The new financial year is well and truly underway and with the ever-present FBT reporting requirements from the tax department a massive drain on resources, making sure your vehicle logbook is up to date is essential to get the best results come tax time.
Thankfully though, these days you can do away with paper and pencil. Now your smartphone can do the hard work instead via some rather awesome apps.
In much the same way as you interact on social media, you can now have ATO compliant data that is ready to send directly to your employer, or accountant when it’s needed in a flash.
No more writing your km’s on scraps of paper in the car or filling in annoying logbooks that wind up being lost in your boot!
Updated for FY 2018/19, here are our top 9 logbook apps for the smartphone and tablet available in the Google Play & iTunes App Store. Give them a try – we think they’ll make your life much easier and save your valuable time so you can enjoy the things in life you’d rather be doing.
(Note: Many of these apps rely on GPS tracking. So if you’re using them often, be sure to keep a power brick or extra phone charger handy otherwise you won’t be able to get the data you need).
Driversnote is an intelligent mileage logbook that works to automatically track your trips to ensure all of your ducks are aligned in a row when it comes to mileage claims for your ATO tax claim.
The app is ideal for employees, employers and self-employed individuals looking to document personal and business trips effectively as per ATO requirements.
You can log trips on your iPhone or Android device, comply with ATO requirements, auto start and stop option, and all information is available online for your convenience.
If you’re the type to easily forget to keep your log book up to date, the creators of LogbookMe have some good news for you.
Stepping up in the usability stakes, thanks to a small “plug & play” device added to your car (full instructions included, and they say it’s compatible with most cars made after 1996), the bits that you’re most likely to forget are taken care of for you.
Once you have everything set up, the start & end of your trip is automatically recorded, and the app prompts you via a notification on your smartphone to complete the trip details. Thanks to its calendar integration, this may be as simple as classifying a business or personal trip.
Another feature of this app is that it’s cloud-based, meaning you can access and manage your information from a standard web browser via the LogbookMe website.
The app is fully ATO compliant and can export to both PDF & Excel formats. It has a number of functionality modules customisable for a single vehicle or fleet management use.
ATO Vehicle Logbook
This app is fully ATO compliant for claiming the percentage business use of a vehicle and supports the use of multiple vehicles, and multiple logbook periods.
It has a simple, no fuss approach, and will let you send the completed log directly to your employer, accountant or tax agent in excel / CSV format.
This app offers a wide range of features including multiple vehicle options, icons for specific vehicles, multiple logbook periods, reports for business use, trip records, CSV & PDF file export, plus journey reason and descriptions entry.
Compatible with iPhone & iPad, logs can be sent directly to an employer, accountant or tax agent all via the app.
Developer: John Lyons
Download: iTunes Store
DriverDirect is an app created by Toyota Finance Australia Limited that has a host of features including a fuel site locator, and presumably useful if you are driving a Toyota, a dealer locator too.
The app allows you to record expenses and create reports from them, which can be viewed in a useful graph. Logbook reporting as you’d expect can be downloaded via PDF or in CSV format, or sent directly to your accounts team or line manager, via email.
The app comes with a range of features including the ability to log trips via GPS tracking and also features record trip history, a fuel site locator, expenses, and reports. ATO compliant, the app works with novated lease cars as well.
It’ll support multiple vehicles and allows you to manually update a trip should the need arise. You can also mark certain trips as favourites to enable quicker classification.
Travel Logs – Vehicle Logbook
This app gets itself a special mention in our roundup as being the only one that offers Apple Watch compatibility. The app is ATO compliant and works to offer a wide range of features with the help of GPS tracking.
The app itself is feature-laden and offers a host of iOS integrations. iCloud syncing, calendar and contacts integration, and the ability to export PDF reports to Air Print. (Email reports & CSV format exports are also available).
Team the app up with your device’s GPS function, and it will auto-fill trip information for you, including estimating the distance travelled, so there’s no need to enter the final odometer reading yourself. This feature works alongside route recording, which allows you to see where you went, right down to street level.
While the app is free, there is a range of in-app purchases to increase functionality, including $11.49 for all access, $4.49 for vehicle expense tracking and $1.49 for watch integration.
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
Developer: Sockii Pty Ltd
Download: iTunes Store
We live in a world of cloud-connected people. So it makes sense for app developers to accommodate that as a potential point of difference. Vehicle Logger steps up to that requirement with data storage /sharing options available for Google Drive, DropBox, Box & OneDrive.
This is the third of our apps to feature international support, this one including the USA’s IRS on its roster. One feature mentioned here we didn’t see in any of the others is support for Bluetooth, and something called trip triggers. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any more detail on this, but if it’s an automation feature, we’re fans.
Also included are the standard PDF & CSV report exports, expense logging and calendar integration. There’s support for a home screen widget, useful for heavy users, and the developer says he’s working on automated cloud backups & web-based reporting. All logbooks are suitable for ATO tax purposes and the FBT plus BAS.
The maximum cost of additional in-app purchase is stated to be $5.99. The app also receives a fairly healthy 4.2 rating on the Google Play store and has been installed tens of thousands of times.
Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
Download: Google Play
TripLog – Auto Mileage
Track your mileage via GPS with the mobile app that features a wide range of benefits including expense tracking, fuel economy calculation, reports and much more.
The app commences when you plug into a power source and are driving reading your odometer as you go. The app syncs with the cloud and provides the information you need to get your tax and FBT deductions sorted.
Recently updated, this is the second app in our roundup to feature Apple Watch compatibility.
Rounding out our collection comes what is at first glance a nice looking app from ORIX, another fleet management company. Unfortunately, even though it’s available in both the app stores, you can only use it if you’re an ORIX customer.
That aside, if you are an ORIX customer (or thinking of becoming one), the app itself is comprehensive and covers the regular features you’ll need to make tracking your mileage nice & easy.
To use, tap the ‘Record a Trip’ icon, and when done, update the entry with your final odometer reading, journey type, and purpose. The app will do the rest. To access reporting, you’ll need to request one to be sent to you via email.
GOFAR is a multi-award-winning Australian-made telematics device and mobile app designed to fully automate your work-related car expenses, while also helping you drive more efficiently.
In fact, the makers claim it could even save you up to 30% on fuel consumption – which is a bonus we like the sound of, given the ever-rising price of petrol!
Although GOFAR isn’t strictly speaking a smartphone app, we thought it important to cover here as its innovative technology worked differently than the other apps.
It uses a device (not your smartphone) to automatically log all your trips by detecting when the engine is running. There’s no fiddling with an app or pen and paper – and recording vehicle trips works even if you forget/ lose your smartphone.
All trips can be exported to Excel or emailed to your accountant with start /end odometer readings, time and date stamps, with the choice of custom ATO or IRS rules.
The system real strength comes in the dashboard-mounted “Ray” device which syncs with your car’s OBD2 port adaptor to provide real-time driver feedback, helping you save fuel and improving your car’s overall health.
The device carries an additional cost of $30, but we this cost would quickly pay for itself in fuel savings.
So there you have it, International Accounting Solutions’s roundup of useful log book apps for smartphone & tablet (and watches!), updated for the new tax year.
We hope you find an app that suits your needs, and if you do, and it’s not on the list here, please leave a comment below and tell us about it!
And if you found this post useful, please do share it with your friends & colleagues.