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How to Choose Timesheet Software

If you are in the market for timesheet software your research may leave you uncertain about what type of package you need. You can demystify the choices by considering your budget, business requirements and other basic factors.

First, make a list of the things you want to do with your time tracking software, e.g., billing clients for time recorded by your staff, communicating with payroll systems, enforcing labor policies. Note the functions for which you already have a specific process or policy. You should review the software for business processes and decide whether you wish to change your policies to comply with the software or whether you want to pay a fee to customize the software to your policies.

After you have completed your list, use a search engine to look for timesheet or time tracking software. Most will provide a free trial or at least an online demo and you can use these to judge how closely the package matches your needs. If you are in a specific industry like professional services or manufacturing, be sure you look at packages with processes and workflows for your type of business. Many time tracking packages offer industry-specific features to meet the requirements of that market. If possible, avoid choosing a generic package. If you buy the packaged version of software meant for your vertical industry you are less likely to have to spend money on customization.

If you cannot find the answers to all your questions on the vendor web site, use the ‘contact us’ form to contact the vendor. You can usually arrange for a demo, either in-person or over the web. Most vendors will ask questions about your business needs and customize the demonstration to your business. These demonstrations are free and will go far toward helping you make your decision.

Here are some other considerations:

You can ask others what they use and what they like and don’t like about their timesheet software. Check out websites or foums with timesheet reviews.

When you consider a vendor you should also consider customer service, warranties, and free upgrades. You should also look at your budget and consider the number of users who will utilize this software and the license and customization fees charged by a particular vendor.

Get references from the vendor and develop a list of 10 questions to ask each reference. Probe carefully to ensure you are not simply talking to a gold advocate, enlisted by the vendor to say nice things about their software and services.

Look at the reporting capability of the product to be sure it does what you need it to do and consider whether the timesheet software is suitable to meet your needs as your business grows.

There are many things you can do to develop a full picture of your software needs and ensure you are choosing the right solution. But, if you do nothing more than follow the guidelines provided here you will be well on your way to purchasing a timesheet system to suit the needs of your business.

About the Author

Susan Obijiski is a technology professional, consultant, business coach and writer. Her experience includes management consulting, and she has published research for Gartner Group. Susan is a frequent speaker and presenter on a variety of topics including software and technology, business strategy, process improvement and organizational culture change.

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