WSJ on time/billing software
- I can't recall who was asking, but the WSJ article exerpt below
mentions some additional products.
Q: I have a consulting business and, like many professionals, I
charge by the hour. However, I have yet to come up with an acceptable
means of tracking time and then calculating the charge (time x rate).
-- Bill Krull, Lake Charles, La.
A: Many professionals, believe it or not, still use paper, pen and
calculator to keep track of client billable hours. But there are many
software programs that provide for easier calculation and billing
Most accounting software programs, including Intuit Inc.'s QuickBooks
and Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Office Accounting, offer client time-
tracking features -- at least in some capacity. The programs usually
let you enter the amount of time spent with a customer and then
calculate a bill based on your hourly rate. Other employees may also
be able to access the information, and you can integrate the data
with your accounting process.
If you already use such a program, it's worth using the time-tracking
features of the program, since they will then be automatically
integrated with your business's accounting and billing, says Ramon
Ray, editor of SmallBizTechnology.com, a blog focused on technology
for small and midsize companies.
If your accounting software doesn't offer time tracking, you can
often purchase an add-on through the company's Web site or upgrade to
a version that offers it. QuickBooks, for instance, sells its Time
Tracker add-on for $10 to $200 a month, depending on the number of
Businesses without an accounting program can purchase a separate
application, such as 2ndSite Inc.'s FreshBooks.com and Sage Software
Inc.'s Timeslips. Prices for FreshBooks, an online-based invoicing
and time-tracking program, range from free to $149 a month, depending
on the number of active clients being tracked. The 2008 version of
Timeslips, an off-the-shelf application, can be purchased on
Amazon.com for about $480.
Some data-management programs, including Microsoft Office Access,
FileMaker Inc.'s FileMaker Pro and Intuit's QuickBase, also offer
time tracking in some capacity, Mr. Ray adds.
Keep in mind that many business software programs offer free online
trial periods so you can test them out before purchase.