Imagine manually calculating the total number of hours your team spends on a project only to send an inaccurate count to your client.
If it’s too low, you lose money. If it’s too high, you’ll be asked to provide details/explain why. And your project manager could be in big trouble.
Such situations harm your small business’s client relationships and trust. You could even end up losing a client!
Any small business that cares about its reputation should work hard to avoid such risks. However, 62 percent of small businesses with hourly employees still track time using paper timesheets or spreadsheets, which have a high risk of manual errors.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition and avoid costly business mistakes, you need project management software with project time tracking to streamline your workflow and accurately record project hours. Inaccuracies in time logs will affect project delivery estimates, costing you money, reputational damage, and your client’s trust.
To help your business tackle project time-tracking challenges, we’ve compiled a list of five top-rated apps (based on user reviews on GetApp, presented in alphabetical order) for you to consider. Learn more about our methodology here.
ActiveCollab: Set hourly rates and record time
ActiveCollab is a project management tool with features to support task management and planning, collaboration, and time and budget tracking. It allows users to add start and due dates, labels, and more to ensure that all tasks are completed on time.
Here’s how ActiveCollab lets your teams track time for projects:
- Add the time taken and a description of the nature of the task with the “time” tab. See all the saved entries in the “time” tab from the dashboard menu. Use this record to generate accurate invoices.
- Use the project and work timer app to play, pause, or stop the timer any time. The app functions as a stopwatch and runs in the background. See all your tasks in one place on a task list without having to log in to the main ActiveCollab app.
- Refer to time-tracking reports to view the time tracked across projects and see billable time records. View reports for completed and ongoing projects for each day, week, month, or year.
- Estimate the work on a project and calculate the costs. Turn these estimations into a project without having to re-enter the details after the project begins.
- Record the time that hasn’t been invoiced and know the actual earnings. This can motivate employees by showing them the real value of their time.
Timer for time tracking in ActiveCollab (Source)
User feedback trends
- Reviewers like the time-tracking desktop app, which lists assigned tasks in one place and lets them record the time spent on each task.
- They like that they can enter hours against each project, visually track the projects in the calendar, and review hours and costs.
- Some users feel that the app loads slowly, which in turn slows down their work. They also feel that the notification functionality could be improved to notify them each time they’re nearing task completion.
- Other users would like to see more advanced reporting functionality. They feel that it’s challenging to aggregate time for a client into one report currently.
Who should consider ActiveCollab?
ActiveCollab is best suited for field service agents because it lets users add hourly rates for different types of jobs. They can record time spent on various field jobs for accurate payments as per the organization’s standard rates.
The solution also suits small, creative businesses that outsource designing, writing, and advertising jobs to freelancers. Users can easily record time for each effort and manage their budgets.
Everhour: Set time limits for projects, avoid overspending
Everhour is cloud-based time tracking software with core features that facilitate project management throughout the project life cycle, such as task management, budgeting, resource planning, expense tracking, and invoicing. Teams can monitor project progress and be aware of overall team progress at a glance.
Everhour’s core time-tracking features include:
- Track time of a task in any browser (e.g., Safari, Chrome, Firefox). Start the timer and report the time without having to switch between apps.
- Convert tracked billable time into invoices with a single click. Send error-free electronic invoices to clients.
- Use the live dashboard to identify who missed reporting their time and who is working on which project at a given time. Check out member profiles to know what each member has been working on and their time entry details.
- Study project summaries to see the time and money spent on projects. Calculate the profit earned and the time taken by each team member to finish assigned tasks. Take steps to optimize and improve individual performance if required.
- Notifications concerning long-running timers when someone forgets to stop the timer for a task before switching to another. Also, receive automatic reminders when you don’t start a timer for a project.
- Set time-tracking limit per user, project, and client to avoid exceeding your budget.
- Build custom time-tracking reports using filters such as time range, project name, and team members. Round out time entries to the nearest value for better readability. Ensure that the data is updated at all times so that the project management tool is in sync.
Record time manually in Everhour (Source)
User feedback trends
- Users like Everhour’s integration with Asana; the timer is embedded in Asana, which makes it easy to track specific projects at any given time.
- Reviewers also feel that Everhour lets them track time consistently and accurately, which helps them correctly generate client invoices. Users also like that they’re able to forecast and estimate the time required for a particular project.
- Some users want to be able to create an entry for flat rate work within the tool.
- Users feel that Everhour should offer a plan for individuals who need to track their time and see a live time-tracking feature for each task.
Who should consider Everhour?
Everhour is suitable for SMBs that hire freelancers and contractors. The tool offers a capability to cap the time a resource or team can spend on a project, preventing time and budget overrun on time-bound and low-budget projects.
Mavenlink: Add team members’ time for updated records
Mavenlink is a SaaS-based (Software as a Service) project management and resource planning software. It offers features to handle project management, project accounting, resource management, team collaboration, and analytics.
The app offers the following time-tracking features to facilitate project management:
- Record the time spent on a project with the “track time” tab in the header menu. You can do it while working on the project or at end of the day/week.
- Create timesheets and get a full view of the week’s billable and non-billable hours on a single sheet. Use these timesheets to get client approval before billing and ensure accuracy. You can delete, edit, and save timesheet changes at any time.
- Use the reporting feature to know a project’s billable and non-billable hours, total time for each task per person, actual versus projected margins for the time spent, your team’s utilization across projects (bandwidth optimization), and more. Identify who exceeded time allotments so you can adjust upcoming projects.
- Use the “rate cards” (which contain per-hour pay for each task based on market standards) to standardize billing rates across roles and currencies. See the default rate for your project when you are tracking time, and help employees calculate how much they will earn once the project is completed.
