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What Is a CPA for Truckers?

Having a CPA as a truck driver may sound like overkill, but if you were to look in your glove box or driving binder, how many crinkled receipts do you have?

If you’re a company driver and you left the company gas card at home, who’s going to remind you to get reimbursed for your out-of-pocket expense? What about that diner you broke down near in the middle of nowhere that only accepted cash and used written receipts that you went to while you waited for commercial roadside assistance? So the last one might be a bit of a stretch from reality, but expenses happen, and keeping track of them can be simple enough, but what happens come tax time, these questions are something that you shouldn’t have to answer, and the entire purpose of hiring a CPA for truckers.

In this article, we’re going to break down what a trucker CPA is, and why you need one.

What Does a CPA Do Exactly?

A CPA is a certified public accountant, beyond a bookkeeper, a CPA will prepare your taxes, prepare reports and give you snapshots of your business from angles only a number cruncher could. CPAs not only save you time, but because of their knowledge of tax code and banking practices, CPAs can also save you money and act as a financial advisor to help you reach your financial goals. Dealing solely in practicality, CPAs can help you temper your growth to work with your run rate and balance sheet.

Why Do Truckers Need Accountants?

Of all of the industries that have digitized over the last 100 years, trucking is still a peer-to-peer industry, even with all of its modern advancements. There’s no way to force the world around you to go paperless, and even if you could, there would be no way to make sure everyone used the same systems, and this is where an accountant comes in. 

Accountants can come in and unclutter your books, and keep your library of financial documents tidy and up to date monthly, quarterly annually, or at even smaller increments depending on your agreement.

Benefits of Hiring a CPA for Truckers

Making sure that your books are in order is an essential part of running a trucking business properly. Even with the help of a TMS (trucking management system), making sure that you making your dollars stretch nearly as far as your routes can be a complicated tax if you aren’t fully informed.

Avoid Fraud

If you run a fleet, you may not notice the granular expenses that are submitted for reimbursement. You might notice incongruent fuel rates that can happen because of the market, but with the forensic account, you might find out that you’re dealing with fuel theft. Outside of that, CPAs can take more exacting looks to figure out where money is going, and if it’s being misappropriated. On the other hand, CPAs can help you not commit fraud by incorrectly writing things off, or having a balance sheet that isn’t quite correct.

Manage Finances

CPAs for truckers can handle all of your bookkeeping needs including payrolls, aggregating and reporting financial statements, tax prep and execution, and a litany of other financial services like incorporation and regulatory compliance to make your life easier. 

Less Paperwork

Business owners already deal with a lot of paperwork, and truckers deal with, even more, combine the two and you can have a mountain worth of paperwork ahead of you, or you can just collect all of your financial materials and hand them over to the professionals, to sort, collate, aggregate and report for you.

Reduce Overhead

CPAs are all about the numbers, if there are ways to save your business money, CPAs will find them. Though your operating costs may stay the same, your overhead costs, with the exception of fixed overhead costs, can almost always be reduced. Accountants’ sole purpose is to make sure that the numbers are correct, which can save costly financial mistakes. 

Manage Taxes

Truckers file taxes every quarter, the average non-business owner spends 13 hours doing their taxes, and nearly 20 tax deductions truckers can use to save themselves money, keeping track of all the changes in the tax code can be a nuisance, knowing how and when to apply write-offs seems like it should be simple but the only thing worse than breaking down mid-delivery is an audit from the IRS.

Do Truckers Need a CPA for Taxes?

If you’re asking yourself, “do I need a trucker CPA?”, the answer is probably no, most people won’t need a CPA for trucking, but let’s look at some of the 10+ line items you can write off as a trucker.

  • Insurance Premiums
  • Dues
  • Cell Phone Plans
  • Personal Electronics
  • Driving School
  • Travel Meals
  • Medical
  • Dispatch Fees
  • Licensing Fees
  • Load Expenses
  • Tools
  • Fuel Costs
  • Travel Expenses
  • Excise Taxes
  • Truck Maintenance

Aside from all of those deductions that you need to keep track of, and their non-deductible counterparts (i.e. you can only deduct meals that are not in your local area, even if you’re on the clock).  If you moonlight as an actuary or auditor, this might sound like simple work, but filing self-employment taxes can be a convoluted nightmare if you’re not a tax professional.

Is it Worth it to Hire a CPA?

If none of the things above have convinced you to hire a CPA, you probably can’t be convinced, but consider one final thing. Having an accountant will allow you to keep more of the money you make, while also helping you pivot away from wasting the money you have.

Even Scrooge Had a CPA

Bob Cratchit, the most famous bookkeeper in history, even though totally fiction, worked for a character known for his frugality, and even he found it necessary to have an accountant. A trucker CPA won’t break the bank, but it will save you hours of time that you could be spending on the road. Outside of saving you time, your CPA can help inform your financial decisions in ways you might not even know are available to you. And if you need one final reason, a CPA for trucking can do your taxes, and no one wants to do those.

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