How to Choose the Best Online Timesheet App
Timesheet software is the system that allows users to record time spent on work either manually or automatically. It is widely applied across industries and helps diverse groups of professionals during payroll, invoicing, progress monitoring, cost analysis, etc.
Digital timesheet tools existing today vary in their complexity. They may include nothing except the time tracking functionality or offer dozens of various features. A timesheet app can also be a standalone piece or a part of more advanced piece of software for project, team and business management.
In other words, the options are many, and to help our readers choose the best timesheet product for themselves, we prepared a list of questions one needs to ask themselves before starting the search process — have a look below!
What Are Your Primary Needs?
There are plenty of tasks and goals a timesheet app can aid you with. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Productivity improvement — If you find it hard to work efficiently and it bothers you, the first thing you have to do is track how much time you spend on different activities during the day. Upon analyzing the collected data, you’ll be able to identify the major time wasters and bottlenecks that hinder your progress and design productivity-boosting strategies accordingly. Note that if the strive for higher productivity is your main objective, you need to focus on obtaining as-precise-as-possible time tracking data and reduce the amount of manual work. Hence, automatic hour trackers and browser extensions like actiTIME Timer will be your best pick in this case.
- More accurate billing and invoicing — Even the simplest accounting tasks may take up a lot of time when performed manually (and when you’re not so experienced in fulfilling them). Software with the features for billable time tracking, reporting and automatic invoicing will help you spend much fewer hours on billing and ensure your invoices are error-free.
- Payroll and compliance with overtime regulations — Timesheets are essential when working with hourly employees. If wage and overtime calculation is your primary need, a simple tool for manual time tracking is enough. A perfect example of such a tool is actiTIME. It has a straightforward weekly timesheet interface where one can record hours against tasks and see how much overtime they worked daily. Additionally, actiTIME has a robust reporting functionality that lets team managers review comprehensive data on labor costs and overtime in a very convenient format.
- Better project and task management — Time tracking assists in progress monitoring a great deal. But for those who want to enhance their management experience and attain superior performance results, some online timesheet products offer advanced functionality for project planning and task tracking. The features to look for in this case are workflow management, task allocation, Scrum and Kanban boards, data visualization charts, task estimation and progress notifications, to name a few.
- Close employee monitoring — Time tracking keeps employees accountable for their performance, and even a quick overview of your team members’ timesheets allows staying in the know of their current progress. Yet if you’re interested in much closer employee monitoring, the features that may be worthwhile to have are clock-in and -out, GPS tracking, geofencing and automatic screenshots. When using them, you’ll always be aware of when an employee starts and ends their workday and what they do in between. But be mindful — though functionality for employee monitoring helps impose greater control, it may lead to high team dissatisfaction when abused.
How Do You Work?
Now that you’ve identified why you need a timesheet app, you need to think about how to integrate it into your workflows. Overall, a piece of software must be compatible with multiple devices you use. It should also support a smooth information exchange among your team members and other tools of choice.
- How often do you work away from your desktop? — If you frequently go on business trips and work in the field, on construction sites or on the go, having a mobile app is a must. Make sure the timesheet product you want to purchase has a mobile version and is suitable for your device’s operating system.
- Do you already use some other apps for accounting or project management? — Thanks to Zapier and similar platforms, plenty of web applications can now be easily integrated just in a few clicks. However, the extent and depth of such integrations vary greatly. So, it’s better to research available options for app synchronization before making the final purchase. Another thing to take into account here is whether the app you want to buy supports data export in multiple formats. actiTIME, for instance, lets users extract data to PDF, HTML and SVG, which significantly facilitates data exchange and processing.
- Do you collaborate with other people? — Additional communication features can be of tremendous value for teams, and, in timesheet tools, commenting is the most common of them. Let’s assume actiTIME again: the app allows users to attach messages to each time entry. In this way, you can provide additional information about your progress to colleagues and supervisors or simply make notes for yourself to not forget anything important.
What Are Your Team Characteristics?
Whether you work alone or in a large team, simple-to-use apps with fewer features are always a better choice. They are easy to integrate into the established workflows and don’t require spending extra time on operating them or learning how they work. This is particularly important if you or your colleagues are not that very tech-savvy — in case a tool is hard to manage, you are likely to stop using it shortly.
If your team is comfortable with technology, feel free to adopt a more complicated app. But pay attention to configuration flexibility and opportunities for customization. It’s always good to have a chance to switch off some features you don’t plan to apply and create a distraction-free interface than to constantly stumble upon unnecessary widgets and buttons that don’t serve you any purpose.
What’s Your Budget?
Last but not least is the price of timesheet software.
Most brands charge customers per user. It means the more staff members you have, the pricier the app will be. Very large teams, however, can count on a fixed price, which normally turns out to be very cost-efficient. But if you need an app for a smaller business with somewhat constrained resources, consider buying a simpler product — the more straightforward a tool is and the fewer features it contains, the cheaper it tends to get.
Finally, tiny teams and individual users are the luckiest ones in terms of software affordability. FREE product versions for this group of consumers are rife, and actiTIME offers one too! If you’re a single user or work in a pair or trio, you may utilize our app’s essential features forever at no cost. In the meantime, a free 30-day trial is available for everyone — be sure to sign up and check whether actiTIME is a perfect online timesheet for you.