Work management April 19, 2024 13 MIN READ

5 Best Project Budgeting Software For Client Projects

Project budgeting software is necessary for managing costs and ensuring a project is profitable.

In this guide, we’ll compare the best project budgeting software for project managers. These platforms offer expense and time tracking tools, revenue forecasting, and more.

Features to consider when choosing the best project budget management software

The best project budgeting software for you will depend on your project needs, staff size, and workflow. 

But generally, you should consider the following criteria:

  • Proposal/cost estimates: Ability to create detailed project proposals and support for different budget types (e.g., fixed, time and materials, retainer)
  • Project budget tracking and monitoring: Real-time tracking of project budget and expenses
  • Estimate vs actual reporting: Compare initial budget estimates to actual amounts spent/incurred once you complete the project
  • Time tracking: Ability to record staff working hours logged against tasks or projects
  • Labor costs for team members: Assign hourly rates by person, role, or across teams
  • Expense tracking: Monitor and record all project-related expenses against your budget in real-time
  • Invoice management: Create, send, and track payments sent to clients
  • Reporting and analytics: Customizable budget reports and dashboards to drill down into financial details of projects
  • Integrations: Sync with accounting software to streamline your financial data

The 5 best project budgeting software tools

Now, let’s run through our top project budget tracking software below.

1. Scoro

Scoro is the ideal platform for service businesses that are juggling multiple projects, clients, and staff members. Scoro’s project, expense, and time tracking features make it easy to keep your project on track and profitable. 

For example, Scoro’s “Project list” view allows you to track the status of and manage multiple projects at a portfolio level. This lets you easily see a snapshot of all your ongoing projects simultaneously.

For each project, you can quickly see financial metrics like “Income,” “Labor cost” and “Project profit”— with each column listing the actual vs. estimate values. 

Helping you to compare original estimates and quotes with real-time actual costs and revenue. The data columns in this view are also completely customizable. For example, you can add metrics like “Average billable rate,” “Expenses,” and “Delivery margin”

You can click on any individual project from the “Project list” view for a more detailed analysis. You can view the project summary bar from here for an instant, real-time overview of resource and budget constraints.

Screenshot of summary bar for a project in Scoro

It also allows you to track the ongoing progress of a project through due dates, milestones, and other metrics like:

  • Time: “Used hours (%),” “Used hours (h),” and “Remaining hours” (calculated based on tracked time against via Scoro’s time tracker, calendar, or timesheets)
  • Monetary budget metric: “Earned revenue” is calculated automatically based on logged hours and the selling price. For example, earned revenue is most likely equal to recognized revenue for time and materials projects.
  • Progress metrics: “Remaining days” for the project and “Overdue tasks”

The “Budget” tab provides deeper visibility into a project’s financial progress. 

For example, the “Breakdown” tab displays a chart that detects potential overservicing and tracks time use across roles. This can help you reallocate specific tasks or projects to other team members to remain within budget.

Another helpful tool is the “Quoted vs Actual” table, which offers a complete overview of project financials. The table includes “Invoices,” “Profit,” “Progress” tracking, “Bills and expenses,” and more.

The table considers inputted team labor rates and selling prices. This can help you assess whether a project is progressing on budget at a service level and also lets you improve your scoping with retrospective analysis.

What you’ll like

Scoro allows you to build project budgets during the quoting phase. You can then link a quote to a specific customer and add deliverables, prices and estimate costs. 

You can then track your quotes using the “Pipeline” view.

Pipeline gives you an overview of the sales funnel and your team’s sales progress by quote statuses.

You can also use these quotes to create and manage retainer agreements. 

Creating the budget early forces teams to consider: 

  • Resources required: You can consider expenses like labor, role, and vendor rates 
  • Potential profitability: You can forecast potential income before committing to client work 
  • Project expenses: This might include necessary materials or equipment

All this data feeds into Scoro’s reports, including the “Revenue report.” Any changes to a project or quote will automatically update the report so you have a solid understanding of your revenue pipeline.

Screenshot of the revenue report in Scoro

Core features of Scoro you’ll like

  • Quoting & budgeting allows you to create proposals, estimate projects, and ensure profitability
  • Retainers are available for tracking and managing recurring client work
  • Team labor rates and role-based prices can be set for budgets, quotes, projects, and to track overall profitability
  • Time tracking allows you to track billable and non-billable time in detail
  • Invoicing automates billing and collection of payments
  • Cost management lets you track expenses to keep costs under control
  • Reporting provides insights on budget, progress, utilization, and more
  • Sales & CRM allows you to manage customer quotes and track pipeline


Scoro has four paid plan options:

  • Essential: $26 per user/month
  • Standard: $37 per user/month
  • Pro: $63 per user/month
  • Ultimate: Custom pricing required

A two-week free trial is available.

