Time tracking software doesn’t have to be painful! As a project manager on a variety of agency teams, I’ve used my fair share of time tracking software—both for simply tracking time and also for tracking budgets and estimating future projects. Each team is different, so I’ve chosen a handful of the top time management tools that I recommend, along with summaries of their features, pricing, and main pros and cons to help you choose the right time tracker for your projects.
As project managers trying to manage project budgets and getting our teams to track their time accurately, we use time-tracking tools for many different purposes aside from simply filling in timesheets.
Time management tools can be expensive, so I’ve hunted down a good number of the best free, or nearly free time tracking software. Most importantly, though, we’re looking for the best in class tools that are so easy to use, people actually want to submit their timesheets. Just imagine that!
The Best Time Tracking Software
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1. monday.com – Best for customization capabilities
monday.com is a project management software with time tracking features that has done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical management tools and focused on simple, visually intuitive layouts that help clarify the sequence of work.
monday.com features for managing projects include resource and project management, time tracking software, collaboration, and reporting features. For example, users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress.
And while monday.com doesn’t offer a complete set of tools for project accounting and invoicing solution as other tools, you can use monday.com to track hours, timelines, and invoices. You can assign owners to new tasks, prioritize each item, set due dates and know exactly how much time is spent on each project and task. You can also keep track of time on their app.
monday.com’s integrations include business apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and many more, accessible via Zapier.
You can try monday.com for free.
2. Forecast.app – Best for AI capabilities
Forecast takes advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support your estimates in becoming better and more accurate. Total time spent on tasks will automatically be benchmarked against your estimates and the AI learns from this to improve future estimates, thereby reducing your risk of under- or over-estimating your projects. This will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your resource planning, enabling you to improve your delivery and profitability.
Forecast is a full resource project management solution that lets you track time using any method you want. Effortlessly track time on the projects and tasks you are assigned, whether on the go using mobile iOS and Android apps or directly on the web. It’s great for distributed teams and has both daily and weekly timesheet views so you can track time the way that suits you. Set up weekly or daily reminders to ensure that everyone tracks their time correctly. Keeping track of budgets and estimates becomes second nature with Forecast.
Forecast is fully integrated with the most used web apps and they can seamlessly be installed from the app catalog. For instance, the deep Jira integration makes Forecast ideal as a time tracking and resource planning add-on. Forecast’s functionality covers a large spectrum of the capabilities needed to run and manage projects and people effectively, with as little overhead as possible. Forecast can tell you if your project is profitable, how much money your team is making and whether or not your favorite client is also bringing in the most for the bottom line.
Forecast is currently used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agencies, consulting companies, and enterprises – it has Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month (14-day free trial).
3. 10,000ft by Smartsheet – Best for mobile time tracking
10,000ft, a high-level project and resource management software, helps modern teams make confident decisions about project planning, team capacity, budget forecasting, team utilization, and hiring needs in real time.
Built-in timesheets, mobile time tracking, and expense tracking, enables you to create rich project reports by filtering project data with just a few clicks. Reports can give insight into historical data or offer a forecasted view of team utilization, actual vs. planned time reports, budget tracking, expense reports, and projects in the pipeline.
Over 1,000 of the most innovative companies in the world rely on 10,000ft, from 10-person shops and 100-person teams within global brands to 1,000+ person professional services firms. 10,000ft has been recognized for its design excellence with awards from FastCo, SXSW, IxDA + IDSA.
10,000ft easily integrates with a variety of internal workflows and software suites. Additionally, it provides a flexible API and Zapier integration that can connect with top operational tools for analytics, communications, PM, ERP, and finance.
With a unique project and resource matching feature, 10,000ft helps match team members to the project’s requirements according to different criteria like disciplines, skills, availability, and more.
Pricing starts at $25/month.
