People who track time spent working often do so because they need to create invoices for clients and get paid. Others track their time to have an accounting of how long different tasks take or to make sure that a flat-rate project doesn't cost more money to complete than it brings in. Regardless of why you record your time, running a time tracking app while your tasks are in progress is the most accurate way to do it. After considering more than 40 apps, we found the 10 best time trackers for freelancers and small businesses—although you can also use these for personal time tracking as well. Here's a summary, with more information below about how we picked them and details about what makes each app shine. • (web) • (Android, iOS, web) • (Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows) • (Android, iOS, web) • (iOS, macOS, Windows) • (web) • (Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows) • (Android, iOS, web) • (Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, web, Windows) • (Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, web, Windows) Editor's Note: Originally published in July 2015 and written by Sean Kennedy, this post has been rewritten to focus on the 10 best time trackers today, with fresh descriptions and updated details.
What Makes a Great Time Tracking App? Tracking time as you work results in more accurate invoices than estimating time worked after the fact. Having a higher degree of accuracy creates trust for your clients, too, but it also benefits the business. When you know how you spend your time with high accuracy, you can analyze it and make smarter business decisions as a result.
There are several excellent apps that can help you get started. Nearly all time tracking apps let you record time on task in real time, meaning they give you a running clock that you launch when you start a task, and you can pause or stop the app when you finish.
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The best apps, however, also let you correct time tracked after the fact, such as if you accidentally leave a timer running while you take off for lunch. You should be able to edit the time entry to subtract however many minutes you weren't working. Openoffice download free for mac. You also want an app that lets you enter a block of time post hoc in case you forget to launch a timer at all. For example, if your phone rings and you jump into a 20-minute consulting call, you might not have the presence of mind to start a timer, but you do want to log and bill for those hours worked.
Not every business charges by the hour, of course. If you charge a flat rate for projects, you likely need a time tracking app that can warn you before you spend too much time on a task and its value decreases. There's a difference between wrapping up a $1,500 project in 30 hours versus 60. Some of the best time tracking apps for freelancers and small businesses are designed with solo entrepreneurs in mind, although many have functionality for tracking time across small teams, too. Does everyone of your colleagues charge the same hourly rate? How will you manage an invoice that lists multiple workers?
A few of the best time tracking apps have plenty of options to help guide you through these questions and others. Time tracking apps can have more functionality, too. Some are adept at handling multiple currencies, for example. Others have billing and invoicing tools built right into the app. Some offer expense tracking in addition to time tracking, letting you easily note supplies you buy, miles you drive, and other reimbursable expenses.
Not every freelancer or small business needs all these features, however. You don't want to end up paying for features you don't use. That's why it's important to consider what each app has to offer and find the right fit for your business. Not Included in This Roundup Here, we focus specifically on time tracking apps for freelancers and small businesses.