Finding the right accounting software for your trucking business can seem daunting but choosing the right one will save time and money in the long run.
The right software can provide benefits such as:
To help narrow down your search, we reviewed 9 of the most popular software solutions for owner operators and trucking companies. These options range from standalone accounting software to comprehensive trucking management systems that also handle dispatching, fleet maintenance, and other functions.
Our guide below covers everything you need to know about accounting software for trucking but first, here is a quick list of our top choices.
Trucking accounting software helps automate tasks a bookkeeper or accountant would normally handle such as invoicing, expense and mileage tracking, payroll, tax compliance, and financial reporting.
Bookkeeping refers broadly to maintaining a business's financial records. These include day-to-day records like fuel receipts and payment transactions. Accounting software makes bookkeeping easier by letting you scan receipts or enter data in one place so that it’s readily available when needed.
Accounting comes in when you need to analyze your business based on financial data. This can include tax planning, developing financial statements, and analyzing cash flow. Software can make this analysis simpler by automatically completing calculations and filling out tax forms.
If you work with a bookkeeper or accountant, accounting software will make it easier for them to do their jobs. Accounting software might also replace these functions entirely for smaller trucking companies.
Depending on a company’s needs, there are three main buckets of accounting software they can choose between:
While general accounting software is versatile and serves the accounting needs of most businesses, it won’t include trucking-specific features like International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reporting and cost-per-mile calculations.
However, some trucking companies and owner operators may find general accounting software sufficient if they have separate solutions for trucking-specific needs. For example, some ELDs and fuel cards provide automated IFTA tax reports.
The most commonly used general accounting software is Quickbooks.
While trucking accounting software typically refers to a standalone product, some trucking accounting solutions are just one component of a comprehensive trucking management system. Trucking management software typically automates tasks like dispatching, fleet management, and maintenance scheduling.
Trucking management software is most often used by companies managing medium to large fleets. Owner operators and small fleet owners may have a hard time justifying the higher cost of a full TMS if they are unlikely to use the extra features.
Trucking accounting software typically costs owner operators $5 to $25 a month while large fleets will typically pay $100 to $500+ each month.
Pricing can vary depending on:
General accounting software is typically the cheapest, followed by trucking-specific accounting software. Depending on the provider, most companies can find software that costs $5 to $25 per month.
Trucking management software that targets large trucking companies often creates pricing plans around the company’s needs but these typically range from $99 up to $500+ per month. Enterprise pricing can be based on a set amount per truck or per software user.
Businesses may also need to pair multiple software solutions together. For example, TruckingOffice can be used trucking management and basic accounting functionality but needs Quickbooks for payroll. These software systems work together but are paid for separately.
Accounting software should have basic accounting functionality like creating/sending invoices and tracking accounts receivable/payable on a general ledger. Additional accounting features include:
Many solutions offer free trials and training and those that don’t typically offer in-depth demos so companies can properly vet the software. It’s also helpful to check customer reviews online and look for tutorials on YouTube.
Quickbooks is a big name in accounting software, and it provides all of the basic tools but because it is a general accounting software, it misses some accounting features specific to trucking.
While not a great standalone solution for fleets, Quickbooks is still a top-rated accounting software for owner operators and sole proprietors that are okay using other solutions or skipping out on trucking-specific features. Small businesses can also start with Quickbooks and then later pair it with a trucking management system that integrates with Quickbooks.
Quickbooks is also a good pick if you want to start handling your own bookkeeping but still want to hire an accountant for taxes. Most accountants are already familiar with Quickbooks so it will be easy for them to review your records at tax time.
Rigbooks is a straightforward bookkeeping application that was designed specifically for trucking businesses. The software places a top focus on translating costs into per-mile calculations. This focus is intended to make it easier to calculate load values and stay on top of receipts for tax filing. While available for businesses of all sizes, Rigbooks is designed for owner operators and small fleets.
Truckers report liking the user-friendly system and find the software has all the basic tools to run their business. The driver settlements function lets you calculate driver pay by the mile, load percent, or a flat rate per trip. IFTA reporting is also easy thanks to Rigbooks importing the latest fuel tax rates for all jurisdictions automatically.
However, It can be slow to receive help because technical support is by email only. Users should take advantage of the 30-day free trial to try out the software before committing.
Axon is a trucking management system that handles everything from invoicing to dispatching and tax reporting. The software targets larger trucking businesses that want to minimize their office staffing.
Axon focuses on efficiency and eliminating duplicate work. For example, their IFTA mileage tracker auto-records toll and non-toll mileage to automatically create IFTA tax reports.
Axon also handles payroll with trucking-specific pay calculations and expense tracking. It also manages employee and contractor paperwork like W-2 and 1099 forms.
Axon offers customized solutions, even within the trucking industry. These include focused tools for freight haulers, freight brokers, and oilfield trucking.
Axon’s customer support is well-regarded and can be accessed by phone or email.
TruckingOffice offers standard bookkeeping features and allows for invoicing on variable fees, such as flat, per ton, per mile, or by weight. IFTA tax reports are also generated automatically, with options to choose which trucks to include in the report. Each report breaks down miles and gallons by state.
On the management side, TruckingOffice covers dispatching and maintenance tracking. Its dispatch tools make it easy to create and assign trips. Optional tools can also capture less than truckload hauls. Maintenance plans can be created by mileage or calendar.
