Web-Based Time Recording Software
Working practices continue to evolve, and your company should develop the tools to adjust to this changing landscape.
More and more people are working remotely, and this flexible arrangement can be worthwhile as it suits workers while also increasing productivity for your business.
There’s a problem with remote working, though—
Tracking hours worked takes time, and maintaining accurate records is a hassle for you and your workforce, doubly so if you have workers out of the office.
Beyond remote working, time tracking is a primary concern for freelancers, contractors and an assortment of businesses where keeping track of hours worked becomes too unwieldy to handle manually.
Luckily, there are hundreds of web-based time recording software packages that take all the pain out of administrative tasks while ensuring absolute accuracy, even if you have a complex organization.
At a time when many people are turning to time tracking tools to help them stay productive, it’s smart for you to invest in time recording software to keep your workforce, and company overall, productive, and thus successful, as well.
What Is Time Recording Software?
Time recording software is useful for far more than just remote projects.
Consultants routinely bill by the hour just like lawyers.
Several projects in many organizations require the time and resources spent on them to be tracked accurately.
The thing is, you’re going to need more than a clock to make this happen. You’ll need to integrate this data with billing software and your accounting system, and the easiest way to achieve that is through dedicated software.
The purpose of time recording software is to simplify tracking hours and intervals worked. Digital punching means you’ll get a precise record of how long any given assignment takes and you’ll be able to extrapolate the data you need anytime you want quite easily.
If you’re a freelancer, a contractor, or have a service company, there’s every chance this type of platform will make your life easier while also potentially saving you money by practically eliminating time theft.
If your company is looking to track time for multiple employees, there are two main options to make use of digital punching:
- Software integrated into project management suites: With this kind of PM-based software, you’ll be able to track hours while also increasing productivity and gaining valuable insights into how to best delegate tasks.
- Simple web-based time recording software: You’ll be able to do little more than measure time precisely with entry-level tracking software, but this is all that many companies need
Assuming you’ve decided to invest in web-based time recording software, what sort of factors count in your buying decision?
Selecting An Effective Punch Clock & Timesheet System To Record Employee Hours and Track Project Time
Choosing an automated time and attendance tracking system can open up a maze of options for selecting the best software for the job. This page provides more detailed information on our system and how it can help you, see it here.
We’ll look now at some of the general factors that should inform your buying decision.
What Type of Time Recording Software Do You Need?
While this might sound like an obvious place to start, it’s also crucial to determine what kind of software would work best for your business to avoid an expensive mistake.
First, remember those two broad system categories:
- Pure Play
- Project Management
Many independent contractors and smaller businesses find cheap tools like Hubstaff more than sufficient for their purpose.
This type of pure play system has limited functionality, but you’ll be able to add and monitor time, edit that information, and run off simple reports. These packages give you everything you need and nothing that you don’t.
To state the obvious, you won’t get any kind of project management features here, but you can always opt for that type of software if it fits better with the goals of your company.
Mid-sized and larger companies generally have a more ample budget for this kind of expense while also having more demanding requirements for web-based time recording software.
If you’re looking to keep tabs on project resources as well as track tasks, look for more advanced software that offers this additional aspect.
Customized reports that can easily be shared and exported are another essential element of wider-reaching tracking software. Whether it’s time worked, expenses, or invoices, make those figures work for you the easy way.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the type of software you should buy. If you start off by honestly analyzing your needs, you’ll have a far stronger chance of investing in the right tools for the job.
Level of Employee Monitoring Required
Another highly individual area is to what degree you want the movements of your workers monitored.
Many tools such as Hubstaff will automatically record a screenshot as required evidence of work on a project being approved for billing.
Depending on the kind of work being monitored, you can also record logs of keyboard and mouse activity.
Some software also allows for GPS tracking so you can check that people are where they say are. Again, a selfie is captured as proof.
If GPS is an absolute must for your organization, you’ll have far fewer options to choose from, and you’ll be unlikely to find project management-based tools that will offer this.
Bottom line, every company or individual has different needs when it comes to recording time and movement. Investigate those components of tracking that are meaningful to you and focus on finding software with everything you need and nothing you don’t.
If you angle toward a package that merely tracks time, expect nothing more than this basic core functionality.
If, on the other hand, you shoot for a more ambitious set of tools, you will also be able to gear tracking more toward productivity than simple time spent.
Software like TSheets lets you add in custom fields requesting more information that must be filled in before clock-out completes. Perhaps you need to know if there was any kind of incident on a job site, or you might need mileage details for your drivers. Whatever extra info you need, assigning customized fields lets you get the very most out of your tracking tools.
A lot of tracking software will integrate pretty seamlessly with third-party systems, which can help to automate far more than simple time charting, saving you time and money.
Although most tracking platforms will allow you to tweak the API to boost integration, you’ll need to be very tech-savvy or have a development team to help out.
As with all elements of choosing the best web-based time-recording software, you need to focus entirely on what makes sense for you rather than assuming there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. With hundreds of options at your disposal, there’s no excuse not to invest in tools that do what you need.
Timesheets and Overtime
Look for tracking software that makes light work of handling timesheets? You should be able to seamlessly sort timesheets by project, which will ease the process considerably.
Make sure that approving or rejecting documents is simple for your project management team. It’s senseless trying to upgrade efficiency if you end up with more involved processes than the ones you’re trying to replace.
Tracking overtime is another feature that can help stabilize costs. Many of the best tracking tools will send you an alert when workers are nearing the overtime threshold so you can keep a close eye on the bottom line while making sure the job gets done.
Support and Help
If you take the time and effort to choose rock solid time recording software, that’s half the battle won.
The snag is, there will always be growing pains, particularly as you’re getting up and running in the first place.
All of the best packages offer worthwhile support, whether that’s by phone, email, live chat or a combination of channels. If you read plenty of user reviews, you’ll get a feel for how real customers have been treated when they’ve needed assistance.
If you’re a small outfit without too much invested in tech, this is far more important than it would be for a large organization with competent IT staff to save the day—but do not underestimate the value of prompt, effective help and support.
Price and ROI
While price should never be the determining factor in your buying decision, money always plays a role.
As you would expect, you’ll need to invest less for pure play tools than systems linked to project management suites. As an example, TSheets starts off with a free single-use tool ideal for freelancers, while the entry-level package catering to companies with under 99 workers is an extremely modest $4 per user each month in addition to a $16 baseline fee each month, making this kind of package an exceptional value.
PM-centered tools are more costly – starting at just under $40 monthly – but in return, you’ll get dramatically increased functionality and more ways to recoup your investment by streamlining and improving a range of processes.
The key here is that whatever tools you select, this software should represent an investment rather than an expense. You’ll be able to track time more efficiently, saving you money year after year, which makes automation in this area a win-win concerning time and money.