Bookkeeping for a small business or an individual is hard enough when there’s an office in which to gather materials. For a business that happens largely on the road – such as trucking – the process of keeping track of expenses can be even more challenging. But the rewards of good organization of expenses are high: it makes tax time easier, and you’re more likely to get the refund you are owed.
In the following section, we will outline some tips for truck drivers when it comes to getting expenses organized.
And by “keep every receipt,” we mean, “Keep it in an organized place.” (The floor doesn’t count.) If you’re missing receipts at the end of the year or the end of the quarter, you may be missing out on valid deductions. At the very least, keep a resealable envelope in your truck for collecting receipts from the road, and make use of custom-named folders on your phone or laptop computer (or a cloud storage site) for digital receipts. This way, when it comes time to file your monthly profit-and-loss statements or quarterly tax estimates, you’ll be sure you haven’t missed any legitimate deductions.
While it may be tempting to use your personal checking account for your business, it’s not a good idea, and it will make taxes or audits much more complicated. If the fees are too high for a business account (which they can be), consider opening a separate personal checking account for the business, which could save you money. Deposit any work-related checks you receive into this account, then pay yourself from these funds, and use the account to pay all expenses. This will make recordkeeping much easier for standard bookkeeping, tax purposes, or in case of an audit.
In the same manner, it’s worth using a separate credit card for business expenses rather than relying on your personal household card. You can write the fees off as a business expense, which you may not be able to do with a personal card.
Your logbook and/or your electronic log records are an excellent source of documentation about your allowed per diem expenses. If you are using an electronic logging device (ELD) for bookkeeping for truck drivers, ensure that you have it set up to save your history.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep a notebook, either in old-fashioned paper format or in a digital diary on a smartphone or other device. This way, you can keep track of any expenses if you don’t receive a receipt.
If your bookkeeping system is less than robust or needs an update for the twenty-first century, it’s worth checking in with a professional accounting firm that can help you set up a robust but easy-to-use system. Alternatively, there are many excellent small business accounting solutions that can help you keep your on-the-road expenses in better organization.
At Status Transportation, we assign each owner-operator a dedicated freight coordinator to help them develop a business strategy to ensure their profitability. Owner-operator loads are carefully chosen to align with your strategy. We strive to build profitable partnerships by delivering the highest quality services through continuous education of employees, development of systems, and best practices. We are here to give you the support and resources you need, such as a dedicated dispatcher, fuel cards, advances, etc. Status Transportation works with the most common types of equipment such as dry vans and flatbeds.