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I'm a consultant and I'm not happy with my workflow and want to get some suggestions.

Current workflow: Paper notebook where I track time and what I accomplish for clients, I have Outlook where I track to-do items and use the calendar, twice a month I have to go into Excel and prepare Work Orders and Expense claims.

I would really like one place, preferably web-based, where I can combine time tracking, to-do tracking & how long they take and generate info for accounting.

There are a few web apps that each do part of what I want, but I'm not aware of anything that does it all.

Before I start writing my own web app I though I should ask around...

So what do you use?

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community wiki? –  David Mackintosh Aug 12 '10 at 21:10

11 Answers 11

Take a look at Clocking IT, an open source planning and time tracking web application. You can either use the hosted version or install it on your own server.

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+1 for FOSS. I've been testing this one, it's ok, but not exactly what I was looking for... –  Clint Aug 19 '10 at 16:33

Take a look at Intervals, a web-based workflow app our web design and development agency built. It handles the essentials you will need as a consultant -- task/issue management, time tracking, reporting and billing your clients.

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I use toggl.com which is completely free for my purpose. After tracking time on my Work PC did not really be consistent due to meetings and of site work. I now started tracking vie toggl with my ipod - it works quite well even beeing offline most of the time it syncs with the server later on. You can use toggl even for a small team still for free an define Projects, Customers, Tags and so on, you can set task billable or not and get nice charts and so on. If you pay for the service you of course get a lot more features.

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Our consulting company uses Autotask. It's a pretty complete solution for managing the business. Ticket tracking, time tracking, employee management, integrates well into Quickbooks. Tons and tons of add-ins. It's a pretty nice, fairly complete solution.

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I use a cross-platform multiple-timer tracking tool called Inertrak:

http://www.inertron.com/inertrak/index.html

The multiple timers, areas for expense reporting, recurring billing and flexible options for defining clients and tasks make this a worthwhile product.

There's also iPhone synchronization and an App, too...

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I hardly recommend ToDoList by AbstractSpoon. Its is not web based, it is a desktop application with MANY (!!) options. One of its neat features is, it stops tracking time when you're away from computer (screensaver is running or desktop is locked).

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Pivotal Tracker has worked well in the past for us. It doesn't really track real time though, you assign point values to task and break them down into granular pieces. One point might mean and hour, 2 half a day, 3 full day etc. If you need actual billable hours it probably won't work for you, but a great app.

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I've come to really like Axosoft's OnTime product. It is geared towards programming projects, but it has project management, work/task tracking, bug reporting, and a lot of other stuff you could leverage.

They offer a free single user license, and there is a web interface to the entire application (as well as client based should you need it). You might look at it to see if you could tailor it to your needs.

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I freelance and am not full time consulting. Were I full time, I would probably consider Basecamp as others have recommended.

I use a combination of spreadsheets and standard documentation procedures, which I often apply to my full time job as well. For tracking time at client sites, I have been using the EternityLite iPhone application. I usually prefer to avoid vendor lock in and use more standard approaches where appropriate.

Ta-da list is a free version of Basecamp that is substantially simpler and Remember the Milk is quite popular in personal circles. I have also heard good things about Action Method.

Of course, there's argument for Microsoft Project when it comes to very large projects as well.

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Toodledo is definitely one to look at. It allows per-task time estimates, detailed time tracking (including click-to-start/click-to-stop timers), and allows subtasks (which I find essential). It is very rich in creative features, e.g. printable pocket to-do lists, a companion iPhone app, and the ability to export to Excel spreadsheets (or XML or whatever) to integrate with your invoicing workflow.

You can review their feature comparison and detailed info if you're interested.

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I've enjoyed using zoho.com invoicing and I absolutely LOVE Harvest for time-tracking. I'm not sure zoho's apps all talk to each other, but it's worth investigating.

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