Time-Tracking for Freelancers: How to Find the Right Tool

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Freelancing often turns out to be challenging, as self-employed individuals don’t have dedicated staff for specific business activities: accounting, billing clients, justifying costs, optimizing work process, and more – not to mention the challenge of staying organized and focused.

Special software tools help freelancers handle all these tasks. Mostly, they combine time-tracking as the source of data for work management and accounting, and few other features. In this article, we’ve listed the most popular apps that help organize freelance time-tracking – hope you’ll find this helpful!

Time-tracking Tools

1. actiTIME

actiTIME is a time-tracking and work management tool that provides a clear view of work progress. It is based on the manual time entry method and allows calculation of cost and billing amounts. Its flexible reports based on time-track data help optimize work process, increase productivity, and run projects more efficiently.

actiTIME can be installed on a local machine or used as a cloud service. Its mobile app has a timer for automated time count. It allows tracking time on the go and reviewing summarized time-track data for various period. The tool is a great fit for teams and individuals, as it offers and effortless way to manage work time wisely.

2. Jibble

Jibble is a punch-in and –out software with basic time-tracking functionality. It collects the data on how time is spent and how productive you are, and provides direct access to productivity statistics. You can run reports to see the dynamics or review the data on the calendar.

One of Jibble’s interesting features is the possibility to track time and view timesheets via Slack using a special bot. The bot allows punching in and out, reviewing timesheet data, and see your daily entries in a single list.

3. Lancelog

Lancelog is a simple cloud-based app that helps you keep record of work time expenses and see how much you’ll charge your customers for project works performed for them. The tool supports simple billing procedures and provides a separate field for billable hours. Lancelog is designed for freelancers and consultants and offers an easy procedure to keep track of hours worked, calculate amounts billable to clients, and issue customized invoices.

4. Freelancy

Freelancy is designed for individuals and small teams and offers a simple and efficient way to keep track of time worked and manage project work. It allows to track time spent on specific projects, collaborate within a team, organize projects and tasks, and generate invoices on the basis of time-track data.

The tool can be used on desktop computers or mobile platforms – a Freelancy account can be accessed from any modern browser on your device. The app is easy and helpful for running individual and small teams’ projects.

5. Bonsai

Bonsai is a time-tracker for macOS and iOS, also available on the web. It offers time-tracking functionality by manual entry and using a timer and has clear and minimalistic interfaces. After you log your time in Bonsai, you can review and analyze the results in a chart.

To integrate time-tracking procedure in your workflow, Bonsai allows connecting your time-tracker with freelance proposals and contracts, as well as issue invoices for your clients using the collected time-track data.

6. BQE Core

BQE Core is a business management tool with a time-tracking module that is used as a data source for client billing, optimization decisions, and work management. It offers a simple and intuitive time-tracking procedure – both from desktop and mobile apps. BQE Core is targeted to speeding up a billing process based on time-track results and increasing cash flow.

7. TimeSolv

TimeSolv is a tool designed for freelancers and small teams and intended to help them organize an effortless and accurate time-tracking process. It runs on various platforms – PC, Mac, Android, iOS – and can work both online and offline.

The tool speeds up time-tracking and expense reporting and is used by lawyers, consultants, accountants, designers, engineers and other professionals in various industries.

8. VeriClock

VeriClock is a cloud-based time-tracking service designed for freelancers and businesses. It is based on the clock-in and –out method and automates time logging. Obtained data can be used for reporting, cost calculation, and client billing. The tool allows to generate payroll reports and view job metrics.

VeriClock has a mobile app that can be used not only for punching in and out. To track job progress or expenses in more detail, users can take photos and videos and attach them to their daily time records. For example, it can be useful to attach on-site work results or job-related expense receipts.

Billing Tools

Usually, accounting is a pain for freelancers – probably except for self-employed accountants. Many tools are designed to help freelancers handle cost and billing tasks: calculate amounts billable to clients, review cost of work, issue invoices, etc.

1. AccountSight

AccountSight is a time and expense tracker for businesses, independent consultants and freelancers. It provides valuable insights on how time is spent and speeds up billing data processing. Timesheets can be filled out directly in the software or uploaded from Excel files. The tool offers rich time reporting functionality for data review and analysis.

Its expense tracking module allows users to define their own sets of expense types and specify how their work should be billed: at an hourly rate or per unit of finished product. For submitting bulk expenses, Excel upload function is also provided.

2. Due

Due time-tracking and accounting solution is designed to accurately calculate billable time and process accounting data. The tool helps collect work time data, prepare reports on billing amounts on its basis, and create invoices for customers directly in the app.

Due’s financial module includes many other features, including payments. The data is stored in the cloud, which simplifies users’ access to it, and is encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.

3. Ronin

Ronin is a simple time-tracking and invoicing app designed for freelancers and small agencies to help them efficiently handle accounting tasks and look professional. The tool allows to track time, collaborate on projects and tasks, set up estimates and send them to customers for review, and automate client billing.

Ronin’s billing functionality includes invoice customization, support of multiple currencies, and recurring invoices. The tool can be connected to existing systems and supports CSV data export.

Process management tools

Time-track data is one of the key job metrics: it helps understand the efficiency of existing procedures and see where they can and need to be corrected. Usually, efficient process management requires special project management tools that are rarely affordable for self-employed workers. However, some of the time-tracking tools include project management functionality to simplify work management for freelancers and small teams.

1. Trigger

Trigger helps independent professionals and teams keep track of work time – in real time or after performing work – and provides a simple procedure for work process management. It includes assigning and watching work assignments, seeing daily progress, and reviewing data for longer periods.

The tool also allows inviting clients to the system so that they can view your work on a task dashboard. This helps increase trust and create transparency in relationships with clients.

2. Todo.vu

Todo.vu is a simple tool for managing work process: its functionality includes time-tracking, billing, and work management. It supports tracking billable and non-billable time, running reports, and keeping track of customers and contacts. To increase the accuracy and relevance of time-tracking data, the tool allows breaking large tasks into checklists and see work progress. Todo.vu also supports task assignments from email, recurring tasks, calendar sync, and more.

3. Zoho Projects

Zoho Projects is a comprehensive solution for time-tracking and work process management. In it, you can track time, convert the results into billing data, get insights with the help of visual Gantt charts, and manage documents directly in the app. The tool supports export of timesheet data into various formats for further processing in other tools.

Open source tools

There’s one more category of time-tracking tools for freelancers that we’ve decided to describe separately. Open source time-tracking software usually offers very basic functionality and therefore is not a good fit for everyone, but has two important advantages: first, it’s free, and second, it can be configured to individual needs. So here’s a list of open source tools.

1. Kimai

Kimai is a simple time-tracker that tracks work time and prints out summarized data. Its interface is web browser-based, so it can work on any platform. The tool is unobtrusive: doesn’t need to be running in an open browser tab to record time expenses – you can even close the browser, and it will keep recording until you stop the program itself.

Kimai is localized in more than 15 languages and can be customized with different skins. The developers welcome new skin designs and localizations.

2. TimeTrex Community Edition

TimeTrex is a time-tracking and attendance management solution. Its community edition is open-source and is supported by volunteers from over 50 countries. This edition includes time-tracking, scheduling, vacation and overtime tracking, payroll, and tax management. More functionality that teams might need is included in the paid version.

3. Anuko

Anuko is a web-based open-source solution for time-tracking across multiple projects and tasks. It is installed as a web application and is accessed via browsers. The tool supports two time-tracking modes: for projects, or for projects and tasks. It also allows calculating billable amounts and offers simple invoicing functionality. Many independent consultants and freelancers find it helpful for tracking their time and billing clients.