Billing per hour is a fairly common practice amongst service-focused businesses, freelancers, and even professionals like lawyers and consultants.

However, conventional time tracking methods don't seem to cut it — even more so, when you factor in the operational challenges many professional services and consulting firms encounter.

Studies show that many consultants neither have evidence of cost allocation per project nor have insight into reliable margins per project. What's more, some consultants do not even track profitability per client.

Considering that very few consulting firms make use of some type of time tracking and billing software for consultants, it's also no surprise that most of them do not have evidence аbout billable hours per project.

How Do Consultants Track Their Time?

Time tracking software is the ideal way to gain visibility into the activities of each team member at any moment of the day or week. You can check the productivity and efficiency of projects and tasks or simply gain insight into time consumption per client or overtime reasons. Time tracking software for consultants can provide you with the insight necessary to optimize your business practices.

On a typical time tracker, a consultant, upon logging in to the software, can pick a project, select a task and click “Start.” A timer will then record how long they spend on the job until they manually stop the timer or begin a new task. The time spent on the original task will be logged on their timesheet, where it can be accessed to determine future payment.

While this can be considered the bare minimum for any time tracker out there, the very best employee time tracking software offers much more. Some tools allow users to log future hours, past hours and change previously logged hours. You could even adjust past hours to show you started a project earlier than anticipated and include this for billing purposes.

Many time tracking tools base their recordings entirely on time, that is, 24 daily hours, multiplied by seven days, multiplied by about four weeks, multiplied by 12 months. However, if your company is more focused on production rather than duration, there are tools that can factor in additional data sets. Since this is not a standard feature, not all software offer it, so be sure to ask your prospective vendor if that’s something you require.

Once all of the information is recorded and approved by the system administrators, the data is pushed into invoices, payments services, reports and other areas within the tools. This not only makes human resources (HR) management and billing more manageable but also more automated.

Best Time Tracking App for Small Business

As an owner, whether you believe employee time tracking software for a small business is necessary or not, you can’t deny that time is priceless and productivity is essential. This is where you can take advantage of the best time tracking app. For a small business, time tracking software quickly becomes a crucial tool to improve your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs). A free time tracking app can give you a complete view of your company’s short- and long-term standing and allow you to make adjustments where necessary.

But let’s go back to the original argument for a moment. Say you are a relatively small firm or organization that employs only about five people. It might seem the more productive idea to track everything manually. However, while this might be true short-term, you also need to consider the long-term future of your business. This is where an employee hours tracker can really help boost profitability.

Whether you are an owner or manager of a company, one of your most significant responsibilities is developing your business. So, you may want to make arrangements to deal with scaling, since you definitely won’t be able to manage everything — including spending hours time tracking — by yourself at that point. That’s not the issue, though. You’d also do well to add flexibility to your business and prepare it for significant disruptions, like the current pandemic that continues to ravage many parts of the world, including small and large scale businesses. Let's explore what the best app for tracking work hours looks like in practice for a small business or consultancy.

Time Tracking Software For Employees

If your employees still have to hand in physical timesheets, manually enter hours into a spreadsheet or still use an ancient punch card system, it’s time to go digital.

What if you are struggling with a lack of accountability from employees not being transparent with punching in and out during the workday? How about your payroll process? Has it become inefficient, difficult to review, verify, input, and analyze employee timesheets manually every pay period? Is managing paid and unpaid hours too time-consuming with calculations and spreadsheets?

If handling everything by hand chugs up meaningful work time, investing in time tracking software for employees can help eliminate most of these problems.

Time tracking results in better and more accurate invoices compared to estimating the hours worked after completing the task. As a result, using an employee hours tracker can drastically reduce problems like time theft. Plus, some of the best apps for tracking work hours do so without rounding, which leads to fewer errors.

Time tracking can help you monitor work hours, improve your accuracy and foster loyalty with your clients. You can also better analyze and make smarter business decisions as a result. It is a win-win for all parties.

These are the baseline benefits most companies can expect to enjoy from investing in a time tracking app. However, there’s more.

For starters, it’s not news that using an employee time tracking app reduces your payroll process time by a significant amount. 

Many companies have already made the switch to employee time tracking apps, with more continuing to do so. Looking for a list of time tracking software? Look no further!

Harvest Time Tracking

Harvest is cloud-based time tracking software for businesses. It incorporates timesheet and invoicing features that freelancers and small businesses alike can take advantage of. Some of its other features include schedule, time, expense, and team management.

While people often ask how to use Harvest time tracking, it’s not very different from most options out there. A Harvest time login allows team members to input their week’s hours into a timesheet at a go or record them as they work. It also enables users to turn their timesheets into visual graphs that provide insight into projects and teams.

