According to a recent Harvard Business Review article titled Seven Strategies For Simplifying Your Organization, one of the seven steps listed is to, "Take the shortest path from here to there." In other words, look for ways to root out inefficiencies, redundancies, or extra steps in how you run your business, especially with your core processes. The core processes of a business are those tasks you must perform to keep your business running, but may have nothing to do with the actual services you provide or the products you sell.

Core business processes for any business will include your financial accounting, administrative, and HR tasks, along with your sales and marketing efforts. These business processes are typically overhead or operating expenses that must be recouped from the profits you make. The problem is that many core processes are costing business owners money because they are not accurately tracking the hours spent on these tasks, so management can’t make decisions to reduce how much time is spent on those tasks.

This is where the best time tracking and invoicing software is extremely beneficial. These software apps give management and workers a clearly defined method for tracking how much time they spend on anything and everything related to a project. The benefits of the best employee time tracking software include:

  • Automates and streamlines many HR and payroll functions
  • Can gain valuable analytical insight into timelines and manpower
  • Makes it easier to bill clients for all services rendered
  • Can improve your employee accountability and reduce absenteeism

The best time tracking software can be used to track an individual employee's productivity and identify work practices that may consume more hours than they should. Additionally, you will be able to easily create invoices that include all the work done for clients by any member of your team.

There are many hidden work hours that go unpaid. The best time tracking and invoicing software allows you to be compensated for those hidden expenses like travel, lodging, food, gasoline, the filing of government documents, or the ordering of extra equipment. It also gives you a centralized location to view both the time spent on projects and how much your client is being charged.

Time Tracking and Billing Software for Consultants

It takes a lot of hard work for a small consulting business to grow into a multi-employee company that can handle larger projects or provide a wider range of services. And, when it comes to those who provide professional consulting services, they need the right type of time tracking and billing software for consultants. Engineers, financial consultants, accountants, architects, IT experts, marketing/creatives, and law firms all sell their valuable time and talent for profit.

For this reason, they need time tracking and billing software for consultants that they can modify to suit their present needs and can also grow with the business. BigTime is designed specifically for professional service providers and consultants that want to start with a basic or free time tracking for consultants that can grow as their business grows.

Start with a consulting time tracking template that allows you to modify certain features to meet your needs. With BigTime, you have access to all your data while in the field, and you can set-up, built-in approval workflows to make sure time and expenses don’t pile up.

Just because time tracking software for consultants can start with an easy-to-use template, you still get the benefit of powerful reporting and analytical features that use the data your team members enter into BigTime to create budget reports, project status reports, and track utilization rates.

Time Tracking Software

Another consideration in addition to the automation of office processes is to consider how much money is lost due to either employees exaggerating hours worked or clients who insist your billable hours are inconsistent with their accounting. Stolen or lost time is one of the biggest drains on a small- to medium-sized business, and the only way to counter it is to put processes in place to record hours time tracking.

A time tracker for your employees is one of the best tools a manager can have to make sure recorded hours worked are in agreement with actual hours worked. A personal time tracker can also provide key information on your operations, such as knowing which tasks are costing your company too much money and which tasks are taking too much of your employee's time.

A time tracker allows your employees to use their smartphones to record the start and end of a task or a shift worked. This information can also be recalled when performing employee evaluations for raises or promotions.

Investing in time tracking software can also give you the information you need to forecast budgets. Many times, you will have projects that are similar to previous projects. When you can go back in time and look at how many man-hours those projects took, you can provide better estimates and expect more profit when the job is complete.

Best Free Time Tracking Software

Software developers who are confident in the product they are releasing will offer a chance to test their app by offering a free time tracking software trial. While BigTime is not free, the company does offer a free trial for users to get to know what the software features and how it can help streamline their billing and invoicing efforts. It also means your corporation is not obligated to purchase the program if it does not meet your needs.

When you test drive the best free time tracking app, it will certainly demonstrate how an app made specifically for consultants is much better than depending on Excel spreadsheets which can be overly simplified, or using a more sophisticated time and invoicing system that makes it difficult for employees to navigate.

When you choose the free time tracking software trial period, you will discover how BigTime has been designed specifically for the way consultants work. That includes charging clients by the hour, by the task, or in pre-specified payments each month. To create a spreadsheet that includes half the automation features of a developer's app would take an indepth knowledge of master-level Excel skills and database programming knowledge.

Also, when spreadsheets are used by different employees, they have the chance to modify the spreadsheet to fit their needs. This can result in multiple versions of your free time tracking software or your master invoicing spreadsheet having calculation errors that cost you money.

List of Time Tracking Software

You can search the internet to find a list of time tracking software products, but how many of those apps have professional consultants in mind? The best time tracking software should do more than just log employee hours. It should also calculate accurate invoices for clients to pay for time spent on their projects.

Also, look for time tracking and invoicing software that is easy for small and medium-sized businesses to roll-out, without the need for an IT expert. And, if your invoice and time tracking app doesn't reveal trends in employee attendance, performance, and efficiency with analytical reporting, then you are collecting valuable data that is not being put to use.

A list of time tracking software companies should include those that integrate both QuickBooks data and your time tracking information for seamless accounting. Besides BigTime, there is Clockify and Harvest time tracking software that have the time tracking and invoicing features that consultants and professionals really need.

BigTime is a good alternative to Clockify and Harvest because it is value-priced, yet still contains all the tools a business needs to track employee time and to invoice clients for that time. Also, BigTime can grow as your company grows with bundled options such as project management tools that integrates with QuickBooks time tracking.

Time Tracking App for Freelancers

Freelancers create a stable business model based on their own particular skill sets. For this reason, they require a time tracking app for freelancers that fits the way they bill customers, sometimes by the quarter-hour. Website designers, copywriters, and data-entry professionals need to offer their clients multiple payment solutions and automated invoicing, so they can focus on their core business.

The best time tracking app for small businesses shows your clients a level of professionalism that they typically only expect from a larger business. This adds a level of trust and honesty that keeps your clients coming back. The best time tracking app for freelancers means you never miss a payment and you have visibility across all your independent employees and vendors.

Freelancers typically work from remote locations, so having their billing and invoicing information accessible while in the office or at the client's location is important. Choose time tracking and invoicing software that can be stored in the cloud, so you never lose your valuable data and your employees can input their hours worked no matter where they are in the world.

And finally, freelancers with multiple employees need a time tracking app that has a good level of privacy and security. This means only certain people can approve timesheets and managers can set up team collaborations to manage subdivided tasks.

Time Tracking Software for Employees

It doesn't matter if your employees are in the office or if they work remotely, you need a concrete time tracking software for employees that is easy to use and enhances productivity. For instance, maybe some of your employees are multi-tasking and prefer to input their time on a project as a billable unit of work. Employee time tracking software should be flexible to accommodate alternate methods of logging work hours.

BigTime offers a smooth rollout of its employee time tracking app so your workers know that time tracking is not used to monitor employees. Its purpose is to account for the right amount of hours that can be charged back to clients. It also allows for a culture of honesty within a company, depending on employees to accurately log the time they put into work tasks or the expenses they have incurred in the process of doing business.

If you don't have employee time tracking software for small business, then you are more than likely losing money on activities that are not being accounted for. And, when your employees are up for review, a time tracking software can be beneficial in rewarding those workers with the most billable hours and the least amount of absenteeism.