Time tracking applications can span a range of functionality from applications that only track time to those that take screenshots of desktops, have comprehensive reports, and allow invoicing clients and paying employees and contractors. There are also differences in the other applications they integrate with. This article does not try to cover all of the different time tracking applications. Instead, it will focus on those that are fairly robust, have large feature sets, are keeping up with technology, and are reasonably priced.
The older time tracking applications relied on a person turning on the timer when they start working and turning it off when they stop. The newer applications also keep screenshots and track the activities. While this may make you think of big brother, the time tracking can be used introspectively. I use one of the apps that support this functionality so I can see how well or poorly I am spending my time. It also allows me to see when an employee is having problems with a task I have assigned. Frequently that is because my instructions were not clear. This allows me to follow up in a constructive manner, being more clear on my instructions.
If you are interested in an application with application tracking and screenshots, good applications to look at are
As a business owner, you want to get paid. If you have a good accounting system and an easy way to get your employees’ time into the accounting system, then you might not need this functionality. Instead, you might want to favor a time tracking system that will export to your accounting system. However, if you don’t have an accounting system and just want a quick and simple way to bill your clients, some of the following applications may meet your needs.
Getting time into QuickBooks for payroll purposes can be an administrative pain in trying to get people to turn in their time sheets. If you use QuickBooks like many small businesses the following applications are able to interface with it.
If your budget is tight, TopTracker could be a good choice for you. I used it for a week and really liked it. It isn’t quite as full featured as some of the others, but what it did, it did well. The performance was snappy. And best of all, is that it is free.
There are several full featured applications that have at least one offering for less than or equal to $10/month per user. If budget is a concern, in addition to TopTracker, you might look at the following.
I recently replaced HubStaff and TopTracker with Time Doctor. While I liked the price of TopTracker (free), it didn't have all of the features of HubStaff and Time Doctor. It was a tough decision between HubStaff and Time Doctor, but Time Doctor won out because of it's better reporting and ease of changing projects and making manual entries. Time Doctor was also less expensive because Hubstaff required me to get a package that included moe users than I needed, while Time Doctor's pricing was per user. Your needs may differ, so my suggestion is that you decide which of the features are most important to you and then look at the chart to see what products meet these needs the best. Then do a trial run with your top 2 or 3 choices to confirm which one meets your needs best.
Click the image below to see a full size image with the detail for each product reviewed. If you would prefer an Excel file(xlsx) to do your analysis, you can download the Excel file from here.