4. actiTIME – Best for small teams and businesses
actiTIME is a time tracking software designed to keep track of hours spent on projects, and it also allows project managers to analyze hours and timesheets to make informed decisions about estimates, invoices, and more.
actiTIME allows you to create projects and allocate tasks to team members so you can keep track of time per project and per task. Project managers can collect data on employee performance, as well as project costs and revenues, and review it in reports and charts.
This tool also offers the ability to compare estimated vs. actual time, as well as the ability to use that information to create invoices and adjust estimates as needed. These features foster a comprehensive and objective analysis of individual and team performance.
actiTIME is highly flexible and configurable to a diverse set of needs and preferences. It can also be integrated with other project management apps through Zapier or their API.
actiTIME offers free plans for teams of up to three members. Paid plans start at $5/user/month, and a free trial is offered.
- 14 days free trial
- Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user
5. FunctionFox – Best time tracking software for creative teams and agencies
Built by creative professionals for the creative industry, FunctionFox has the tools to help you manage your projects effectively. Whether working solo or with a team, users can track billable and non-billable work. FunctionFox is designed to reduce your admin time and improve productivity.
Powerful time tracking tools allow you and your team to track time simply and efficiently on projects and clients. Use the timer function to track time as you work, or add time in manually. Time summaries can be reviewed in a daily, weekly, or monthly view.
In addition to time tracking features, FunctionFox also includes features for managing project timelines, budgets, and expenses to ensure that you are not over or under servicing clients.
FunctionFox is easy to use and made even easier with the tutorials and support provided. The tool provides dedicated onboarding, and all customer support is unlimited, ongoing, and included in the subscription cost. The FunctionFox website also includes a help center, and there are detailed help files included within the software itself.
Pricing for the FunctionFox Premier plan starts at $50 per month.
- Well-suited for creative teams and agencies
- Supports both billable and non-billable time tracking
- Built-in client retainer tracking
- Does not integrate with external programs like QuickBooks
- Gantt charts and to-do lists only available through the Premier and In-House plans
Actually is a simple and easy to use time tracking tool. This software is suitable for small and medium-sized teams working with projects. Actually, it is easy to enter project hours on desktop and mobile without the frustration of complex forms, timesheets and user interfaces.
It is easy to input hours and view flex time balance. Managers can see missing time entries and check the overall hours by person or by the project. Team and individual flex time balance can be connected to different calendars for holidays—one can even create a calendar of their own. Actually also supports individual workday lengths fluctuating over time. This makes it really easy to track and report the hours of part-time employees. Reporting needs are met quickly with Actually’s dynamic reports.
Actually’s look and feel is fresh and modern, with an easy to use interface design.
Actually provides a simple to use JSON API for retrieving all the data you need for your reporting and other master systems. Actually can also be used for larger teams alongside existing ERP/PSA systems. Actually is also integrated into Silverbucket, the resource planning software, for the combination of agile and extensive project resource planning and hour tracking.
Pricing starts from approximately $4/user/month. 30 days of free trial available.
7. ProjectManager – Best for real-time monitoring of tracked time.
ProjectManager.com is a project management software that has built in time tracking tools. The tool is cloud-based, making it easy to set up and get started, and its time tracking capabilities are intuitive, making it easy for team members to use as well.
As the software also includes features for planning projects, assigning tasks, and tracking progress, the time tracking features are connected to your projects to keep team members and stakeholders on the same page. Using this tool, you can also manage timesheets, expenses, and workloads. Team members can submit timesheets through the software, which can then be pulled into estimates to send to clients.
The tool offers real-time reporting options, including pre-set reports and the ability to set up your own custom reports. You can also use the real-time dashboard to view current project stats and time tracked.
Native integrations include Google Apps like Drive, Gmail, Calendar, etc. as well as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project. Other integrations are available through Zapier.
Pricing for ProjectManager.com starts at $15/user/month, with their basic “Personal” plan requiring a minimum of 5 users. They offer a 30 day free trial (a credit card is required to sign up for a free trial).
- Traqq is currently offered in beta and is free to use with no functionality limitations.
