How to Automate Expense Tracking: The 5 Best Apps

 

expense tracker

It’s the end of the month and you’re running short on money to pay your team of freelancers and consultants. You’ve already spent hours manually making, reviewing, sending and approving your employees’ payroll and time sheets. You thought you had tracked the allocated budget carefully through your Excel spreadsheet, but you just discovered you made an error.

The last thing you want to do is manually go through everything…AGAIN. Now what?

Enter expense trackers. Using an expense tracker will automatically calculate all of the money and budget for your team. Want an easy way to catalog expenses such as invoices and recurring charges? Need to determine if your team is staying on budget or if your budget needs to be adjusted? Want a simple way to see if your team is profiting or not?

Want a simple way to see if your team is profiting or not? Click To Tweet

Financial advice from the experts

Financial influencer J. Money of BudgetsAreSexy.com, recommends to track your worth to get ahead. “It only takes a matter of minutes, and it’s the one thing you can do right now to give yourself a clearer snapshot of your finances,” said J. Money. “As a bonus, it’ll also give you a surge of confidence knowing where all your money is and naturally help you make smarter decisions throughout the days as well — full well knowing it’ll be reflected in the next month’s update.”

Another great piece of financial management advice is from Rachel Cruze, known for her financial literacy expertise like her father Dave Ramsey, advises, “A budget helps you to enjoy your money more because you know you are in control of your spending. Figure out how much income you have to work with, and list every expense you have. Assign every income dollar an outgo name. This is called a zero-based budget, and it works.”

A budget helps you to enjoy your money more because you know you are in control of your spending. Click To Tweet

How to keep track of your finances

Monitoring your billable work hours and tracking your expenses consistently has never been so easy with the variety of simple and free budgeting tools available these days, from basic spending apps to fully-featured expense tracker software such as Hubstaff, that helps you quickly get things right.

That means you track the time, invoice and pay all within one system which puts time and expense tracking at the center and kills the rest of the admin work. This is all based on work done and it’s a more efficient and effective way to manage freelancers and remote workers and, overall, stay on budget.

Whether you’re reviewing your finances regularly as financial expert Kyle Taylor of The Penny Hoarder suggests, or the only thing on your mind is reviewing which shoes you’ll buy this week like Carrie Bradshaw, here’s a list of top features to look out for when selecting the right expense tracker to get your time, money and invoices on the right course.

Time tracker

The first step toward getting your expenses in order is getting some insight into your time and expense habits. Bily Xiao, engineer-turned-advisor and founder of WealthMobius.com, a financial services consultancy for young families and professionals, says, “Too many adults do not have an accurate view of their income and expenses. But if you measure it, you can improve it. So start tracking, take stock of how much you’re saving, identify low-hanging fruit of expenses you can cut, and start setting some incremental goals to increase your saving.”

Too many adults do not have an accurate view of their income and expenses. Click To Tweet

As Xiao recommends, to get an accurate view of your expenses you must track your budget and expenses and take note of where money is being spent. Additionally, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists, who have helped over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, documentary and podcast mention, “Most of us have no idea where our money is going. We think we know, but we don’t really know…the first step toward financial freedom is establishing a written monthly budget. Note the three key words here: written, monthly, and budget.”

The first step toward financial freedom is establishing a written monthly budget. Click To Tweet

 

Enter time tracker apps

Accurate budget and expense tracking starts with accurate time tracking. Since time is money, employers and freelancers need an expense management software including time tracking to monitor the number of billable work hours, see where these hours are being spent on particular projects and/or clients, and keep work hours and budgets under control.

The time tracker runs in the background of your desktop or mobile app tracking your time, while you stay focused on your work. You can easily switch between projects, tasks and clients with just a few clicks.

expense tracker

Advanced time tracking capabilities include optional screen capture, activity level tracking, time sheets and invoicing, and even GPS location monitoring, and are very much designed to easily help your team of freelancers and clients with their business needs. Features such as screenshot captures and GPS location monitoring, which are controlled by each participating individual, can be extremely useful in measuring and sharing activity levels with clients as well as keeping track of billable work hours while driving to a client meeting.

Manually keeping track of time worked is not only time consuming and difficult, but often results in time and money wasted. Finding out at the end of the month that your manually created and reviewed time sheets are incorrect and also, not in line with your budget is aggravating and leaves you and your team lacking confidence in your work hours tracked and billing practices.

Save time and money by automating your payroll and invoice software. By doing so, you can view your team’s activity online including recent work and productivity levels for a particular period at a single glance. You can even see when your users last worked, and who’s online now.

“Hubstaff has saved me countless hours as a manager by eliminating the need for manual time sheets. They say don’t work harder, work smarter – with Hubstaff we can work harder and work smarter!” — Peter Ng, President of Kore Real Estate Team

Automatic invoice generator

Manually keeping track of time worked is hard enough — you shouldn’t have to manually invoice your employees and clients as well. A good expense tracker not only has time tracking capabilities but also an automatic invoice generator offering.

expense tracker

Once time is tracked, then an invoice generator can easily create invoices and automatically generate invoice line items, including project numbers and due dates, and send them directly to your employees and clients. You can also add arbitrary line items, taxes, and even discounts.

How to use time data

With accurate time data you can send invoices based on project, person, and date. You decide how to build your invoices template and automatically create it based on your criteria. A smart, simple invoice generator allows you to set billable and payable rates so you can keep track of the amount you need to bill, as well as the expense of each project and person.

