Bookkeeping is an important part of running your business as an owner-operator truck driver. It allows you to keep your financial statements organized and gives you an idea of how your business is performing. As a truck driver, you may have a hard time keeping good records while on the road. That’s why it may be best to look into using a bookkeeping service for your business that works specifically with owner-operator truck drivers.
There are many benefits that come with using a bookkeeping service for your trucking business. In this article, we will discuss important things to consider when you search for one.
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Scan and Archive Receipts/Files
The first thing you should look for is a bookkeeping service that will scan and archive all of your business receipts and important files. This way you don’t have to keep track of physical receipt copies. The bookkeeper should be able to archive all of your important paperwork in their secure database. Providing your documents should be as easy as sending in pictures, scanning and emailing them, or mailing them to the bookkeeper.
ATBS just recently launched the new ATBS Hub, which makes working with us even easier! With the Hub, you’ll be able to scan or import receipts, settlements, and other documents with just a few taps.
The bookkeeper will then be able to use the receipts to prepare accurate monthly profit and loss statements for your business. If you ever need any of these files back, a good bookkeeper will be able to easily find and send back electronic copies of the receipts or files that you need at any time.
Secure Online Portal
The next thing you should look for in a bookkeeping service is a secure online portal where you can view your digitized documents and review your profit and loss (P&L) statements at any time. With a secure online portal, you don’t have to go into an office or call your bookkeeper to access your information. This is especially convenient for truck drivers who are on the road and aren’t always able to go in and talk to their local accountant.
With a secure portal, you can log in to your personal account at any time and know that your information is safely password-protected. When you log in to the portal to review your data, you should also look for a bookkeeper that will allow you to call and ask questions without charging extra fees.
Another thing you should look for when deciding on a trucker’s bookkeeping service is a company that has industry-specific benchmarking. Ideally, you’ll want to look for a company that works with other truck drivers so you can compare your numbers to similar sized businesses in the trucking industry.
Comparing your data to other owner-operators allows you to see the areas where your business is performing better than your peers, as well as the areas where you can improve. A good bookkeeper will be able to use this information to help you figure out where to make adjustments in your business to both earn and keep more money.
Looking for a bookkeeper that does tax reconciliation will also be beneficial for your trucking business. A bookkeeper that includes this service will analyze and categorize your revenue and expenses rather than just blindly inputting the data. With high quality tax reconciliations, you will be sure everything has been properly captured and accurately categorized in your profit and loss statement, and if something is missing, your bookkeeper should notify you about any discrepancies.
For example, if you utilize a bookkeeper who offers tax reconciliation services as well as industry benchmarking data, they can help you spot expense documentation you may have forgotten to send. If the average owner-operator is spending 30% of their revenue on fuel, and you only show 10% of revenue spent on fuel, your bookkeeper should be able to alert you to the discrepancy. From there they can figure out if you have not sent all fuel expense documentation that needs to be submitted, or if you simply spent less on fuel.
Tax Preparation and Bookkeeping - Together
Lastly, you want to look for a bookkeeper that will also calculate your tax estimates. As an owner-operator, you have to pay quarterly tax estimates based on your profit. If your bookkeeper also calculates your tax estimates, they are able to use your P&L statements throughout the year to let you accurately know how much your estimated tax payments should be. Paying quarterly tax estimates ensures you don’t pay additional interest, fees, or penalties to the Internal Revenues Service (IRS), and you should always seek out a company that will help you calculate those estimates so you don’t pay more than you should to the IRS. Many preparers simply use last year’s tax return to calculate your current year's tax estimates. However, trucking is an ever changing industry and you need a service that offers current year, timely, tax estimates based on how you are performing now, not what happened last year.
Also, having a bookkeeper who prepares taxes makes it easier to file your tax return. Your bookkeeper understands your business and has been keeping track of your revenue and expenses all year - this reduces the chance of errors during tax season since your tax preparer won’t be scrambling to do your bookkeeping all at once. If your bookkeeper and tax preparer work together, they can find all the legal deductions you are entitled to, so you don’t pay more in taxes than you have to. This option is a lot more efficient and more accurate than giving your documents to a tax preparer who doesn’t know your business.
What trucker bookkeeping service should I hire?
Proper bookkeeping will help keep you and your business on the road. Using these guidelines while you begin your search for a bookkeeping service will help you make an informed decision that will benefit you in the long run.
At ATBS, we have helped over 150,000 owner-operators over the past 20+ years run a more profitable business that allows you to spend less time stressing about the books and taxes and more time on things you enjoy. We offer a variety of services including bookkeeping, accounting, and tax preparation, and we understand the importance and impact that these services have on a successful operation. We also offer unlimited business consulting for our RumbleStrip Professional clients. A dedicated business consultant will help you keep your business “between the lines” just like rumblestrips on the highway keep your truck between the lines. If you’d like to learn more about ATBS services or want to get started today, give us a call at 866-920-2827.