If you’ve looked at time card apps before, you know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for small businesses. There are, instead, many time tracking apps on the market, which meet a variety of price points and use cases.
Some, for instance, put a stronger emphasis on employee accountability (i. e. transparency and reliability of when employees punch in and out). Others have a stronger focus on organization and payroll streamlining — they help with scheduling and managing employee timesheets, circumventing the need for spreadsheets or manual input and calculations.
In this article, we’ve picked out 10 of the best time card apps and analyzed their main features to help you cut through the noise and find the solution that best fits your business needs.
Since we wrote this list, we thought we’d introduce our own tool, Buddy Punch, first.
- Intuitive and Easy to Use Interface for Employees
- Seamless Onboarding
- Multi-App Support
- Customer Support We Can Be Proud Of
We know how frustrating and time-consuming employee time tracking can be. Before starting Buddy Punch, we used a paper punch clock and paper timesheets to manage 20 employees in three different business locations.
Calculating total work hours, tracking PTO, and then having to do payroll — all manually — didn’t let us focus on what mattered most: making our business grow and thrive.
Even worse, it led to many mistakes, which cost us more time and money, no matter how many times we checked our numbers.
That’s why we set out to make Buddy Punch intuitive and easy to use both on the employee and administrator side.
What Makes Buddy Punch Unique?
1. Intuitive and Easy to Use Interface for Employees
We designed Buddy Punch so that employees don’t have to worry about not being tech-savvy enough to use their time cards.
As you can see in the image below, when employees log-in, they are presented with a minimal amount of options, both color-coded.
They can ‘Punch In’ or ‘Punch Out’, and have the option of viewing their current timecard. In other words, we’ve eliminated unnecessary distractions.
No need for your employees to have to learn a new, complicated app interface just to be able to punch in at work. As some of our customers wrote in Capterra (a popular software review site):
But Buddy Punch isn’t limited to a simple interface. Your employees can still request time off, submit a claim to correct a punch-in mistake, or submit their time card for approval — all within the mobile app (iOS and Android), tablet, or web. We’ve just hidden these secondary functions to prioritize the day-to-day experience.
Additionally, as we mentioned above, Buddy Punch’s ease-of-use applies for both employees and employers, which leads us to…
2. Seamless Onboarding
While building Buddy Punch, we focused our efforts on making onboarding as easy as possible. Employers and administrators are given the option to add employees manually or through a CSV import.
What makes Buddy Punch unique is our live chat. If you struggle with onboarding at any point, our team is available to help you right away.
If you decide to add your employees manually, the Buddy Punch team will walk you through the different steps required to do so. If you, on the other hand, go with the CSV import to add your entire team at once — we provide you with an Excel file to fill. Just send that file to us when you’re ready and we’ll handle the rest.
Another key feature of Buddy Punch is that we do not require your employees to have email accounts. This is particularly helpful for businesses that specialize in areas such as construction or cleaning, where employees don’t always have access to an email address to sign up for the app.
Instead, employees can log in with a username and password they’ve created or had their administrator create for them. Once your staff has their Buddy Punch account, you can use the app to contact them via private message or send push notifications to communicate with all of them at once.
3. Multi-App Support
As we’ve hinted at earlier in the article, Buddy Punch can be used in your web browser, tablet, and phone. This is true both for employers and employees.
As an employer, you can see all your team’s activity from one centralized dashboard, no matter what device you’re using. You can then use that dashboard to calculate PTO, track individual projects, communicate with your team, and more.
Employees, on the other hand, can clock in and clock out either through a computer or tablet at the job site or through their mobile devices.
What makes Buddy Punch unique in this regard is that we charge per user, not per location. Your employees can use as many devices as they want to make their time card app experience as seamless as possible, without you — the employer — worrying about added costs.
Note: If you’re concerned about accountability issues arising from employees being able to punch in and out from anywhere — rest assured. Buddy Punch has features such as IP Address Locking, GPS Tracking, and Geofencing to address this, which we’ll get into later in the article.
4. Customer Support We Can Be Proud Of
We mentioned this earlier, but it is worth expanding on. Excellent customer support is one of our top priorities at Buddy Punch. To maintain that standard, we’ve centralized communications through our live chat feature on the web and the app. We’re proud to say we have a median first response time of 54 seconds during business hours.
