It’s a long, long road to receive your interstate trucking authority license, and like finding a needle in a haystack you can lose it in a fraction of the time you took to get it. New, stricter regulations from the IFTA have meant that, regardless of the size of your fleet, you can guarantee you’ll get audited at some point. Safety and accurate financial information are expected during any audit, so using expense management software can ensure a successful inspection. We know how much work trucking companies put into obtaining their Interstate Authority license, so we’ve compiled a few hints and a little direction to help you keep it.
If you’re just about to start, or are already in the process, you should know that the red tape of licensing requires about five to seven weeks to get through. Some states impose some higher standards and regulations, which can take even longer. Once your fees are paid, paperwork approved, and fleet registered, you’re able to drive cargo throughout the nation, but the expectations and standards remain high. Almost immediately, you have to complete a New Entrant Safety Audit. Unlike financial audits that really need expense management software, this procedure appraises different standards, and maintaining an accurate driving log book for each employee will help you pass.
Though this safety audit will technically occur anytime within the first 18 months of operation, it can usually be expected in the first three to six. They’re conducted at the carrier’s main base of operations, and they review everything from driver qualifications, driver duty status, accident registry, vehicle maintenance, and tests for controlled substances and alcohol use. This all-encompassing review, conducted quite suddenly, can be terrifying to even the most vigilant of companies. Making sure your employees maintain their driving log book, though, can relieve a lot of the stress. These books are required, and if completed accurately they’ll contain most of the information auditors require—and will demonstrate your company’s compliance to Trucking Authority regulations.
The financial audit, however, can prove even more arduous for a company, which makes expense management software all but essential to a successful inspection. Retaining your Interstate Authority license is conditional on obeying federal and international tax laws. When you’re audited, there’s a huge scope of information and data you’re expected to provide—more than just the entries required for a driving log book. Paid hours, fuel tax reports, expense reports, and every other financial record must all be conjured up and presented in an orderly series of paperwork. Unless you have a strong background in accounting or previous work experience with the IRS, this responsibility can be daunting. One of the best tips for surviving these audits is to make an easy investment in expense management software. Having a database for entering this information streamlines the process tremendously—especially when compared to old bookkeeping and record storage. Once the software is learned and implemented throughout the company, tax reports and pay stubs are at the fingertips of any manager. Financial audits will follow safety audits, and when they do, you’ll be prepared if everything is ordered and digitally available.