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New Features posts:

Better Expense Exports

We have some news today about our old friend, the PDF expense export. And when I say old, I mean those report exports were due for a little freshening up.

A lot of our customers export PDF files of their expense reports. Those PDF exports include, in addition to tracked data, receipt images, which are handy to send to curious clients, or are just nice to keep around for your own records.

We did some research, and realized our PDF exports might have been too bare bones—just receipts with expense info listed beside them.

So, we made some small but nice changes. PDF exports of expense reports now include a useful summary page. That page displays the details of your report filters, the report’s total amount, and a list of the expenses included in it.

A beautiful expense report

We also made some changes to the layout of your receipts and expense data, so they should look more handsome on the page.

We think these changes will be pretty useful for a lot of folks. And a big thanks to all of you who participated in our survey to help make these reports better!

Customize Max Hours Per Day in Forecast

In July, we introduced Harvest Forecast, a whole new way to schedule your team’s time. Since then, hundreds of companies have adopted Forecast as their tool of choice for team planning. While this has been an exceptional beginning, we’ve been hard at work to make Forecast even better.

Starting today, you can customize the max hours per day for each person. Until now, every person in Forecast is scheduled against a default of eight hours per day. Many customers have asked for this to be flexible to match their needs and we listened. If your entire team schedule around something other than eight hours per day, or if certain individuals on the team have unique availability, you can now accurately reflect that in Forecast. Learn more about how to customize hours per day in our Help Center.

customize max hours per day

This is the first of more updates to come. If you find yourself struggling with unwieldy resource planning spreadsheets or programs, we welcome you to give Forecast a try.

New! Mark Expenses as Billable or Nonbillable

Here at Harvest, we know projects are more than the sum of their hours. Lunch with a client, supplies for a project, tickets to Comic Con? All of this can be tracked in Harvest with our expenses feature.

The trouble is, there’s no way to flag which expenses you’ll pass on to your clients, and which are just internal.

But that’s changing! Today you’ll be able to mark your expenses as billable (invoiceable to your client) or nonbillable.

billable expenses

That billable box will be checked by default, since our Spider-Sense tells us you’ll want to cash in on those expenses. There are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • We’ll pull only billable expenses into invoices.
  • Your projects’ uninvoiced amounts exclude nonbillable expenses.
  • Your expense report exports have changed. When you export expenses to CSV or Excel, you’ll see a new column titled “Billable?”; it’ll indicate your expense’s billable status. We’ve also made a few other edits to the expense report’s export format to make it consistent with time exports. Here’s a sample expense export so you can know what to expect.

Now if we could only figure out how Spidey’s web-shooters work, we could cut out those travel expenses…

Feature Update, October 31, 2014

We heard your feedback, and recently updated this feature to allow for more flexibility with default settings and billable status.

If a project is set up as non-billable, its expenses will default to non-billable. If a project is set up as billable, its expenses default to billable. We hope this makes this feature even more easy to use!

Harvest Projects and Browser Compatibility

When we began working on our new Harvest Projects section, we had one vision: a unified place in Harvest where you could edit, manage, and report on your projects. We’re putting the final touches on Projects now, and can’t wait to share the results with you. But there’s an important thing to keep in mind.

Harvest Projects comes with many new, useful features. In order for them to work properly, we’re using new technology that’s available only on modern web browsers. That means the new Harvest Projects section will not support Internet Explorer 8 or 9.

This change won’t affect the majority of our Harvest accounts. However, 2% of our customers use these older versions of IE. If that’s one of you, we strongly recommend that you switch to Google Chrome or Firefox, or upgrade to a newer version of IE.

Curious what an upgrade will get you? Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store for our new Harvest Projects:

projects-sneak

We’ll be on hand to help with this transition, and there’ll be ample time to upgrade to our new Projects section. If you have any questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at support@harvestapp.com!

Introducing Harvest Forecast

For the past year, a small team within Harvest has been working behind-the-scenes on a brand new project.

Today, after 5,443 hours of research, design, prototypes, more research, rewrites, polishes and betas, we’re excited to unveil our newest product: Harvest Forecast.

Forecast-Team-View-800

Thinking About the Future

For the past eight years, Harvest has refined how businesses track, analyze, and get paid for their time.

As our customers have grown their businesses, we recognized that Harvest was only part of the solution. Tracking time in the present and past was easy, but there was no answer for the future. Coordinating team assignments and schedules proved to be challenging. You might ask questions like:

  • Do we have enough capacity to take on a new client in two weeks?
  • What are the important milestones and deadlines on our projects this week?
  • Should we hire another person to meet the upcoming project demands?
  • How can we share this plan with the team?

