13 Best Employee Time Tracking Software & Apps for Small Businesses in 2021

Many small businesses who turn to an employee time tracking software struggle with:

  1. Lack of Accountability: Employees not being transparent with punching in and punching out during the workday (i.e. having a co-worker do it for them, or punching in outside of work).
  2. Inefficient Payroll Process: It’s difficult to review, verify, input, and analyze employee timesheets manually every pay period. In addition, managing paid and unpaid time is too time consuming with calculations and spreadsheets.

There are several employee time tracking apps that solve those problems. They help you stay on top of attendance, time off, and overtime in real-time. They keep everyone accountable. And they save you money by making payroll more accurate.

To help you decide on the best employee time tracking solution for your specific needs, we put together an in-depth, comprehensive post that compares each product’s features and online reviews.

Note: Buddy Punch is our own product. We’re proud of what we’ve built, and it includes features that we would have liked to have ourselves, having previously used a paper punch clock to manage three business locations with over 20 employees. Transform how you have your employees report their time, and how you’re collecting that time for payroll. Learn more here and try it free.

Contents

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. Hubstaff
  3. Connecteam
  4. Paymo
  5. DeskTime
  6. Homebase
  7. Workpuls
  8. QuickBooks Time (Formerly TSheets)
  9. TimeCamp
  10. Timely
  11. Clockify
  12. eBillity
  13. When I Work

1. Buddy Punch

A preview of the Buddy Punch employee time tracking software in action.

Features

At Buddy Punch, we’ve concentrated our efforts on developing features that allow you to:

  • Make your staff accountable (optional IP location, GPS tracking, and/or webcam photo on every employee’s punch-in and punch-out).
  • Streamline payroll (easily transfer your employees hours to your payroll provider).

We’ll discuss each in detail below.

1. Make Your Staff Accountable (IP Locking, Geofencing, and More) 

One of the biggest frustrations with employee time tracking that we’ve experienced ourselves (and heard from the 10,000+ businesses we’ve worked with) is lack of accountability.

Employees might not always be honest with you in regards to where they are when working, leading to inaccurate timesheets and wasted money. That’s why we built the following features:

IP Address Locking

You can require your employees to punch in and out using a specific IP address provided by your internet provider. This can be used to ensure they only punch in at the job location.

Buddy Punch: Edit IP Address Lock (Employees can be assigned to multiple IP Addresses).

Geofencing

Alternatively, you can also create a radius around a physical location that will limit where an employee can punch in and out. So unlike the IP Address Locking feature above, this will let employees punch in, say, within 1 mile of the job site, which can be useful for any business that has on-site employees without supervision (i.e. construction, staffing, caregivers, technicians, etc.).

Buddy Punch: Geofencing by Address/Radius/Latitude and Longitude

GPS Tracking

You can also set up Buddy Punch to record and report on the GPS location when punches occur, which can be useful if you have staff out in the field.

Buddy Punch GPS Tracking with punch in time and device used.

Webcam Photo

Whenever one of your employees punches in or out, our optional webcam feature automatically takes their picture. You’ll see this reflected in your dashboard so you can verify who actually punched in.

With Buddy Punch, you can punch in and out and have a photo taken, as shown here.

Note: Together, these features offer a buffet of options that employers can choose from to help with accountability. Very few employers use all (we don’t advise that), but they are there so an employer can use what makes the most sense for their business. If you’d like specific team members to clock in within a mile of a job site for your business, you can use geofencing. Or if they should only clock in when they are physically in the location, you can use IP address locking, and so forth.

2. Save Hours Every Time You Run Payroll (Payroll Summaries Are Already Computed for You)

Every time you run payroll with paper timesheets, inaccurate entries and missing information cause a lot of wasted time. It’s extremely stressful to have to submit payroll a short time after receiving erroneous timesheets. Excel is powerful, but hard to master! The amount of data manipulation required in spreadsheets in order to understand revenue and cost isn’t always straight forward.

That’s why we work hard to keep Buddy Punch easy-to-use so you can manage payroll.

