There are all kinds of businesses that bill by the hour. The first job type that comes to mind may be attorneys, but nearly every industry has call for contractors and consultants, most of whom prefer to bill hourly so that they are getting paid for the actual time they put in on a project. However, the amount of hours attributed to a project or client can be a bone of contention. Clients pretty much have to take it on faith that the time they’re being billed for was actually spent working on their behalf (which is why clients often prefer a flat rate). However, there is an application that can help on both sides of the equation. The Time Master + Billing app for Apple devices provides businesses with a handy tool for tracking billable hours and creating reports for clients.
The app will cost $9.99, but users will definitely get their money’s worth (and it can be written off as a business expense come tax time). Here’s what it does. As you may have guessed, it allows lawyers, contractors, consultants, and other businesses or individuals that deal with hourly billing to track the time they spend working. Not only can you start and stop a time clock (sort of like punching in and out in an office setting), but you can set the timer to round to the hour, minute, or second (a handy feature for attorneys, for example, who bill by blocks of time rather than exact time). And you can leave timers running even when the app is closed, as well as running multiple timers at once. However, there’s a lot more to it than simple stopwatch functionality.
Most businesses that bill hourly have multiple clients, projects, and so on. Time Master allows for the creation of many accounts that can be organized by client name, by project, and even by task so that time spent on any of these areas can be correctly categorized for later billing. You can even create custom categories to attribute time to (like travel, research, or other “business” time that you won’t be reimbursed for – if you track it you may be able to deduct it on taxes). Of course, you can also use the app to track related expenses to bill back to a client, such as travel, mileage, or other costs associated with a project (like a hard drive you purchased to securely deliver files, for example).
And when you’ve finished a job it’s easy enough to compile all of your expenses and create timesheets and other reports that can display not only the hours you spent on a project, but also a breakdown of time used for particular tasks, including specific dates and hours. Of course, for an extra $9.99 you can purchase the invoicing upgrade that turns your reports into official invoices for billing. And other in-app purchases will provide you with the ability to sync your devices ($6.99) and even share all of your billing information with QuickBooks for easy bookkeeping and tax purposes ($5.99). All told, the bells and whistles will bring your total spend to about 33 bucks.
But you don’t need an online accounting degree to see how useful this app could be for the business that bills hourly. Not only can it help you track your time and expense for multiple clients and projects, but you can actually use it to create and send invoices and handle your bookkeeping needs. Considering what you might pay for computer software or a part-time bookkeeper that does the same, you’re getting this service for a steal with Time Master + Billing.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.