The best accounting software for trucking businesses should make it easy to manage loads, expenses, and receivables. Equally important, the software must provide the ability to run detailed reports for billing customers, paying drivers, and filing International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reports.
Keeping accurate and detailed information on mileage and trips is important―whether you’re an owner-operator or running a small trucking business. Of all the available products on the market, we’ve narrowed it down to this list of the best four trucking accounting software options.
- Q7 Trucking Business Software: Best overall trucking management and accounting system combined.
- QuickBooks Online: Best for owner-operators looking for a simple way to bill customers, pay vendors, and prepare for tax time.
- Tailwind TMS: Best trucking software for freight brokers.
- TruckingOffice: Most affordable trucking management software with IFTA tracking and reporting.
Q7 Trucking Business Software: Best Overall Trucking Management and Accounting Software Combined
Q7 is serious trucking software for companies that need help managing a fleet of trucks. The accounting software is deeply integrated with the trucking management software to make accounting entries automatically as you conduct your business.
Our Expert Opinion
Q7 is a complex system that will work best when there is a full-time person dedicated to utilizing the software’s extensive features. In addition to standard accounting features like accounts receivable (A/R), accounts payable (A/P), bank reconciliations, and payroll, Q7 has modules for dispatch, freight billing, and pay settlement. You can track fuel and miles by truck through integrations with trucking mileage programs like Rand McNally and ProMiles to generate fuel purchase, state mileage, and IFTA tax reports. Q7 also has a powerful fleet maintenance program that will track your fixed assets and help you schedule routine maintenance, whether based on months or miles driven. If you have a fleet of trucks and at least one person that will be dedicated to learning the software, then Q7 will be worth the investment.
QuickBooks Online: Best Accounting Software for Owner/Operator Truckers
QuickBooks Online is our pick for best overall small business accounting software and is a great affordable option for truckers that need to keep track of their income and expenses. The software has an outstanding mobile app that can be used to send invoices and scan receipts while on the road.
Our Expert Opinion
If you’re a self-employed trucker, you don’t need all the features included in the more expensive software covered in this guide. You mostly need to keep accurate track of your income and expenses, and nobody does that easier than QuickBooks Online. You can connect your bank and credit card accounts so that transactions flow into your books automatically. All you do is classify them once they are transferred. Bank reconciliations are intuitive. If you prefer, you can outsource your monthly reconciliations to QuickBooks Live, which will match you to a bookkeeper for assistance. You can also work with QuickBooks Live when initially setting up your QuickBooks to tailor it exactly for the needs of a trucker.
The Plus plan offers you multiple features to help you select the most profitable loads. You can assign income and expenses to “projects,” which for truckers could be a load. You can separate loads into different classes and track the profit for each class. For instance, perhaps you want to track your profitability based on the length of a haul. Finally, you can print a report showing your profitability by customer.
Tailwind TMS: Best Trucking Software for Freight Brokers
Tailwind TMS has all the features needed by Freight Brokers at a reasonable price that is given upfront. While Q7 would also work well for Freight Brokers, it’s more expensive and packed with features that Freight Brokers don’t need.
Our Expert Opinion
Tailwind TMS offers a huge array of tools to help your freight brokerage company. While you can send invoices and pay bills, it’s not a complete bookkeeping system. Most importantly, there is not a bank reconciliation feature to ensure that your bank account balances are accurate. To fill this gap, Tailwind TMS will sync with QuickBooks Online Plus, which we highly recommend. QuickBooks Online Plus is $80 per month, so be sure to include this cost if you’re choosing between Tailwind TMS and Q7.
You might consider upgrading to the Enterprise plan to be able to offer customer and carrier self-service portals. Customers can log in to view their account information, shipments, and invoices. Carriers can access available loads, shipments you have dispatched with them, and amounts you owe them.
TruckingOffice: Most Affordable Trucking Software for IFTA Tracking and Reporting
TruckingOffice is full-featured trucking and accounting software, but we especially like it’s IFTA tracking given its low price. If your main concern is IFTA tracking, or you’re a small company looking for basic tools for trucking companies, then TruckingOffice might be a good choice.
Our Expert Opinion
While we included TruckingOffice in our list as an affordable way to comply with IFTA regulations, it actually offers much more at a very reasonable price. However, you’ll likely find that the features aren’t as robust or refined as more expensive software like Q7. Also, like Tailwind TMS, TruckingOffice isn’t a complete bookkeeping system. Unfortunately, while there is some ability to sync transactions between TruckingOffice and QuickBooks Online, there is not a complete two-way integration available as a QuickBooks Online app.
The Basic plan includes IFTA tracking and most other features you’ll need. However, you might consider upgrading to the Pro plan if you want load planning, LTL dispatch, or driver settlement management. Before spending money on a more expensive plan, perhaps give TruckingOffice a try with its free trial.
How We Evaluated Trucking Accounting Software
Accounting software for the trucking industry should allow for dispatch and order management as well as fuel, mileage, and load/freight tracking. The best trucker accounting software will allow you to track all of these things in detail so your reporting can be as detailed and accurate as possible. For example, having the ability to generate a trip report that includes all expenses for a load is key. Another example is the software must have the ability to track the details of a load so that IFTA reports can be filed. All of the products discussed in this article take these unique requirements into consideration.
We evaluated each product on our list of the top four trucker accounting software based on cost, user-friendliness, customer reviews, and the following key features:
- Load tracking: Track detailed information for each load, including delivery date and time, truck information, driver details, and expenses
- Trip reports: Run a report that includes all expenses, vehicle mileage, and maintenance for each trip so you can bill customers, pay drivers, and do IFTA reporting
- Expense tracking: Keep track of tolls, parking, fuel, and other expenses for each trip
- Income tracking: Bill customers immediately after a load has been delivered or soon thereafter
- Bookkeeping: In addition to tracking income and expenses, keep track of assets and liabilities and reconcile accounts monthly.
- IFTA tracking and reporting: Track all of the required data by a municipality to complete the quarterly filing of the IFTA reports.
Truck drivers and fleet managers encounter accounting and reporting needs that are specific to the trucking industry. Because of that, it’s important to find an accounting solution that provides everything you need or integrates with other applications to create a useful package for you and your business. Our list of the four best trucking accounting software options has a wide range of features and prices, allowing you to pick the one that works best for you.