8. Traqq – Best time-tracking app for remote and local teams
Traqq is a free employee time-tracking program that boosts productivity and performance via automated monitoring tools like screenshots, screen recordings, team activity levels, app, and web monitoring.
The time tracker works both online and offline, on Windows and Mac systems, and syncs all your data when you have a good Internet connection. Measure and analyze the activity levels of everyone on your team with online timesheets, find your best-performing employees, and coordinate your least-performing ones.
Screenshots and screen recordings can be enabled or disabled by the account owner and are taken in the background with no distraction to ongoing work. The quality of collected screenshots and video clips is intentionally blurred to the extent that would prevent sensitive and personal information (such as private messages or passwords) from being visible. However, you can still get a good idea of the employee’s activity.
Traqq allows you to monitor typing and clicking for accurate activity stats and get a real insight into your team’s productivity. With the app and website monitoring feature, managers can find out what apps or websites employees use over their workday.
You can add people to groups, give them different access rights and easily create various reports to build a full image of team performance. There is also the option to change the recorded time if you forget to turn the tracker on/off or you encounter unexpected circumstances.
Traqq takes personal information and user privacy seriously and uses government-level encryption for their protection.
- freemium version
- 14 day free trial
- Monthly subscription available at $4.50/user/month. Annual subscription gives users a month free. Nonprofit organizations receive a 20% discount at $3.60/user/month
9. Timesheets – Best free time tracking software
Timesheets.com is a fully-featured free time tracking software tool (with freemium upgrades), complete with hourly time clock, project time, mileage and expense tracking, time off / vacation, and stacks of powerful HR functionality to support managing your team within the agency. Timesheets.com is easy to use and they offer the option to skin the timesheets software so it can look pretty and match your agency brand.
Timesheets.com integrates fully with projects and tasks and they offer flexible entry options with tracking projects in real-time using timers feature, single project entries daily, or fill in their timesheet at the end of the week. Budgets are easily managed and reporting is simple with the ability to use live, up to the minute data to drill down to separate out specific employees, projects, and dates.
Timesheets.com has some pretty powerful HR tools if you’re looking for a more complete HR time tracking software solution that does more than just track time and expenses. The HR functionality includes powerful time off management with the ability to review accrued balances for vacation, and request approval for vacation time to manage and review the agency’s time off in a single view on a calendar. The HR functionality also includes a suite of standardized employee documentation including employee training manuals, performance reviews, staff communication, employee files, and notes.
Timesheets.com has a QuickBooks integration and the data can easily be exported for other accounting software.
Timesheets has a freemium version that’s good for freelancers and single users, and paid versions cost from $4.50/user/month.
10. Toggl – Best free time tracking tool
If you’re looking for a simple and free time tracking software, Toggl is a great place to start. It’s beautifully designed and incredibly easy to use. If you’re looking for a solution to get started today and to simply track time against different projects and clients, then Toggl is great.
Toggl allows you to create projects, tasks and track hours using your browser, Chrome extension, mobile, or desktop apps. While it allows tracking of accruals, there’s no way to set budgets and track against them. If you want to track against an estimate or create an invoice, you’d need to use a 3rd party tool.
Toggl has some good functionality to support helping people do their time tracking properly with automated reminders to keep people on track, and you can create required fields for time entries, to ensure people always add comments or tags to their timesheet entries. You can also enable auditing tools where you can trigger alerts for suspicious-looking timesheet entries, like if someone claims to have worked 10 hrs straight on a single task!
Toggl has some good out the box, which make it one of the best free time tracking software options available with integrations for Jira, Asana, Basecamp, Freshbooks, GitHub, and Teamweek among many others. So even though it’s lacking in some of the budget tracking and invoicing functionalities, you can easily tie it in with other tools that specialize in reporting and invoicing.
