For many transportation companies, the role of QuickBooks Desktop™ has changed over the years. With the adoption of dispatch software, many companies use QuickBooks Desktop to handle their general ledger, but not the information that can be directly imported from the dispatch software and other direct feeds. Dispatch software also provides industry-specific reporting options, which are not available in QuickBooks.
However, if you’re not using a dispatch software, you can customize QuickBooks to create a more efficient process and obtain additional information from your QuickBooks company file.
Customize the chart of accounts
Personalize the chart of accounts to include as much or as little detail as you wish. For example, you could create income accounts by:
- Customer type
- Line, region, or state
- Service, such as warehousing, short haul, long haul, fuel surcharge
Create service items for each of the custom income types and link to the specific income accounts. As you invoice your clients using those service items, the software separates your income on the profit and loss statement behind the scenes. This is not exclusive to the income accounts; expense accounts can also be customized to provide as much detail as you would like.
Set up these personalized accounts as subaccounts, which allows you to either print a detailed profit and loss showing all accounts or run the report as a “summarized” profit and loss statement with the subaccounts collapsed into their main accounts.
Create customized classes to personalize your QuickBooks company file
First, change your company accounting preference to use class tracking for transactions. Then set up a class for each unit in the fleet. Assign customer invoices for hauls using that unit, along with any bills for expenses directly relating to that specific unit, to the unit’s class in the transaction input screen.
Inputting transactions with the class will allow you to create a profit and loss statement by class. This report will show income and direct expenses related to each unit, allowing you to determine a rough estimate of the profitability by unit.
A quick process change can help with IFTA reporting
Add the gallons of fuel in the memo area of International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) fuel bills so that you can calculate your gallons for IFTA reporting purposes directly from your QuickBooks company file. First, if they’re not already set up, create expense accounts specifically for IFTA fuel. When entering bills for IFTA fuel, enter the gallons as a number in the memo area of the bill. Be sure to enter only the gallons in the memo area, without any additional wording, to allow for the calculation on the report.
To run the report, go to the chart of accounts and select the IFTA fuel expense account. Click reports at the bottom of the page and then choose QuickReport (transaction detail). Export this report to Excel by clicking the Excel button at the top of the report. In the Excel report, format the memo column to a number format and sum the column. This will give you the total gallons for the time period.
How we can help
These customizations are only a few that are standard to the transportation and logistics industry. CLA’s QuickBooks professionals can work with you to review additional information reporting capabilities.