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Trucking Bookkeeping Tips that Save You Money

Trucking bookkeeping tips that help truckers stay on task include using spreadsheets and trucking bookkeeping software.

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ABCO Transportation
October 9, 2020
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Whether you are new to the career of truck driving or you are an experienced professional truck driver, there is one element  of the job that can fill most truckers with dread. That has to be the bookkeeping side of things. However, it is essential that you get this element of your job right, after all, the right sort of accounting and bookkeeping can in fact save you money. You may be wondering how this is possible, but ensuring that things are itemised correctly and that you keep correct records can ensure that you only pay out what is necessary. 

Trucking bookkeeping tips that help truckers stay on task help truckers save fees, time, and boost overall savings to your bottom line. Using spreadsheets and trucking bookkeeping software can help you stay focused.

This extensive guide will help you with everything that you need to know when it comes to trucking bookkeeping with the tips and advice you need to get it right as well as to save you money. 

Trucking Accounting Spreadsheet Help

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There is a lot of specific information that needs to be collected when it comes to trucking bookkeeping, so having a spreadsheet can really help. A software system that creates a spreadsheet and adds in the formulas to give you the calculations works well. This saves you having to manually work it out. There are a number of different things that you will need to note down when it comes to trucking accounting on a spreadsheet. Here is a list of some of the information you will need to have and start saving:

  • Revenue per mile
  • Income
  • Expenses

When it comes to having a spreadsheet it is also a good idea to ensure that you keep track of things daily as this can stop it being such a big job when it comes to inputting the information. Here are some of the basic trucking bookkeeping tips that you could use to ensure that you keep things in check:

  • Label receipts with date and times
  • Keep a track of every expense
  • Summarize jobs 
  • Keep copies of all documents that you submit in case there is discrepancy or missed information. 
  • Bundle or clip receipts and information together so that you can keep it all categorised. 
  • At the end of each month tally the receipts together.
  • Create envelopes to keep things together
  • Submit trip reports at your earliest opportunity

Hopefully some of these tips will help you when it comes to accounting using a spreadsheet. 

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Bookkeeping for Truck Drivers with Excel

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Excel is one of the easiest and most commonly used resources when it comes to creating spreadsheets. The above advice is critical to help you when it comes to spreadsheet management, but Excel is a specific Microsoft Word software programm that can help you to keep account of the things that you need to record when it comes to your trucking bookkeeping. Excel is a clever software system. The best thing about it is that you can use formulas that will install and calculate things. This is excellent when it comes to making claims, working out the expenses and also a percentage that may need to be allocated to taxes. Excel is an ideal software system for bookkeeping for truck drivers and it is also easy to use. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of it:

  • Set up a system that you understand
  • Collate the information that you need
  • Make things easier by using formulas
  • Save it and update it as often as you can so that it doesn’t become a big task.

Transportation Bookkeeping 101

When it comes to bookkeeping, it is important that you know some of the terminology that will be used. Not just for yourself but also the terms that may be used in conversations with you when it comes to the jobs that you have and the companies that you are working with. With that in mind, here are some of the basic accounting terms that are important for you to familiarize yourself with:

  • Assets: An asset is something of value that your company owns and can be converted into cash. This can include current assets such as accounts receivable, inventory and available cash. It also includes fixed assets like real estate, buildings and equipment.
  • Liabilities: Liabilities are the debts and obligations of your business. They can include money owed on a loan, accounts payable, employee wages or taxes.
  • Equity: Equity is your ownership interest in the business. In accounting, equity is calculated when a company’s liabilities are subtracted from its assets. Whatever remains from that calculation is your equity. When liabilities are larger than assets, negative equity exists.
  • Revenue and Gains: Revenue is the amount of money that a company receives over a given period of time for the services it provides. On an income statement, revenue is also known as top line or gross revenue. Gains are one-time increases in revenue that are not part of a company’s regular operations. Some examples of gains include the sale of equipment or real estate.
  • Expenses and Losses: Expenses are what it costs the company to perform its main operations. Losses are one-time transactions in which the company sells an asset for less than the amount it spent to acquire the asset.

