If you're an IT consultant, developer, or designer, you deal with clients on a number of levels. One of the most critical ways in which you relate is billing. For that, you have to keep concise records. Sometimes, that's not so easy — especially when you're constantly on the go — and so you wind up having to second-guess your time spent working with/for a client.
That is, unless you have a solid mobile solution for time tracking. Such is the case with TSheets. TSheets is a mobile app that works in conjunction with a TSheets online account. Before we go any further, you need to know that the TSheets app is free, but the service is not. However, the rates are cheap, considering what you get out of the deal.
A Freelancer account (a single user account) will cost you $10.00 (USD) per month. The Basic account is $5.00/month, per user with a $20.00/month base. There's also a Platinum account for 100+ users at $5.00/month, per user with a $100.00/month base. The service works in conjunction with the mobile app and takes advantage of the GPS for location-stamped time tracking. You can also integrate TSheets with QuickBooks for even easier accounting.
If you're still interested at this point, you're serious about tracking time for either yourself or your company. Once you've signed up for an account, the TSheets mobile app is a must-have. Let's install and use the app.
As you've come to expect with Android applications, the installation of TSheets is simple. Just follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on the device
- Search for TSheets
- Locate and tap the entry by TSheets.com
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
At this point, if you haven't signed up for a free 14-day trial of TSheets, you'll need to sign up. You won't need a credit card to kick the tires, so it's worth giving it a go.
When you fire up TSheets, you'll have to log into your account. The username (for the admin) will be the email address used to sign up for the account. The admin can also sign in to the web interface and manage the employees for the company. You cannot, however, manage employees with the app. What you can do with the mobile version is:
- Clock in/out
- Add notes
- View map
- View your timesheets
- Get a pay period overview
- View all employee information (if running as manager)
- Manual sync
The viewing of all employee information will be a major factor when deciding to use TSheets. If you have multiple employees on payroll, and you want to track their status/progress, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better solution. Let's take a look at how to get employee data to the manager's mobile device. To do this, log into the admin (or manager's) account from an Android device. From the main window (Figure A), tap the menu button (upper left corner), and then tap Sync Now (if this is your first use).
TSheets running on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
After the sync is complete (you'll get a message saying Sync Completed), tap the menu button again and then tap Crew (Figure B).
Accessing your crew's information.
From the Crew window (Figure C), you can easily clock employees in and out. If an employee is clocked in, simply select him or her, and then tap Clock Out. If they are clocked out, select the employee from the list, tap Next, and then tap Clock In.
Your crew is ready.
You can also manually enter hours and add notes to an employees timesheet.
To view your location information, do the following:
- From the main window, tap the menu button
- Tap Timesheet List
- From the timesheet listing, tap one of the timesheets
- From the timesheet view (should look similar to the main window), tap Location/GPS
If you need some serious time tracking for yourself or for a team of employees, and you want to rely on mobile devices, you can't go wrong with TSheets. Even for a freelance consultant, having this kind of tracking will go a long way to ensure your billing is accurate and up-to-date.
What mobile app do you use for your time-tracking needs? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.