No matter the nature of the company, managing business expenses can be tough. The money you devote to keeping operations running smoothly is crucial to your success, but it also poses a potential threat: Spend too much in relation to your profits, and you may quickly find yourself upside down. Fail to keep track of your spending, and you may end up crippling your cashflow.
It’s for this reason that companies invest so much time and energy into both monitoring and streamlining their business expenses. This is, of course, more complicated for firms with a mobile work force, as they increasingly find themselves struggling to stay on top of every invoice and receipt. With multiple driver claiming different costs – and sometimes quite a few vehicles to keep track of – disorganization is a hazard that can cost your company dearly, and you cannot overlook the possibility of fraud.
To maximize the value of your mobile work force and minimize the associated budgetary risks, consider the type of expenses you need to track:
- What employees are spending, and on what
- Fuel efficiency
- Vehicle maintenance
- Unexpected repairs
- Companies can keep their tracking as simple as possible by focusing on the benefits of tracking expenses, which include:
Accessing actionable, fleet-related data (fuel consumption, vehicles’ telemetry readings, etc.)
- Reducing fleet-related costs
- Identifying and addressing under-performing vehicles
- Anticipating vehicle repairs
- Fuel efficiency
Fuel economy is always top of mind when selecting vehicles for a fleet, as fuel costs can have a huge impact on a business’s fleet budget. The trouble is, it isn’t always clear where and how you can save money.
There are many variables at play when it comes to monitoring your fleet’s fuel consumption. How your drivers operate your vehicles, for example, can either decrease or increase your fuel efficiency, so tracking what they spend on fuel and knowing the techniques they use (or don’t use) while driving is vital to reducing expenses.
Fuel cards, or business gas cards, can provide you with detailed transaction reports and enable you to optimize your fuel and operating expenses, thus reducing the financial strain on your business. Not only can fuel cards provide you with discounts on gas purchases, but maintenance and repair costs as well. They can also help you identify under-performing trucks.
Incorporating fuel cards into your business operations can provide the actionable data your company needs, to help you develop a more efficient fuel strategy.
Calculating your maintenance spend goes hand-in-hand with fuel management. Consolidating your fuel costs with what you dedicate to keeping your fleet in operating condition is invaluable. It makes you aware of all expenses as they occur, ensures you have a comprehensive overview of your operations and allows you to manage the risk of overspending.
Even if your drivers haven’t identified any mechanical problems with your trucks, their expenses may reveal imminent issues and prepare you for upcoming costs. Take full advantage of data that indicates when a particular vehicle is receiving low miles per gallon (mpg) and generating conspicuously high fuel costs.
While every business wants to be as prepared as possible, mechanical problems can crop up at any time, putting pressure on your budget by requiring additional and unexpected investments.
When you’ve got a good handle on your fleet expenses, you’re in an ideal position to evaluate the most critical of repairs — and replacements — to spend your budget on.
Fleet Financials reports that knowing when to cut your losses is integral to managing the expense of a fleet. Often, organizations try to prolong the life of a vehicle so long that it will ultimately accrue higher fuel and maintenance costs. “This practice of utilizing an aging fleet stems from previous practices, a lack of capital funding or failure to communicate the costs and benefits of timely fleet replacement,” Fleet Financials writes.
A fuel card can certainly help you pay for fuel, repairs and maintenance expenses, but learning how to optimize vehicle replacement cycles can also save you a lot of grief and money. Data from your fuel card and other sources can help you define your ideal vehicle lifecycle.
The business expenses that companies track to keep their mobile workforce going can range from fuel, to car and truck repairs to job-site supplies. There’s no doubt that this kind of administrative work can be overwhelming. But having a tight grasp on this data can result in cost savings, a more efficient business operation and less time spent filing invoices and crunching numbers. And that’s something every business owner can appreciate.