Because it was built with trucking in mind, TruckingOffice offers expense reports for scales, tolls, and maintenance. Per-mile stats are also readily available. Optional extras include premium routing software that can calculate mileage and optimal routing. TruckingOffice also offers an optional electronic logging device (ELD) that can sync with your mobile app automatically.
Online and video training is available during setup and support is available via phone, email, and online chat support.
TruckLogics streamlines bookkeeping by limiting manual record entry and delivering one-click financial reports. It also provides full business management tools. This includes finding work on load boards, driver and maintenance management, invoicing, and expense tracking.
One of the most useful features of TruckLogic is its integration with other trucking industry tools. These include Motive, DAT, ProMiles, Quickbooks, ExpressTruckTax, and ExpressIFTA.
IFTA reports can be automatically generated to save time. Each report is charged as a single-use fee. This gives the option to manually fill out a report when you need to save on admin costs or you can use the automatic report feature when you’d prefer to save on time.
While it offers a lot, TruckLogics there are online complaints that the system does not always deliver and effective customer service can be hard to find.
Tailwind TMS provides a full range of invoicing and bill payment features. It’s an ideal solution for businesses needing a comprehensive trucking management system. It does not include payroll or bank reconciliation but can integrate with Quickbooks to give a complete accounting service.
Tailwind TMS can be pricey for very small trucking company software, but it has a lot to offer mid-size and larger companies. For instance, Tailwind’s Unlimited package enables tracking an unlimited number of shipments per month. It also is capable of managing multiple business branches under the same umbrella.
Tailwind TMS provides tools to ensure records are uploaded as quickly as possible. For example, the mobile app lets drivers capture signed bills of lading with their mobile phones on delivery.
Users report the system is easy to use and can efficiently replace the admin time of several staff members.
ProTransport modules cover all of the major accounting needs, as well as dispatching and maintenance management. Fleet management offerings are also robust with features like live GPS tracking, two-way messaging, and maintenance reminder alerts.
Accounting tools in ProTransport are aimed at keeping things simple. Invoices can be auto-generated, fuel card data can be imported directly from any major provider, and taxes (including IFTA) can be calculated.
ProTransport also integrates with several other applications. These include Quickbooks for accounting and Motive for service hour tracking.
ProTransport does not advertise its pricing and does not offer a free trial of the software so a demo will be required. ProTransport customers are provided with phone and email customer support.
Q7 is a complete bookkeeping and accounting software that also provides a custom suite of trucking management tools like dispatching fleet management, mobile logistics, document management, and shipment status alerts. Additional options include an electronic data interchange (EDI) and a fuel card interface.
Q7 is capable of managing every corner of your trucking business but may require an experienced bookkeeper to make full use of its accounting features. Because it offers so many different tools, the learning curve can be steep compared to other options. However, Q7 does offer training and technical support to help you get going.
Owner operators may find Q7 overpowered for their needs but a motor carrier with a large fleet might find Q7’s robust tools simplify their business accounting and general management.
Unfortunately, Q7 pricing is not transparent. Instead, the company prefers to provide a unique proposal to each client, after showing a free demo.
Technically not a software solution but an alternative, TruckBytes provides free pre-made spreadsheets to streamline invoicing, trip reports, and IFTA filing. These free bookkeeping spreadsheets for truckers are popular with single truck owner operators who are tired of manual recordkeeping but do not want to add accounting software to their monthly expenses.
TruckBytes requires manual entry of invoice, mileage, and expense data into the spreadsheets. While it takes the work out of many calculations, it does not offer many of the automatic entry and reporting functions provided by other software.
Trucking companies may take very different approaches to bookkeeping depending on their size, time in business, and plans to expand. At its most basic, bookkeeping can be tracked manually with ledger books or spreadsheets. Some owner operators take this approach, but it is easy to make mistakes. Instead, most owner operators opt for scaled-down software to streamline their bookkeeping.
Some trucking businesses also opt to hire a professional bookkeeper that makes sure make sure they properly track mileage, income, and expenses. Hiring a professional bookkeeper can be expensive and most accounting systems seek to make a bookkeeper unnecessary for small businesses.
While Quickbooks can be used for trucking companies, some trucking-specific features are missing such as cost-per-mile calculations and IFTA reporting. However, some companies use other solutions for those tasks and find Quickbooks meets their accounting needs.
For example, many ELDs handle IFTA tracking. Additionally, Quickbooks integrates with multiple trucking management solutions so companies that start with Quickbooks can always add on additional trucking software down the line.
It is possible to handle basic bookkeeping with Excel. For instance, an owner operator could track miles, fuel purchases, and meal expenses this way. However, this approach is very time-consuming and does not help with more complicated accounting.
When it comes to tax planning or analyzing cash flow, an Excel spreadsheet will not be sufficient in most cases. For truckers trying to minimize expenses, TruckBytes is a great option for free spreadsheets designed for trucking accounting.
A profit and loss statement is an accounting tool used to calculate net income. It lists all revenue and expenses for a set period of time (usually quarterly or annually). A profit and loss statement can also be used to calculate cost-per-mile, helping you choose loads that will maximize your business income.
A chart of accounts is an accounting tool that categorizes your business income and expenses. Trucking companies often have a unique chart of accounts because revenue and expenses are quite different from other businesses. For example, trucking companies will likely include a gas surcharge income account and a gross trucking income account.
Truck maintenance is categorized into several expense accounts as well. It is important to have different account categories for truck purchases, repairs, and truck loading and unloading tools.
Trucking accounting software can help create a chart of accounts that aligns with the needs of your trucking business.