Truckers who have tried to make Quickbooks work for trucking often say one thing.

I will never use QuickBooks for trucking ever again.

You can guess what their experiences were like.

For owner-operators, it’s an obvious choice for the billing part of trucking.  QuickBooks is the standard for accounting for millions of small businesses.  When a trucker starts his own business with his own truck, it’s easy just to go with what the accountant recommends.  After all, if you’re hiring an accountant to manage the books and the taxes, it’s smart to use what they want you to use.

If you’re not using an accountant or bookkeeper with trucking experience, it will only take a few months to realize the problems.

1.  IFTA

Any long distance trucker is going to know the challenge of keeping track of miles.  Putting an IFTA sticker on the side of the truck is only the start of a trucker’s quarterly tasks.  There are separate software packages to figure out the IFTA payments per state that will require every mile to be entered.  At one time, we truckers accepted that as what we had to do (it was a lot worse before the IFTA!) and we kept paper logs and paper fuel receipts in envelopes.  But it’s not 1999 any more.  The IFTA payments can be made online.  Our electronic log books track the numbers.

Why would we want to have to enter them again into some other software program?

How can we enter them into QuickBooks anyway?  The mileage tracker app doesn’t help compute the IFTA.  It doesn’t track each state’s tax rates.  It doesn’t look at your fuel receipts by state.

We talk to truckers all the time who have tried to make QuickBooks for trucking and the IFTA work.  It doesn’t.  Quickbooks can’t do your IFTA.

Just a side note – we have a number of accountants who use TruckingOffice Trucking Management Solution for their clients!  Even accountants who know trucking don’t try to make it work.

2. Audits

Whether it’s the IRS, the DOT, or the local bank when you’re applying for a loan, there are a lot of moving parts in a trucking business.   Quickbooks was going to be the way some truckers kept track of their maintenance records based on payments.  It sounds good – on paper.  But payment records don’t show all the details an auditor is going to require.  You’ll have to enter all the extra details yourself.  And there’s simply no way any accounting program is going to tell you when your tires need to be replaced based on mileage or the oil change is due.

I’ve been audited by the DOT.  I’d been using TruckingOffice trucking management solution for just a few years at that point and I was a bit worried – who wouldn’t be?  But the auditor was impressed with the speed I could retrieve the data he wanted and how complete my records were.

3.  Trucking Business Isn’t Like Other Businesses

I’m willing to say that all businesses have their quirky accounting issues.  I’m also going to say that trucking has more than anyone else’s business.

With the ELDs and the IFTA and the IRP, we truckers have a lot of paperwork that most companies never dreamed of.  They think we arrive, pick up their load and deliver it.  They don’t think about all the other parts of the business, like the routing, the load planning, the driver payments, the tolls, the maintenance.  We’ve got a lot to manage.

New owner-operators are always shocked at what had been managed for them when they’d been just a driver.  For the hired driver, it’s just the bill of lading and the expense receipts.  For the owner-operator, there’s a lot more to do.  I haven’t ever heard of class to teach truckers how to run their business!  You can take a class on QuickBooks or another accounting program, but it’s the School of Hard Knocks that teaches us how to manage late pays, lost bills of lading, or load planning.  How would you enter deadhead miles in QuickBooks?

4.  Company Reports

There’s one key number you need to know if you’re an owner-operator.  QuickBooks can’t compute it for you.

Looking at the list of business reports that QuickBooks advertises it will produce for you includes a Business Overview selection including a Profit and Loss statement, Company Snapshot, Balance Sheet Summary, and a Scorecard. What does QuickBooks for trucking provide?

  • Do you know your expenses per mile?  If you don’t know that number, you can’t know if you’re going to take a job that’s going to end up costing you money.
  • Do you know your profit per mile?  If you don’t know that number, you don’t know what’s making you money.  

QuickBooks can’t compute those because they can’t track miles the way we need to get those numbers.

It will take you one IFTA cycle to discover that Quickbooks is not the trucking software for you.

Quickbooks for trucking is a disaster.  You must do better.

Are you looking for the better solution?  Then we recommend TruckingOffice TMS.  Our trucking management solution is the best way for a trucking business to take care of business.  Our integrated program handles all the accounting – and does more!  Why re-enter data?  When you enter a load into TruckingOffice TMS, you’re creating a record of data that can be used in a dozen ways, including

  • Routing
  • Driver payments
  • IFTA and IRP
  • Expense tracking
  • Profits per mile, per trip.

Those are only the beginning!  Add in our free Maintenance Module and track those maintenance records as well as schedule your work ahead of time.

We have other features to help you make money with your trucking company.  In fact, we’ll let you see the whole program for a free trial without asking for a credit card or checking account number.  Take us out for a spin and discover what we can do to help you succeed!