While the app is great, it does have a few hiccups. One significant issue is the minimal options for billing increments. Currently, Harvest provides increments of 6, 15, 30, and 60 minutes, but many users want more flexibility in this regard.

That said, Harvest is not the only option on the market. Others include Time Doctor, Timely and BigTime.

BigTime is a notable online time and billing software that offers features like DCAA time tracking, expense tracking, billing & invoicing, payment processing, review & approval workflows, reporting & dashboards, mobile access and integrated solutions like project and resource management.

The BigTime SaaS tool is perhaps most well-known for its integration with other platforms like Slack, Google Apps, QuickBooks, Salesforce, and HubSpot, to name a few.

Free Time Tracking Software For Consultants

Time tracking software is crucial for capturing employee time against tasks. In addition, it’s necessary for keeping an accurate record of work time and costs and allowing you to invoice clients correctly, pay your employees, and establish progressive profitability. What's the best free time tracker for consultants? The answer may surprise you.

When just seeking out employee time tracking software, finding free time tracking for consultants may seem like a no-brainer, especially when operating on a budget. But you might want to hold on for a moment, assess the totality of your company’s needs and take note of the software solutions you already have installed. While a lot of free time tracking software for consultants and employees gives you the basic time tracking functionality, if your company requires a more sophisticated option, you may need to go the paid route.

That’s where professional services automation (PSA) software comes in. This software not only offers time tracking but also incorporates an array of project management, invoicing, resource planning, business intelligence and collaboration tools used by many project teams.

BigTime offers an all-in-one solution that will give you a much-needed seamless integration between your various company workflows.

One significant benefit is that it yields a measurable impact on your business performance. That’s right. The automation of each phase of your engagement lifecycle increases your productivity, profitability, and growth margins.

What’s more, by tracking time, budgets, resources, and expenses in one place, you can better stay on top of important business KPIs and ensure things never stray off track. You can even pull customized reports in real-time for your leadership team rather than compiling data from Excel sheets without accuracy.

Another advantage of PSA software is the immediate improvement for your customers. An improved and synchronized internal workflow means that invoices will be processed faster, and projects will be managed better and more accurately. This improvement in your project and business management can positively impact your customer retention, as it enhances their perception of your work quality and professionalism.

Simply put, BigTime’s PSA tool is time tracking, plus so much more.

If you’re still undecided about whether a complete PSA package is for you, request a free BigTime trial where you get to try out the tool to see if it’s the right fit for your firm.

Time Tracking Software for Consultants and Professional Services Firms

With great power comes a great need to track the time it is being used. Time tracking is a large part of many industries and businesses. From individuals to organizations, consulting time tracking template and effort tracker template options are widely used. 

A time tracking software for consultants can be very helpful for many reasons. It may be able to greatly facilitate the process of entering time-related data. If your organization uses the services of many consultants, a single time tracking software solution across the board can make a huge difference in streamlining your time and expense tracking efforts. 

BigTime is here to help professional services (PS) firms scale up with a little less pain, leveraging personal time tracker and other systems as well as best practices in the industry. It could be the best app for tracking work hours, and can also help you with more personal uses as potentially one of the best personal time tracking app options out there. 

If you are a business looking for an employee time tracking app, BigTime is here to help. You can set required fields that staffers must complete before saving and also make certain limits to the time sheet info. This means more privacy, control, and security around sensitive information that you do not want to be widely shared or leaked. 

BigTime tracks over $4 billion in professional time each year. Customers, on average, use the system to generate over $2 billion in invoices annually. BigTime’s software solution is a great one that seeks to help professional services (PS) firms grow, giving them a system of record for all their project-based work. The specific industries that can benefit from BigTime are the industries of accounting, engineering & architecture, IT services, as well as consulting. 

Best Time Tracking Software for Consultants

When looking at a list of time tracking software pros and cons, it is clear that the best time tracking software for consultants should have certain characteristics. 

Being able to tie in invoicing and billing, payment processing, project management, reporting, and analytics all into one app means the potential utmost efficiency for you and your consultants.

The best tracking software should also have certain integrations, or at least the most popular ones. That way, it can be easily adopted into pre-existing workflows—reducing the amount of time spent on that! 

The best employee time tracking software should also be able to help with project and employee management with ease. It should be able to scale with you as your organization grows so that you do not have to go between app and app. If it is easy to set up and can be mapped to the tools that you are already using, such as the very popular QuickBooks, then that’s even more of an advantage to that particular software solution. 