Toggl is a free time tracking software tool although paid versions cost from $9/user/month.
|monday.com||Read monday.com features & functionality|
14 days free trial
|From $17/2 users/month||Check out monday.com|
|Forecast.app||Read Forecast.app features & functionality|
14 days free trial
|From $29/seat/month||Check out Forecast.app|
|10,000ft by Smartsheet||Read 10,000ft by Smartsheet features & functionality|
30 day free trial
|From $25/user/month||Check out 10,000ft by Smartsheet|
|actiTIME||Read actiTIME features & functionality|| Freemium version|
30 days free trial
|From $5/user/month||Check out actiTIME|
|FunctionFox||Read FunctionFox features & functionality|
14 days free trial
|Premier plan starts at $50/month for the first user, plus $10 USD/month for each additional user||Check out FunctionFox|
|Actually||Read Actually features & functionality|
14 days free trial
|From $4/user/month||Check out Actually|
|ProjectManager||Read ProjectManager features & functionality|
30 days free trial
|From $15/user/month||Check out ProjectManager|
|Traqq||Read Traqq features & functionality||Not Available||Traqq is currently offered in beta and is free to use with no functionality limitations.||Check out Traqq|
|Timesheets||Read Timesheets features & functionality|| Freemium version|
14 day free trial
|Monthly subscription available at $4.50/user/month. Annual subscription gives users a month free. Nonprofit organizations receive a 20% discount at $3.60/user/month||Check out Timesheets|
|Toggl||Read Toggl features & functionality||Freemium version||From $9/user/month||Check out Toggl|
Other time tracking software tools worth considering:
None of the above work for you? Check out the list below for 15 additional time tracking software tools:
Time tracking software – why is it important?
Time tracking software and expense tracking software is no one’s idea of a party, but it’s a necessary evil in the digital agency world, for professional services and consulting when you’re charging time and materials or billing by the hour and you need to track budget burn. Likewise, invoicing is not fun, but it’s necessary and requires accurate timesheet detail to function.
Fundamentally, there’s budget and financial tracking information that’s needed to keep a business alive; we need to know the project budget essentials:
- Are we above / below the project budget?
- Are we tracking to hit the budget?
- How much should be invoiced to the client?
- How profitable is the project / job / client?
Accurate timesheet reporting is also important to us as project managers so we can give proper analogous estimates based on past project performance. In order to estimate properly, we need to be able to look back at timesheet data, in the time tracking software and gauge how much should be charged for the next project. We need reliable, accurate time reporting data and people to use time tracking software properly.
Unless you’ve got no interest in the effort it takes to deliver your project, and the profitability of your projects then there’s no avoiding the pain of timesheets, time tracking software and hours reporting.
The problem is, if the time tracking software you’re using is more than a bit fugly and a pain to use, then no one wants to use it, and the data you get from it can be almost useless.
But does time tracking and reporting need to be painful? Surely there must be some hot time tracking software tools out there, right?
Criteria For Choosing The Right Time Tracking Software
As a given, the best time tracking software needs to be able to handle large teams, lots of clients and many projects simultaneously. But beyond a product that works well at capturing time, we need to think about what happens with that time-tracked information; how does it start as an estimate, how is it tracked, and once tracked, how is it then invoiced?
In choosing the best time tracking tool, it’s worth thinking through your agency or studio workflow, and think about the end to end experience – from the person creating the estimate to the person doing the work, to the person invoicing it; how does it all fit together?
- Will people actually use it? The software needs to look pretty and be really easy to use.
- Integrate time tracking easily with projects and tasks? It needs to link to a source of truth of clients, projects and tasks.
- Integrate with estimates and tracking? It should easily create a project estimate or quote, and then be able to track estimate vs actuals with visual reporting and analytics.
- Integrate well with invoicing? It has to be easy to then turn project reports and actuals into estimates to send to clients.
- Integrate well with 3rd party applications? Particularly useful is the ability to integrate with accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero.
What Do You Think?
What do you think we’re missing? What other time tracking software tools or timesheets software have you found that we don’t know about? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any suggestions, tips or thoughts on using this kind of software – why not share them using the comments below?