As a freelancer, you have a to-do list that is a mile long. There’s the work itself, whether its graphic design, writing, editing, or anything else. There’s going over briefs and interacting with clients. There’s keeping your workspace organized, which is no small task. There’s the never ending struggle to make some free time for yourself and your loved ones. And, on top of it all, there’s the part where you keep track of your time and expenses, send invoices, and collect payments.
As you know, that’s where freelancers often run into trouble. Invoicing itself is often time consuming, leading many to procrastinate. Then there’s the part where you have to keep track of unpaid invoices, chase down delinquent accounts, and report all earnings on your income tax return. Sigh. This side of things is the one part of the freelance lifestyle that absolutely no fun at all. It is all part of the business of freelancing, nonetheless.
But wait, there’s hope! We’ve put together this list of the top ten time and expense tracking apps for freelancers. These apps bring together tools to help you keep track of the no-fun bits, from invoicing to expense reporting. Here are our picks:
WorkFlowMax is a Xero product, which, right out of the gate, has the benefit of aligning time tracking, expenses, and accounting (if Xero happens to be your accounting app of choice). What’s even more compelling is that WorkFlowMax is intensely capable of handling freelance jobs from handling the incoming lead, to performing the work, right down to reconciling the paid invoice (if you’re taking advantage of built-in Xero integration). the paid invoice. WorkFlowMax is $15 per month. A free trial is available.
Timesheets.com Time Tracking
Timesheets.com Time Tracking is a Web- and mobile-based replacement for the paper time sheet. It’s as simple as a punching the clock, minus the clock! Timesheets.com is highly scalable, allowing you to track overall time while reporting specific hours to individual contractors. That makes a time and expense app of obvious benefit for freelancers. Timesheets.com Time Tracking is $9 per month. A free trial is available.
Xpenditure, as its name implies, takes the pain out of expense tracking for freelancers. Perhaps the coolest feature of Xpenditure? Digitizing receipts. That means no more tucking paper receipts into an old cigar box (you know you’ve seen it happen!). Xpenditure keeps up with your receipts and it even exports to your accounting app of choice for full-scale financial reporting with ease. Xpenditure is $5 per month. A free trial is available.
Shoeboxed is another solid expense tracking app, and it even references the receipt-stuffing phenomenon we mentioned earlier. What we love most about Shoeboxed is its tight mobile integration. It also has a deep Quickbooks Online integration for your expense tracking plus small business accounting. Now you can keep up with your expenses entirely from your iPhone! Shoeboxed is $9.95 per month. A free trial is available.
Harvest is a very popular time and expense-tracking app. Aside from its simple, intuitive interface that tackles time tracking and invoicing, Harvest adds a wide range of integrations with third-party apps including Xero, PayPal, QuickBooks Online, and a whole lot more. Harvest is $12 per month. A free trial is available.
Chrometa is a time-tracking app for those of us who might need a little help staying on task. You see, like a built-in Orwellian “Big Brother,” Chrometa logs your activities, automatically identifying your billable activities and reporting them. Now that’s one way to cut out some of the time you waste reading Reddit and looking a cute cat videos on YouTube! Chrometa is $19.95 per month. A free two-week trial is included.
Motiv is a little different from the other apps on our list. Motiv aims at being a business management app especially for freelancers. In addition to time and expense tracking, Motiv adds quoting and electronic signature capture to the fold. That makes Motiv one of the ablest apps for freelancers around. Motiv is $5 per month. A free trial is available.
Sellsy Time Tracking
Sellsy Time Tracking is a time tracking app that makes it easy to keep up with one highly important aspect of your business: profit. Sellsy Time Tracking records time and reports it against margin, so you always know the bottom line. Sellsy Time Tracking also makes recurring billing easy as pie. Sellsy Time Tracking is $30.90. A free trial is available.
Nutcache is a handy tool for keep track of time and expenses for free. That’s right! What freelancer doesn’t love the word “free” when it comes to the apps you use? Built on open source technology, Nutcache handles time tracking, invoicing, and expense tracking. Nutcache is free. Really.
iBE.net is a bit like Motiv, only its aimed at small businesses as well as freelancers. The app is fully cloud-based and it expands beyond simple time and expense tracking to provide more complex workflows and analytics, too. iBE.net is also highly customizable, so if you have unique needs as a freelancers, iBE.net may be your best bet. Best of all, iBE.net is free for up to three users. Paid plans for larger teams start at $70 per month.
Are you in search of a freelance time tracking and expense app that meets your needs?
Time and expense tracking are not reasons anyone starts freelancing. But they are tasks you have to tackle as a freelancer, so you might as well make them as simple as possible by choosing an app or two to help you get the job done.
There are probably as many different apps for freelancers as there are freelance occupations. If you have a unique job and need a specialized tool, be sure to check out GetApp’s list of all the best time and expense tracking apps on the market.
Anyone looking for time tracking solutions needs to consider TimeTracker by CreativeWorx. It’s unique in two major ways: (1) TimeTracker automatically captures how time is spent by monitoring applications, browser, calendars, phone, etc.; and (2) TimeTracker learns and intelligently assigns job codes (billing codes) to the activities…so that accurate timesheets are generated in real-time with virtually no effort. The mobile will be released in November…but the desktop & calendar integrations are already being used in over 100 countries. http://www.creativeworx.com
You missed one and in my humble opinion, the best one out there. Deductr. Automates expense tracking by linking to my business accounts and cards. Swipe the card, the expense gets tracked. Then mileage is tracked using their phone app which taps into the GPS. Drive and track no more notepad in the glove box. Does a P&L for me, estimates my taxes due! Makes the whole tracking deal easy. It’s put thousands of $ back in my pocket over the past 2 years. Please consider doing a review of it. their website is deductr.com
I suggest you check out Worksnaps, designed for remote work from ground up, it addresses the problems that traditional time tracking tools could not solve. It is easy to use and effective!
I’d like to suggest Fanurio (http://www.fanuriotimetracking.com) which is a time tracking and billing software application, highly appreciated by freelancers for its intuitive interface, flexible timer and ability to produce detailed invoices.
Fanurio is not free but it has a free trial. It costs 59 USD (which means about $5/month for the first year) and you can use it for life.
I know that there are many freelancers who prefer to use a desktop application in order to keep their data on their own computers. Since Fanurio is a desktop application, it integrates very well with the platforms it runs on. On OS X, you can easily access timers from the the menu bar and from the dock icon menu. On Windows, you can start a new timer or control the active timer from the thumbnail toolbar or from the tray icon. You can also use global hotkeys to control the timers from within any running application.
Fanurio is used by many freelancers not just to track time but to bill their clients as well. Fanurio can export invoices to HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word 2007, OpenOffice OpenDocument and other formats so they can be printed or e-mailed. Invoice templates can be created manually, with a visual editor (Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) or with the built-in template editor.
I hope this helps.
actiTIME is a free time tracking software (www.actitime.com) where you can track time spent on clients and projects, generate detailed reports, issue invoice and many more.
You missed Freshbooks!