Back to blog

Timekeeping Software: the Top Options and Tips for 2023

Find a detailed list of the top timekeeping software apps. In this article, we’ll cover the best options and tips to help you select one.

Motion Blog
at Motion
Aug 16, 2023
Table of contents

Managing time effectively is a challenge that many professionals struggle with.

That’s where timekeeping software comes in.

Timekeeping software is so much more than a digital version of the old punch clock. In this article, we’ll explain what timekeeping software is and what it can do for you. We’ll also give you a list of the best software out there. Finally, we’ll offer some essential tips on privacy, saving money, and more.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Understanding timekeeping software: more than just clock watching

Timekeeping software is a technology solution that helps businesses track, manage, and analyze the time their employees spend on work-related activities.

It’s a crucial tool for the following:

  • Payroll
  • Project management
  • Productivity analysis

Time-tracking apps offer a robust way to track, manage, and report on employee time. This can lead to more accurate billing, a fairer payroll, and insights into time spent on tasks and projects, which can help you better manage your team’s time.

However, the point of timekeeping software isn’t to micromanage your staff — the goal is to streamline your processes and make better management decisions.

The primary function of timekeeping apps is to track time. That means recording when your employees start and stop work, take breaks, and spend time on certain projects.

But this technology goes far beyond this basic function. Some of its advanced features allow it to:

  • Integrate with payroll systems
  • Generate detailed reports
  • Help with project management

How does timekeeping software benefit businesses?

Effective time management shapes success — but it can be hard to achieve.

That’s where timekeeping software comes in. It provides the following benefits:

Improved accuracy

Manual methods of tracking time — like pen and paper or spreadsheets — are time-consuming and susceptible to human error.

Inaccuracies can lead to severe consequences, such as:

  • Incorrect client billing
  • Payroll disputes
  • Potential legal issues

Timekeeping software automates the time-tracking process, significantly reducing the likelihood of these errors occurring.

Increased productivity

Timekeeping software also boosts productivity. Tracking how their employees spend time on different tasks and projects allows businesses to identify productivity patterns or see potential bottlenecks or areas for improvement.

Text box shows work statistic

‎Managers can use this data to optimize operations, better allocate resources, and provide relevant training.

Simplified compliance

Labor laws often require businesses to maintain accurate records of employee work hours.

Compliance with these laws can be complex and time-consuming. However, timekeeping software greatly simplifies the process. It provides clear, accurate, and accessible records of working hours, breaks, and overtime, making it much easier to ensure compliance.

Cost savings

While adopting a new system comes with a price tag, the long-term savings often outweigh the initial investment.

Fewer errors in time tracking mean more accurate billing and payroll, which can save businesses a significant chunk of money. They can save even more money through improved operational efficiency and productivity.

Who should use timekeeping software?

Organizations and individuals across a wide spectrum can use timekeeping software to manage their time more effectively. Let’s take a closer look at who can best use this technology.

Small businesses

It’s a myth that only large companies need timekeeping tools. For small businesses running on tight budgets and lean teams, every minute counts.

Timekeeping aids can improve resource management, help businesses keep track of multiple projects, and maintain accurate billing. They can even spot opportunities for process improvement.


Timekeeping software can be an invaluable asset to freelancers since these individuals often juggle multiple clients and projects at once.

If you’re a freelancer, keeping track of how much time you spend on each project or task can be a logistical nightmare without the right tools. Time trackers provide an easy way for you to monitor and document the time you spend on each project for accurate invoicing and project predictions.

Project managers

Timekeeping software can offer invaluable insights for project managers into their projects’ progress. It can help to identify bottlenecks or ensure that resources are used where they’re needed most.

This software provides a clear picture of which tasks take up the most time, enabling better project scheduling and budgeting.

Remote teams

Timekeeping software has become particularly important since the rise of remote work.

Remote workers connected by software

‎It can help establish a culture of accountability and productivity in remote teams by keeping track of when and for how long team members are working. It allows for flexible working while helping remote team members manage their workload, prevent burnout, and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding their work hours.

The best options for timekeeping software

We’ve put together a list of seven of the very best apps for managing time in your operations.

Just remember that each team has different needs. So before you select an app, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you looking to improve your company’s project management?
  • Are you looking to streamline your payroll processes?
  • Do you need a better understanding of your own work habits?
  • Do you need to manage a remote team more effectively?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so find a system that best aligns with your unique goals.

Let’s delve into these seven tools.

1. Clockify

Overview: Clockify is a popular time-tracking tool. It enables businesses and freelancers to track their work hours across various tasks and projects.

  • Features: It offers unlimited tracking, reporting features, billable hours, and integrations with popular project management tools.
  • Pros: It’s free for unlimited users, which is perfect for small businesses or startups.
  • Cons: More advanced features come at a cost.
  • Free trial: A 7-day free trial is available.

2. Toggl Track

Overview: Toggl Track is a cloud-based time-tracking tool suitable for individuals, teams, and businesses of all sizes.

  • Features: Toggl Track offers one-click timers, reporting tools, and over 100 integrations.
  • Pros: It has a user-friendly interface and syncs across devices. Easy to use.
  • Cons: Its advanced features don’t go as far as some others, and it can be expensive for larger teams.
  • Free trial: A 30-day free trial is available.

3. QuickBooks Time

Overview: QuickBooks Time is a comprehensive time-tracking and scheduling tool.

  • Features: QuickBooks Time offers real-time tracking, GPS tracking, and invoicing. It also integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks’ suite of tools.
  • Pros: It has strong reporting tools and is great for field-based businesses due to its GPS features.
  • Cons: It’s more expensive than some of its competitors and may be too feature-heavy for smaller teams or individual freelancers.
  • Free trial: A 30-day free trial is available.