Buddy Punch has integrations with almost every popular payroll provider and accounting software out there. If you use any of the payroll providers below, we have you covered:

  • Paychex
  • QuickBooks
  • ADP
  • SurePayroll
  • Gusto
  • Paylocity
  • PayPlus
  • WorkDay 
  • And more! (We have a Zapier integration, which will allow you to connect with over 750 applications.)

With these integrations, you can export a payroll summary from Buddy Punch in just a few clicks, and import it to your payroll provider, where your employee hours and PTO are automatically populated.

Note: you can find instructions on how to sync Buddy Punch with your specific payroll provider here.

Reports

In addition to the integration with most payroll software, you can generate a variety of reports that will help you in many ways:

Payroll Export

If we don’t have an integration with your payroll software, you can also generate a payroll report, and then download it as an Excel file.

As you can see in the screenshot below, everything you need to run payroll is already computed for you, and it’s faster and less error prone than traditional time tracking methods. There’s no more need to manually review, verify, input, and analyze employee timesheets every pay period.

Buddy Punch's Payroll Excel Export showing pay period, employee ID, name, hours, etc.

PTO Summary

With this report, you can quickly oversee paid time off. Specify the date range, and you will get a breakdown per employee.

Buddy Punch's PTO Summary for all employees

Project Tracking

Control the cost of your projects by setting up pay rates for your jobs or projects and generate reports to quickly know when the budget is going to be tight.

Buddy Punch's Project Tracking

Note: We have a lot more reports you can use to help your business. Learn all about reports here.

Additional Features

We covered Buddy Punch’s essential features above, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We created a dedicated, more comprehensive feature list, where you can learn about our other employee time tracking features.

We’ve included some of them below, along with accompanying links that provide more information on each specific feature (so that you have the option to zoom into what is most relevant to your specific business/situation).

  • Scheduling: Creating schedules can be a hard thing to do without the right tools. We can help remove that hurdle so you can create schedules in minutes, and let your staff know when to work (see additional details).
  • Overtime Calculations: Save time on payroll by having your employees’ regular, overtime, and double overtime hours automatically calculated (see additional details).
  • PTO Tracking: Easily track paid time off by having employees enter their PTO into their timecard, which can get sent to an administrator for approval if desired (see additional details).
  • PTO Accrual: Add or remove time off accruals by individual employees, or by a group of employees (see additional details).
  • Adding, Editing, or Deleting Punches: You can add, edit, or delete punches as an administrator of your company. In cases where employees forget to punch in and out, or an entire shift needs to be deleted, these changes are easy to do with Buddy Punch (see additional details).
  • Multiple Punch and Login Options: Your employees have several options for logging in and punching in and out, including: (1) Facial Recognition, (2) Four Digit Pin, (3) QR Code, or (4) user ID and password. These options make it easy for employees to clock in and clock out via a mobile app, desktop, or tablet (see additional details).
  • Time Card Approvals: Have employees submit their time to a manager or administrator for approval (see additional details).
  • Job Codes / Project Tracking:Track time by Location, Job Code, or Project (see additional details).
  • Alerts & Notifications: Set up punch reminders or overtime alerts, with over 14 different customizable options (see additional details).

For a more complete list with all of Buddy Punch’s features, click here.

Our Online Reviews

At the time of writing, Buddy Punch has received a total 587 reviews and 4.8 out of 5 stars on Capterra (a highly popular software review site).

Buddy Punch Reviews: 4.8 stars out of 5 with 587 reviews as of January 2021.

If you take a look at these reviews, two themes that commonly come up are Buddy Punch’s:

  • Customer support  
  • Ease of use 

As we discuss below, these are two areas that we intentionally set out to excel in, and we’re proud and grateful that many of our reviewers have taken notice.

What Differentiates Our Customer Support? 

At Buddy Punch, live chat is our main form of communication, and we have a median first response time of 54 seconds, so you can expect to receive an answer within a few minutes (during business hours).

In comparison, as one of our customers mentioned on Capterra, “Some companies have no chat or phone number, and you wait days to hear back from an email”.

