Choosing the best time management tools for your business

March 28, 2023

There are a wide range of time management tools out there, and it's natural to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of offerings on the market. To choose the software best suited to your activity, it is necessary to define your expectations in terms of functionality in order to opt for the solution that best suits your needs. Here are the three main steps to follow to guide the choice of time management softwareto optimize the planning of your projects.

Understand why your business can benefit from optimal time tracking

To orient yourself on the right software, you must first confirm the main objective of your internal time tracking strategy . Following this first step, you can put together your needs checklist to help you better target the features you are looking for in a time planning tool, and thus achieve a better return on investment .

Time management tools for customer invoicing

If your time tracking solution aims to invoice your customers more easily, choose a tool that allows you to go beyond simple time tracking by customer or activity. This tool should allow you to create projects , or even tasks, in order to precisely track the time spent on each of them. Ideally, you will manage your quotes and invoicing in the same tool to save time and reliability through automation, and thus reduce the risk of errors induced by manual transfers of information.

Time tracking software that meets this need: Stafiz , Monday , Toggl .

 

Optimizing productivity by tracking time

If employee time tracking helps you analyze your productivity, you need software that recognizes the different activities you perform automatically. This type of software recognizes the software or documents you are working on to make it easier to categorize your time . By consolidating this information, you can take a step back from your organization and your productivity to improve.

Time management software that meets this need: Toggl , Memtime , RescueTime .

 

Tracking working hours and profitability

To compare data on time spent on a project in order to analyze its profitability , choose software that offers more advanced financial functionalities . It must make it possible to monitor activities billed on a fixed rate basis, and to analyze the costs of internal and external collaborators on the project.

Time management software that meets this need: Stafiz , Quickbooks Time .

 

Visibility on time allocated to R&D

As part of monitoring research and development times, ensure that the granularity of entry meets the administration's reporting needs, since times spent can be audited within the framework of tax credits and /or grants that are awarded and linked to the workload spent on these projects.

Time management software that meets this need: Harvest , Timely .

 

How to choose suitable time management software?

Once the first step is completed and your needs are clearly defined, the time for benchmarking has arrived! Beyond purely technical functionalities, certain criteria sometimes taken into the background such as adaptability to your organizational methods or even comfort of handling and use will save you precious time. 

 

  • Prioritize the employee experience : simple and flexible tracking of employees' time must be extremely simplified to make it easier for them to approach. When the tool is complex, it puts off employees. It is therefore a safe bet that monitoring will at best be carried out with a long delay, and at worst, it will not be carried out at all.

To avoid this situation of rejection, it is necessary to check that the time entry experience is simple, and that the software is also accessible from the employee's smartphone.

  • Check that it is possible to monitor in real time:to facilitate time tracking, the software should provide a stopwatch so that you can start tracking a task, then pause or stop it just as easily.

 

  • Confirm the entry granularity options: depending on your activity, you must choose how time entry is presented.
    • Time granularity: monitoring of activity by the day, half day, hour or minute.
      Not all activities have the same needs. Some software is more suited to tracking in hours, while others are more suited to tracking in portions of a day (quarter, half or full day).
    • Task granularity: detail of the depth of planning tasks , subtasks, or even other levels.
      Most software allows you to track time spent on tasks. If this is an important criterion for you, ensure the granularity of the tools you test.

Discover flexible and granular time management in Stafiz

Discover flexible and granular time management in Stafiz

  • Check the ability to create rules : for this time tracking to respect the working rights of employees, it is often necessary to define rules in the tool. You can configure them by imposing a limit of hours per day, or the inability to enter more hours per year than the legal limit. Make sure that HR constraints are taken into account in the time management software!

 

  • Check the ability to extract information : time tracking is frequently used for different types of reporting. Your time management software must allow you to export the data with the information expected by the reporting. So make sure that there is a data export module.

 

  • Make sure you can add comments: when an activity report must be validated retrospectively by a manager or a client, adding comments to detail the work carried out can be an asset to better appreciate the time spent on the task.

 


Discover time tracking with Stafiz

Anticipate integrations between time recording software and your other tools

Many companies use different tools to drive different aspects of their business before moving to an integrated, all-in-one solution . As a result, manual synchronization errors and back and forths from one application to another are increasing, and this has an impact on your profitability.
To compensate for these manual adjustments, it is essential to anticipate the connection needs of your new time planning software in order to streamline the entry and synchronization of information.

  • Leave and absence management : closely linked to time management, leave and absence management must communicate with the dedicated software. When an employee requests leave which is validated, the information should ideally be reported in the time management software . This avoids double entry, which results in a waste of time for the employee and which is a factor of dissatisfaction. By automating the transmission of information , the data is also more reliable, because it is not possible to enter by mistake time spent on an activity during a day of absence.

If your time management tool integrates a native leave management component, it is even more practical because the connection is automatic and will be maintained over time.

  • Export module : time tracking can be used for various uses in other software (HRIS or payroll software for HR monitoring, activity management software for margin monitoring). It is possible to send this information at a certain frequency by flat file transmission. To do this, you must export the data from the time management software before importing it into the other software. This is a manual operation, but can be automated with Excel spreadsheets.

 

  • API connectors: to facilitate the transfer of information and data between different software, the API transmission option remains the most automated. However, the APIs of the two software programs must allow them to communicate with each other. This is something that needs to be checked.
    There are also standard connectors between different software. If this is not the case, it will have to be developed. It is therefore a more automated solution, but which also may have a higher cost.

Learn more about integrations

  • Visibility for the client: if you work for a client and bill them for time, it may be interesting to give them access to information to streamline communication with the client , facilitate monitoring, or even accelerate validation before invoicing .

If this customer transparency feature is important to you, you should look for a tool that manages activity reports.

Stafiz integrates time validation according to your processes

Extract from a CRA automatically generated with Stafiz (empty template here)
  • Expense management: Expense tracking often goes hand in hand with time tracking. You may need to connect time and costs for, for example, fixed-rate invoicing in man-days, or even margin analysis (taking into account time spent and costs on a project). For all these reasons, it is interesting to connect the software together or to choose time management software that also has a native expense management module .

 

In conclusion, before choosing time management tools it is necessary to ask yourself the right questions: 

  • What is the priority objective? 
  • What are the essential criteria to integrate into the research? 
  • How will the software interconnect with other software used in the activity?

Once all these answers are fixed, it will be much easier to sort through the different software!


Optimize your time tracking with Stafiz