Agency time-tracking: Apps for better profit margins - 7pace
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Published:Mar 28, 2024

Agency time-tracking: Apps for better profit margins

If your agency bills by the hour or project, you need to know how your team spends their time and how it impacts your bottom line.

But tracking time can be a hassle: Inaccuracies in time logs and the tedious nature of time-tracking can disrupt your workflow. It can also create friction between your team and your clients, who may question your records.

Good time-tracking software can simplify time management, integrate with your existing tech stack, and provide valuable insights to optimize your performance and profitability.

In this article, we’ll review the best time-tracking software for agencies, what to look for in a time-tracking solution, and how to implement it effectively.

Why effective time management is essential for agencies

When you’re juggling multiple projects, meeting your deadlines is key. It’s not just about checking off tasks; it’s about ensuring each deliverable reflects the agency’s commitment to quality. When agencies mismanage their time, they experience a ripple effect of rushed outputs, compromised standards, and dissatisfied clients.

Here are the top reasons why effective time management should be at the forefront of any efficient workflow for your agency.

  • Streamline profitability: Financial health is a cornerstone of agency success, and this hinges on the precise tracking of billable hours and expenses. Inaccurate time logs result in billing errors, leading to disputes and potential revenue loss. Adopting effective time management apps allows agencies to implement time tracking, integrate invoicing systems, and produce detailed financial reports.
  • Boost team efficiency: A motivated team is an agency’s engine, and inefficient time management lowers productivity and muddies communication. Effective time management strategies enhance team performance. By monitoring progress, providing constructive feedback, and recognizing achievements, agencies can foster environments that value trust, accountability, and collective motivation.
  • Optimize resources: Allocating the right resources to the right tasks at the right time is a balancing act that demands meticulous time management. Without it, agencies risk stretching their resources too thin or not utilizing them enough, leading to budget overruns and project oversight issues. With time management solutions, agencies can refine their project estimates, align their budgeting practices, and prioritize the most important projects.
  • Improve client satisfaction: Client satisfaction is the lifeblood of any agency, and it’s closely tied to an agency’s ability to manage time effectively. Mishandled time can lead to client grievances and attrition. Agencies that excel in time management are better positioned to deliver value-driven results, maintain open and honest communication, and provide clients with the transparency they crave. This practice strengthens client relationships, encouraging loyalty and creating a solid foundation for future collaborations.
Four effective time management benefits for agencies on a gray background with a colorful icon for each

Now, let’s get to the best time-tracking software for agencies.

The 7 best time-tracking apps for agencies

1. 7pace Timetracker

7pace Timetracker is tailored for agencies and in-house teams that work within the monday.com environments.

7pace Timetracker for monday.com fits a variety of teams and settings including creative teams, marketing agencies, and any other firms that rely on the monday.com platform for project management.

7pace’s time-tracking capability takes the burden off team members, letting them focus more on their tasks and less on tracking their time.

Key features include:

Intuitive time-tracking: Time-tracking with 7pace is a seamless experience. Team members can log time directly within tasks on monday.com. The goal here is to reduce the number of clicks and make the experience as seamless as possible.

Insightful reporting: Deep reports help you analyze time data at a granular level to ensure your team’s efforts align with project budgets and timelines. The app offers reports like:

  • A bird’s-eye view of individual and team metrics time across all boards and workspaces.
  • Time spent versus time planned.
  • Cumulative budget spent week over week.
  • How many billable hours were spent on each item, subitem, and the entire project.
  • Use monday.com attributes like item title, group, board, name, workspace, or person to analyze your team’s data.

These reports show you the full picture of your tracked hours, helping you understand where your team’s time goes and how to improve your planning and overall management.

Streamlined billing: 7pace simplifies how you account for billable hours with clear data that you can use for your invoices.

Historical data: The app stores historical time data around your team’s performance, budgeting, and planning, providing you with the insights to make informed staffing and management decisions.

Better performance across the board: 7pace Timetracker for monday.com ensures that data is taken directly from your boards, reducing errors and boosting overall productivity and performance. The app helps alleviate the pressure of time-tracking becoming a secondary task in itself.

7pace Timetracker for monday.com uses pay-as-you-go pricing. It offers free seats for up to three users. If you need more users, the paid plans start at $12/month. You can check the full pricing here.

2. Tick

Tick stands out for agencies balancing multiple projects across platforms like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello. Its budget tracking and alerts system ensure that projects stay on financial track. It also offers features like invoicing and detailed reporting to give your team clarity on your numbers. What makes Tick unique is its pricing structure — it’s based on the number of active projects rather than users.

This makes it an economical choice for smaller agencies or those with fluctuating project loads. With plans starting at $19 per month for 10 projects and a free option for a single project, Tick is both accessible and practical.

