An introduction to timesheet software

What is timesheet software?

There are many words used to describe software for managing time in an organisation:  timesheet software, time tracking software, web timesheet, time and expense software, time clock, time and attendance, … the list goes on.  Sometimes the difference is just one of convention for a particular country, but other times it implies a distinct and important difference in the functionality or industry focus of the software application.

In essence, timesheet software is used to record and analyse the time spent by individuals on tasks. Typically, tasks are linked with projects and clients, and staff assigned to work on them. Costs and/or revenue can usually be defined, and may vary depending on the person, task, project or client. A variety of timesheet reports then provide insight into how time is being spent across the organisation, which can be used for analysis and management decision-making or for billing clients.

Timesheet software can be a stand-alone application, where you use reports or export data as required. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, timesheet software can be integrated into a full business management application (such as an ERP or PSA system).

Why use timesheet software?

Your business or organisation can use timesheet software to improve how you manage your time. Remember, time is money!

Know where your time goes

Understanding where time is currently spent is the first step to being able to pro-actively manage your time. People often have a perception of how their time is spent that is very different to the reality … and timesheets allow you to reveal this.  For example, one small company was shocked to discover that the annual cost of meetings in their organisation was over $100,000.  This insight then led to a discussion about the role of meetings and ultimately to changed working practices. The result: shorter, more productive meetings and happier staff.

 

Track time accurately

Timesheet software allows you to track time more accurately than manual methods or spreadsheets. And small differences can add up to a significant gap over a month or year. This gap in time recorded versus time worked represents hidden costs or foregone profit that directly impacts on your profit and loss. For example, when quoting for a new project you can use reports from your timesheet software to ensure the estimate is both realistic and competitive.

 

Reduce administrative hassles

Importantly, modern timesheet software is convenient and user friendly. After all, you don’t want to place an undue administrative burden on your employees – and thankfully the days of emailing spreadsheets around the company each month are over.  Nowadays, employees can enter time wherever they are:  in the office, at the client site, even on the road via mobile phone.  And it’s simpler than ever to manage job codes, consolidate information, and run reports.

What Should You Look For in a Timesheet System?

Choosing the right timesheet system involves matching the needs of your business with what is available in the market. Important things to consider include:

  • Do you want a simple stand-alone timesheet system?  Or does it need to integrate with your other applications?
  • What is the nature of your business? Do you bill staff time to clients, or just want to keep track of how time is spent on activities internally?
  • How many people will be using the timesheet? Will this number expand over time?
  • How will staff enter time?  Are they always in the one place, or do they need to log in from many different locations using different devices?
  • What features are essential for your organisation?  Which are simply “nice to have”?
  •  … and many other questions

There are literally hundreds of timesheet systems available worldwide, so the challenge is finding the right timesheet software for your specific requirements.

How to find the right timesheet software

1. Search our Timesheet Software Directory

For an extensive list of quality timesheet software, please refer to our timesheet software directory. This enables you to browse a wide range of options with brief descriptions, and click through to individual vendor websites for more information and to take free trials.

2. Consider the following shortlist of timesheet software

Below is a selection of quality online timesheet software that we encourage you to consider. Click on the logo or relevant links to take a free trial and investigate for yourself whether they are a good fit for your specific needs. Our experience in software selection tells us that usability matters enormously (and preferences can vary from person to person, or firm to firm) so make sure you look at how a solution does something as well as what it does.

Bill4Time

Complete time billing solution, particularly well suited to legal and accounting firms (but used by plenty of others too including consultants, engineers, designers, etc). Bill4Time enables you to easily track time, manage projects, organize expenses, invoice clients and accept payment. Access it online and or via your mobile. Take a free trial of Bill4Time

Harvest

Harvest Time Tracking Online timesheet solution that is very intuitive and easy to use. Enter time against projects via the web, on your phone, or with a desktop widget. You can also send invoices and track payments from within the system. It also provides excellent reporting functionality. Take a free trial of Harvest

Paymo

Paymo is a simple, easy to use and low-cost system for tracking your time, managing projects and invoicing your clients. Ideally suited to freelancers and small businesses, Paymo offers online, desktop and mobile options for recording your timesheets. Paid plans start from just $9.95/month, with additional users from only $4.95/month. Set up a free Paymo account today

Clockspot

If you’re looking for employee time tracking by phone or computer, look no further than Clockspot. It is designed primarily for companies looking to record and track time by project but which don’t need to bill their time. Employees can clock in and out by phone or website, and it can easily manage accruals, timeoff and payroll calculations. Take a free trial of Clockspot

3. Consider software that does more than just timesheets

Freshbooks

FreshBooks Built for small business owners, Freshbooks started life as a popular online invoicing application but has since grown into a full cloud accounting solution. Used by 5 million people, it brings a simple and intuitive approach to timesheets, invoicing and online accounting.  It includes time tracking, online invoicing, expense tracking as well as a good range of accounting features like online payments, multi-currency, recurring payments etc. Take a free trial of Freshbooks

WorkEtc

Online business management solution including timesheets, CRM, projects, and billing that is cost effective and easy to use. Allows you to manage everything in one place, with access via web, iPhone and Android. Comes with a powerful automation engine to streamline your processes. Pricing from $39/user/month, with volume discounts. Take a free 30 day trial of WorkEtc.

BlueCamroo

Blue Camroo is online software that makes it easy to manage your whole business. Web-based time tracking is a key part of the solution, enabling you to easily project management, customer service, and more. Analyze your time, export timesheets, and maximize your billable hours with automatic timers.  Take a free 31 day trial of BlueCamroo.