Traditionally, businesses call this kind of scheduling “resource planning.” We like to think of it simply as team time planning.

Many businesses build spreadsheets to try to manage this planning. What we’ve heard from our customers, however, is that spreadsheets just don’t cut it. They’re unwieldy, difficult to maintain, and hard to share.

A New Way to Plan Your Team’s Time

Here at Harvest, we started to imagine what a truly modern solution to the problem could look like. Time was already our primary focus, and we knew that there could be a simpler answer.

We put together a small team of developers and designers with three key concepts in mind:

  • Be Visual – Scheduling projects and people is easier when done as a simple, visual experience.
  • Be Fluid – Accept the reality that schedules and priorities frequently change. Make the information easy to update and maintain so that it can accurately reflect reality.
  • Be Transparent – Plans work best when everyone knows where their time should go. The easier they are to share, the more informed and productive everyone becomes.

Around these simple concepts, Forecast was born. It’s a simple, visual way for you and your team to collaborate on who is working on what and when. It’s a solution designed precisely for the challenge.

Just the Beginning

While Forecast is beautifully simple to use on its own, we’re most excited about the possibilities for people who use Forecast in tandem with Harvest. Harvest tells you how your team spent time; Forecast anticipates where your team will spend time.

At launch, we’re starting simple. Harvest customers can easily bring all of their clients, projects, and people right into Forecast and start scheduling.

In the coming months, we have big plans to bridge the future and the past. One of our primary goals is to surface estimates vs actuals so that business owners and project managers can have previously unavailable insight into how they run their projects.

We’re excited to announce Forecast’s launch today not only because it’s the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and thought, but because we believe it can make managing your business easier. Check out what a few of our beta customers had to say here.

If you or someone you know finds scheduling people on projects challenging, we invite you to give Harvest Forecast a try today!

Pricing Update (8/15)

After listening to input from many of you, and after deep consideration on our part, we’ve decided it’s best to price by person rather than by projects. You can learn about our new pricing here.

This past month has been an amazing ride, and we’ve heard a lot of great feedback and feature requests, many of which were already on our roadmap. We’re looking forward to sharing these updates with you in the coming months.

Faster Estimate Approval and Payment with Gmail Actions

In May we made it easier for your team to view timesheets straight from Gmail with the initial release of Gmail Actions for Harvest. Now, we’re streamlining the approvals and payments process for clients to help you get paid faster. The latest Gmail Actions allow clients to view estimates and invoices with one click right from the corresponding email’s subject line. With fewer hurdles, clients have fewer reasons to delay. You’ll have more time to get work done instead of hunting down approvals and payments.

Gmail Actions for Harvest Estimates and Invoices

We’ve also added Gmail Actions for report downloads from Harvest. When reports get emailed to you, a button appears in the subject line to open them faster. Simply click Export > Google Drive from a report like the Detailed Time Report, and you’ll have one click access from your inbox to view the report in Drive.

If you or your clients are already using Gmail, these buttons appear automatically on emails from Harvest without any setup. Feel free to send us any feedback or get in touch with our support team if you are having any trouble!

Say Hello to Getting Paid on the Fly

Everyone likes getting paid, and Harvest has a few features to help that happen fast—web invoices and online payments, to name a few.

Usually invoice payments through Harvest work great—if your client is on a computer. But what about your on-the-go clients who use their phone for more than Candy Crush? Ten percent of Harvest’s web invoice traffic comes from mobile—that means a lot of clients viewing a lot of invoices on their phones.

Previously that could be troublesome. Invoices didn’t look their best and, more importantly, you couldn’t pay them from your phone.

Today that’s changed. Say hello to Harvest’s mobile-friendly web invoices, featuring a brand-new, clean design.

Mobile web invoice

Even better, your clients can now pay their invoices straight from their phone. Just set up a payment gateway like Stripe or PayPal. Then your client simply taps the payment button to put money in your pocket.

Mobile web invoice payment

You and your clients are on the move—and now, so are your payments!

Introducing Harvest Projects

We used to have an official slogan here at Harvest: “Time is money, track it wisely.”

We no longer use that slogan, but I still love it—because it’s true. We understand that your time is your product, and we built Harvest to help you keep track of that time and get paid for it.

But that’s just the basics. You hire more people, take on more projects, and your business grows and becomes more complex. Revenue is just one part of the puzzle. You need more data and more intelligence to make better decisions. You might ask yourself: What are our most profitable projects? Who are my best clients? How’s the team doing, and should we hire for our upcoming jobs?

Over the coming months, we’re making several significant upgrades to Harvest to help you answer just these kinds of questions.