3. Harvest

Harvest is a veteran in the time-tracking field, known for its simple, intuitive interface. It boasts an impressive integration list of over 100 apps, including Slack, Zapier, and major accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero.

This versatility means it fits smoothly into your existing workflow. The pricing is straightforward: $12 per user per month. For very small teams or solo freelancers, there’s a free plan that accommodates one user and two projects.

4. TimeCamp

TimeCamp goes beyond time-tracking: It offers an all-in-one solution for automating time tracking, detailed reporting, invoicing, and even productivity tracking. It’s also highly integrative, meshing well with platforms like Google Calendar and Jira.

With pricing starting at $5.25 per user per month and a free tier for individuals, it’s an affordable option for agencies of all sizes.

5. Toggl

Toggl’s strength lies in its simplicity and powerful time-tracking features. It integrates with a plethora of platforms and provides functionalities like time tracking, budgeting, and project management.

Toggl’s pricing is competitive, starting at $9 per user per month, and there’s a free plan for up to 5 users.

6. Clockify

Clockify is a game-changer for agencies seeking a cost-effective solution. It’s one of the few apps offering unlimited free time-tracking for unlimited users and projects. If you require advanced features, there are paid plans available, but the free tier is comprehensive. Clockify integrates with a range of platforms, such as Trello and Asana.

7. Productive

Productive is not just a time-tracking software; it’s a holistic agency management system. It encompasses project management, sales, billing, and even profitability analysis. For creative agencies looking to centralize operations, Productive offers a comprehensive solution. With features like resource planning and team collaboration, it optimizes agency workflow. The pricing begins at $12.50 per user per month with a 14-day free trial to get you started.

The 7 best time tracking software for agencies.

Selecting the perfect time-tracking software for your agency 

Selecting the ideal time-tracking software is a pivotal step for your agency. It’s about balancing functionality and user experience, ensuring your team embraces the system rather than viewing it as a chore. Let’s break down what to consider when choosing a time-tracking solution that won’t make more work for your team.

  • Ease of use and adoption: The hallmark of great time-tracking software is its ease of use. Look for solutions with a straightforward interface — one that your team can navigate without a steep learning curve. Software that comes with clear documentation and support eases the adoption process. The goal is to find an app that everyone can use effectively to achieve more accurate tracking and less frustration.
  • Customizability and flexibility: Every agency operates differently, and your time-tracking software should reflect that. Customization is key, allowing you to define projects, tasks, and billing rates to mirror your operations. Flexibility in settings, such as time rounding, ensures the software adapts to your processes, not vice versa.
  • Scalability: As your agency grows, your software should scale with you. Opt for a system that can handle increased users and complexity without a dip in performance. Equally important is the security of your data — robust encryption and regular backups are non-negotiable to safeguard your agency’s information.
  • Pricing and value: Your time-tracking software should be affordable and valuable for your agency. It should offer a fair and transparent pricing model based on the features, users, or projects you need. It should also provide a free trial or a free plan to let you test the software before committing. Make sure the app you choose offers a good return on investment by helping you save time and money, increase your revenue and profitability, and improve your client satisfaction and retention.
  • Integrations and compatibility: Look for an app that’s compatible with the other apps and platforms your agency uses. To streamline your workflow and processes, the software should sync and connect with your project management, communication, accounting, and invoicing apps. It should also be compatible with different devices, browsers, and operating systems so you and your team can access the software anywhere.
  • Reporting and analytics: The time-tracking software should provide reporting and analytics features to help you monitor and measure your time-related data and insights. It should be able to generate and export detailed and customizable reports, such as time entries, timesheets, budgets, invoices, and profitability. It should also provide visual and interactive dashboards, charts, and graphs to help you analyze and understand your data.
  • Invoicing and billing: The app you choose should provide invoicing and billing features to help you charge your clients accurately. It should be able to create and send professional and branded invoices based on your time-tracking data and hourly rates. Some apps can also accept and process online payments, track and manage your expenses, and send reminders and notifications for overdue invoices. The more invoicing and billing features the time-tracking software has, the more it can help you simplify and improve your cash flow and revenue.

Step-by-step guide to agency time tracking

Let’s see how your agency can use 7pace Timetracker for monday.com in no time.

If you’re new to monday.com, click Get Started and follow the prompts to create a free account.

Monday.com homepage with the Get Started button

Existing users can head straight for the monday.com marketplace to download 7pace Timetracker for monday.com.

Click the blue Sign in to install button.

7pace Timetracker for monday.com 'Sign in to install' button

You’ll be redirected to a new page. If you require permission from your organization owner, the install button will be grayed out and read Waiting for authorization. At that point, contact your workspace admin for approval.

Otherwise, you’ll see another prompt to download the app. Click the Install app.

