New Carriers

Truck Expense Reports and why they're vital for Book Keeping.

Published on
July 22, 2022
min read

As with every business, bookkeeping must be done to keep a business running efficiently and legally. In the trucking business, specific truck expenses and other paperwork must be kept up-to-date to keep the driver on the road and the office in the green.

What is a Trucking Expense Report?

A trucking expense report comprises the different expenses that keep a truck on the road and hauling freight. While not all of these will apply to every driver, they will come up for most owners in the trucking industry.

  • Truck/Trailer Payments - Most people in the trucking industry are making payments on their equipment and will need to factor this in as one of the major expenses of running their business. 
  • Equipment Maintenance and Repair - While it might be tempting to put this off it is important to keep truck maintenance and repair costs in the expense report so that your equipment is being taken care of and able to run as efficiently as possible. 
  • Insurance - Commercial trucking insurance is not cheap and it is also not an area that you will want to skimp on. Making sure you are covered in case any issues arise can save your business in the long run. 
  • Taxes - Not only will you have taxes that need to be completed at the end of the year you will also need to keep track of your quarterly International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) reports. 
  • Licensing/Permits/Documentation - Most of your permits and licensing agreements will need to be updated each year and therefore included in your expense report. You will also need to have an annual inspection on your truck which you can factor in with the other necessary documentation expenses. 
  • Outside Services - If you need to hire an accountant, a driver, or a broker for your loads that will also need to be kept up-to-date in your expense report. 
  • Subscriptions - There are several different parts of the business that it might pay to upgrade your membership to paid subscriptions. Things such as higher quality load boards, a factoring company, or a Truck Management System (TMS) can be included in your expense report if you use them. 

Why You Need to Track Your Truck Expenses

Not only is it important to track your truck expenses for the obvious reason of running a business when you are more organized and have proper systems set in place it can make unexpected stressful situations not feel quite as catastrophic.Since you are running a business you will have to file your taxes each year and having the proper documentation of all of your truck expenses is not only required but it could help you find different write-offs and deductions that can make the amount you pay in less.

Keeping your truck expenses organized at all times (and not just trying to throw everything together before tax time) will also help you run your business more efficiently. When you are keeping track of your truck expenses you are able to have a more clear picture of how your business is running and where you might be able to make some tweaks and make it more profitable. One way of doing this is figuring out exactly what it costs per mile to run your business. You can do this by adding up all of your expenses and dividing that by how many miles you typically run in a day. This is where an expense report can be very helpful as sometimes when we try to figure things in our head we miss little things here and there that can add up to be very big things at the end of the day.

How to Keep Track of Truck Expenses

In today’s world of smartphones and devices, many people look to TMS options and apps to keep all of their data in one place. There are several different options for each of these that can be very useful if you like technology and prefer to keep your truck expenses on a digital platform. If you are more old-school and prefer a pen, paper, and three-ring-binder that can also work just as well, as long as you do a good job of keeping your papers organized and labeled as you go and not try to sort them all at the end of the year.

One tip is to label your receipts as you get them and then sort them into a folder so that when it comes time to round everything up it is as simple as grabbing the stack of folders out of your truck.There is no right or wrong way to keep track of your truck expenses, but as are most things in life you have to build a system that not only works for your business but that you will stick to. If you hate technology but someone told you that was the better way of keeping track of the expenses you are less likely to keep up with it. Do what works for you and your business.

Why Is It Important That You Get a Trucking Expense Report From Your Operator(s)?

If you own a company but have operators driving your trucks it is important that you have them keep a daily trucking expense report that gets turned in so that you can see how your money is being spent. Since you are not physically on the road you might miss some of the ways the business can be run more efficiently if there isn’t proper documentation to see where the money is going.

Some owners prefer to have their drivers use a company credit card so that all expenses can be tracked and nobody is having to try and match up receipts or worry about numbers being written down incorrectly. Again this is an area where you have to find what works best for you and your business.Keeping a current and organized truck expense report will help you manage your business more efficiently and have you completely set when tax season rolls around each year.

Building your trucking business as an owner-operator comes with many aspects that often can be daunting to a new business owner. Truckbase can help you stay calm and collected with a lightweight TMS that’ll reduce the time spent on the books and more time where it counts the most. Sign up for a demo today and learn why more truckers are switching to Truckbase.

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