The Federal Government's recent announcement about how FBT will need to be calculated for cars means that most businesses will need to return to the logbook method for their employees. While some are understandably concerned about using electronic logbooks, there is an argument to be made if it can provide a real cost saving.
App makers provide easy-to-use logbook apps that allow drivers to quickly and accurately log their trips on the go. Users can provide easily log their odometer readings, distance traveled and purpose of their trip on their smart phone and then provide that data to their employers.
From ATO approved apps such as the free Logit Fleetcare (free on the App Store) right up to the more sophisticated Your Car log ($220 per year), there is an app to suit most needs. For those businesses with fleet arrangements, the ability to easily pull the data required for FBT reporting is likely to be an attractive feature.
: Free on iTunes
or Google Play
Fleetcare is one of Australia's largest fleet management companies and has produced a straightforward app that will help small business owners to quickly capture travel data. After setting up your vehicle, you're immediately able to log your trips using GPS or manually adding in your data. The app also enables you to review your trips, log expenses and email your data. You can track multiple vehicles as well.
The one downside of the app (or benefit, depending on how you view it) is that data can't be published until 12 weeks worth of information has been recorded. Given that the Government changes require a minimum 12 weeks data per five years, this isn't such a negative.
The app itself is simple to navigate and add data into. A good starter app for businesses with a few employees.
$9.49 from iTunes
. Enterprise edition also available.
Vehicle Log enables users to accurately track the business portion of their car usage over multiple vehicles, logbook periods and integration with the iPhone's iCal app. Data is collated in to an audit report that can be exported as a CSV or PDF, and users can choose to switch on the use of GPS to automatically calculate odometer readings.
The simple interface of this app should means that you're easily able to add and view trip data, then share it with your accounts team. An enterprise edition is also available for businesses who want to centralise staff logbook data. VehicleLog hosts the data and user data is collected from individual users.
Your Car Log (www.yourcarlog.com)
$220 per year (monthly and quarterly options available)
While Your Car Log isn't strictly an app, it does utilise apps that you already use on your smartphone.
Your Car Log offers a simple but powerful tool to manage expenses and travel information by using other tools you already use. While you're recoding the same type of data as Logit Fleetcare and VehicleLog, however instead of having to log your travel data via a smartphone, the system uses your calendar to log all of your business trips important business purpose information that already is likely to exist in your calendar apps. The data also links to your contact apps.
Each time you log an appointment in your Outlook Calendar or iCal, you can enter your destination address or select a previously visited address. The system will utilise an enterprise edition of Google Maps to check your appointment details and measure the distance between your start and end points, all the while logging it against the purpose for the trip. It's this last step that is the compliance aspect of FBT you need to get right.
The software can also discount any mileage associated with the personal part of your journey. Your journeys are logged but editable. All data is available as am Excel or CSV report.
The three options above are just three of the many apps available via the iTunes store and Google Play, so it's worth exploring which ones will work best for your business. One of the key things we recommend you look for is whether the app is ATO compliant
. That will help you to ensure you're recording data inline with the ATO's requirements.
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Last updated August 2013. This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be used in place of advice from your accountant. Please contact us on 02 9957 4033 to discuss your specific circumstances.
This article is provided for information purposes only and correct at the time of publication. It should not be used in place of advice from your accountant. Please contact us on 02 9957 4033 to discuss your specific circumstances.