No more calculators, rate adjustments and scrambling to get team members to update their time details to generate client invoices. Create “no questions asked” invoices that give your clients the whole story including project activity details and time spent, and do it automatically based on time tracked. Say “goodbye” to the days of forgetting who you paid and who you need to pay, and no more losing invoices and struggling to track them.

It’s also important for your expense tracker to easily integrate with useful business and financial management offerings like QuickBooks, PayPal and Xero to save time handling tax and invoicing practices. These essential financial tool integrations will help you figure out how much money you have, how much you will spend, and how much revenue you will need to meet your business goals.

Send invoices with an expense tracker

Accurately paying your team and getting paid by clients is critical. A good expense tracker records time and activities against projects so that no detail gets lost in the fray. When you generate an invoice, all activities, tracked time, including taxes and other financial details, get calculated with your billable rates so that invoice creation is as easy as pushing a button. Next, sharing and sending these generated invoices to freelancer and clients should also be seamless.

Another must-have feature of a good expense tracker is the ability to easily send invoices and share invoices in multiple formats including HTML, PDF or by email. Once the invoice is sent, you can see when an employee or client has viewed the invoice. Additionally, you can both download the invoice directly. When sending invoices, you should be able to set up unlimited clients within your expense management software. You should also be able to create various invoices with project numbers for accurate tracking and reporting.

Automated payroll system for small business

Simple, exact, and on time

Record payments with an expense tracker

The last essential feature of a great expense tracker is the ability to record payments. Trying to keep track of outstanding balances is a pain. However, an expense tracker with invoicing software eliminates the fear of losing track of outstanding balances.

Invoicing software lets you record payments so you know which clients have paid you and which haven’t. You can easily see all the invoices paid, due soon and overdue.

Once the invoice has been paid, you can record a full or partial payment against it for accounting records. When an invoice is fully paid, it’s automatically closed so you can focus on the ones that are still open.

Expense tracking including time tracking, invoice generating and sending, and payment recording features will positively change your budget and expense management practices by night and day and will allow you to do more things that matter to your business and team. These features will also increase credibility and transparency between your team and clients.

Here’s our top five expense tracker picks to help you get your time, money and invoices on the right course:

Dollarbird

expense tracker

Dollarbird is a collaborative calendar-based expense tracker for individuals and groups. Track and forecast your money as easily as adding events to a calendar, making it easy to make sense of your financial situation, plan ahead and manage your money. If you are a visual planner and love scheduling, this tracker is perfect for you!

  • Price: Free and paid options starting at $4.99 per month
  • Available on: iOS and Android
    • Features:
    • A simple calendar-based interface where you can add, keep track and visualize your transactions
    • Automatic balance calculation for each day or month and a transparent breakdown of your past and planned transactions
    • Option to collaborate with your partner, family or friends to manage your finances and stay up to date on common money matters
    • Your data stored in the cloud, available on all your devices regardless of the platform you’re on

Hubstaff

expense tracker

If you’re looking for a full-featured expense and time tracker, Hubstaff is your go-to solution. Hubstaff helps you quickly get your finances right with its an all-in-one time tracking, invoicing and payroll features, putting time and expense tracking at the center and killing the rest of the tedious admin work.

  • Price: Free and paid options starting at $5 per month
  • Available on: iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome and Linux
  • Features:
    • 30+ integrations including project management, accounting, CRM, helpdesk and scheduling integrations
    • Time tracking
    • Screenshots
    • Internet and app monitoring
    • Online time sheets
    • Automatic payroll
    • GPS and locations
    • Advanced reporting

Wally

expense tracker

Wally is a intuitive personal finance app that helps you compare your income to your expenses, understand where your money goes, and set and achieve goals. The money management app lets you seamlessly keep track of the details as you spend money: where, when, what, why and how much.

  • Price: Free
  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Features:
    • Balance your income and expenses
    • Understand where your money goes
    • Easily track a daily budget
    • Scan receipts
    • High-speed with location services
    • Smart notifications

Fudget

expense tracker

Looking for a simple, no frills expense tracker to get the job done? Fudget is a simple and fast alternative to feature-rich, complex budget planner and personal finance apps. There are no categories to manage, no charts to interpret and no learning curve — simply add in your expenses and budget.

  • Price: Free and paid options starting at $4.99
  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Features:
    • Create simple lists of incomings & expenses – keep track of the balance
    • One-tap adding and editing
    • Star an income/expense to repeat it on future budgets
    • Use monthly, weekly or however you like
    • Choice of currency and symbols
    • Universal app – install on any device

Mint

expense tracker

Mint helps you effortlessly manage your finances in one place. Users can create budgets with numerous spending categories and receive warnings with brightly colored graphics when they are nearing the edge of their money.

  • Price: Free
  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Features:
    • Credit score access
    • See bills and money in one place
    • Get alerts and schedule payments on the spot
    • Say goodbye to late fees
    • Stop logging into multiple sites
    • Deliver payments fast

Tracking your expenses will help your team and business to stay on budget and work towards a profitable future – no more going over budgets, no more simple mistakes and no more bad data. Eliminate the hurdles and minimize your time spent on expenses and budgets. Get it right the first time, remove human error, and easily keep track of everything for your team’s records.

So what are you waiting for? Get your free expense tracker now.