How Time-tracking Software Can Help Keep Your Costs In Check

How Time-tracking Software Can Help Keep Your Costs In Check _ MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Managing costs and being accountable for them is crucial for any business. One of the most effective ways of keeping track of expenses is by using time-tracking software.

Employees can report time spent on certain projects and expenses incurred while working on those projects.

The information is then used by human resources and accounting personnel to get a full picture of the business spending.

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While there are a number of time-tracking applications available, not all of them are made equal.

Some are very basic in nature and are lacking in functionality. Others are so complex that they are difficult to learn and use.

So, how can you ensure you are getting the best value for your money when selecting a time-tracking application? Let’s take a look.

Features

One of the first considerations you may want to make is the application’s feature set.

Do you need a simple program that can only track time and expenses or do you require a comprehensive accounting package that can also help you keep track of sales and taxes?

A good example of a featureful, enterprise-level application is Xero.

This software can be used for a variety of tasks, including bookkeeping, payroll, and invoicing.

So, if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for your financial needs, you may want to consider Xero.

And for those who are familiar with Microsoft products, Xero is offered as a cloud solution, so there is no need to install any software on your PC.

On the other hand, Timesheet is a simple yet extremely effective time-tracking application.

It allows users to track time spent on specific projects and enter expenses related to those projects.

There is no feature set documentation or customer reviews to wade through.

Simply download and start using the application if you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that has a simple-to-use interface.

Even better, you can always upgrade to a supported plan if you need additional features.

Ease Of Use

Another important consideration when purchasing software is how easy it is to use.

Remember, your employees are expected to use the application on a daily basis so any training they need to have should be convenient and intuitive.

In terms of user-friendliness, Xero is the clear winner here.

It has been designed with an end-user in mind and is incredibly simple and easy to use. Even people who have never used a PC or any form of software before finding it easy to navigate and use.

If you’re looking for an application with a simple-to-use design, you may want to try Xero. With the right training, you’ll have no trouble using it and will enjoy the benefits it has to offer.

On the other hand, Timesheet can be a bit complicated to use at first but it gets much easier with practice.

Once you get the hang of using it, you will be able to track time and expenses easily and efficiently without any trouble at all.

To top it off, the software allows for exporting your data in a variety of useful formats, including Excel, PDF, and XML.

So, if you’re looking for an application with a clean interface and simple export options, you may want to try Timesheet.

But, if you’re looking for something a bit more robust, you may want to look elsewhere.

Interface

Interface Time-tracking software tools | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

A software interface is another important consideration when buying any form of electronic equipment. This refers to the way the application looks and how it operates.

The user experience is also an important factor, especially when selecting costly software such as a time-tracking application.

So, if you’re looking for an application that has a clean, simple design and is easy to navigate, you may want to try Timesheet.

But if you’re after a more robust design and functionality, you may want to consider Xero.

Both offer a polished and professional appearance but Xero has the upper hand when it comes to ease of use and functionality.

As for the look and feel of the interface, Xero is simply superior.

If you’re new to time-tracking or just want a simple yet effective tool to use, you may want to try Timesheet.

However, if you’re an accountant or business professional who needs a bit more functionality, you may want to consider Xero.

The choice is yours.

Cost

When talking about cost, most people think about the money they’re paying for the software.

However, there is another important aspect to consider: the cost of personnel needed to support and maintain the application. When you factor this into the cost equation, you will see that some applications are not cost-effective at all.

This is especially true if you’re purchasing a large license or plan that has advanced features.

So, if the idea of spending a fortune on software seems like a poor bargain, you may want to think twice before committing.

There are a number of applications available that are free, such as Simple book, which is completely open source. So, if cost is a concern and you’re looking for a free solution, you may want to consider Simple book.

Not only is it free but it’s also very easy to use. Plus, it has a number of useful features that can help you track costs effectively.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the cost of software can vary.

Some are costly because they are designed for professional use only while others are simply sold at a higher price point due to the inclusion of advanced features.

So, if you’re looking for a specific program that costs a bomb, it’s important to consider this before making a purchase.

There are a variety of factors that can affect the price of software, so do your research before committing.

Reporting

Another important consideration when purchasing software is how well the application reports information. This refers to the number of reports available and the ease with which they can be accessed.

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Reports are an indispensable tool in any accounting or financial package because they provide a clear picture of a business’ current standing.

Some software applications come with a variety of pre-built reports that can be downloaded and viewed at any time. This allows users to have a clear snapshot of business performance at a glance.

You should look for an application that reports information in a timely manner and in an easy-to-read format.

So, if you’re looking for an application that can provide a detailed report in a short amount of time, you may want to consider Looker. And for those who like to keep a close eye on their finances, you may want to try Xero or Quickbooks.

Additional Considerations

Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a time-tracking application, it’s important to consider a number of other things. First, make sure that the hardware and software are compatible.

Second, examine the documentation for help in getting started.

Third, try the application out for a while before making a decision.

Fourth, determine how you will be using the software in terms of structure and who will be doing what tasks.

And finally, consider other applications that may be better suited to your needs.

