Every small business needs to track employee time. If you’re in a consultancy business that generates billable hours, you have to know how much to invoice your clients. If you have multiple projects running and many employees working on several of them, you need to keep track of who spent how many hours on what.

The more detailed your time tracking, the better you can manage your projects. That includes tracking not just at the project level but understanding how much time was spent on each task within a project. It includes tracking the status of each task to see if it’s going to meet its deadline and to ensure it’s not going to hold up other tasks that depend on it.

As your business grows and your projects multiply, it’s almost impossible to keep tabs on these things without employee time tracking software. You reach the point where spreadsheets and pencil and paper can’t keep up. There are low-cost or no-cost software solutions to track time for you. However, if you’ve installed time tracking software that does time tracking only, you may have to reenter employee hours to feed your payroll and invoicing systems.

How much will an employee time tracking app do for you? It varies widely with the app. There are some that do time tracking and nothing more. Employees enter their hours and at the end of the pay cycle you know how many hours they worked, but you have to figure out how to feed that output into your other systems.

On the other hand, there are packages that include time entry, invoicing, project setup, project management, workflow, and reporting all from one central interface. These systems not only offer all the time entry and time approval functionality you require in a timesheet app, they also allow you to control the project from a central dashboard. They have flexible reporting that keeps you apprised of the status of every task within every project, and they provide the interface so you can assign and reassign resources as the project unfolds.

List of Time Tracking Software

There’s no shortage of timesheet software on the market. For many other types of software products, a reviewer lists five or 10 packages. For time tracking software, you’ll see lists of the top 16 or the best 36. All timesheet systems have strengths and weaknesses across several criteria.

Among the most important factors is how well it supports time entry, review and approval. The best time tracking software has customizable screens where you can modify entry fields as needed. Required fields are enforced as you define them. Employees see only the information they need, and managers who review and approve time have their own views.

In the top time tracking software for consultants, workflows and authority within workflows are enforced. Data flows as it should from employees and contractors to managers. Sheets are securely locked after a time period, and it’s clearly defined who has permission to modify old timesheets.

The most useful time tracking software supports project management. You can define a project and all its tasks. You can assign deadlines and budget amounts to each task. Human resources get assigned to those tasks. A flexible reporting system gives you tools such as Gantt charts so you can identify project dependencies and critical paths. It’s clear when resources have to be realigned to keep a project on track, and it’s easy to do that reassignment.

You and your employees aren’t always in the office, so you need a mobile timesheet app to manage your projects from wherever you happen to be.

When you look at what you need in a time tracking system, you’ll find that BigTime checks all the boxes. It’s a full-function project management app that supports time entry and all the processes associated with it.

Best Timesheet Software

If you’re in a consulting business, you deal in time. It’s a valuable asset for you and your clients. The best time tracking software for employees is an investment that’s worth the expenditure because it conserves time.

What distinguishes the best time tracking software? Does the best free timesheet software qualify? With the right expertise and effort, you might make free or limited-function timesheet software do what you need, but it will never perform like a more complete system.

From the name, you might argue that the most important function of a timesheet app is to track time. And that’s certainly one of the biggest factors to look at in assessing software. A highly visible part of a timesheet system is its time entry screens. The best timesheet software offers plenty in this regard. Examples would be daily and weekly time tracking views. Automatic time entry rounding to the nearest 15 minutes or any other interval you choose. You have the ability to add, remove, and rename data entry fields, as well as have the capability to define your time submission period.

It’s critical that your time reporting be accurate, and timesheet security is a key part of that. The best systems allow you to define who’s allowed to see each field and who has permission to update each field. You can enforce documentation when any numbers are changed after they’ve been entered and accepted.

A truly effective timesheet app goes beyond just time entry and includes a variety of project management and administration capabilities. Before it can do any of that, however, it has to do time tracking thoroughly and accurately. For invoicing and budgeting interfaces to be accurate, and for project management features to be effective, you have to be confident that your system is correctly collecting the underlying hours that all the rest are based on.

Timesheet Software for Small Business

If your business is engineering, architecture, law, IT, accounting or some similar consulting activity, you have to make each software purchase count. It’s not only a matter of expense but a matter of the time you spend learning a system and making it work for you. Automation should minimize your repetitive administrative work and free you up to concentrate on activities that bring revenue into your business.

That’s why it might be ineffective to have one app for time tracking, another for invoicing and yet another for project management. An integrated system that does all these saves time in terms of entering data, learning the system and using its outputs. Furthermore, it gives you insights and capabilities in the arena of project management.

When your timesheet for small business is part of your overall project management system, then employee time tracking software for small business does its job in a way that supports the whole company. Your integrated process begins when you start a new project and define it in your system. You lay out the tasks and due dates that will bring your system to completion on time. You assign employees and contractors to the tasks.

Now, when personnel enter their hours, their submissions become the core data of a total project management system. You’ll see the KPIs that tell you if tasks are on track. You’ll be able to identify potential logjams in the critical path and address them.

When dollars can be assigned to people and tasks, invoicing can be done automatically on a set schedule. If you have the best timesheet software for small business, the right detail is present and it’s no problem to invoice based on partial project and task completion. If there’s a robust reporting system, the time and budget data can be sliced and diced however you need it to best understand your organization’s financial situation.

Best Employee Time Tracking Software

Is it time for your company to move beyond simple time clock software and deploy a professional service automation (PSA) system? If you’ve been getting your employee time tracking software free, you may not be getting the benefits that are available from software with more comprehensive functionality.

Many small businesses have made one-off purchases of software products that meet a single specific need, and they’ve cobbled them together with manual processes. Such a solution not only feels disorganized, it is inherently disorganized. You’re spending more time than you need to on administration, and you may find yourself reading numbers from a spreadsheet or a report and reentering them elsewhere.

The best timesheet app for employees is an app that provides a complete business solution rather than just captures hours. BigTime is this kind of PSA application. It’s not free, but we do offer a free trial.

When you employ this sort of solution, you’ll find that the coordinated automation of each phase of the consulting cycle leads to an increase in productivity and boosts your bottom line.

The effective automation of your entire project practice enables you to better serve your clients. It’s easier to put the focus on them rather than on what you have to do internally. Also, a flexible automatic invoicing system enhances your professional image. With BigTime, you can customize your invoices with your company’s logo and contact information, and you can provide direct credit card and ACH links for payment.

It may be time to introduce yourself to the advantages of a PSA system like BigTime. Not only will it ease your administrative burden, but you’re also likely to garner new insights about your projects and ways to improve them.