Not the Perfect Time Tracking Tool

The last post received some very interesting comments, and even a few mentions of specific time tracking systems that our readers use. As a process and methodology fanatic, I’m always interested in any tools that can help me to be more efficient – especially if they are related to time management.

Personally, I’ve only had success with two time tracking systems. The first was Microsoft Excel, which means we didn’t really use a ‘system’ at all. Instead, we had a standard spreadsheet form that each employee would complete and submit every Friday. This crude system worked well because it was flexible, easy, and required no maintenance or training. Unfortunately, it still required an administrator to manually process each timesheet as we created client invoices and prepared payroll for the developers. So, the ‘manual’ process of time tracking could be described as low risk and very effective, but cumbersome.

For the last few years, we’ve been using the QuickBooks timer system. The QuickBooks timer is a small time tracking application that comes bundled with QuickBooks, and it’s far from the ‘perfect’ solution. It’s a standalone application, requiring every employee to install the software. To make things even more cumbersome, the Customer/Job list needs to be exported from QuickBooks and distributed each month to ensure that all active jobs are available for the employees to bill against. At the end of each month, the employees export a file from the timer program and e-mail it back to us for processing.

Sounds like a painful process, doesn’t it? It is, but the QuickBooks timer system has one great advantage – the employee files that come in at the end of each month are imported right into our master QuickBooks system and all invoices and contractor payments are effortlessly generated from there. This saves an incredible amount of time, and helps to maintain 100% accurate books. So, this lackluster solution actually does wonders for the bottom line!

While the QuickBooks timer has worked well for us, I wouldn’t say it’s a quality solution by any standard. Its quite old, a bit buggy, and generally annoying to use. We’ve dabbled in various online time tracking systems, but the QuickBooks integration has always been the deciding factor and that’s the one thing that the QuickBooks timer does very well. A slick web-based system is always attractive, but if the timesheets don’t import well, it’s not worth it in the end.

I’d love to hear more about what kind of tools you are all using, and your thoughts about the effectiveness of those tools. With so many workflow and project management tools on the market right now, it’s tough to choose one and we’re still looking!


Category: business Time: 2006-11-13 Views: 0

Related post

  • 5 Time-Tracking Tools for Web-Addicted Freelancers 2014-05-19

    Time is money, right? That's why there are few things more important to your bottom line than tracking your time. That's were time tracking tools come in - and there are tons of them, good and bad. Let's separate the wheat from the chaff and find out

  • 7 Time Tracking Tools To Help You Manage Your Time 2009-02-25

    Keeping track of time spent on client work can be difficult, especially if you have multiple projects going on at one time. And if you're like me, moving from project to project throughout the course of the day, it's virtually impossible unless you h

  • Why not the one-time pad with pseudo-number generator 2013-09-18

    I am very new to cryptography (so be kind), but I have a question that may seem silly. If the one-time pad is the perfect cipher and impossible to crack, why would the following algorithm not be one of the strongest: To encrypt: generate a random bit

  • Python script has execution error first time through on a JoinField, but not the second time 2012-02-08

    I have some Python code that takes a shapefile, creates its centroids via FeatureToPoint, joins an auxillary field from the shapefile to the centroid via JoinField, and then goes on to do some more work with the centroids. The relevant code is: centr

  • Time tracking tool for monitoring application usage 2011-11-22

    I want to know how I'm really using my computer, and where the time goes (I have an English paper due, and I intend on getting it done, it's 2:30 PM... no wait, it's 8:30 PM...). Which software can tell me: What programs I use, and when Within progra

  • .htaccess remove index.php sort of works, but not the first time after browser cache is cleared 2015-03-24

    I don't know if this is a new thing or if it's been an issue all along, but the client just noticed and i recreated the issue myself. If I clear my browser cache and then visit my client's site at a URL like it

  • RXJava call subscriber from 2 observables multiple times not the same time 2016-01-30

    I have tried to return data via a subscriber, but i want to send 2 times data in a delay (because of a network request). The first data that should hit the subscriber should come from a different observer. I have tried to merge the 2 observer, but th

  • SQL for Inserting the system date and a fixed time (not the system time) in a column 2015-11-03

    I have a query like this: Insert into UNITRIP (START_TIME, END_TIME) (TO_DATE('10/20/2015 06:05:00', 'MM/DD/YYYY HH24:MI:SS'), TO_DATE('10/20/2015 07:34:06', 'MM/DD/YYYY HH24:MI:SS') I require a sql where the start_time is of this type: system-date 0

  • The Effective Programmer's Secret Weapon: Time Tracking 2014-09-03

    Time is the most precious commodity we have. Anyone involved in a project of any kind must learn to harness its power and be disciplined in its application. For programmers, especially those who work as contractors, time tracking is an essential func

  • Ubuntu 14.04 not taking the BIOS time 2015-03-08

    I have Ubuntu 14.04 installed and my time zone set is IST, GMT + 5:30. My BIOS have the correct time but when my machine boots into Ubuntu it shows not the BIOS time. I tried to manually set the time multiple times but on each reboot the time goes wr

  • 10 Big Time-Saving Tools for Web Designers 2010-02-02

    Clip art of tools originally sourced from the Wikimedia Commons. Humans just aren't as good at performing repetitive tasks as computers are. Moreover, I really hate doing the same thing more than once. I think anyone who uses computers in a professio

  • Which Time Tracker application do you recommend? 2010-09-13

    I have to do three or four jobs a day, and each has several parts. I want a time tracker tool to help me know how much time I've spent on each part and each job overall. I've found some like gnotime and hamster. What application do you recommend for

  • Work time tracking app? 2010-09-13

    I have to do three or four jobs a day, and each has several parts. I want a time tracker tool to help me know how much time I've spent on each part and each job overall. I've found some like gnotime and hamster. What application do you recommend for

  • Time Tracker - How to use in Unity (Precise) 2011-04-19

    I used to use the hamster time tracker. It is a wonderful application, easy to use and simple. However, with the move to Unity, it does not work properly due to the lack of integration. Are there any plans to integrate this tool to Unity ? ----------

  • Time tracker for lxde 2012-11-05

    I have only recently started using lxde. And I am liking it. It is blazing fast, not-at-all resource hungry and just does what I want. The only thing I am missing is a time tracker tool. I have been using Hamster Time Tracker on gnome for quite some

  • What is the easiest way to change the creation time for large amounts of files so that they are sorted alphanumerically? 2013-05-06

    I am trying to get images to display in a specific order on as many smartphones as possible without them requiring specific software, and the easiest way to do this is to change the creation times of the images so that the first file alphanumerically

  • Self-hosted project management with time tracking 2014-08-11

    It should be a gratis web application for self-hosting. Access from mobile devices should be easy. Those would be the optimal features: Multiple projects support Multi user support Flexible issue tracking system Per project wiki Time tracking Start/s

  • dynamically populate a select field based on the selection in another field works only the first time 2015-01-24

    I am trying to dynamically populate a select field (chamiponship) based on the selection in another field (country). It works fine when I load the page but just the first time, the second time I select another country it does not work. Did anyone hav

  • ntpd does not update correct time 2010-07-29

    Trying to configure my Ubuntu server to sync with Following this guide I've configured my ntp.conf as following cat /etc/ntp.conf # /etc/ntp.conf, configuration for ntpd; see ntp.conf(5) for

iOS development

Android development

Python development

JAVA development

Development language

PHP development

Ruby development


Front-end development


development tools

Open Platform

Javascript development

.NET development

cloud computing


Copyright (C), All Rights Reserved.

processed in 3.641 (s). 13 q(s)