Recording Vehicle Mileage (km's)


Is there a way of recording vehicle mileage/kilometres for a business in Manager for Mac?

To date, I have been using another accounting software program (Express Accounts) which has this as a recordable feature but I can’t see this as an option in Manager for Mac.

It would be handy to be able to record:

• Vehicle type/name/registration
• Customer Details (if visiting a client or linking mileage/km’s to a specific client)
• Job Code/Reference/Details
• Trip Start Date
• Trip Finish Date
• Odometer Start
• Odometer Finish
• Total Mileage/km (total is automatically calculated from the #'s entered in the Odometer start/finish entries so no need to work out mileage/km’s driven
• Notes

Is this available in Manager for Mac?
If not, would it be possible to have this built in as a report and a setting for reporting purposes?

Cheers and many thanks!

Logbook entries are currently unsupported. I’ve seen users maintaining their log book outside of Manager, then accountant making one summarizing journal entry at the end of the year.

Most people don’t even bother, for example in Australia, if you drive less than 5,000 km per year, you can claim up to 5,000 km without keeping a logbook.

It’s certainly easy to add since it has very little implications on rest of the system, it’s just that this feature has been always very low on user’s wishlist. I will do some research and will follow up on this soon as to when this could be implemented.

Thanks for the reply. Appreciate it.

I’m in Australia and using this method (cents-per-km) rather than logbook as I expect to travel less than 5000 km.

Since we still need to record the actual work trips (so we know how many kilometres to claim at the end of the financial year), I’m wondering if there’s a way to do this in Manager.

I’m not familiar with Journal entries so I will follow up on the documentation for that.

Essentially, I need to record date + km travelled + short description.

I have been using Google Sheets to handle my entire accounting records so far. If there’s no way to handle this in Manager, I can just continue logging vehicle expenses in the sheet for the time being.

There is no way currently in Manager

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A good way to enter distance allowances in Manager is through Expense Claims. No company money changes hands when a personal vehicle is driven on company business, but the expense is still generally an allowable deduction. So enter as an expense claim, showing Payer as the person whose vehicle is driven and Payee as Allowance.

The transaction creates a liability in Expense claims or is posted directly to a capital account or Employee clearing account, depending on status of the payer. See this Guide for more details and instructions on how (or if) to clear the liability:

All that said, you won’t be entering the details usually required by a tax authority into Manager, like odometer readings. But regulations usually require contemporaneous records, and log or phone app available in the vehicle is often a better way to handle that. Then you can make a monthly, quarterly, or annual entry into Manager. For distance billable to a customer, post the expense claim to Billable expenses => Customer name.

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Thanks for the information @Tut, I’ve attempted to follow those instructions. Link is very helpful.

What I did, based on the information you provided:

I am a sole trader / proprietorship, and the claims I make on travel should not be reported as an expense at the end of the financial year - they’ll be reported separately in a section that exists only for the vehicle claim. I think you already know this, but thought I’d mention it in case there is any confusion.

  1. I have created an Expense Claim Payer that represents the vehicle.
  2. I create an Expense Claim which has vehicle as the Payer, Qty = distance travelled, Unit price = amount specified by tax office per kilometre. I set Account = Expense claims.
  3. These claims do not appear on the Summary tab anywhere. Expense claims is blank.

Since I don’t want to see this information anywhere until the end of the financial year when I need the total, and I don’t want it to affect any balances / equity / liabilities / etc, I think this is now set up exactly how I need it.

Journal Entries are mentioned on the link you posted as well, but I suspect I don’t want these because I don’t need to reimburse anyone (not even myself), I just need to store the kilometers and dollar amount.

Which is why I would also have been OK with storing it in my spreadsheet if required (it doesn’t need to interact with anything else). But if I can store it in Manager like this, then that is an excellent bonus!

One question for you - based on what I’ve written above, do you believe I have the correct understanding of how this works? Or are these Expense Claims likely to impact on one of the reports or other parts of Manager in a way that I don’t expect?

Thanks for your help,

Why can’t they be shown as an expense. If its a genuine cost in running the business then the business accounts are entitled to show those actual costs. It’s just that the reporting documentation may require different expenses to be shown separately (split up) but that doesn’t distract from them being business expenses. You could just design your chart of accounts to suit reporting requirements.

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We are in the US and since a large percentage of our clients are in the agricultural industry. Here, large pieces of equipment are more frequently tracked by actual hours of operation. Our clients use these figures not only for accounting purposes but also for preventive maintenance. As such we found the tracking and documentation of vehicle and other farm oriented equipment (tractors, combines and the like) is easier and more beneficial for our clients to use a separate program for this purpose. Each hour of operation has its own specific operational hourly cost factor which allows us and the client a clearer picture of individual equipment operational costs as well as that specific piece of equipment’s PM requirements. Our agricultural clients keep the day-today records for the individual pieces of equipment and send us the appropriate information monthly. With the information they provide us, we make the appropriate journal entries and of course at the end of the year, depreciation entries.

