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QuickBooks Mileage Tracker: Testing for Pros and Cons

Andjelka Prvulovic
Last update on:
December 26, 2022 12:37 PM
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QuickBooks Online is a popular accounting software many businesses use worldwide. If you are running a small business, chances are you are familiar with QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop. In addition to accounting, QuickBooks lets you manage mileage traveled for business purposes.

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Can QuickBooks Track Mileage?

Absolutely. You can track and capture mileage with the QuickBooks Accounting and the QuickBooks Self Employed mobile app.

The QuickBooks mileage tracker app will let you automatically and manually track miles. The automatic option detects if you are driving and starts to track mileage. But manual tracking may be a better choice if you want more granular control over when to track mileage.

Still, if you want QuickBooks mobile app to capture company or employee mileage, you might discover the app is not the right fit for your business needs. 

As the QuickBooks mobile app contains sensitive business financial data that employees may not be privy to, companies often don’t (and shouldn’t) allow their employees access to their QuickBooks accounts.

If you currently have employees report their mileage based on their odometer readings and manual mileage logs, consider using an employee mileage tracker app for more accurate and timely data.

The Pros & Cons of QuickBooks Mileage Tracker

Like many products, there are pros and cons, and the QuickBooks mobile app is no different. Here are a few you may want to pay attention to

  •  Ideal for self-employed or single-employed business owners.
  • The QuickBooks Online automatic drive detection means the app can automatically track mileage when it determines you are on a drive.
  • Accurately categorize trips as business or personal trips.
  •  You can track and add vehicles.

QuickBooks Online has a few drawbacks you may want to be aware of:

  • Not ideal for tracking company mileage or employee mileage. In QuickBooks Online, only the master admin can track mileage. If you want to have your employees electronically track mileage, then the QuickBooks app will not work. 
  • Does not eliminate commuter mileage. This means you could be overpaying mileage reimbursement to your employees.
  • Lacks detailed point-by-point time stamps for accountability purposes. For example, the QuickBooks Online mileage tracker only captures the start and end locations and does not capture the actual drive path. So if you want to see which route your team members are taking, look elsewhere.
  • Intuit’s QuickBooks Online and Desktop are pricey. We will talk more about pricing in the next section.

QuickBooks: Trip Details

How Much Does QuickBooks Mileage Tracker Cost?

The pricing for QuickBooks Online mileage tracker cost starts at $30/month for a single user, the Simple Start plan. 

There are other more expensive plans, but none give you extra capabilities with mileage tracking. Check out the latest QuickBooks Online pricing to learn more about plans and features.  

For QuickBooks Desktop, you can expect to pay a one-time fee for a license. However, the license does not get you any updates over the lifetime of your purchase. The newer versions of QuickBooks Desktop are now charging a monthly subscription. See QuickBooks Desktop pricing for more info on their offers. 

If you want to track mileage for your team or employees, look into a mileage tracker like Timeero. Timeero is better for monitoring team mileage and accountability than QuickBooks Online, and you can get it for a price starting at $4 per user monthly.

But pricing aside, does QuickBooks track mileage accurately?

Of course, the best way to answer this is to take it on a test drive, so we did just that. 

QuickBooks Mileage App vs. Timeero: A Test Drive

We wanted to test the QuickBooks Mileage app alongside the Timeero, GPS and mileage tracking software to see how accurate the QuickBooks mileage app is.

We tested on a beautiful sunny day in the open deserts of Arizona. We chose Arizona because, well, we live here. In addition, the wide-open desert is a great place to test because buildings do not obstruct the satellite signal.

We set both apps to manually track mileage, meaning we controlled when to start and when to stop tracking. Unfortunately, auto-tracking tends to be unreliable for many apps, so we decided not to test with the auto-tracking feature.

We started testing Timeero and the QuickBooks mobile app from the same location. Since we tested both apps on the same device, we expected them to have access to the same set of data or GPS coordinates.

QuickBooks mileage tracker
QuickBooks only shows the start and endpoints

Mileage tracking with Timeero
Timeero shows you the path driven

Does QuickBooks Track Mileage Accurately: Test Drive Results

From our testing, we could conclude that the QuickBooks mileage app does track fairly accurately. Like most mileage tracking apps, it uses GPS locations; hence a good satellite signal is essential for accurate tracking.

The biggest drawback to using QuickBooks mileage for us was that it did not show the path traveled. Instead, it only shows the start and endpoints.

While this may be enough for IRS mileage compliance, the QuickBooks mileage tracking app isn’t ideal if you’re trying to hold your team or employees accountable. For this purpose, an app like Timeero will fit much better because it shows you the path driven.