It is also important that you treat your bookkeeping as if it was a balance sheet for a business. Everything needs to add up, so the income versus the expenses needs to stay in the black. You can’t be spending more than you are earning. Also, you need to ensure that the profitability of revenue per job is worthwhile to you. Decent bookkeeping can ensure that you keep track of all of this. 

Trucking Company Chart of Accounts

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As a self employed truck driver, there may be time where you establish yourself. This is when you may need to think about the chart of accounts that you produce. This isn’t just monthly income versus expenses reports, this can be a lot more in-depth such as running costs of the truck to how much you make per mile. This will also indicate if and whether you owe any taxes. A chart of accounts is likely to be produced at the end of the financial year and will be submitted to keep your company established. It will show how much the company has made. How much you may have taken as payment and what is left within the business for the next year ahead. A chart of accounts will follow the same principal whether you are truck bookkeeping or any other kind of business. Here are a few different tips to consider:

  • Make sure you cover Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAPP) accounting as well as tax elements so that you cover all bases. 
  • It is important that you define the gross margin.
  • Take the time to give careful thought to indirect costs that could affect the overall profit, expenses and income elements of your accounts. 
  • Make sure that you organise the expenses to reflect owner preferences and to match any budgeting level with detail.
  • Try and ensure that you use account numbers where possible for easy accounting in the future. 
  • Separate accounts could be worthwhile to differentiate between different expenses or income levels. 
  • Make sure you maximise the functionality of any accounting software that you use. 

Trucking Bookkeeping Software

Accounting software is an important aspect of keeping a good set of accounts and bookkeeping. So with that in mind here are some of the best accounting software options to consider:

Q7

Voted the best overall service for trucking bookkeeping. 

Q7 is an all-inclusive trucking management system from Frontline Software Technology. With Q7, you can manage dispatch, fuel, inventory, mileage, employees, and vehicle information all in one interface. Making it a one-stop shop for you to utilize. The Q7 software was built as one program from the ground up so that you get an informative and established accounting experience that seamlessly integrates with the other operational functions of the software package instead of having several different modules that you have to log in and out of to perform different tasks in the software.

QuickBooks online

Voted the best owner user management and accounting software system.

QuickBooks Online is versatile accounting software used by many businesses worldwide. With its extensive app marketplace, you can build a solution that works for your trucking business without the hassle of using multiple software packages. You can cover dispatching with apps like Breezeworks and integrate with trucking industry tools like PortPro and RAMA Logistics Software. Most apps in the Intuit Marketplace are subscription-based and come with an additional fee. For that reason, you should include the cost of any apps you want to use when deciding what fits in your bookkeeping software budget.

Axon

Voted the best for growing or mid-sized trucking companies.

Axon Software is a great choice for a midsize or growing trucking operation. It is all-inclusive and comes with easy to use payroll tools for paying employees, owner-operators, carriers, and reimbursing expenses. Axon’s accounting features include order management, invoicing, bank reconciliations, and in-depth reports, to name a few. Financial reporting offers profit and loss, income, and balance sheet reports as well as detailed transaction information.

Trucking office 

Voted the best for detailing trucking bookkeeping.

TruckingOffice’s Truck Management Software is a great way to track all the details of your trucking business. It is a cloud-based solution, so you can access it from anywhere with any internet-ready device. The TMS package is largely concentrated on tracking all the information you need for extremely accurate IFTA tax filing. You can pull basic financial reports from the software, but don’t expect a profit and loss, income statement, or balance sheet from this software package.

Owner Operator Record Keeping Tricks

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Of course, the only way to ensure that you have excellent accounts and bookkeeping is to take the money that is earned and to pay out the right level of expenses and taxes to ensure that you keep a good record of things. However, how do you ensure that you get this right? Here are some of the best owner operator record keeping tricks that will help you stay on track:

  • Keep every receipt, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.