The name of the game for us is providing the client the information they need to operate their business the most efficiently and cost effectively. This means we have to often do things a little differently than the majority of bookkeeping and accounting businesses do. More often we go out to our client’s rather than them coming in to our office. This also provides us the opportunity to better understand exactly what is going on in their business operation and the client the opportunity to discuss issues that may be difficult for us to obtain a real clear picture of if we were not at their operation.

I thought this perspective might be insightful to some the forum readers should they also work with agricultural oriented businesses.

@dmpfos - Now you are completly confusing the topic.

This topic is about “recording vehicle mileage”, eg rate per mile/klm, yet your entire response relates to “hours of operation”. These are two entirely different subjects.

Yes, they should, for reasons @Brucanna has explained.

The expense claims payer should be the person who pays the expense: in other word, you. Naming the payer as the vehicle will not make the entries wrong, but misrepresents how the claims function works. It could cause you audit problems if the tax man comes calling. Just go back to Settings and edit the name of the payer to your own, since you’re a sole trader.

This is incorrect. Manager will automatically credit Expense claims (and the payer’s subaccount) when the expense claim is entered. The account you need to select is for the debit. This should be something like Motor vehicle if the expense is deductible by your business, as it is. But if you are passing the distance charge through to a customer as part of a project, you should choose Billable expenses and the customer’s name instead. Then, when you invoice the customer, you will have the option to include billable expenses and billable time from the Customers tabs. You can read about that process in separate Guides.

That is because your incorrect account selection debited Expense claims for the same amount Manager was crediting. In effect, your incorrect allocation was nullifying the transaction.

You don’t have a choice. It will show in Expense claims as a liability until cleared. Anything else is a misrepresentation of the company’s position.

Perhaps not, but you need to clear the Expense claims liability. The journal entries mentioned clear the liability to owner’s equity. No money changes hands. You debit Expense claims and credit Owner’s equity. Do this as frequently as you like. I find monthly convenient, or you could wait until the end of the year. But it would be sloppy to carry over such a liability into a new accounting period. It’s not that much work: make the journal entry once and clone it next time, editing only the amount being cleared.

Hopefully, you do now. Think of it this way. By driving your personal vehicle, you are investing the cost of doing so into the company as a contribution in kind. The business owes you for that, just as it would if another employee drove a personal vehicle or bought an airline ticket. And your tax authority recognizes the distance charges as legitimate business expenses, so they need to be shown in your records, not tacked onto a form at the end of the year. By clearing Expense claims to Owner’s equity, you are simply showing your full investment in the business.

I think your expectations were incomplete. I suggest rereading the Guide on expense claims.

Finally, understand that if you are using Capital Accounts as a way of recording owner’s equity, and have yourself set up as a member, you automatically are an expense claims payer. (That is explained in the Guide, too.) Then, the claim is automatically cleared to your capital account and does not appear in Expense claims liability account. More work on the equity accounting side, but less on the expense claims side.

I had the same issue as you needing to track and pay mileage in Manager - I was recording all my journeys in excel and it was time consuming, error prone and I missed out on trips. Have a look at Milelogik mileage tracker. This makes the job so much easier as you plug the device into your car and you press the button for business trip or don’t press the button for personal trip. Then end of the month you import into the datalogger software and you can go through your trips and check each one is business/personal as sometimes I press button when I shouldn’t or vice versa.

So much quicker than writing down log entries every day and is far better proof of your trips as its all in the program! It even calculates your mileage for how much you need to re-imburse yourself and you just put that amount into Manager.

If you are a ltd company, then in your payslip along with your salary, create a Business Mileage expense account and pay into that. If you are a sole trader, then the method that Tut suggested would work best for you.

Originally I was wanting this functionality included in Manager, but I have come to the conclusion that sometimes its better to use a separate program otherwise Manager would end up a huge program supporting mileage tracking, tracking vehicle expenses etc. So now I recommend using Manager for the actual financial transaction and a separate program to do the logging/tracking.

Sorry for the delayed response here. I’d just like to briefly thank those that posted some additional suggestions.

I have bookmarked a few posts, and when I have a chance I’ll be trying your suggestions. Will report back once that is done.

Thank you all again for your assistance with this in the past. Since I have some more time at the moment, I’m ready to tackle this task and bring my claims into Manager. I’ve re-read posts, and believe I have a better understanding now.

A greater understanding of Manager as a whole can’t hurt, either :slight_smile:

On a backup of my business, I’ve done this:

  1. Enabled the Capital Accounts tab, and created one with my name. On my real business I’ll probably set a starting balance, but for now it’s zero.

