My advice to anyone getting their motor carrier authority would be to create a relationship with a CPA. I have been using the same CPA to do my taxes since the first year of getting my authority. My first-year profit and loss numbers were a clear sign that a major mechanical failure could have taken me out of business, and I am sure my CPA thought the same thing.
Three years later, after making many improvements and becoming more efficient, I went to see my CPA to review my numbers. After going through each line item, my CPA told me that I had solidified myself. This was a big deal to me, since it was coming from someone who's known my business numbers from the beginning.
Being solidified to me means I am running a profitable business, and big obstacles are now small bumps along the way. I want to maintain this status so at the end of the tax year, I can focus more on looking for ways to be more efficient and cut expenses.
But, I want to learn how to do my own taxes. As much as I like handing over all my numbers to a CPA to figure out my taxes for the year, I would like to take a more hands-on approach this year. I think the more understanding I have about taxes, the better business decisions I'll make.
I have decided to use Quickbooks for accounting and payroll this year. There is tax software that links with Quickbooks that should make it easier for me to start learning how to do my own taxes. Almost all tax preparers understand Quickbooks, so this change might help improve accuracy, if I decide to continue to use a CPA. I'm also trying to read as many books as I can about that topic.
One of easiest ways to cut cost is to look at each line item of expense and start writing down all the ways you could lower it. The easiest way for most of us to save with insurance is to adjust the values we have on our equipment.
Also, I get charged a $7 processing fee each time I make a payment, but if I made one payment in full at the beginning of the term, I would only pay the processing fee once. It's not a lot of money, but it adds up.
If keeping track of money coming in and going out is something that you struggle with, then find a CPA who will do this for you. When you need this kind of service, it's money well spent.
Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 20,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.