This applies to everyone on your team. Employers can take advantage of our live chat when navigating the administrator functionalities of our app, whether it’s creating a job schedule, streamlining payroll, fixing a punch-in mistake, or managing PTO.
Employees can use our live chat to deal with any questions or problems that might arise when using our app. If, say, they forget their password — all they have to do is contact Buddy Punch through the live chat and someone on our team will help them get that password reset without wasting an administrators’ time.
Here’s what one of our users has to say about our customer support:
Note: All of our live chat representatives know the ins and outs of our Buddy Punch software. At some companies, depending on the complexity of your problem, you might need to talk with multiple representatives with different levels of access. Instead, at Buddy Punch, our customer support staff are fully trained on the software. They can help you with any queries you might have, no matter how complex.
An In-Depth Look at Buddy Punch’s Features
Since starting Buddy Punch, we’ve helped 10,000+ businesses handle their time tracking needs through features that help with:
- Accountability, which includes:
- Streamlining Payroll, which includes:
Now, we’ll take a look at each feature one by one.
1. How Buddy Punch Keeps Your Team Accountable (Webcam Photo, GPS Tracking and More)
Many businesses struggle with a lack of accountability from their team. This leads to wasted time and money due to inaccurate timesheets.
To prevent employees from being dishonest about when (or where) they punch in and out of work, Buddy Punch offers the following features:
Our Geofencing feature allows you to decide on a radius around a physical location to limit where your employees can clock in and out of work. Additionally, you can assign your employees multiple areas, each with a unique job code. This is especially useful for businesses where your staff might alternate between different locations on a given week.
Buddy Punch allows you to automatically record when and where your employees punch in and out. You can then use these records to generate reports and look at your team’s entire activity in one place. This is particularly useful when your employees are out in the field or working multiple locations on a single day.
IP Address Locking also allows you to limit where your employees punch in and out of work. You can set up a specific IP Address (provided by your internet provider), and your employees will only be able to clock in when the device they’re using is connected to that network. This makes sure that no employee punches in from the parking lot and then leaves, for example.
Buddy Punch offers an optional webcam feature. If you activate the webcam, our app will prompt your employees to take a photo of themselves to be able to confirm their punches. These photos will appear in your administrator dashboard, where you can review who punched in or out.
Note: While all of these features help with employee accountability, they are not meant to work in tandem. Instead, we advise employers to pick and choose which feature works best for their specific business needs.
For example, Geofencing is particularly helpful when you want your employees to punch in within a mile of different job locations. IP Address Locking, on the other hand, is great for businesses where employees always work at the same location (e.g. an office building).
2. How Buddy Punch Helps You Run Payroll (Integrations, PTO Tracking, and More)
When you use Buddy Punch to track your employees’ time, payroll becomes effortless. To avoid wasting time and money on the frustrations and inherent inaccuracies of manually running payroll, we offer the following easy-to-use features:
To make your payroll processing as easy and time-efficient as possible, Buddy Punch integrates with the top payroll accounting softwares in the market:
Pairing Buddy Punch with any of these providers allows you to export a payroll summary and automatically populate your employee hours and PTO by importing the summary into your chosen accounting or payroll software. For more information tailored specifically to each software, you can go here.
Alternatively, if you lean more on the tech-savvy side, we also offer a Zapier integration, which will allow you to connect Buddy Punch to more than 2,000 applications!
With Buddy Punch, there’s no need to manually review and verify timesheets when it’s time to pay your staff. Even if we don’t integrate with your chosen payroll software, with just a few clicks, Buddy Punch calculates everything you need to run payroll in the form of a payroll report which can be downloaded as an Excel file.
This feature allows you to calculate your employee’s PTO, on a per-employee basis, and easily export a report with all this information for you to review.
You can also create time off accrual rules based on a given pay period, the number of hours worked, or an annual accrual.
With this feature, you can set up different rates for your jobs or projects. Easily generate reports to make sure all the numbers fit your budget — or adjust accordingly.
At Buddy Punch, we’re proud of each and every one of these features, and we’re thankful our customers have noticed:
As we mentioned earlier in the article, at Buddy Punch we follow a simplicity-first principle in our interface. The features described above are not the whole picture.