4. RescueTime

Overview: RescueTime is a personal productivity tool that helps individuals understand their daily habits so they can focus and be more productive.

  • Features: RescueTime helps you track your time spent on apps and websites. It also provides detailed information on your online activity.
  • Pros: It offers distraction blocking and productivity scoring, and it works in the background with minimal user input.
  • Cons: It’s more focused on individual productivity, so it may not be the best choice for project management or team tracking.
  • Free trial: A 14-day free trial is available.

5. Time Doctor

Overview: Time Doctor is a powerful time-tracking and productivity tool designed for remote teams.

  • Features: Time Doctor offers work session monitoring, screenshot recording, invoicing, and integration with a range of other tools.
  • Pros: It has strong monitoring tools and is great for managing remote teams.
  • Cons: Its intense monitoring may be seen as intrusive by some users. It also lacks a free version.
  • Free trial: A 14-day free trial is available.

6. Timely

Overview: Timely is an AI-powered time-tracking tool that captures and records time automatically.

  • Features: Timely offers time tracking, project time management, and team planning tools.
  • Pros: Its automatic time-tracking feature eliminates manual input, making time tracking seamless.
  • Cons: It’s pricier than many other options and has a steeper learning curve.
  • Free trial: A 14-day free trial is available.

7. TrackingTime

Overview: TrackingTime is a collaborative time-tracking tool designed for teams to monitor their hours spent on tasks and projects.

  • Features: TrackingTime offers basic time-tracking software, reporting tools, and project management functions.
  • Pros: It’s affordable and easy to use, making it a good option for small teams.
  • Cons: It lacks some of the advanced features found in other tools, such as invoicing.
  • Free trial: A 14-day free trial is available

Each of these options has strengths and weaknesses. The best choice for you will depend on what your organization needs and your budget. Before going all in on a specific tool, take advantage of the free trials to see which one best fits your entire team.

How to achieve both privacy and productivity

In a world that’s increasingly data-driven, worker privacy and company output are often at odds with each other.

That can certainly be true if you implement timekeeping software in your business. Nevertheless, privacy and productivity can — and should — coexist.

Modern timekeeping software has evolved the following three features to maintain this balance:

Feature #1: A privacy focus

In response to privacy concerns, time-tracking software providers have transformed their tools to prioritize privacy.

This has meant a shift away from intrusive monitoring methods, such as capturing screen activity or keystrokes.

Instead, modern tools are now gearing toward tracking:

  • Task completion
  • Project progress
  • Overall time management

Feature #2: Customizable settings

Settings that are appropriate in one setting may not work in another. For that reason, most of these systems now offer customizable settings that allow businesses to align the software’s functions with their privacy policies.

For example, some tools provide options to disable certain types of monitoring, such as that during non-working hours or during breaks.

Feature #3: Transparency

Transparency is a cornerstone of trust within teams.

More companies today realize it’s bad business to keep employees in the dark about their own data.

Many timekeeping tools have features that allow employees to view their tracked data. This not only reinforces trust but also empowers employees to better understand their work patterns and improve their productivity.

How timekeeping software saves you money

Some business leaders may balk at the expense of incorporating new time-tracking software. That’s why it’s important to calculate the savings that can happen from having the right tools.

Typically, this software benefits organizations in the following three ways:

1. Reduced administrative work

Manual time tracking can be a significant financial drain on a business.

Worker slowly tracks time manually

‎Not only do these manual tasks chew up considerable time, but they’re also prone to errors.

Automating the timekeeping process helps companies reduce the costs of manual recording. This leads to financial savings and frees up staff to focus on more critical, strategic tasks.

2. Accurate billing and payroll

Over- or under-reporting on hours can result in financial loss or employee/client dissatisfaction.

With automated timekeeping, you remove the guesswork. This helps maintain goodwill and trust — and reduces costly errors.

For example, QuickBooks Time claims that its customers save an average of 6% of payroll costs.

3. Improved productivity

This software provides valuable insights into time usage across tasks, projects, and teams. This info can be used to identify inefficiencies or areas to streamline or improve.

Over time, even small improvements in efficiency can translate into substantial cost savings.

And, in a culture focused on continual improvement, these savings can add up over time.

The role of timekeeping software in the flexible work era

Timekeeping software has only grown more important as more companies adopt hybrid work. Here are a few critical areas in which these software options are changing the way we manage:

Facilitates remote work

Managing remote work brings unique challenges, especially when it comes to tracking work hours across different time zones.

Timekeeping software allows businesses to keep accurate tabs on work hours, regardless of their employees’ locations. This ensures accountability and optimal productivity.

Promotes work-life balance

Overworking is a common issue in remote and flexible work arrangements.

Employee lacking work-life balance

‎Keeping track of the time they spend completing work tasks can help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. This can help them set up better guardrails to protect their personal time.

Supports flexibility

Many timekeeping software tools now cater specifically to employees with flexible work arrangements.

Modern features, like tracking work hours weekly or allowing employees to log their hours manually, support non-traditional work schedules.

Level up your calendar with Motion

You’re now armed with the knowledge that will help you select the right timekeeping software for your team. Remember: find what works for you.

As you move forward, you’ll also want a calendar that helps you manage your personal and work life. Motion’s powerful AI software can do just that and more. It’s a task manager, project manager, meeting assistant, and calendar all in one. Our app can integrate with many of your favorite tools and automatically plans your day for you. That way, your team is always at their most productive.

Try it for free today!

Motion Blog
Written by Motion Blog