Accounting isn’t always the easiest part of running a trucking company. But, if you want to stay in business for the long-term, it is something that you need to get right from day one. Finding the right trucking accounting or bookkeeping software can be challenging. Especially when the industry has so many moving parts. There are several things that you should look for in trucking accounting software. We’ll cover some of the most important factors to consider before making your final decision and buying any software package.
1. Make Sure It’s Specific to the Trucking Industry
Before you pull the trigger on accounting software for your trucking company, it’s important to understand the different types of software out there. General accounting software is designed for businesses of all shapes and sizes. A well-known example of general accounting software is QuickBooks. General accounting software lets you track all of the basics and print out the most necessary financial reports. With trucking accounting software, you can enter and track expenses such as equipment repairs and fuel costs and hit other targets while you’re at it. Reporting on maintenance due and creating driver deductions often follow in the footsteps of over the road expenses. Trucking accounting software should link the two together.
Accounting software specific to the transportation industry should allow you to implement complex hauling methods, such as weight and mileage, and integrate these figures into sales, receivables, and driver pay. This kind of software is a must for an established trucking company, or even a trucking company on the rise. In addition to all of these industry specific features, you’ll still get all of the necessary financial reports.
Think about how often you’re going to use the software. If you’re only going to use it once or twice a year, then general accounting software might be the right fit for you. But, if you plan on integrating most or all of your trucking company into the software, you might want something geared for the trucking industry.
2. Find Software That Can Grow With Your Business
You want your business to grow and flourish. With positive change in business comes new challenges and needs. Maybe you’re starting out with a couple of trucks and you just need to be able to print off some invoices and driver settlements. But as your business grows, you’re going to need additional features.
Quality trucking accounting software might look intimidating and packed with “too many features” to a trucking company just starting out. They may not look like the most user-friendly system you’ve ever seen. But if you keep growth in mind, you might find that you’ll be using those features soon enough. Don’t buy a software package that can’t grow with you. When your business demands start increasing, you’ll be dealing with new challenges in addition to shopping for and training on new software every few years.
Enterprise software is built to automate your business as much as possible, which reduces the need to track things in an Excel spreadsheet outside of the software. That means the package may be complex, but every feature has a defined purpose that you may need one day, if you don’t already.
3. Look For All of the Features You Need
Just like accounting software, the trucking industry comes in all shapes and sizes. You might be a brokerage operation, where you mainly need to track loads and carrier safety information. Or, you may be a trucking industry that has drivers on the payroll. When looking for trucking accounting software, you’ll want to make sure that it has all of the features that you’ll need to run your operation.
For example, if you have your own trucks on the fleet, you’ll want to be able to enter mileage and gallon data and let the software calculate the correct tax amount due to IFTA. If you employ drivers or office staff, you’ll want to make sure that the software comes with robust payroll integration. If you’re a brokerage operation, make sure you’ll be able to quickly create accounts payable invoices from your carriers using the dispatch data you’ve already entered. Or, let’s say you have a shop. Make sure you can track shop related income while also tracking inventory.
You can do research online to review top-rated trucking accounting software, read reviews, and talk with other trucking companies. This should help you find the right trucking accounting software packages for your company.
4. How Accessible is Software Support?
Getting going on a new software package can be a major undertaking. Ask how support and maintenance are built in to the software agreement. Easily accessible support is an important feature, too.
No one likes to be put on hold for an hour, or wait for a 24 to 48 hour call back, even for minor questions. Quality trucking accounting software should have a knowledgeable support team that can help you when you’re stuck. Find out if the software comes with an online help guide. Freely accessible and easy-to-find information is a sign of quality trucking accounting software.
5. Check For Compatibility
You don’t want to find yourself with a brand new software package just to find out it won’t work with your computer. When you’re looking for trucking accounting software, make sure that you have plenty of options for installation.
Ask questions about how the software is used across the network, and make sure it will be compatible with your network operating system. If the software is installed on a centralized server and shared across the network, make sure you’re meeting all of the network requirements before you commit to anything. If you’re installing on your own network, that means you’ll be responsible for your data. Make sure you have a regular backup system in place so you don’t lose valuable work.
Some trucking accounting software packages offer Cloud based options. That means that all you need is a stable internet connection. Cloud based packages often protect and backup your data so you won’t risk losing valuable work.
While you’re looking for trucking accounting software, make sure to find out about all of the software delivery methods available to you.
Once you’ve found the right package for your business, you can focus less on accounting and more on growth. Accounting software should streamline complex trucking industry processes. The best packages will be easy to use and come packed with features and flexibility.
In the meantime, checkout a helpful resource if you’re new to accounting.