Five Reasons Why a Fuel Card Makes Expense and Tax Reporting Easier

Businesses that rely on vehicles for day-to-day operations face a continuous need to track fuel spending for expense and tax reporting. 

Without the right tools, businesses are forced to rely on drivers collecting receipts, business owners keying data into spreadsheet software, and manual creation of required reporting documentation. This traditional approach is cumbersome, error-prone, and wastes precious time. 

There’s a reason more and more organizations are using fuel cards to avoid these tangible drawbacks to traditional fuel expense reporting methods.

The right fuel card (see our tips for picking the right fuel card for your business here) will offer a comprehensive toolkit for more efficient fuel expense reporting – without sacrificing a flexible, easy-to-use payment method for drivers. 

In this blog, we explore five reasons why a fuel card makes expense and tax reporting easier. 

Why Fuel Cards Makes Reporting Easier | Reason One:
No More Collecting Receipts

Manual receipt collection is an inherently messy process. In addition to presenting a chronic hassle for drivers, business owners are forced to go over wads of crumpled paper. And all this work only results in a single data point: the amount spent. Without including mileage data, fuel expense information can’t be used for analyzing vehicle efficiency. To capture mileage data without fuel cards, many businesses resort to hand-written mileage notes: yet another cumbersome data point that will require more data-entry to effectively record, report, and analyze. 

With a fuel card, a driver simply enters an odometer reading and personalized PIN number at the point-of-purchase. This data is collected automatically, with perfect accuracy, and is available right away via a web portal. 

With a fuel card, drivers don’t have to worry about keeping receipts, and management doesn’t need to worry about collecting them.

Why Fuel Cards Makes Reporting Easier | Reason Two :
Putting an End to Data Entry

For a traditional fuel expense reporting process, receipt collection is just the first of many chores. Once receipts are collected, the business owner or fleet manager is faced with painstakingly going over each and every one. Each new receipt that has to be keyed in introduces another risk of human error (especially when the user may not be an advanced spreadsheet expert). Meanwhile, all this manual data entry simply wastes time that few businesses can afford to lose. 

A fuel card can dramatically cut the chore list associated with fuel expense and tax reporting, saving time, eliminating human data entry errors, and all while recording more granular, actionable detail than ever before.

Why Fuel Cards Makes Reporting Easier | Reason Three:
Drill Down with Granular Data to Understand Key Details

Fuel cards collect a few simple data points, like a personalized driver PIN and odometer reading. If thoughtfully tied together, this information can be the foundation for a much deeper understanding of your vehicles’ expenditures. You can easily drill down into the data however you need to: by vehicle, driver, geography, or fuel type. 

This added detail makes it possible to track KPI’s, identify cost outliers and problematic driving/purchasing behaviors, and quickly understand where your vehicles are spending the most.

Why Fuel Cards Makes Reporting Easier | Reason Four:
Automated Report Generation

Even after the long work of collecting and keying-in receipts is done, yet more work is required to turn this data into expense reports, tax documentation, and other business-critical output. Tax time means more hours spent crawling through expense spreadsheets. 

With the right fuel card, key reports can be generated automatically, ensuring that fuel expense data can be put to use accurately, quickly, and with minimum hassle. And, instead of being locked away in a spreadsheet, key reports can easily be generated and accessed from anywhere. 

For instance, managers can head to an intuitive web portal to check fuel spending, generate reports, and even take actions like closing specific cards.

Why Fuel Cards Makes Reporting Easier | Reason Five:
Real-Time Issue Detection for Actionable Reporting

Traditional, spreadsheet-driven fuel expense tracking often only records expenditures long after the purchase, even months after the fact. While usable for administrative reporting, this lag prevents effective real-time monitoring of vehicle expenses. This means theft, fraud, and card misuse may not be detected until months after they’ve begun costing your business. Even then, managers may have to exhaustively pour over individual vehicle expense reports to identify fraudulent spending or other risks.

With a fuel card, management not only has access to real-time data but the capability to automatically flag suspicious or anomalous spending. You can be alerted, for instance, if a card is used outside specified zip codes or over customizable spending limits. By comparing the fuel efficiency implied by the odometer readings recorded at each vehicle’s fuel stops, your fuel card can even be used to detect potential maintenance issues (lagging efficiency is often an early indicator of a maintenance problem). 

A fuel card effectively transforms a business’s fuel expense reporting system from an administrative chore into a valuable tool that can create real savings (while cutting risks like stolen cards that could cost the business thousands). 

Fuel Reporting and Beyond: A True Fuel Management Toolkit d

The five reasons discussed above show how fuel cards can transform fuel expense reporting, making it easier and more powerful all at once. But automated reporting is just the first of many benefits that a fuel card can provide. 
Fuel card’sfers all the capabilities needed to function as a true toolkit for fuel management: you can not only document spending, but proactively control it with customizable spending limits. And, with implementation assistance ready to get a your cards working in new businesses in around 30 days, organizations are able to transform their fuel management capabilities in a matter of weeks.