Tracking and process optimization technologies are becoming an integral part of a rising number of companies. The explanation is simple enough - time tracking software offers a lot of benefits for you as a manager, for your company, and even for your employees.
And it’s not just about large corporations with thousands of employees across many countries. Small businesses can benefit just as well. Optimizing performance and increasing employees’ productivity, for example, doesn’t hinge on the number of workers or the size of the company. This is why employee tracking system is becoming a necessity for small businesses.
But how do you go about choosing the best app for tracking hours worked? Surely, the thought process can’t be the same as for huge enterprises.
Fortunately, we’re here to offer some advice on what to consider and how to prioritize when deciding on the best time clock software for small business.
In all probability, this is one of the most important considerations, so let’s get that out of the way. The thing is - small businesses typically don’t have huge budgets allocated to optimization and performance analysis, so choosing the software that will do the work and be inexpensive at the same time is what you should be looking for.
And yes, there is free timekeeping software for employees out there, and even some free versions of more sophisticated systems, but you’ll need to compare this saving against the benefits that you expect to get. Free apps and freemium versions are usually very limited in what they can do. They might not have all the features you want or offer support or they might not be easily scalable if you plan to expand your business.
On the other hand, paid platforms come with everything you might need. And the cool thing about them is that most of them are paid per employee, which means that the price will be tailored for the size of your company.
One tip that is the same across different industries and company sizes is to think carefully about what you need. The general rule is that the more sophisticated the software is, the higher its price.
As a small business, you might not need all these advanced features offered by the most expensive systems like, say, keystroke tracking. For starters, you want a time tracker and you want it to work well. Everything extra is up to you and depends on the business goals you want to accomplish with it.
For instance, if you want increased efficiency, you should consider software with some sort of productivity analysis. If you want project organization, good task categorization is what you need. If you want more accountability and transparency with your clients, the best time clock for small business will be the one with client access. You get the gist.
So think about what problems you need to solve and what goals you want to accomplish and try to try to match that with the features that you’ll be looking for. And don’t get distracted by additional fancy functionalities that aren’t necessarily of any direct use to your company.
The point is - the best time clock app for small business is the one that has everything you need, but not so much more that it drives the price up.
Small businesses tend to grow. So you need your time tracker to scale well.
The best employee time clock for small business is easy to install on additional computers. Cloud based solution is also something to think about. It’s lightweight, you don’t need servers or technical maintenance, it’s cheaper and easier to implement. Basically, look for something that’ll give you least headache.
Usability and Reports
Another important thing about the time tracking software that you choose has to be the ease of use. In order for it to be worthwhile, the learning curve should be practically non-existent. Meaning that the interface and dashboard should be intuitive and clean.
And finally, you’ll probably get some additional features besides the core ones that you need. So you should be able to make the best out of what you’ve got by being provided with useful reports and functionalities.
For instance, attendance tracking is a nice feature to have, regardless of whether that’s your primary goal or not. Therefore, systems that give you accurate automatic attendance timesheets for all employees should have an edge over those in the same price range that don’t offer this functionality.
Top 3 Time Trackers You Should Consider
As a bonus, we’re giving you a list of the three best time tracking software on the market which are particularly suitable for small businesses, so they could be a good place to get started. For a more detailed overview of these and some other systems, you can check out our complete list of time tracker reviews.
If you’re looking for the best time clock for small business, Insightful is a great candidate. It has a vast array of time tracking as well as some employee monitoring functionalities. This system is very intuitive and project tracking is made extremely easy. There’s even an automatic time mapping functionality that entirely eliminates any need for employees to interact with the software, making it even more convenient. And despite all these benefits, Insightful is still one of the most affordable time tracking solutions out there.
Another good choice for smaller teams is Hubstaff, which is currently one of the most popular time tracking software. There are three price tiers, depending on the variety of features, but the most basic one is in the price range of Insightful. It also has some monitoring functionalities, such as screenshots, and it can be installed on mobile, where it lets you track your employees’ GPS location, which could be a useful option to have in case you have employees working in the field.
Another candidate for the best time clock for small business that’s definitely worth considering is Toggl. Just like with the previous two systems, this one also features a lot of project tracking options, including task timing, manual time entries and detailed reports. In addition, it’s pretty handy for organizing your workflow as it has idle time reminds and Pomodoro clock feature. Although this software is a bit more expensive than the other two, it does offer a freemium version for up to 5 users, so it might be worth looking into if you have a very small team.
Choosing the right time tracker is one of the most important business decisions and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are some things that the best time clock app for small business needs to have, but a lot will depend on your goals and needs. So think carefully, choose wisely and then enjoy the benefits of having made the right choice.
This article was originally written on September 17th, 2019. It was updated on November 28th, 2019.