directly from the app for streamlined communication and reconciliation.
- Payroll integration, reputation management and bookkeeping services.
ZoomShiftZoomShift is an employee scheduling software that offers a unique time tracking feature. It enables you to track employee times from your phone, track GPS, prevent timesheet errors, and run payroll in minutes. ZoomShift is best for small to medium businesses that want an easy way to schedule and communicate with their employees. Main features
- Geofencing Time Clock
- Easy to use clock in and clock out functionality.
- Quickbooks Integrations
- Easy to track time and export to payroll
Choosing the Best Solution for Your FirmWhat we’ve covered, so far, is really only scratching the surface. Once you look over each potential solution, kick the tires, so to speak, it’s time to compare them to your business needs. There are a few criteria (questions, really) we’d like you to consider, when narrowing down your choices in time & billing software:
What else does it do?
- In each listing (above) there are the “features” of each respective tool. That said, some offer more than others, especially when it comes to those gizmos outside of time and billing. Some like Jetpack Workflow offer team tracking, client management, and workflow tools. So, instead of time tracking, it’s a full hub for your business.
How well does their team help?
- Gotta check out the customer service, onboarding, and resources before you commit to a new tool. If you’re using it to keep an accurate tab on your crew and using it to bill clients, don’t you want fast access to help, if you need it?
How seamlessly does this tool fit into my firm’s workflow?
- The last thing you want need is to feel like your new tool is a burden. Like, “Ugh, I have to login to see how xyz is going.”