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2. Teamwork

Teamwork is a project budget management software for client services businesses. The platform helps you forecast profitability, manage resources, and optimize workflows. 

With Teamwork, you can create custom budgets for standard or retainer clients. Budgets can include details like start and end date and a default billable rate. 

Plus, you can choose how often the budget should be repeated and whether the budget should be measured financially or using time. 

Once the project is up and running,  you can easily track spending against your budget. 

As your team logs hours, the “Active Projects” dashboard updates in real-time, comparing billable hours to the project budget. You’ll get notifications when spending reaches key thresholds, helping you stay on top of budget overages.

The “Task list budgets”, which can be accessed by “Finance” > “Budgets” section, also allows you to see budget breakdowns by task. 

So you can pinpoint the most and least profitable parts of a project and make adjustments where needed to maximize overall project profitability.

What you’ll like

Similar to Scoro, Teamwork allows you to track retainer agreements within the platform itself.

The “Retainer history” view lets you keep fluctuating retainer project budgets in check over time.

You can reallocate the budget throughout the retainer period by rolling over the underspend or subtracting the overspend from the next period. Helping you keep retainer budgets balanced throughout the engagement.

Core features of Teamwork you’ll like

  • Time tracking allows you to track and mark tracked time as billable or non-billable, create timesheets for projects, and automated time logging reminders
  • Custom budget creation allows you to track the time and money spent on every project
  • Team member rates let you customize and track individual costs and profitability 
  • Retainers are available for managing consistent client work
  • Expense tracking lets you create and monitor costs against project budgets


Teamwork has a free plan and three paid plans:

  • Free plan
  • Starter: $5.99 user/month
  • Deliver: $9.99 user/month
  • Grow: $19.99 user/month

A 30-day free trial is available.

3. Productive

Productive is an all-in-one agency management software that consolidates tools and data to help you manage your resources, deliver projects faster,  and increase project profitability.

For example, the “Financials” tab includes a real-time “Budgeting” overview to get insights into your projects’ profitability quickly.

You’ll see data related to categories such as:

  • Time: Including budgeted, billable, and remaining time
  • Budget: Including total, used, and remaining budget
  • Invoicing: Total, invoiced %, and remaining to invoice

Screenshot of Productive's financials dashabord

Productive also offers built-in expense creation and approval. You can customize each expense with an attachment, description, and costs. Plus, you can mark them for approval and/or flag them for reimbursement. 

Screenshot of expense creation in Productive

This built-in expense tracking means you can better manage your project’s budget. And it removes the need to toggle over to a separate spreadsheet for expense tracking.

What you’ll like

Productive can also help you with detailed project planning and resource management. 

The “Resourcing” tab allows you to plan and allocate resources, book people’s time for projects or time off, monitor their capacity, and create placeholders for future hiring and projects. Eliminating the need for additional resource management software.

Screenshot of Productive's resourcing tab

Core features of Productive you’ll like

  • Retainers let you manage long-term clients 
  • Custom budgets allow you to set fixed or hourly rates (or a combination of the two), as well as billable and non-billable hours 
  • Multi-phase budgets allow you to create budget benchmarks for complex projects 
  • Forecasting lets you track profit margins and avoid budget overruns with alerts
  • Profitability tracking shows the success of projects in real-time
  • Expense management allows you to create and organize internal and external expenses


Productive has four paid plans:

  • Essential: $9/month
  • Professional: $24/month
  • Ultimate: Custom quote required
  • Enterprise: Custom quote required

A two-week free trial is available.

4. Float

Float is a resource management tool that centralizes people and projects into a single live timeline, making planning and assigning work based on the team’s capacity easier.

Float’s “Schedule” view is the default timeline that gives you an overview of your team’s workload.

Screenshot of schedule view in Float

But Float also helps you track project budgets with five different budget types.

  • Hours by Project: Set a total project hours budget (e.g. 100 hours). As your team logs hours, the total budget is deducted to show the remaining hours.
  • Fee by Project:  Input a dollar amount for the total project cost (e.g. $20,000). Also, set the team’s hourly rate(s). The corresponding fee is calculated and deducted from the budget as time is logged.
  • Hourly Fee: Specify an hourly rate for each team member. Tracks total cost based on per person rate x hours logged. Can customize rates per person or across the team.
  • Hours by Phase: If your project has phases, assign an hourly budget to each phase to track time spent individually.
  • Fee by Phase: If your project has phases, set a dollar budget for each phase to track costs at that granular level.

You can select your budget type when creating a new project by clicking on the “+” button in the top right corner and selecting “Add project” > “New project.”