  2. Updated the Chart of Accounts, so that below Expenses it now has:

    (as per @Brucanna’s reply)

  3. Enabled the ‘Expense Claims’ tab, and created a new record:
    Payer: Capital Account
    Payee: Name of store expense was paid to, or just “Allowance” in this case.
    Account: Travel Claims listed under Other Expenses (see above)
    Quantity: Number of kilometers travelled
    Unit price: Tax office provided rate per kilometer

  4. I created a few more Expense Claim records, using similar values to above.

  5. On the Summary tab, I can see:
    Equity => Capital Accounts has a value equal to the total claim amount.
    Other Expenses => Travel Claims has the same value.

  6. On the Capital Accounts tab, I can see:
    My name shows up, with ‘Amount to pay’ matching the total claim amount.

Now, if I understand correctly, my next step (either immediately or at the end of the financial year) is to clear this ‘Amount to pay’ towards myself.

And I can do this in two ways:

  1. Creating a Journal Entry where I debit Expense Claims and credit Owner’s Equity so that my owner’s equity is increased.
    At least, that’s what I’m reading from one of @Tut’s posts above - but I suspect that might not relate to the Capital Account setup I’m using, and is only for when using an Expense Claim Payer?
  2. Actually paying myself back from my business bank account to my personal bank account (which makes no legal difference, as a sole trader, but would clear it up from an accounting point of view).

Regarding the above two:

  1. Journal Entry, I’m a bit confused by this, what should I select?
  2. Paying myself, I have even less idea on how to do this, and run into a similar uncertainty on which sub-account to select on the payment. I started off by going to my business bank account and selecting ‘Spend money’.

Of course, I’d only do one of the above. Just trying to understand my options. In my case, as I mentioned above, I’m doing this via a Capital Account - there is no Employee clearing account in this case, for example.


Journal Entry
The Capital Account is Owners Equity, so if the total of the expense claims is already in a Capital Accounts subaccount then you don’t need to do anything - no Journal required.

Paying back
You would do a Spend Money and the Account line would be Capital Accounts + Shane Smith + Drawings.

Thank you!

Update on what I can see, after creating a test payment:

  1. On the Summary tab, I can see:
    Equity => Capital Accounts is now empty / zeroed out.
    Other Expenses => Travel Claims remains as it was ($99.00 in this case).

  2. On the Capital Accounts tab, I can see:
    My name shows up, with ‘Amount to pay’ equal to $0.00 now.

From my understanding this is all correct. Much appreciated to all.

In case it helps someone else, I also wanted a good way to report on how many kilometres I had travelled (as an easier way of verifying that the total expense claims was accurate, if I am audited).

The simplest way to do this seems to be to create a Custom Field for the Expense Claims tab, and I just need to copy the Qty in there when creating one. Simple.

Now the “KM Travelled” custom field also shows up if I export to Excel:

And if I need to make any non travel-related claims, I can easily filter those out.

This works perfectly :slight_smile:

I love Manager’s flexibility with things like this.

I would reinforce what @Brucanna has already written, in a slightly different way. As a sole trader, you should use either a capital account, with subaccounts for contributions, distributions, and drawings, or Owner’s equity, but not both. Why maintain a capital account just as a pass-through for mileage (km) allowances? If you have followed the process described on simple equity accounting described here, that is completely redundant.

On the other hand, if your accountant is a purist in love with complications and insists on capital accounts, there is nothing wrong with using a capital account as a sole trader. It’s just more work, but does give some reporting/analysis benefits, such as being able to see at a glance how much you’ve drawn from the company.

I can’t quite follow your illustration. The export table has 7 column headings, but the table row shown seems to have 8. Can you post (1) a little more of the table and (2) an example expense claim edit screen?

You are right, in hindsight it does look a little confusing. Perhaps if I represent it this way…

Date          04/09/2017
#             6
Payer         Shane Smith
Account       Travel Claims (Per Kilometre)
Payee         Allowance
KM Travelled  46.80
Amount        A$ 30.89

And like this… (Expense Claim edit screen)

Yes, I was reading that later and noticed that it was a little simpler.

However, some points / questions:

  • At the moment my business is not my main source of income. My intention is that if it were to become my main source of income, I’d investigate converting it into a company structure instead. Would having things set up as a Capital Account now, assist with that later conversion?
  • I currently do my own accounting and tax returns, as it’s simple enough that I don’t need to hire an accountant and the tax office provides plenty of tools to make self-lodgement as easy as possible. But I do like reports :slight_smile:
  • Once I reach a certain income level with this business, I’ll need to start sending in reports/statements every 3 months at a minimum. I’m using Manager now so that when it reaches that point, I’ll have less work to do.