Many people make resolutions each New Year. While I have never been one to choose the end of the year to make a change, I understand why many do. It is a particular defining line in the calendar. I prefer to constantly look for better, more efficient ways to tackle a problem throughout the year, which leaves me nothing in particular to resolve at the year’s end.

If you are an owner operator in the trucking industry, you know we see many changes throughout the year. We must adjust to each in order to remain safe and profitable.

For those who have chosen to make resolutions again this year, now is the best time to start a new habit. Get organized.

No doubt many owner operators dread April 15th each year. Much of the anxiety can be be linked to preparation. When you are prepared, you are confident and calm.

Spreadsheets can be your best friend or worst enemy. If you are new to using them, read the tutorials, watch some of the multitudes of videos online or ask your fellow truckers who use them to help you get started.

Multiple spreadsheets or just multiple pages in a spreadsheet can help your recordkeeping stay organized and also make finding information easy to locate.

A few ideas for using spreadsheets as owner operators:

1.     Tracking fuel mileage and purchases

2.     Tracking your per diem

3.     Maintenance records

4.     Customers

5.     Daily expenses incurred on the road

6.     Household expenses

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Tracking your numbers (income and expenses) is the only way to know if you are truly profitable and can help you find areas where improvements can be made. Finding even small improvements that positively affect to your bottom line during the year can add up to more revenue in your pocket before you make that New Year’s resolution.

Resolving to solve problems in your business can be a great first step, waiting until the end of the year to do so can be detrimental to your success. Decide now to resolve issues as they arise instead of waiting until the next new year.

It is easy to organize and track your income and expenses. If you use an online spreadsheet like Google Sheets, you can also have access to them from just about any device.

If you make a habit of keeping track ALL year, preparing for that April 15th deadline will be much easier than waiting until the end of the year and sorting through shoe boxes full of paperwork and receipts to make sense of it all.

When the time comes to put all you numbers on those dreaded tax forms, your accountant will be able to decipher all of your numbers easily from your organized spreadsheets. In this digital age, there really is no excuse for not getting organized and making your own bookkeeping easier.

If you are not one to do this yourself, hire an accounting firm like ATBS who specializes in trucking. Just do not wait until the end of 2019, start now

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Greg Huggins

Greg has been in the trucking industry since the late 1980s. After spending 25+ years as an owner operator with United Van Lines, he leased to Landstar Express America in 2014. Greg is always trying to learn something new and share what he has learned with others.

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