Screenshot of creating a project budget in Float with different budget types

Once the project is up and running, you can see the total hours and money spent and compare it to the original budget using the “Projects” report to help you quickly identify projects at risk of exceeding budget.

Screenshot of Project report in Float

To see more detailed info for a specific project, click on the project name in the “Projects” table on the same page. 

This drills into that project’s full budget picture, including “Budget” “Scheduled “vs. “Logged” hours.

Depending on your chosen budget type, you can see the budget displayed in hours or currency.

Screenshot of project details in Float

Alternatively, for a different view of ongoing project profitability and progress, clicking on the “Clients” tab lets you see the same data at a client level.

Screenshot showing project budget details in Float

As your team logs time against their assigned tasks, Float automatically calculates the corresponding costs based on the applicable hourly rates. 

This can be the individual rate set for each team member or a project-specific rate if you’ve customized it for a particular project.

What you’ll like

Float allows you to forecast project costs using “tentative” projects. 

Tentative projects allow you to model different scenarios and estimate costs without committing those projects to your official schedule.

By default, when you set a project as tentative, its associated phases, tasks, and allocations will also be marked as tentative. 

On the “Schedule” view, tentative allocations appear as colored outlines to distinguish them from confirmed projects.

Screenshot showing tentative project in Float

This feature is useful for creating project estimates, forecasting resource availability, and managing your pipeline.

Core features of Float you’ll like

  • Budget forecasting based on time or fees
  • Real-time tracking of actual hours and budgets
  • Time tracking with pre-filled timesheets, locked time entries, and an in-app timer
  • Project planning with phases, time or fee-based budgets, capacity and spend forecasting, and planning based on historical data
  • Resource allocation that matches tasks to people with the right skills and capacity
  • Security controls like single sign-on, audit logs, domain restrictions, SLAs, and priority support on Enterprise plans


Float has three paid plans:

  • Starter: $6 user/month
  • Pro: $10 user/month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote required 

A 30-day free trial is available.

5. Paymo

Paymo is a simple project management and time tracking software designed to help businesses and freelancers manage projects, track work time, and invoice their clients.

Paymo’s “Finance” tab gives you visibility into your project’s budgets and profitability.

Screenshot of Paymo's finance tab

You’ll see the following metrics within this view:

  • Billed vs. estimated: Compare invoiced or marked amounts as invoiced against the estimated billable amount for the project
  • Unbilled AR: Displays the unbilled value based on billable tracked time, flat rate tasks, and expenses for flat rate projects
  • Billable amount: Represents all billable time entries, flat rate tasks, and expenses, both billed and unbilled
  • Internal cost: This shows the project’s cost to the company based on the internal cost set for each user plus project-related expenses
  • Margin: Represents the profit by comparing the internal cost to the billable amount value of the project

You will see a “User Rates” table within the same view. 

It shows their hourly cost based on salary, their billable rate for the project, the total internal cost and billable amount based on hours worked, and the resulting profit margin.

Screesnhot showing user rates in Paymo's finance tab

This information can help you make better decisions regarding resource allocation, pricing strategies, and project profitability.

For example, if you notice that a particular team member has a high internal cost but a low billable amount, you may need to review their project hourly rate or consider assigning them to a different project where their skills are more profitable.

What you’ll like

With Paymo, you can generate invoices effortlessly using timesheet data and make adjustments with just a few clicks. You can also clone existing invoices to save even more time.

You can export invoices as individual PDFs or in bulk in a CSV. You can also sync with other accounting tools for more organized bookkeeping.

Screenshot of a custom invoice in Paymo

Core features of Paymo you’ll like

  • Multiple billing methods, including fixed price and hourly billing rates
  • Expense tracking to record and categorize expenses at the client or project level
  • Invoice generation that allows you to turn timesheet data into invoices, make manual adjustments, or clone existing invoices to save time
  • Payment processing to set up payment gateways for clients to pay securely from invoices. Track partial payments and due amounts
  • Recurring invoices that can be sent automatically on a set schedule
  • File proofing, versioning, and organization


Paymo has a free plan and three paid plans:

  • Free
  • Starter: $5.90 user/month
  • Small office: $10.90 user/month
  • Business: $16.90 user/month

A 15-day free trial is available.

Choosing the best project budgeting software 

The right budgeting tools for project management are essential. They help maximize profitability and keep all stakeholders abreast of goals and deliverables. They ensure that you meet project deadlines, deliver on time, and make a profit.  

With Scoro, you can tackle multiple projects at the same time. With time and expense tracking, quoting tools, and more, Scoro helps ensure every project succeeds.

Everything about your business, one click away

Try for free

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