Freelance Time Tracking

Since there are probably a few people here who have faced this problem, I may be able to get an answer.

I am going to do freelance editing and proofreading. I will be working on projects for people in countries with different currencies and charging different rates. I want to bill in those currencies (no conversion), so the app has to be able to create invoices based on the billing rates in the appropriate currency.

Any idea what app might do this? I’ve been using Time Master to track one currency, but it doesn’t seem like it will handle the multiple rates and currencies without conversion.

Thanks for your ideas.


I gave up trying to find a Mac app for time-tracking and invoicing many years ago. The sophisticated apps are built for companies, not freelancers. So I reluctantly moved to an online service, FreshBooks.

It was easy enough to learn, and development seems to be continuing along. The help is good, and customer support is excellent.

The downsides are those of any web-based software and subscription, but the trade off was worth it. The only slightly annoying thing is the need to have a web browser window open for the live time-tracking feature. Because I make web sites, it’s one more browser window to clutter up my workspace.

I recommend FreshBooks, but you should definitely look through the details and if it looks possible, start a trial. I tested a few services before settling on FreshBooks.

Thanks so much for that tip. I’ll have a look at it.

I agree that there’s not much out there for the individual, and it seems like the apps for teams are far too cluttered. There have got to be a lot of people doing what we’re doing, so it seems like a good niche for a developer to jump into.

Zoho Invoice can do this:

And it is free:

Thanks for this.

My problem is that I am a 1-man operation doing part-time work at this. Most of the apps are geared toward teams, project management, etc. I need something that will track the time I spend on several individual jobs for multiple clients in multiple (2 for now) countries who want to be billed in their own currency and are paying into accounts in those countries.

Maybe I can use Time Master to track the work and then manually enter it onto something like Zoho. I may have to change my mindset and do a lot of the work myself. I’ll have a closer look at Zoho.

For time tracking and hourly billing after the fact, I like Harvest. Works great for one person.

Freshbooks and some of its peers (like Harpoon) are typically focused on bookkeeping things too, which can be a lot if all you need is good time tracking.

I’ve used Harvest for a long time and it has been great. Not sure if it handles currencies as was detailed in original post.

+1 for Zoho. I used it for years as a freelancer. I did, however, use a secondary app to track time, and only entered the final result into Zoho for invoicing.

Zoho, Harvest, and FreshBooks were all ones I looked at when I had to stop using Billings from Marketcircle. I know FreshBooks can do multiple currencies as well. They’re all worth investigating.

For years I did my invoicing “by hand”. I tracked time and then used a spreadsheet for managing the data. Invoices were made in Word (or Illustrator, before that). It’s definitely possible to do, and for part-time work it might be the only realistic option.

I finally stopped doing this when I realized that I was billing clients late and that it was taking too much time. I then used a wonderful Mac app called Billings. The developer finally killed it after many years to focus on its CRM tool, Daylite.

With Billings gone, I realized that switching to a service was my only option, and at least with that I gave my clients the ability to pay online.

IIRC (and maybe I don’t), Harvest lets you bill in multiple currencies, but won’t convert to your primary currency after. Which is probably for the best.

I use Harvest for this. I bill in Canadian and US dollars, depending on where the client is. It’s hooked up to my Stripe account, and if the client pays in USD it gets deposited into my USD bank account, and CAD goes to my CAD bank account, avoiding extra money-losing currency conversions.

The two slight annoyances I have are:

  • Most reporting seems to be per-currency, so it’s hard to get a unified picture of how much money is coming in.
  • The current version of the Mac app doesn’t show a cursor in the description field when it’s focused, (but it works if you just type).

Harvest is a subscription, but for me manually creating about 1.5 invoices “costs” more than the yearly subscription in billable time. Once I realized this it was an easy choice to pay.

I use Zoho products for other stuff, I haven’t tried Zoho Invoice, but based on my experience with the rest of Zoho, I would expect it to work.

I haven’t used Freshbooks product, but if I ever start doing “real” accounting for my freelance work and need something like Freshbooks anyway there’s a good chance I would simply switch to their time tracker.

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Thanks for all the ideas. I’ve got until September to make a decision, so I’ll do a lot of evaluating in August.

Ditto on Harvest. I used it in the past and loved it. Since I’m only doing about 2-3 freelance work a year, I switched to Timery and manual invoicing to save on cost.

High-five on using Illustrator for invoice in the past. I never thought I’ve encountered another one like me :rofl:

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There is also Fanurio, which I have been using for many years because it handles different currencies. It has what they call an annual maintenance fee, but I haven’t paid it for several years because there are so few updates. Still, it might be worth looking at.

Thanks. That looks interesting. I’ll put that on my list.