Buddy Punch has a whole range of other powerful features, from Scheduling to Overtime Calculation, which you can pick and choose from depending on your specific business needs.
Some of these features are:
- Alerts & Notifications
- Adding, Editing or Deleting Punches
- Multiple Punch and Login Options
- Time Card Approvals
- Job Codes / Project Tracking
- Overtime Calculations
And there are more. If you want to explore the full list of all of Buddy Punch’s features, click here.
Interested in Learning More?
Watch our full demo of Buddy punch above, and sign up for a free trial to experience our platform first hand!
Timely is a strong alternative to Buddy Punch when looking for a time card app. Its features include, but are not limited to:
- Automatic Time Tracking: Record time spent in different work apps automatically. This allows you to then create a perfect timeline of the workday, compare and contrast different workdays, and increase your productivity.
- Project and Team Planning: Timely allows you to further visualize your workday with its Project and Team planning functionality. View all planned work up to 60 days into the future, and compare schedules across teams.
- Team Time Management: Keep track of team time and performance and monitor key metrics, all in one simple dashboard.
- App Integrations: Timely can track time across multiple apps. Their platform features integrations with softwares such as Microsoft Azure AD, Monday.com, and Todoist.
What Do Customers Say About Timely?
With 206 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing (an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars), Timely is a well liked time-tracking solution.
The third time tracking app we analyzed for this list is Clockify, which focuses on helping solopreneurs, freelancers and small teams manage their time. A few of its core features are:
- Time Tracker: Clockify allows for automatic time tracking across different devices, a feature particularly liked by solopreneurs trying to use their time more effectively.
- Timesheet: Calculate total billable hours and make your payroll experience seamless with Clockify’s Timesheets.
- Reports: Clockify allows you to generate reports with just a few clicks.
- Dashboard: With Clockify, all your information is centralized in a beautiful, easy-to-use dashboard.
- Teams: Clockify allows you to manage and communicate with your employees without any added friction. Simply log in to your dashboard to collaborate with everyone in your organization.
What Do Customers Say About Clockify?
Clockify currently has 1486 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Here are two reviews from their customers:
Homebase is another great alternative time tracking software, which can help with both employee accountability and payroll streamlining. Its features include:
- Employee Scheduling: With Homebase, you can easily create smarter work schedules using templates to forecast your labor costs. You can then share these to keep your team up to date.
- Time Clock: Homebase’s Time Clock tracks hours on all devices, from tablets to computers, including POS (Point of Sales) systems.
- Online Timesheets: Make your payroll seamless by tracking total hours worked, and get a full picture of your labor costs in real-time.
- Health & Safety Screening: Homebase allows for employee safety and health screening for symptoms when clocking in. These can then be turned into reports you can share across your team, and managers can receive real-time alerts of potential issues.
- Team Communication: Communicate with your team at all times to share information on shifts and tasks. With Homebase, you can also check who is available to work and when, and message them in a few clicks.
- HR & Compliance: Homebase helps with the onboarding of new hires. Additionally, they offer live expert HR advice for small businesses.
What Do Customers Say About Homebase?
With 450 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing (an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars), Homebase excels in scheduling and ease of set up.
Desktime is the fifth time-tracking app we analyzed. They boast a whole range of features including, but not limited to:
- Automatic Time Tracking: With DeskTime, you can automatically track all time spent across your organization, no matter what app or device your team is using.
- URL and App Tracking: To keep your staff accountable, you can monitor which URLs and apps your employees spend their time on and when at work.
- Document Title Tracking: With this feature, you can see what tasks a given employee is working on, and for how long.
- Idle Time Tracking: Desktime allows you to track work time spent away from the computer.
- Automatic Screenshots: You can set up Desktime to automatically take screenshots of your employees’ work stations, at no added cost. This feature is particularly helpful when managing remote teams.
- Absence Calendar: Desktime’s Absence Calendar helps you track paid and unpaid time off, or even things like business trips and conference attendances.
What Do Customers Say About Desktime?
With 135 reviews on Capterra (4.4 out of 5 stars), customers find Desktime particularly helpful when dealing with team monitoring.
Paymo is our sixth pick for best time-tracking app in 2021. Their features include:
- Time tracking: With Paymo you can register, monitor and analyze all time spent at work.