Early Access: Harvest Projects

We’ve been hard at work on a new section: Projects.

Our goal with this section is to make better sense of all the data you put into Harvest. You’ll have a better grasp of budget, profit, costs, and trend.

We still have a ways to go, at least a few months till completion. But instead of a waiting for a big splashy launch of a fully completed section, we’re trying something unprecedented for us: we’re opening our new Projects section for early access. You can start taking advantage of our new features as soon as they’re ready.

First New Feature: Tracking Project Costs

Harvest is great at figuring out each project’s billable amount—the key piece of data that you need to get paid and that you use to measure against your budget. To get your project’s full picture, however, you need the flip side of that equation: the project’s costs. What does your project cost you as a business?

Our first new early-access feature allows you to keep track of project costs. Here’s how it will work:

  • Under Manage > People, you’ll be able to enter a cost rate for each person.
  • In the new Projects section, each project will display the project’s total cost, as well as costs broken down by team and by task.
  • All exported reports will have two additional columns—cost rate and cost amount—so you can quickly and easily access this data for your records.

A New Beginning

Over the past seven years, Harvest has steadily grown with you, our customers. When I look at the past—and I literally did that by going back forty-something pages on this very blog—I can see a very clear arc of progression based on customer feedback. We’re listening, and because of you, we’re improving. Our new Projects section is a significant leap forward for Harvest, and we believe it will help you to gain new and different insight into your business.

Sign up for early access today, and you can start using our new features next week.

As always, thank you for your support! We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this new chapter for us here at Harvest.

Update (March 24th, 2014): thanks to everyone who expressed interest in the new Projects section! We received over a thousand sign-ups within the first three days, and we are slowly letting customers in for early access. We are currently working on a crucial feature for the new section. Once it’s ready (we hope by next week), we will invite more early access customers in.

A New Design for Harvest Expenses

Before starting Harvest, Danny and I ran a small web design studio. As contractors for some of our clients, we had to submit weekly time and expense forms—gotta get reimbursed for gas and all the ham sandwiches we ate! When we launched Harvest in 2006, we didn’t include expense tracking in our initial version, but soon added it a few months later.

Time flies: Harvest Expenses officially turned six years old on January 7th this year.

We’re excited to start 2014 with our shiny new Harvest Expenses (the third incarnation, if you’re keeping track). In this first round of updates, we focused on overhauling the front-end code, with a few selected changes in the back-end that will allow us to bring new features to Harvest Expenses later this year.

New Harvest Expenses

Ledger-Style View

We’re dropping the current weekly expenses view in favor of a ledger-style display. In the soon-to-be-retired version, we show expenses one week at a time, which makes it unnecessarily difficult to review or to enter past expenses (you have to click multiple times to get to the right week).

The new expenses view shows a hundred most recent expenses on the initial load, likely to cover the past few months’ worth of entries for review. To enter a new expense, there’s a handy date selector—so you can say goodbye to that multiple-click navigation. To make that change we had to alter the entire structure of our expenses’ display—which turned out to be a lot harder than it sounds!

Other UI Goodies

Some other smaller improvements we’ve made:

  • The overall look and feel is now consistent with Timesheets.
  • The project and category dropdowns are now searchable, using our beloved Chosen library.
  • If you’re using a modern browser, you can drag and drop receipts into the expense form.

All of us here at Harvest use our expenses feature to track everything that needs to be reimbursed. We’re excited about these latest updates and hope you find them as useful as we do. Thanks for your continued support, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Update (March 4th, 2014): We just added Weekly Totals to the interface. Thank you for all the feedback, and we hope to bring more improvements to Harvest Expenses later this year!

Harvest for Android 1.5.1: Better Performance, Team Status, and More!

Recently we released a long awaited update to Harvest for Android. In previous versions, there were reports by some users experiencing issues with syncing, sluggishness, and even crashing. We did a serious overhaul of the codebase to fix these issues and to make further enhancements much easier to implement. The result is a more reliable app with vastly improved performance and usability.

  • Optimized Timesheet — Now you can jump to today’s date from any day of the week in the timesheet. Behind the scenes, logged time updates to Harvest more efficiently than before.
  • Team Status — Administrators can stay in sync with their team by viewing their team’s timers in real-time from the app.
  • Refer a Friend — The next time you mention Harvest at a cocktail party, you can share a unique link with partygoers and earn credit ($) towards your next month’s bill.

android-time-tracker

This build should feel more solid than ever before, and we invite you to give it a try! And as always, we’re listening — don’t hesitate to leave us feedback in a review on the Google Play store.