Best Harvest Alternatives for Digital Agencies

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 29/05/2022
harvest alternatives

We want to offer Harvest alternatives to digital agencies that are looking for reliable time tracking software. While we recognise it is a valuable tool to some companies, most agencies are adopting it over word-of-mouth, without considering if it’s a suitable solution for their business model. 




If you’ve been researching time tracking solutions for your digital agency, you’ve most likely come across Harvest. It’s a rather popular solution, praised for its simplicity and user-friendly interface. However, it can also be seen as its main shortcoming.

Very often we as humans are bound to go after things the people we trust deem to be useful - and this is one of the tools many seem to swear by. On the other hand, it must always be remembered that things, tools or strategies that worked for some, may not be the best approach for others. If you are considering getting Harvest for your organisation due to heaps of feedback from either your peers or the online community, we suggest you hold the fire. Give this article a read - chances are some of the Harvest alternatives will resonate with your needs better. 

Why Harvest Isn’t the Best for Digital Agencies

While Harvest is a great tool for freelancers, especially its free version, digital agencies don’t benefit from it as much as they’re charged. Compared to other similar solutions on the market, Harvest is actually pretty limited in its functionality and not as intuitive as other tools. Yet it is actually within the higher price range.

Many digital agencies still use Harvest nonetheless, mostly because it’s specialist software for businesses that use multiple time retainers across their projects. However, if that’s not the primary function you’re pursuing, the solutions on the list below will likely cater to your needs better.

1. Timesheet Portal

Timesheet Portal is not just a time tracking software - it’s a multi-purpose tool that offers pay and bill features, contractor and full-time employee onboarding platform, document management, expense claims module and many more. Online timesheets are at the core of other operations you can through our system, and ultimately you can build and customise Timesheet Portal to be what you want it to be. In fact, it offers as much flexibility as changing the names of the items on the navigation bar so they are more in synch with your company’s terminology.

Not only is it more powerful than Harvest, but is also very automation orientated, seeking to minimise manual tasks such as data insertion. Timesheet Portal integrates with most of the most popular accounting software, enabling easy data transfer across seamless links, creating an end-to-end experience for the users. Additionally, a flexible pay model leaves companies paying solely for the features they use as opposed to roping them into expensive packages with a lot of functionality that is never engaged. The user can easily upgrade or downgrade the software in the settings as this tool is designed to adapt to the user’s needs as opposed to making the user adapt to its functionality. 

2. Wrike

Unlike Harvest, Wrike is actually a project management software rather than a time tracking solution. It offers a much wider functionality, and more pricing options and is, frankly, more budget-friendly. While Harvest charges 12$ a month for every user, Wrike’s Professional package has a price was 9.8$ per user, including features such as a  collaboration platform, 2 GB of personal storage, Gantt charts and interactive dashboards. Harvest, on the other hand, only enables an average user to track their time.

Wrike can also become highly customisable alas the price will grow along. What is curious is that additional security measures, such as Single Sign-On (SSO), two-factor authentication (2FA), password policies and account roles only become available in the Enterprise package. In other words, your data isn’t likely to be as secure on a lesser monthly payment. Depending on your business and how you intend to use the software, this could be a deal breaker. For example, if you intend to use Wrike for internal project progress tracking only - it will suffice. If you are interested in converting your timesheets into billable invoices you then distribute them to your clients, on the other hand, Wrike may not be the most budget-efficient solution. 

3. Hours

While Harvest offers a free plan, it only caters to a sole user and the limitation of one project. This is a great solution for a freelancer, but small agencies with limited funds are not to benefit from it. For startups with limited budgets, Hours would be a much better and more sophisticated functionality-wise time tracking platform. To put it simply, the solution is free yet it offers real-time tracking, smart reporting and invoicing features.

On the other hand, this is not a forever software. Since there are no available integrations, Hours should only be treated as a stepping stone that will assist you in growing enough to afford a paid solution. Otherwise, as you scale, you will find it limiting and therefore potentially preventing you from growing further. Similarly to Wrike, though, it can still make a great tool for internal time tracking for its highly visual. As the agency grows, however, it would no longer be sufficient to accommodate client work. 

4. DeskTime

What we like about DeskTime is already hinted at in its name. Not only does it track time spent working on projects, but also measures productivity and is aimed at improving your team’s wellbeing by helping you stay on the lookout for burnout prevention. It’s also a powerful tool for team management purposes, such as scheduling and absence registering. While it’s one of the newer players on the block, it's well adjusted to support a hybrid workplace approach.

The key reservation we have about DeskTime is that it can be perceived as intrusive and isn’t exactly accessible for non-office-bound workers. Similarly to Harvest, it will be tied to the device it’s installed on and the automatic time tracker will start the moment the device is started. This can pose issues if the user is switching between the devices. Additionally, it is not clearly explained how the tool differentiates between idle and work time of the employees which can cause some ethical concerns. 

5. ManicTime

This software has a very different approach to time tracking in comparison to the ones we have discussed. Simply put, instead of registering time spent on tasks, it focuses on recording computer usage. ManicTime collects and stores data on what apps and websites the user interacts with, which can greatly benefit productivity analysis. Additionally, it may highlight the need for new, more integrative software if it’s spotted that app swapping is a pattern. Due to the large volumes of data it collects, ManicTime offers very detailed and insightful reports. The tool is also available in 8 languages.

There are two major caveats of this tool - the first one being it has the users to go slightly different implementation routes depending on the operating system they use. The experience will vary, up to functionality differences. Secondly, it’s not the most visually appealing solution. Although this may not seem to be an issue at the first glance, it’s more complicated than simple aesthetics. Due to the large data volumes, ManicTime collects, the reports should be golden - on the other hand, if the end-user struggles to understand the visual representation of them, they won’t be analysed for their true worth.


We are certainly not writing Harvest off as a tool no agency should use. If anything, we too praise the compact simplicity it offers and how much of a convenient solution for the retainer-based projects it is. However, we disagree with it being the best time tracking solution for digital agencies. Both industries and sectors the agencies run it are diverse, therefore it would be foolish to expect there’s one solution that fits all.

In this article, we’ve tried to introduce you to a diverse range of time and productivity recording software, alas it's a tiny fragment of a densely saturated market. To find the solution to fully meet your needs and expectations, we always recommend either giving its free version a shot or getting in touch with the vendor to request a demonstration focused on the specific goals you’re trying to achieve. Most importantly - don’t rush with your decision and always prioritise the solution that will be able to grow alongside your business.

For example, Timesheet Portal. Interested? - Book a demo today.

Free trial

See for yourself how you can save time and money. Enter your details below for a free 30 day no-obligation trial.
Cyber Essentials logo Cyber Essentials Plus logo

Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.