Timeero mileage tracker
Timeero mileage tracker

Another big drawback is tracking employee mileage. When using QuickBooks Online, you must manually enter each employee’s mileage. A more efficient and cost-effective approach is to use an app like Timeero to track mileage.

Who Can Track Their Mileage Using QuickBooks Mobile App?

 In QuickBooks Online, only the master admin can track and record mileage. Therefore, any other team member will need to track their mileage outside QBO. 

How to track mileage in QuickBooks Online?

There are several ways to track mileage in QuickBooks Online:

  • Manually enter mileage in QuickBooks Online.
  • Use the QuickBooks Self Employed or QuickBooks Desktop app to record mileage.
  • Need to track more than yourself? Use a third party like Timeero to give you and your employees a way to track mileage for reimbursement, as bills or invoices in QuickBooks Online.

We will take a look at each approach to track mileage accurately.

Manually enter mileage in QuickBooks Online:

1. If you are entering mileage via the website: On the QuickBooks website, choose Mileage > Add Trip

2. If you don’t have a vehicle added, choose View Vehicles and then tap the Add Vehicle button. Fill in all required or necessary information.

3. Next click on Add trip > Create Trip.

4. Fill in the required details for the trip and click Submit

Entering mileage using the QuickBooks mobile app: 

There are two ways to enter mileage in the QuickBooks Self-Employed app:

1. Manually entering different trips into the QuickBooks Online app

2. Automatically have the app log your mileage (this is ideal if you are just logging your own mileage)

To manually log trips into the QuickBooks Online mobile app:

1. Click on the Menu (3 lines) and choose Mileage.

2. Next, click the + button and choose Add Vehicle (if you haven’t added a vehicle). If you have already entered a vehicle, you can choose to Add trip.

3. Fill in the necessary fields and you should be all set.

Now, if you need to track employee time, you will not want to give them access to QuickBooks. This is where an alternative employee mileage tracking app like Timeero can be beneficial.

What mileage app works with QuickBooks?

Several apps can track mileage and plug into QuickBooks. To find such apps, you can search on the QuickBooks AppStore for mileage apps and spend several days testing. Or look into an app like Timeero and connect it to your QuickBooks.

Timeero: Employee Mileage Tracking App for QuickBooks Online

When it comes to employee mileage tracking it’s a whole different game. Not only do you want to track mileage driven by employees, but you also want to foster accountability.

Mileage fraud is a real problem, and with the right mileage-tracking app, you can eliminate mileage fraud. Here are some reasons you may want to couple Timeero and QuickBooks for mileage tracking:

  1. You can track employee time and location in real-time. Your team can download the Timeero app on their own or company-issued iOS or Android devices and instantly start logging their mileage. Even better, you can see the trail path taken for the drive, with time stamps and the capability to playback routes.
  1. Eliminate excessive or fraudulent mileage with suggested mileage. For example, how would you know if your team members took the longer and more scenic route for their jobs? Or making random non-work related stops and counting it towards their mileage? Unfortunately, these things happen more frequently in businesses than we may know. With Timeero, you can ensure you are paying mileage for the shortest and most efficient route.
  1. It plays well with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. Yup, you read that right! Once tracking is completed, you can generate IRS-compliant mileage reports or even export the report to QuickBooks Online. The mileage amounts can be exported to QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop as billable expenses, bills, or generated invoices.
  1. Many companies factor in commuter mileage when reimbursing employees for mileage. With Timeero, you can deduct daily commuter mileage and reduce the manual work involved in ensuring that employees are accurately compensated.
  1. Detailed reporting capabilities. The ability to extract important mileage data is crucial for accurate billing and reimbursement. In Timeero, generating mileage reports is easy. Simply choose one of our many mileage report options to get the mileage information you need.

With Timeero, you can generate mileage reports in various formats, such as PDF and Excel, and even export them into QuickBooks. In QuickBooks, you can generate invoices and bills or calculate your expenses from the mileage amounts.

Timeero mileage reports
Timeero: Generate mileage reports in various formats

What’s Next?

If you’ve read this far, there’s a good chance you are looking to track your mileage in QuickBooks accurately. And, when it comes to logging solo mileage, the QuickBooks Online mileage app should work well. But, if you are looking to track mileage for your team, consider using an app like Timeero.

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AUTHOR
Andjelka Prvulovic

Andjelka is a sociologist turned digital marketer. She specializes in creating content for SaaS and software companies. When she’s not researching the most effective employee management techniques, Andjelka loves cooking, reading, and fighting for human rights.

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