You will want to ensure that you can deduct any legitimate expense, no matter how small. Why give out something that you can claim back? This is when keeping an envelope of all receipts is a handy trick so that you can record everything, no matter how big or small it seems. 

  • Open a separate account for your trucking accounts and costs.

This may sound obvious but things can get mixed up if you are using a personal account. Keeping things separate allows it to be simple and easy to manage. You can then deposit settlement checks, keep income and expenses in one place and then pay yourself out of it. 

  • Use a separate credit card for business use.

A great tip would be to research credit cards and find one that has the lowest interest costs. Pay the balance in full each month so that there is no issue with business debt. Having a credit card of expenses can make record keeping easy to do as it will all be in one place. 

  • Save all your log books.

Your logbook and/or electronic log records are your best proof of entitlement to per diem expenses (primarily composed of meal costs). If you rely solely on your electronic logging device (ELD mandate requirements), make sure you can save and access your history (this is a mandatory thing to know for inspections anyway).

  • Save your records.

You must keep all records used to prepare your tax return for three years from the date you filed the return. You should also keep all IRS quarterly estimated tax payments, monthly profit and loss statements, insurance documentation, maintenance records, warranty information (which should be available immediately to keep your truck on the road), registration information, settlement statements and bank statements, business credit card statements and canceled checks.

How Do You Keep Track of Trucking Expenses? 

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Keeping trucking expenses is important. But the first thing to think about is exactly what is classified as a trucking expense. Here are the ones that you need to take note of:

  • Fuel - Fuel costs might be one of your biggest outlays, so it is important for you to keep a record of this. Keep receipts, make notes in your phone, etc. 
  • The truck itself - From servicing and MOT’s, inspection checks and tires, your truck is also an expense. So whether you replace a small thing on it or it has some work done on the engine itself, keep all logs and receipts to mark it down as a business expense. 
  • Insurance - In order to legally drive on the road you need to have some form of insurance and this is the same for any truck driver. The monthly or annual charge that you pay is classed as an expense. 
  • Food and drink - While being on the job it is important that you understand that you can claim for things such as food and drink as expenses. This should help you to keep the costs relevant.
  • Professional services - Last of all, you may be finding it hard to deal with the day to day administration involved in a truck business so you may need extra help and guidance when it comes to keeping things in check. Professional services could be outsourced help or even software costs. Make sure you add them as an expense. 

Once you know what it classed as a truck expense and what isn’t you need to ensure that you keep a healthy record of them. There are plenty of ways you can keep track of your expenses. Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep a book log in your truck - If you prefer to write things down then you could keep a notebook in your truck and write down the expenses as and when they have been spent. 
  • Keep all receipts - Alongside this or just as a precautionary measure, have an envelope where you can stash all of the receipts. This means that when you have the time you can go over them to ensure that every expense has been tracked. 
  • Use an app on your phone - Last of all, there are applications that you can download specifically for tracking expenses. They can be part of your accounting software or you can look at downloading a specific app. Or even just making a note of it in your phone if you prefer to type things out rather than write them down. 

Get a New Trucking Job Today

If you are looking for a fantastic opportunity to get a job as a truck driver or to start your own self-employed business then ABCO Transportation should be something you consider. You understand why truck drivers are an essential aspect of business and to keep the world moving at the pace we have grown accustomed to while listening to your favorite trucking songs. This is why you may want to seek out a new career. 

We have plenty of trucking jobs available for both experienced and new truck drivers. Just speak with our friendly team who can give you all of the advice that you need to get started. If you are interested in a truck driver position, and want to find out more about it, then don’t hesitate to fill out the online application today. We have limited local jobs, OTR and regional trucking jobs in Atlanta GA for you to consider. Get in touch with us today at 866-980-2710 and enjoy a new trucking career with great benefits!

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