Review of Harvest (www.GetHarvest.com)
Harvest is primarily an invoicing and billing application with features of time reporting and budgeting. It has the ability to enter time for various tasks and use that as the base for billing clients.
It costs $12 per month for individuals, $40 for up to 5 users and $90 for 10 users, and then more for each additional user. There is a 30 day free trial to try it out.
Getting started with Harvest
It’s very fast to sign up and quite easy to get started. No downloads are required as the application is web based. Actually making sure your organization uses the application is another question. If there is a directive from management that all invoicing to clients and payment of employees is done based on the data in Harvest then your organization would be fairly sure to figure out how to use it quickly.
What are the main features of Harvest?
- Recording time for each client and project
- Invoicing clients
- Tracking expenses for employees and contractors
- Ability to invoice in multiple currencies
- Budgeting for projects
- Export reports into excel or Quickbooks
- Integration with Basecamp
Harvest for Time Tracking
Harvest is like most web based time tracking applications in that it can not give you completely accurate and comprehensive time tracking statistics. Any employee can enter a time block which may not have a relationship with what they were actually working on. In other words the time tracking is based more on the honesty and memory of employees, to try and remember (in other words guess!) the exact time they spent on a task. It would be very easy for any employee to meet management requirements of the amount of time spent on a particular activity for example by simply entering more hours into Harvest.
Although the basic time tracking data is unlikely to be accurate, the way the data is displayed and reported is easy to understand. The time reporting is fairly comprehensive so that you can see time allocation across clients and projects. You can also separate billable from non-billable time. These features are really all focused around Invoicing and billing, and provide you the ability to invoice clients effectively.
Harvest for Time Management
Despite the fact that time is not likely to be tracked accurately, there is some small value in seeing a person’s reported time use in Harvest as you can allocate time more effectively to high earning projects and clients, and try to minimize non billable time for example. This applies really to organizations that are billing clients.
Of course it’s very easy for employees to simply allocate more time to billable time no matter what the relationship is to the reality of where they were spending their time. So Harvest cannot track what the person is actually working on, which is an essential time management feature it is missing. To track what a person is really working on you need to look at an application like Time Doctor or Rescue Time.
The iphone app is quite simple, you can either manually add time or you can stop and start the timer for a task and enter notes as to what the project was you were working on. You can easily add time for any date. The iphone app doesn’t require an Internet connection which is great.
Comparison of Harvest with their main competitors
Freshbooks is the main competitor for invoicing with over 2 million users. Blinksale and Bill My Clients are a couple of other competitors for invoicing. For project management there are literally hundreds of other competitors such as Basecamp, and for time tracking there are also several other competitors such as Time Doctor and Toggl.
As far as invoicing goes, Freshbooks does have a few advantages. The invoices can be changed to fit your brand more closely with your logo. Freshbooks is also better for generating estimates, and given that they have been focused on the area of invoicing for so many years has more options overall. For example with Freshbooks you can easily offer a discount on the bill of 10% for example. Also Freshbooks has the options of sending invoices via snail mail (for those who have not yet moved to the 21st century!). In terms of integration, Freshbooks integrates with more applications such as Salesforce and Highrise. Harvest is a bit less expensive and some companies prefer it over Freshbooks. Both of them are robust and comprehensive billing applications.
It’s hard to compare Harvest with competitors on the project management side, and if that’s what you are really after, you should probably look at an application specifically designed for project management.
In terms of time tracking there is not too much difference between Harvest, Freshbooks, Basecamp and other primarily web based time tracking applications. They have a fairly simple to use interface and are all reasonably similar (some small differences). Applications that track time in a different way and allow you to verify what the person was actually working on (not just what they report they are working on), are Rescue Time.and Time Doctor.
Summary of the Review on Harvest (www.GetHarvest.com)
The application is very useful for invoicing and tracking time for clients. It’s really focused on this application and so it’s not really a “time management” application even though it can be used to record time. The main competitor is Freshbooks, but both applications have fairly similar features although Freshbooks has some additional features and more integration.