The 7 Best Project Cost Management Software for Your Small Business
Don’t be part of the 10% of small-business executives that think project management won’t produce results. Take a look at our top seven recommendations for cost management software.1
Best OverallAdvanced features14-day free trial
Most Budget-FriendlyFree optionsCRM functionality
Best Customer Support24/7 live chat30-day free trial
Best for IntegrationsMost integrated appsFree to $12 options
Most User-FriendlyUser-friendly interfaceOne-on-one training
Cost management plays an integral role in the profitability, efficiency, and success of a business. However, it can be a challenge to accurately forecast and manage project costs. In fact, the Project Management Institute (PMI) reported in 2016 that companies were completing only 53% of projects within their original budget.2 Fortunately, employing a project management program can help companies budget more accurately and stay within that budget.
When searching for a cost management tool, it’s important to consider a variety of aspects, including price, ease of use, and suitability for the type and size of your business.
So which cost management tool is the right fit for your business? Here are our picks for the best cost management software for project management.
Best overall: Hubstaff
This data will give you a glimpse of how your most productive employees spend their time. In addition, with Hubstaff, you can set budget limits based on time or cost. If a project’s budget is nearly at its limit, you’ll be notified so you can make adjustments. And to make sure the project stays on track, you can set weekly limits to prevent your team members from driving up project costs.
Hubstaff’s pricing starts at just $5 per user per month. If you need a more robust package, be prepared to pony up some cash. If you’re still unsure, take advantage of their 14-day free trial.
- Project screenshots
- Payroll capabilities
- Keystroke monitoring
- Second app required for stopwatch
- Basic reporting
Best for cost-conscious businesses: Trigger
One unique feature Trigger provides is the ability to add clients to dashboards. This allows clients to monitor progress on projects and tasks—and such openness can encourage trust between you and your customers.
While Trigger’s free package can cover up to three team members, five projects, and five clients, their Standard package ($11 per user per month) and Premium package ($15 per user per month) can accommodate unlimited team members, projects, and clients.
- Free package option
- Time tracking capability
- Third-party integrations
- Intuitive interface
- Limited customer support
- Complex invoicing
Best customer support: TimeCamp
In addition, users can take advantage of TimeCamp’s automatic time tracking by simply clicking on the start timer function. From those billable hours, team members can monitor their productivity and quickly create professional invoices for clients. TimeCamp also offers its time tracking tool to remote workers and contractors for free. What really sets TimeCamp apart is its quick email responses, knowledge base, online consultations, and 24/7 live chat.
Time Camp has three affordable plans: a free solo plan and two premium plans. And like most cost management software, TimeCamp’s annual billing option offers additional cost savings for businesses.
- Free to $12 per user per month options
- 30-day free trial
- 24/7 live chat
- Third-party integration
- No client time tracking
- One-user free package
Best for third-party integrations: Harvest
Harvest also seamlessly integrates with third-party apps, including QuickBooks, Slack, Basecamp, Xero, Trello, and Zapier—to name a few.
The free Harvest package is built for one person and one project. If you need two or more users and room for unlimited projects, choose the Team option ($12 per user per month).
- Integration with more than 100 apps
- Well-designed user interface
- Competitive pricing
- Advanced features
- Unscalable design
- Limited invoicing and reports
- No items or inventory
Most user-friendly: Easy Projects
Some key features include interactive Gantt charts, resource management, visual reporting, task scheduling, app integration, and more. And you can gain unparalleled visibility on project progress by seeing the completion percentage of tasks.
Easy Projects offers two packages: Pro ($24 per user per month) and Enterprise (custom quote).
- Key features for larger sales teams
- User-friendly interface
- One-on-one training
- Sluggish operation
- No free option
- No cloud storage integration
Best for start-ups: Avaza
While Avaza provides an integrated suite of functionality for running your business, it’s particularly useful for task management. Whether you prefer Gantt charts, Kanban boards, or list views, Azava lets you choose the task layout that works best for you.
Plus, team members can track the progress of projects and forecast the time and budget remaining. If you are using other task management tools to juggle your projects, keep in mind that Avaza is designed to work well with email and calendar applications.
To cater to different business needs, Avaza offers four packages. If you’re not ready to dive into a more expensive product, start small and scale up.
- 24/7 customer support
- Free version
- Automatic backups
- No real-time updates
- Weak user interface
- Minimal features
Best for larger sales teams: Genius Projects
As a feature-rich project management solution, Genius Projects delivers everything from budgeting and project management to Gantt charts and resource management.
As an added bonus, Genius Projects offers a software development kit that allows your IT team to create custom features. Although it offers an array of features, its complicated interface may take some time to master.
Unfortunately, there is no available price overview on their website. To get a price, you must enter your contact information and wait for them to get in touch with you.
- Large-business functionality
- Advanced features
- Difficult-to-navigate design
- Poor customer service
Microsoft Project review
Microsoft Project makes cost project management look easy. It offers built-in, customizable templates to reduce training time and simplify processes.
Toggl is a simple yet powerful time tracking tool that provides real-time insights on project and employee profitability.
As Monitor’s flagship product, mpower is a scalable cost and project management software designed for engineering, construction, and maintenance and operations industries. The software covers everything from budgeting and planning to time writing and billing.
aPriori software provides enterprise-level cost management solutions for businesses in the manufacturing industry. It performs real-time cost analysis throughout the product life cycle, from the design stage all the way through production.
Types of project management
There are several sophisticated project management methods:
As a linear approach to project management, the waterfall method starts when the project manager determines the requirements for a project. Each stage is reviewed and approved before the next stage can begin.
Agile methodology is a team-based approach that emphasizes scope flexibility, continuous improvement, customer input, and delivering quality work. In short, the agile method presents full project versions that can be tweaked.
Six Sigma focuses on understanding exact requirements to eliminate errors and reduce costs. This method is ideal for projects you can measure.
This technique includes whiteboards and sticky notes to show which projects are in queue, in progress, and recently completed.
What types of businesses would benefit best from using a cost management program?
A cost management program at the project level makes the most sense for project-based companies like construction companies or marketing firms. However, all companies can benefit from properly tracking costs and productivity through a solid cost management program.
Who should have access to your cost management software?
A project manager should be in charge of routinely monitoring a project’s cost performance. Cost management software can make it easier for them to plan and control a project’s budget, which can increase a business’s bottom line.
How do I choose a cost management software?
When choosing a cost management software, it’s important to weigh certain factors, including the number of users, projects, clients, etc. Ultimately, the best cost management software is what makes most sense for the project, team, and client. Learn what features valuable project cost management tools should offer on Business.org.
Overall, the powerful Hubstaff project cost management software is the best choice for most small businesses. But depending on your business’s needs, one of our other favorites may be most useful for you.
Do you have a different cost management software that works best for you? Let us know in the comments.
1. McKinsey & Company, “Building organizational capabilities: McKinsey Global Survey results”
2. PMI, “The High Cost of Low Performance”