QuickBooks Desktop customizations for trucking companies

August 8, 2018|Deb Braun

Customize your QuickBooks Desktop to create a more efficient and streamlined process for your trucking company.

The role of QuickBooks Desktop for a trucking company has changed over the years. With the development of dispatch software, QuickBooks Desktop continues to handle the general ledger, but not the information that can be directly imported through an interface from the dispatch software and other direct feeds. Dispatch software also provides trucking industry-specific reporting options, which are not available in QuickBooks. But for companies not utilizing a dispatch software, there are a few customizations you can make to obtain additional information from your QuickBooks company file.

Customize the Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts can be personalized to include as much or as little detail as you wish. Examples of customizations would be to create income accounts by:

  • Customer type
  • Line, region or state
  • Service, such as warehousing, short haul, long haul, fuel surcharge

Create service items for each of the custom income types and link to the specific income accounts. As you invoice your clients utilizing those service items, the separation of your income on the profit and loss is done completely behind the scenes. This is not exclusive to the income accounts; expense accounts can be customized to provide as much detail as you would like to see. You can set up these personalized accounts as subaccounts, allowing you to print a detailed profit and loss showing all accounts or running the report as a “summarized” profit and loss with the subaccounts collapsed into their main accounts.

Create customized classes by unit to personalize your QuickBooks company file

The first step is to change your company accounting preference to use class tracking for transactions. Then set up a class for each unit in the fleet. Assign customer invoices for hauls using that unit and any bills for expenses directly relating to that specific unit to the unit’s class in the transaction input screen. Inputting transactions with the class will allow you to create a Profit and Loss Statement by Class. This report will show income and direct expenses related to each unit, allowing you to determine a rough estimate of the profitability by unit.

A quick process change can also provide benefits

Add the gallons of fuel in the memo area of IFTA fuel bills so that you can calculate your gallons for IFTA reporting purposes right from your QuickBooks company file. First, if not already set up, create expense accounts specifically for IFTA fuel. When entering bills for IFTA fuel, the gallons should be entered as a number in the memo area of the bill. It is important that only the gallons are entered in the memo area, without any additional wording, to allow for the calculation on the report.

To run the report, go to the Chart of Accounts and select the IFTA fuel expense account. Click reports at the bottom of the page and then choose QuickReport (transaction detail). Export this report to Excel by clicking the Excel button at the top of the report. In the Excel report, format the memo column to a number format and sum the column. This will give you the total gallons for the time period.

These customizations are only a few that are standard to the trucking industry. If you are would like to see additional information reporting from your QuickBooks file, please contact one of our QuickBooks professionals at 800-236-2246. Our QuickBooks team members can work with you to determine if there is a way to obtain the information or if customizations to be made to provide the information from your QuickBooks file.


Deb Braun, CPA, is a manager at Schenck and member of the firm’s Trucking & Logistics team. She has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting, with a specialization in tax planning and compliance services. Deb is also a QuickBooks Certified Advanced ProAdvisor, and is responsible for consulting and assisting clients with all aspects of QuickBooks, including setup, training and troubleshooting.