BigTime offers project management time tracker software that helps project managers collect the data that they need. The time sheet can be viewed in the time frames of user-defined work weeks, and you can enjoy the convenience that comes with flexible submission times. 

BigTime can scale with you as your firm grows, and has integrations with some of your favorite tools. That way, the time tracking software of BigTime can seamlessly integrate into your existing workflows and software stack, providing great convenience and control for you and your team. Every firm from those that are just starting out to those that are already enterprise level may all be able to benefit from BigTime’s time tracker platform because of how BigTime works with companies of all sizes. 

The submission times can also be customized based on your needs and goals. You can add a lockout period for approvals on the BigTime time tracking software for project management. 

If you’re looking for the best time tracking software for small business, you might want to consider a software that has a clear interface so that you don’t have to worry about any of the complex time tracking details that might not concern your particular small business. 

As a consultant, it is critical to have an easy and accurate time tracking app. This can help you ensure that you correctly charge your clients for any billable work that you have completed.  

Consultant Time Tracking Excel Spreadsheet

Time tracking can be a pain. Oftentimes in many industries, consultants, workers, and management already have plenty of spreadsheets that need to be taken care of and tracked. Most consultants are likely at least familiar with the basic consultant time tracking excel spreadsheet resources online or have even used comp time tracking spreadsheet excel extensively. There are many project time tracking Excel template options available online, some even for free. However, they’re not necessarily the optimal ones to use. 

If you are searching for a consultant time tracking template or a contractor time tracking spreadsheet, you might want to consider using a time tracking software solution that is easier to use and read than a daily time tracking spreadsheet. Excel might not be able to offer the conveniences and advantages of a time tracking app, even though time tracking template Excel spreadsheets can be fairly common. 

With a time tracking software solution that is very comprehensive of your needs, you may be able to save plenty of time and money on time tracking across your firm. 

It is not a surprise that the Excel spreadsheet is hardly optimized for time tracking. If you want to do expenses, analytics, resource management, or DCAA compliance, it is not reasonable to expect all of this to be tracked on a single spreadsheet. That means plenty of documents or spreadsheet tabs may be needed for a single client’s project, and this can result in confusion, mistakes, and frustration. 

One great benefit of a software solution is you don’t have to have your workflow interrupted just to track time. You can save your energy on time tracking by using an application that streamlines the process. In addition, an app can offer mobile device accessibility, further facilitating the process of tracking time when you are working on a billable project. 

Time Tracker

If you are an independent contractor or a firm that employs consultants and/or contractors, it is important to find the best time tracking app for independent contractor that suits your professional services organization. 

Depending on your needs and goals, BigTime may be the best time tracking app for small business or large market businesses. The BigTime time tracker software solution keeps in mind all of the best time tracking software best practices and aims to create a personal time tracking app that can be used to meet your professional and personal needs. 

On top of letting you ditch the less reliable, error-prone spreadsheets, time tracking software may be able to help you bill far more accurately and quickly. Since the time tracking is flawlessly and effortlessly tracked by the time tracking software, manual error and reporting errors can be greatly reduced. 

Once a time tracking app has been implemented, it may be able to meaningfully improve the productivity of you and/or your consultants. Time tracking apps may help you gain insights into where time is being wasted or spent inefficiently. This makes time tracking apps invaluable for both personal and professional operation, as they can help you sharpen focus on top of billing accurately. 

As productivity in a firm with consultants is improved, the firm’s profitability can also be improved. Both over- and under-delivering on projects can be pinpointed more easily, and can help a firm or consultant figure out if they need to make any optimizing changes to the way in which they currently work. 

Due Time Tracking

When it comes to time management for consultants, due time tracking can be very critical. With an online tracker or due date tracking software, the act of tracking time can become significantly easier to manage. 

Whether it’s a self time tracking app or an official time tracker built into another platform, such as the time tracker like Upwork’s application, any time tracker with invoicing abilities can be greatly helpful. 

The problem with a lot of time tracking software is that it takes time to enter the time. The benefits of using a time tracker solution with efficiency and ease of use in mind is that you can greatly cut down the time that you spend on manually tracking due dates and duration of work. 

BigTime is a solution that offers functions of auto-save, auto-complete, and smart lookups with user-specific presets and defaults. These smart timesheets auto fill repetitive data entry so that your consultants don’t have to waste the time to do those repetitive but time-consuming tasks themselves. 

The great part about tying expense tracking with time tracking is how convenient the entire process can become. With BigTime, you can mark expenses as reimbursable, non-reimbursable, billable, non-billable, or service fees. There is the wonderful ability and freedom to track internal project records or a billable project from a client.