Install app button for 7pace Timetracker for monday.com

After a few seconds, a screen will appear listing app permissions and asking if you want to apply this app to All Workspaces or Specific Workspaces. If you only want to apply the app to one or more specific workspaces, type in their names.

Then, make your selection, and click Install.

Permissions page when you install 7pace Timetracker for monday.com

Next, you’ll see the message Welcome to the app! How would you like to start?

You can either Start with a template or Start with your own workspace.

For this example, we’ll select Start with your own workspace.

'Start with a template' or 'Start with your own workspace' options are shown side by side

Choose a workspace from the drop-down menu and click Add app.

A drop-down menu allows you to choose where to add the 7pace Timetracker for monday.com app

You’ll be redirected to a guide on how to use 7pace Timetracker for monday.com. This guide is also accessible from the left-hand navigation menu.

Guide on how to use the 7pace Timetracker for monday.com

Tasks in this template now have a 7pace Timetracker option for easy time entry. Next, you’ll need to  grant permission for 7pace to access your monday.com data. To do this, click on My Time – 7pace Timetracker under Workspace apps in the left-hand menu. Then click Grant access.

Grant access button on the 'My Time - 7pace Timetracker' page

You may need to Authorize permissions again.

Now when you open a project, you’ll see a 7pace Timetracker tab.

The 7pace Timetracker tab in Monday.com

Click + Add Time to record the time spent on a project. You can also attach a comment. Click Save.

Add time to a project with 7pace Timetracker for monday.com

When you click on All Times – 7pace Timetracker from the navigation menu, you will see logged time per project including comments, dates, and the person who logged the time. You can use the drop-down to see a filtered date range like Today or Last month, or select a custom time frame.

You can also select + Add Time to add missing hours.

Or click the pencil icon that appears when hovering over a project name to edit time entry errors.

The pencil icon appears to edit time entries

Type in the correct Duration. Then, Add a comment to note the reason for the edit, and click Save.

The blue Save button in the lower right corner of the Edit Time section

Now, your entire agency can use the time-tracking features within monday.com. 7pace offers unlimited usage for users, clients, projects, and items.

Simplifying your agency’s time-tracking process

Tracking time doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some of the best practices for simplifying your agency’s process.

Align time-tracking with agency goals

Establishing clear and realistic goals is essential. It ensures your process aligns with your agency’s vision and mission. By setting specific objectives, like allocated time for tasks and projects, and defining how to measure performance, you create a framework that supports your agency’s overall strategy and prevents confusion.

Emphasize the value of time-tracking

Tell your team about the benefits they’ll experience with time tracking. Highlight how it enables the delivery of quality work and facilitates fair client billing. Emphasize that time-tracking isn’t just about oversight, but also about improving productivity, collaboration, and fostering a culture of transparency. When your team and clients understand that time-tracking leads to better project outcomes and client satisfaction, they’ll be less resistant to logging their hours.

Train for effective time-tracking

To ensure your team uses their new software efficiently, invest in comprehensive training. Offer documentation, tutorials, and interactive workshops to build their skills and confidence. Recognize their efforts and address any software-related issues promptly.

This support not only smooths the learning curve but also demonstrates your commitment to making time-tracking an integral part of your agency’s culture.

Create a consistent time-tracking workflow

Inconsistencies in logging work hours can lead to inaccuracies and misunderstandings. By establishing a transparent policy and workflow, you set expectations for frequency, format, and tracking methods.

Clearly define roles and responsibilities to ensure the process runs smoothly. Utilizing software to streamline your time-tracking can further enhance accuracy and efficiency.

Review and monitor data regularly

Your data is only valuable if it’s reviewed and acted upon regularly. Generate customizable reports and use visual dashboards to analyze the data. Regular review allows you to compare your team’s actual performance against company goals and adjust as needed.

Solicit and act on feedback from your team and clients to resolve any issues and refine your process.

Use data to inform your decisions

The ultimate goal of time-tracking is to improve agency performance and profitability. By analyzing the data, you can identify and eliminate inefficiencies, refine your pricing strategies, and better manage resources and project budgets.

Motivated teams deliver quality work, leading to higher client satisfaction and retention. Leverage the insights from time tracking to make informed decisions that drive agency growth.

Pick the best agency time-tracking system today

Effective time-tracking is more than just a nice-to-have for agencies. It drastically improves your performance, profitability, and reputation.

By choosing the right software, you can streamline your time-tracking workflow.

7pace Timetracker for monday.com is a robust time-tracking solution that you can install from the monday.com marketplace. On top of effective ways of time tracking, you get detailed reporting, and performance monitoring capabilities. It supports agencies of all sizes in managing their time effectively and efficiently.

Try it today for free and see how it can support you in running your day-to-day agency operations.

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