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When choosing between two competing products, it’s important to make the right choice. Fortunately, with this in mind, you can determine which time-tracking software is the best for your needs.

Simply take into consideration all of the material discussed above and you will be well on your way to selecting the right product for your needs.

Should Small Businesses Use Time Tracking Software?

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Small businesses have limited resources and they need to manage their time efficiently if they are to survive. Unfortunately, time-tracking software can be expensive and it takes a lot of training to get the most out of it.

Many small businesses simply decide that the time-tracking software is not worth it and they go without it. Is it time for them to give it a miss?

Not necessarily.

They can find a more affordable alternative that still offers a lot of value.

Let’s take a quick look at why time-tracking software is necessary for small businesses, the advantages and disadvantages of the few that are available and more importantly, the alternatives that are worth considering.

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Why Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses?

Time-tracking software can be extremely beneficial for small businesses. The main reason behind this is that it can help them manage their time more effectively.
 
Since time is a valuable resource, they should be doing everything they can to manage it as efficiently as possible.
 
This includes sticking to what is vital and leaving what is not. Time tracking software does just that by keeping a time log of what you do.
 
From here, you can analyze your time investments and make better decisions about how you’re going to spend your time in the future. This also means that you can plan your time effectively and easily which can result in greater productivity.
 
It’s a win-win situation.

The Advantages Of Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses

The Advantages Of Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

There are a number of advantages to using time tracking software for small businesses.

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Some of the more obvious ones include the fact that it can help you plan your time more effectively and it has automatic timers so that you don’t have to manually enter the time for each task.

Another advantage is that it can help you monitor your expenses and identify areas where you can improve.

Using time tracking software means you have a full record of how you spent your time and what you spent on.

This gives you a complete picture of what is going on with your business finances. It is also great for keeping tabs on your employees since it can track when they entered and left the building.

What is more, there are a number of add-on features that can make time tracking even more beneficial. Some of these include the ability to log overtime, view hourly tasks, generate reports and follow up on tasks.

Using time tracking software for small businesses is clearly beneficial as it provides a lot of useful data that can be used to better understand how the business functions and where it can improve.

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It also means you can keep track of exactly how you spend your time and where your resources are going. No more guesswork!

The Disadvantages Of Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses

The Disadvantages Of Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

While there are a number of advantages to time-tracking software, there are also a few drawbacks.

The main one is that it is not perfect. No tool in this world is, especially something as complex as time management.

This is why you will always have some sort of gap between what you actually do and how you log it. There are also some more advanced elements to time tracking software that can be difficult to learn properly.

This is why it is best to hire someone who has experience using it or get an expert to train your employees on how to use it effectively.

The last disadvantage is that it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are times when you have to input data manually, this can be a tedious process and it is also prone to human error.

Since you have to input data manually, you have to trust the person doing it and if there is ever any dispute about what was entered, it can get very frustrating.

What is more, the data can be easily manipulated by a clever person with malicious intent.

This is why you should never share your login details with anyone and always keep your software up-to-date with the latest security patches.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but it is a useful tool that can provide lots of benefits to small businesses if they can learn to use it correctly.

The Alternatives To Time Tracking Software For Small Businesses

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Now, let’s take a quick look at the alternatives to time-tracking software for small businesses.

Depending on how much time and resources you have available, you can decide whether or not to invest in one of these tools.

The ideal solution for small businesses is something simple that they can use for free. Something that even the most rudimentary user can operate successfully without any training.

There are also a few more expensive options, but these are reserved for larger businesses or for businesses that want a more sophisticated tool.

Free And Open-Source Software

The first alternative to time-tracking software for small businesses is free and open-source software.

This is software that is either completely free or available at little to no cost.

It does not have to be open-source but it is a whole lot easier to use if it is. It is also a good choice for small businesses since it is usually easy to set up and use.

This means that even if you do not have a lot of experience, you can still operate it successfully.

If you are looking for a free and open-source time-tracking solution, the two main options are:

  • Free Time Tracker: This is a web-based application that is extremely simple to use. You can literally log your time in just a few clicks and you can generate invoices later. This is a good choice for small businesses as it is usually easy to install and use without any previous tech knowledge. What is more, it does not cost anything to use.
  • Open Tasks: This is also a web-based application and it is a free alternative to Time Tracker. It is also extremely simple to use and it does not require any previous tech knowledge to be able to set it up. What is more, it does not cost anything to use either.

Frequently Asked Q&A About Time-tracking Software

Frequently Asked Q&A About Time-tracking Software | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Time-tracking software is something you might need to get your job done, but it’s also something you might need to explore further in your personal life.

Time-tracking for fun is a growing market, and with mobile apps making remote work possible, even office work might not be as far off as you think.

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If you’re curious about what time-tracking software is available and how it works, keep reading. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about time-tracking software.

What Is Time-tracking Software?

Time-tracking software, also known as time-management software, can be used to track your time on tasks and projects. Basically, you can set up timers and alarms to track your activities, and although it was originally designed for use at work, many people are finding uses for it outside of work as well.

You might want to use time-tracking software for an upcoming presentation, interview, or school project. You might want to use it to manage your household chores or track your fitness activities.

