How to Choose the Best Timesheet App: 6 Points to Consider

Kasia Kramnik


So you’ve had enough of filling Excel sheets every week or month and follow the modern business rule saying “there’s an app for that”. Great choice! You’ll save a lot of time, effort (and money, hopefully). But when you try googling “the best timesheet app”, you’ll soon find out that not all apps are created equal. Picking the right one without a little preparation is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Here’s a short cheat sheet that explains what to draw attention to before you take the next step.

Point 1: For freelancers or for multiple employees?

Probably the first thing you’d pay attention to is the selection of features available in each app. You’ll soon notice that the number possibiities offered by various tools differs a lot, which should give you an important hint – the more features the app offers, the larger team it might be ready to serve. Take a minute to think exactly what you and your team need from a timesheet app because what seems obvious to you might look a little different to the creators of different apps. The differences in the interface, sharing access to particular data or the amount of input data you need to provide might not be necessary for smaller teams or independent contractors cooperating directly with their clients.

Point 2: Think again and go beyond a regular timesheet! Time tracking for projects, teams and budgets

Sometimes it happens that when you start searching for an app to fulfil a simple task, you’ll find out you can do – or delegate – so much more than you expected. Or make use of novelties you haven’t tried before, such as real-time tracking of tasks or automated alerts for different events concerning:

Working time – set up a bottom or top limit of hours

Task number – find out when there’s a disproportion of completed tasks between employees

Budgets – set it upfront and get notified when you’re close to reaching the limit

Considering extra benefits from a timesheet app might be worth taking another minute before you choose.

Point 3: Integrations with other applications

If you’re looking for a timesheet app to add to your business tool stack, we bet you’re already using certain platforms to communicate, manage tasks or store files in the company. What you certainly want to check and consider is the possiblity to connect the new app to the ones your team knows and is keen to use. It might be possible to embed the timesheet app into another one to optimise the daily app routine, for example by implementing a browser widget (Timenotes provides such a solution for Trello and Asana). This way, you will find it easier to introduce a new habit on the team and make use of the tool as soon as possible.

Point 4: Timesheet app access. For desktop, iOS or Android?

Unless your business deals with highly confidential information that should not leave the office, you might find it more and more common for employees to work remotely from desktop as well as mobile devices. Easy access to a timesheet app will make not only their lives easier, but also ensure the accuracy of data you keep inside the app. Make sure your app of choice provides at least a responsive website for logging data, but an ideal option would be a mobile app operating on both iOS and Android-powered smartphones and tablets. 

Point 5: Easy reporting tools

Depending on your company’s internal structure and communication with clients, you might need a variety of reports to prepare, including working hours, budgets, salaries, project progress and more. Also, you’ll have to share them with different people, which likely requires sending files of different formats. The perfect timesheet app will let you generate reports quickly and easily – all you need to do is pick the criteria of interest and the file format. If you’re the one who checks subcontractors’ reports, it’s crucial that you have a bird’s eye view onto the time logs and project progress among different contributors.

Point 6: Free or paid plan?

Once you’re left with a shortlist of your favourite apps, the final stage would be to check your budget. The question we state in this section might seem obvious because everybody loves free stuff, but since it’s your business data we’re talking about, you need to look a little further. The pricing rules differ from one app to another and even though you might start with a free plan, it won’t take long until your business development will make you upgrade and pay more than you expected. This might depend on the number of users and admins, the amount of projects and features, the volume of stored data, and more. Make your decision based on the current state and foreseeable progress.

The best timesheet app is the one that suits your business

Do you have an impression that picking the best timesheet app for your business is going to get harder than you expected? Well, it might look like this at first, but we promise you won’t regret it. Spending some time on comparing available options and analysing pros and cons will serve your business better than relying on first impressions. We hope that six points above will help you along the way and lead you to an improved business performance!