- Kanban Board: With Paymo’s Kanban Board, you can easily visualize how tasks move throughout projects.
- Team Collaboration: Paymo allows you to collaborate with teams across different locations and time-zones, and keep track of the time spent on each project at all times.
- Gantt Chart: Paymo’s Gantt Chart functionally helps you plan projects and tasks on a timeline so you can hit deadlines reliably.
- Invoicing & Estimates: With Paymo, you can create invoices, manage expenses and automate payments, all from one simple platform.
What Do Customers Say About Paymo?
Paymo currently has 401 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Their customers say:
When I Work is our seventh pick for this list. Their platform has features such as:
- Employee Scheduling: Schedule your employee’s shifts easily. When I Work helps you manage when and where your staff works.
- Employee Time Clock: When I Work’s time clock app tracks what your employees are doing, on and off shift.
- Timesheets: With this feature, you can automatically calculate and export timesheets to use for payroll processing. When I Work also offers integrations with most payroll providers on the market.
- Team Messaging: Communicate with your entire team without jeopardizing security and personal information. You can send messages to all your team members at once, do 1:1 communications, or start group chats.
What Do Customers Say About When I Work?
When I Work currently has840 reviews on Capterra (4.5 out of 5 stars). Their customers say:
Our eighth pick for the best time tracking apps of 2021 is Hubstaff. Their features include, but are not limited to:
- Employee Time Tracking: With Hubstaff, you can record time spent on projects across all browsers and devices, and then analyze it from a feature-rich dashboard.
- Online Time Reporting: Hubstaff allows you to build actionable time reports with just a few clicks. Track work hours, avoid timesheet inaccuracies with offline time tracking, craft budgets, and pay your team accordingly.
- Employee Productivity Monitoring: Hubstaff tracks daily activity rates, app usage, and time spent on different URLs. It also integrates with many project management solutions.
- GPS Location Tracking: Monitor job attendance and automatically track your employee’s locations during work hours. Additionally, Hubstaff offers geofences to make sure your team only punches in and out from select locations.
- Automated Payroll & Invoicing: Hubstaff helps you streamline payroll through time and expense reports you can easily export and use with your favorite payroll provider.
What Do Customers Say About Hubstaff?
With 1123 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing, Hubstaff has an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Workpuls is another great alternative when looking for an app that will help you track your employees’ time and keep them accountable. Some of its features are:
- Employee Monitoring: Know exactly how your employees use their time, and leverage that data to improve processes and create a more productive and efficient team.
- Time Tracking: Workpuls allows you to track, analyze, and optimize company time on a project-by-project basis.
- Automatic Time Mapping: With this feature, you can automatically map your organization’s time expenditure into the future, so you can accurately predict the time required for each of your projects.
- Screenshots: Workpuls automatically takes screenshots from your employee’s activities, either at random intervals or when triggered by suspicious or malicious activity.
What Do Customers Say About Workpuls?
Workpuls has 41 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Their customers say:
Last but not least, TimeCamp is our 10th pick for best time-tracking apps in 2021. They boast a large array of features such as:
- Automatic Time Tracking: TimeCamp automatically tracks your team’s time, all you have to do is turn on the app.
- Timesheet Approvals: TimeCamp allows for automatic timesheet approvals. No need for your team to waste time filling out timesheets.
- Attendance Tracking: TimeCamp tracks your team’s attendance through Clock in-and-out, leave reporting, and overtime tracking.
- Time Tracking Reports: Easily generate reports filled with insights into your organization’s processes, projects, and employees.
- Custom Billing Rates: With TimeCamp, you can set up customizable billing rates, create budgets, and do revenue, cost & margin reporting on any given project.
What Do Customers Say About TimeCamp?
TimeCamp currently has a total of 522 reviews on Capterra (4.7 out of 5 stars). According to its customers, this software is particularly good for client invoicing and project time budgeting.
Note: As we mentioned earlier, we know how frustrating and time-consuming employee time tracking can be. That’s why we’re proud of what we’ve built at Buddy Punch. Join 10,000+ businesses at transforming how you track your employee’s time, manage PTO and streamline payroll using the Buddy Punch time tracking app today. Click here to learn more and sign up for a free trial.