There’s no doubt that the trucking industry has changed significantly over the last 10 years or more and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That said there has always been a particular focus on tracking when it comes to trucking and that’s something that won’t change. Perhaps the methods we use to track are changing but the concept remains all-important. Today, shifting our focus away from ELD’s and global positioning systems, we’re talking tracking from an accounting perspective.
Being out on the road requires driver organization to be a particularly strong skill set. Keeping track of receipts for gas, food, repairs, and maintenance can be a real chore and yet it is a very necessary one from an accounting perspective. Whether you are doing your “books” yourself or have the help of an accountant, a willing partner at home or perhaps even your “ex” brother-in-law, you need to be able to sort, track and prove expenses related to the business of running your vehicle. Many drivers have the added responsibility of tracking expenses in both US dollars and Canadian funds.
It’s not just about your year-end either. Tracking expenses can help you in times of a crisis too. Not sure when you last had an oil change or how much it cost? Tracking accurately can help you manage those expenses or prove when maintenance was last done on your vehicle in the case of a mechanical breakdown. Accurate tracking will also help ensure the safety of your truck because you’ll know when it’s next ready for service maintenance and at Service Pro Truck Lines we are 100% committed to safety. If you invoice – again, accurate tracking will allow you to invoice in a timely manner without added stress or headaches. Managing your miles, fuel consumption, costs of insurance and more (the list is long!) requires commitment and dedication from owner-operators.
There are a number of software options out there that can make your life easier when it comes to tracking your trucking. For many, the choice of which program to use is based on personal preference and comfort factor around familiarity with software and/or your preference for either Mac products or PC’s. Here are some factors to consider regardless of which computer you’re using:
- What type of access to computers do you have while on the road?
- What type of access to wifi will you need to access the software program you’ve chosen to use? (If any…)
- Do you have a mobile phone you can optimize? Is it compatible with your choice of computer?
- Speaking of mobiles – use a mobile to take pictures of your receipts and store them that way. Some accounting programs now allow you to take a picture, record and store your receipt all in one program.
- Doing it the old fashioned way? Still using a ledger and tracking expenses manually is fine too if that’s what you’re comfortable with – the trick is simply being sure that you stay on top of it and don’t let things build up!
The next time you stop for an extended break on the road or you’re home for a weekend, make sure to take some time to research and check out the reviews of all the software programs on the market that are available to help you keep track of your truck and its expenses. A little investment of time up front is worth a great deal of lost time at year – end (or even month – end) when you’re trying to figure out where all your receipts are and where all your time was spent! Don’t play “catch-up,” stay on top instead by tracking your trucking daily, from an accounting point of view!