What is Transportation Accounting Software?
Aside from standard accounting features like general ledger and accounts payable/receivable - the inventory, heavy machinery, and extensive travel associated with transportation and trucking presents unique challenges and needs. Software dedicated for this industry will have freight, per-mile, and other transportation-specific pricing, and will support driver and vehicle tracking, reservations and dispatch, and mobile solutions to facilitate driver-dispatcher communication.
We've put this guide together to help guide the software selection process for those in the trucking industry. Below, we'll cover:
- The software functionality trucking companies should be aware of; and
- Best practices for evaluating these software solutions.
Look for the following features in a transportation or trucking industry accounting software program:
|Safety & Compliance||Between fuel taxes and other surcharges and restricting driver hours, transportation software helps improve compliance in this heavily regulated industry. This includes driver qualification, physicals, drug screens, MVRs, remedial action, and flags to the dispatcher for drivers not in compliance.|
|Fleet Management||The Department of Transportation – as well as the business itself – wants every accident and maintenance detail to be reported. Fleet management modules make it easy to report accidents, process claims, schedule repairs and routine maintenance, and track the value for tax and financial management purposes.|
|Reservations, Routing & Dispatch||Software designed specifically for the transportation industry usually includes dispatching capabilities, which allow the user to integrate load orders, plan routes, optimize trips, and estimate costs to support rate quoting. Additional modules like flight tracking can provide estimated plane departure or arrival times, and passenger vehicles like airplanes or limousines will benefit from a reservation system that can manage customer profiles, send e-mail confirmations, and even accept online requests.|
|Mobile Solutions||Mobile solutions are critical for effective communication between the drivers and the corporate office. Mobile features for transportation and trucking will let the dispatcher send orders, pickup and delivery information, and route maps to the drivers’ smart phone or onboard GPS. Then, trip/freight status can be electronically sent back to the dispatcher (with GPS verification), while the driver uses a smart phone to scan and send load documents and trip reports.|
Evaluating Transportation & Trucking Accounting Software
Transportation accounting software automates many of the dispatching and fleet management tasks, freeing up your drivers’ and dispatchers time. When selecting your software, then, the first thing to consider is any frustration employees experience at routine or mundane tasks, as well as the places you’re spending money that’s not directly producing revenue.
Specific questions to ask when evaluating transportation industry accounting software are:
- Do you carry passengers or freight?
- Do you customers need to make reservations? If so, do you want them to be able to do that online?
- How complicated is your routing? Would you benefit from an automated routing solution?
- Do your drivers already have smart phones or GPS to integrate as part of your mobile solution?
- How many vehicles do you have?