Why Should I Try Out Time-tracking Software?

Time-tracking software can help you get a better idea of how you’re spending your time. It can show you where you’re wasting the most time and help you find ways to improve your workflow.

Additionally, some time-tracking apps are completely free, so there’s no reason to hold back just because you’re a pro.

If you’re looking for an app that can help you improve your productivity at work, explore some of the free time-tracking apps available. Some of the most popular apps with a significant user base are:

  • Toggl
  • Wakoopa
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • HabitRPG
  • Jumio
  • TikTok
  • Todoist
  • Thingsboard

How Do I Use Time-tracking Software?

The first step to using time-tracking software is to download the app to your phone. Once you’ve downloaded it, you can begin setting up the app’s features and functions.

You’ll need to create an account with the app’s server to use it; this will allow you to set up integration with your social media accounts.

The next step is to begin entering your work activity. You can enter your work and non-work activity with the app.

Some time-tracking apps, like Jumio and HabitRPG, require you to enter your activity manually.

Other apps, like Asana and Trello, allow you to enter your activity through various sensors and other apps, such as Google Apps, IFTTT, and Slack.

Once you’ve entered your work activity, you can export your time-tracking data to Excel or CSV files for analysis.

Do I Need To Be In Front Of A Computer To Use Time-tracking Software?

While it is possible to use time-tracking software on your phone, you’ll want to be in front of a computer or tablet to use some of the more advanced features.

For example, if you want to use a graphing tool to analyze your time-tracking data, you’ll need the desktop version of the app. If you need to make changes to your tasks or projects, you’ll also need to be on a computer or tablet.

How Does Time-tracking Software Work?

When you first log in to the app, you’ll see a screen that allows you to set up integration with your social media accounts. After you’ve set up your social media accounts, you can begin entering your work activity.

That’s it! No complicated settings, just logs in and starts tracking.

Once you’ve started entering your work activity, you can monitor your progress by clicking on the stats button in the upper right corner of the screen.

This will show you the status of all your work activity, from highest to lowest value.

You can also see your progress by clicking on the small blue arrow next to the date at the top of the screen. This will show you your activity for the day in an overview screen.

From there, you can drill down into specific activities and see the time spent on each task or project.

Where Can I Buy Time-tracking Software?

If you’re looking for a place to buy time-tracking software, try out one of the many online stores that offer apps for mobile or desktop computers.

Some popular online stores that sell time-tracking software are:

  • Apptopia
  • Google Play Store
  • iTunes Store
  • Microsoft Store
  • Snapdeal
  • Amazon Appstore
  • Futurice
  • Rakuten Appstore
  • BBB
  • Humble Bundle Store
  • Play Store
  • App Store

You can use coupon codes to get discounts on select apps. For example, using the Code “SEMLEVE” at checkout will give you 10% off any product at apptopia.com.

What About Privacy Issues?

Since time-tracking software is used to track employees’ work activity, you might wonder about the app’s privacy policy. The privacy policy of most time-tracking apps is very clear and concise.

You can read their policy and understand how their software handles user privacy here:

  • Apple: https://help.apple.com/kb/HT20205
  • Android: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android/answer/7190685?hl=en
  • Windows: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/security-privacy/microsoft-time-tracker-review-privacy-policy-and-terms-of-use
  • Linux: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/privacy/

If you’re using a desktop version of the app, you’ll see a pop-up window every time you launch the app. There, you can either click “I understand” or “I don’t understand.”

If you click “I don’t understand,” the developer of the app will have to send you an email with more information. Most apps will keep your data private and only share anonymized stats with third parties for marketing purposes.

Are There Any Challenges To Using Time-tracking Software?

If you’re looking for a way to improve your productivity, there are a few challenges you might face. The first is that you need to ensure you’re entering your work hours accurately.

Some time-tracking apps, like Toggl and WakaPaa, have built-in clocks and calendars that can be used to track time.

If you don’t want to rely on these apps’ internal clocks and calendars, you can buy a dedicated clock that can be synced with your Google account. This will allow you to set alarm reminders and create weekly to-do lists.

Another challenge is getting used to entering your work activity.

Most time-tracking apps require you to enter your work hours manually or from external sources. This can be a tedious and boring process.

If you want a more streamlined way to enter your work activity, try out one of the many apps that connect to your Google account and allow you to enter your tasks and projects from various apps, such as Slack and Asana.

What Is The Future Of Time-tracking Software?

Since most time-tracking software is available for mobile devices and has several convenient features, you might wonder where this app category is going.

As mobile devices continue to grow in popularity and more people want to work remotely, even office work might not be as far off as you think.

If you’re looking for an app that can help you manage your household chores, explore some of the many free time-tracking apps available.

The trend towards remote work is sure to continue, so even if you don’t plan on doing any office work, you might find the functionality helpful.

Additionally, although most time-tracking apps are meant for employees, many entrepreneurs are finding great use for it as well.

If you’re looking for a way to track your productivity and see how you’re spending your time, explore some of the many free time-tracking apps available. Most importantly, have fun while working 🙂

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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