- Add time for other members of the project with permission from a project lead (or higher).
Record estimated and exact time taken on projects in Mavenlink
User feedback trends
- Reviewers like Mavenlink’s ease of use and how it helps their accounting department generate invoices and support accurate payroll.
- Users like the ability to track time entries from a Chrome plug-in without visiting the website. They can fill out their timesheets and add time for specific tasks.
- Some users feel that Mavenlink should allow a multi-tiered timesheet approval process, and say that the time-tracker button should be bigger and more visible.
- Reviewers would also like to be able to pause time on a project and move to another project and the ability to separately track time for multiple projects.
Who should consider Mavenlink?
Mavenlink is especially useful for teams that are global or constantly on the move (such as sales or support teams). Project leads or managers can add hours for team members to keep the project on track without waiting for team members to log entries (especially when they’re traveling).
Teamwork Projects: Add tags to visually categorize hours
Teamwork Projects is a cloud-based project management solution with a dashboard that lets teams track their progress and deadlines, plan assignments, and collaborate through discussions, messages, and calendars. The tool also tracks time, creates invoices, and generates bills for clients.
Teamwork Projects’ time-tracking features include:
- Estimate the time for each project to forecast resource requirements, and manually log actual time once the project is completed. Select “billable hours” if you want the system to remember that the entered time is to be billed. You can view, filter, and edit the logged time against the projects at any time.
- Use the timer in the background to record time on your browser and pause it when needed. While only one timer runs at a time, you can have multiple projects with separate timers. Log tracked hours and record them. The timer automatically pauses when your computer is idle.
- Add tags when logging time to make it easy to identify and sort activities.
- Create customer time reports to view the time a team member or entire team spent on a project. Export these reports as CSV files or PDFs, and share with team members.
Teamwork Projects’ autopause time feature (Source)
User feedback trends
- Users feel that Teamwork Projects’ time-tracking features are user friendly and report the estimated hours for each task. They can see all projects in a broad schedule view to track their progress.
- Reviewers like the customized time and workload reports that help them forecast their workload and better plan their resources.
- Some users feel that the time-reporting feature should offer in-depth data, customizations, and better visual/graphic representations.
- Users feel that the billing and calendar features aren’t useful or easy to use. They would like Teamwork Projects to split hours based on the date they distribute pay.
Who should consider Teamwork Projects?
Teamwork Projects is best suited for teams that handle multiple projects. The tool lets managers handle projects from start to finish with the help of a time-tracking feature. It also suits small businesses looking for a complete project management suite so that they don’t have to invest in separate tools for different aspects of project management.
Wrike: Record time, manage multiple projects easily
Wrike is a project management and collaboration solution that organizes projects in a centralized workspace. Users can see real-time updates on projects via the group activity feed, share important files with their teams, and get an overview of all tasks.
Wrike also offers time tracking for projects to ensure timely delivery of projects. Here’s what you can do with this feature:
- Add entries manually, log the number of hours or minutes, and record a brief description of the task performed. All entries are recorded in activity streams available in a timelog view (which shows all entries against each task or sub-task).
- Record time automatically with the timer. You can pause, play, and stop the time once the project/task is done. If you switch to another task, the timer pauses itself for the previous task and begins tracking the new one.
- Use the report builder to generate customizable reports on timelog entries for each project. Share, edit, and delete reports as needed.
User feedback trends
- Some users like Wrike’s “timeline view” which lets them view project progress. They can adjust project timelines and forecast the total time required to complete the project based on existing and potential roadblocks.
- Other users noted that Wrike helps them manage internal and external team hours. They like the ability to customize task view per hour.
- Though reviewers like reports that track time per individual and team, they want their collaborators to be able to track time without sharing the license to create or edit tasks.
- Some reviewers also feel that Wrike’s time tracking could be simpler, and note that it takes some time to get accustomed to the interface. They also wish to modify the time added to a task without having to delete the whole thing and start over.
Who should consider Wrike?
Wrike comes with limited time-tracking features but has a comprehensive list of features for project management and collaboration. It’s well-suited for small businesses that want a tool with core time-tracking features in addition to broad project management functionality, as well as growing teams.
Tracking time is essential to project success. Your business should carefully choose a tool to accurately track project time and ensure that your employees are efficiently utilizing their working hours.
When choosing your project management time-tracking app, be sure to:
- Research various vendors and shortlist two to three options to discuss with your stakeholders before investing in a solution. Weigh the pros and cons of each product, and make use of any demos, free trials, and freemium versions.
- Check the pricing tiers of your shortlisted products to avoid any unexpected post-purchase costs. You should know what you’re required to pay, including installation costs and whether the product is scalable or not. (Insider tip: opt for one that is.)
- Identify products’ integration offerings; your time tracking tool should integrate with your existing solutions. This will save you time as you won’t have to switch between apps while working because your data will automatically sync.
- Understand the cost of training and support offered by vendors. The steeper the learning curve, the more time and money you’ll have to invest. Check whether the vendor offers 24-hour support via phone, chat, and email, and choose a vendor that suits your support needs.
Read on to discover
The solutions highlighted in this article are the project management software systems that offer time tracking capabilities and had the highest overall user rating from among the most reviewed products at the time of writing (the week of 4 December, 2018). Here’s an overview of our method for choosing this list of top-rated apps:
- We filtered project management products that offered features facilitating time tracking capabilities. The list of 50 products was then arranged in descending order, with those having the highest average customer review at the top. From among the top 10 products with the highest number of reviews, the five having the highest user ratings were shortlisted.
- The “User feedback trends” section for each product is based on the analysis of feedback for the feature discussed, from users who left reviews on GetApp.
- Additional information in the article is compiled from vendor websites and other secondary sources, wherever mentioned