Transportation companies, like other business entities, are required to keep accounting and tax records. Both are mainly conditioned by the specifics of the activities carried out. The type of accounting is determined by the taxation regime used. General accounting makes accounting more complicated and specific. Some carriers can afford simplified bookkeeping and tax accounting. But not every transportation company can apply such regimes.

Specific and quite complex accounting of financial and economic operations in the framework of the implementation of freight or passenger transportation necessitates a comprehensive, professional approach to its organisation. Formal bookkeeping is not the best choice for a transportation company.

   The specifics of the carrier’s activities

There are some general features of accounting, which do not depend on the taxation regime applied. First of all, they are concerned with the presence of a special list of costs associated with the origin of the right to provide specialised services and ensure the functioning of vehicles. Specific costs include payment for transport registration services, insurance, materials for current repairs of vehicles, fuel, and lubricants, maintenance, etc.

Also, any carrier should calculate and pay transport tax.

A specific document flow in a transportation company makes the accounting specific. The use of waybills, air or railway consignment notes, bills of lading, documents on transfer from one type of transport to another, and consignment notes considerably complicates the work of accounting specialists.

Do you need to reduce the workload of a full-time department? Outsource part of the functions. Do you want to optimise accounting costs, obtain guarantees of its quality, and minimise fiscal risks? Order complex accounting procedures for a transportation company. A specialised outsourcer will assume the corresponding functions and responsibility for their implementation.

What is essential for correct cost accounting?

Mistakes in cost accounting lead to a misrepresentation of the tax base, and negative fiscal consequences. 

How to reduce the current risks? It is sufficient to competently organize and maintain accounting. It is recommended to pay special attention to the recognition of all vehicles used by the company in the accounting. 

The company’s transport shall be recorded in the balance sheet, and leased vehicles shall be recorded in the off-balance-sheet. As for leased vehicles, they may be recorded on the balance sheet of the recipient, if they are accounted for in a standard way. Leased vehicles accounted for on the balance sheet of the lessor are recorded on the off-balance sheet by the recipient.

It is worth noting individually the attribution of fuel and lubricants to the cost part of accounting. To avoid errors, it is recommended to check the correctness of the materials write-off. 

The transportation company must develop its norms for writing off fuel and lubricants not contradicting current legislation. 

The organisation of accounting for fuel consumption also has its specifics. It is accounted for separately for each vehicle. Excess consumption is included in expenses without reducing the tax base for profit.

A transportation company cannot do without accounting for operations on the acquisition of seasonal tires. Materials designed for several seasons will be issued from the warehouse and accepted for storage more than once. These operations must be recorded in the books.

The carrier also has non-variable expenses. These include vehicle maintenance, insurance, periodic technical inspection, and mandatory primary, pre-trip medical examinations of drivers. Also, non-variable expenses include payment for:

  • services for vehicle cleaning, weighing of cargo, and performance of loading and unloading works;
  • cargo storage;
  • breaks in drivers’ work.


How to make accounting effective?


The bookkeeping of any (passenger, freight) carrier is quite specific. 

There are several ways to organise accounting. When forming a full-time unproductive unit, it is important to pay special attention to recruitment and selection. Specialists without experience in the industry may require a lot of time for training. Are you willing to pay for it?

The second way to organise accounting is outsourcing. It can be partial or complete. 

In the first case, separate accounting functions are outsourced, for example, recognition of income and expenditure, tax calculation and reporting, and HR accounting. 

Comprehensive accounting support of a carrier provides for the formation of full external bookkeeping. In this case, the customer shall pay only for the actual services. Recruitment, training, professional development, payment of wages, vacations, and sick leave are the care of the specialised company. It also shall calculate and pay salary taxes and insurance premiums for the accounting department employees. Real savings make outsourcing a profitable and convenient format of cooperation.

Another advantage of outsourcing accounting is reducing the risk of errors in reporting and receiving additional accruals and fines. Outsourcers bear legal and financial responsibility. When tax inspectors reveal mistakes in tax declarations and impose penalties, it is the contractor, not the customer, who should pay fines and penalties.