In addition, all of our customer service representatives are fully trained on using the software. They know the ins and outs of Buddy Punch, and as you can see in the highlighted parts of the reviews below, that hasn’t gone unnoticed by customers:

Buddy Punch review: Pros - "Very inclusive of everything admin needs to address different scenarios 'in the field'. Multiple customer reps were available via 'Chat' to help with set up and answer questions. Rep was very knowledgeable and helped me with every single question and scenario I had trouble with. Now I am familiar with the site and can easily use all of its functions. Using Buddy Punch has been fabulous thus far."
Click here to see the full review.

Buddy Punch review: Pros - "The Customer Support team is super responsive, thorough, and effective. Their support software allows for much quicker response times than you could get on the phone. Their team is knowledgeable about my organization and the way that we use the platform - I have received many helpful suggestions to how we can best leverage the Buddy Punch platform in our sometimes complicated organizational structure. We have had very few issues, but have always received immediate resolutions when anything has come up. The software is straightforward and well-run, and was easily understood by our team of 55+ non-technical staff of all ages. I appreciate that new releases are well-tested before they are launched and free of bugs."
Click here to see the full review.

How We Set Out to Make Buddy Punch Easy to Use

Some commonly asked questions we receive are:

  • “Would someone who isn’t tech savvy be able to easily use Buddy Punch?”
  • “How much time do I have to put in with my employees to teach them how to use the software?”

We put an intentional emphasis on designing Buddy Punch in a way that eliminates the above concerns.

When employees log in, they’re presented with a “Punch In” or “Punch Out” button (depending on their current status) as well as a view of their current timecard.

Buddy Punch's time entry dashboard makes it simple to see everything.

By presenting a minimal amount of options to employees when they log in, they’re less distracted, making Buddy Punch intuitive and easy to use. In comparison, some employee time clock apps have too many options on the homepage, and the point of focus (punching in and punching out) isn’t as easy to find. This can make employees (especially ones who aren’t tech savvy) overwhelmed and confused.

We’re happy and thankful that many of our customers have mentioned Buddy Punch’s ease of use on Capterra, as you can see in the highlighted parts of the reviews below:

Buddy Punch review: Overall - "The UI is very well designed, the administrator makes employee accounts and employees just go to the website, log in, and push the big green button. They then log in again to punch out but the big green button will be a big red button this time. Very simple, ver easy, does employee punch-ins and does it well."
Click here to see full review.
Buddy Punch review: Pros - "It has a very simple interface, easy to punch in and out as well as check timecards. I think both the desktop version and the smartphone version were well-designed. It doesn't try to do too much and make things complicated, since the main purpose is just to clock in and out, and it efficiently allows the user to do exactly that."
Click here to see full review.

Interested in Learning More About Buddy Punch?

Watch the demo video of Buddy Punch above and sign up for a free trial here to test it out for yourself!2. Hubstaff

At the time of writing, Hubstaff has a total of 1112 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

3. Connecteam

At the time of writing, Connecteam has a total of 104 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

4. Paymo

At the time of writing, Paymo has a total of 401 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

5. DeskTime

At the time of writing, DeskTime has a total of 135 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

6. Homebase

At the time of writing, Homebase has a total of 450 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

7. Workpuls

At the time of writing, Workpuls has a total of 41 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

8. QuickBooks Time (Formerly TSheets)

At the time of writing, QuickBooks Time has a total of 5,452 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

9. TimeCamp

At the time of writing, TimeCamp has a total of 522 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

10. Timely

At the time of writing, Timely has a total of 206 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

11. Clockify

At the time of writing, Clockify has a total of 1486 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Some of its key time management features include:

12. eBillity

At the time of writing, eBillity has a total of 2,248 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

13. When I Work

At the time of writing, When I Work has a total of 840 reviews on Capterra (see here), with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Some of its key features include:

Note: Buddy Punch is our own product. We’re proud of what we’ve built, and it includes features that we would have liked to have ourselves, having previously used a paper punch clock to manage three business locations with over 20 employees. Transform how you have your employees report their time, and how you’re collecting that time for payroll. Learn more here and try it free.

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