Mileage Tracking

QuickBooks Desktop Mileage: Your Ultimate Guide to Efficient Reimbursement

Samson Kiarie
Last update on:
April 18, 2024 1:45 AM
Published on:

QuickBooks Desktop is an on-premise bookkeeping software from Intuit - the makers of QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed. The all-in-one solution offers unique accounting solutions for businesses of all sizes and types. One feature that suits businesses with field teams is QuickBooks Desktop mileage reimbursement.

In this article, we’ll dissect the QuickBooks Desktop mileage tracker to reveal how it works. We’ll shed light on its strengths and shortcomings (if any) to help you decide whether it's apt for your business. We’ll also explore how QuickBooks Desktop integration with the best mileage tracking apps, like Timeero, streamlines the reimbursement process. 

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Can QuickBooks Desktop Track Mileage? 

Yes, QuickBooks Desktop uses a semi-automatic tracking method to log business miles. It lets employees track miles on Windows, Mac, Android, and Apple mobile devices. The mileage tracking process entails manual data entry and automatic mileage calculation. 

The basic steps of this process include:

  1. Employee selects “Add Trip” and enters the addresses of the starting and ending locations. To boost address accuracy, QuickBooks Desktop allows employees to choose their current location as the starting point of the trip. The app automatically enters the address for the employee’s current location.  
  1. The QuickBooks Desktop mileage tracker automatically calculates the miles between the two addresses. The employees can enter the purpose of the trip for classification purposes. If they need to charge a client for the trip later, they mark it as “billable.” 
  1. Employees can leave notes (like the vehicle they used) to help the small business owner or manager during approval. The employee clicks “save,” to automatically move the trip to the manager’s desk for approval. Unapproved trips are listed under “pending approvals.

Approving Trips With QuickBooks Desktop

Before you can approve the trips, you must create a new vehicle list or update an existing one. Add vehicles and create distinct names and descriptions to distinguish them from each other. Next, set up the mileage rates your business will use if your company doesn’t use the standard mileage rates

To approve a trip, open the “pending approval” tab and click “approve.” Review the details and select the vehicle used from the pop-up list. Click “approve,” and confirm the approval in the pop-up window. 

What Challenges Arise When Using Quickbooks Desktop to Track Vehicle Mileage?

QuickBooks Desktop eliminates over-reliance on vehicle odometer readings to track business miles. Still, this mileage tracking method has its shortcomings. 

Think of employees who make numerous daily trips, such as delivery drivers, sales representatives, etc. Keeping track of each trip's starting and ending locations can be a tall order, especially if these locations were not predefined. 

An employee can easily forget addresses, leading to inaccurate mileage reports. Using the manual entry can be time-consuming. It often distracts employees from core business duties and hurts productivity rates.

Even if the employee has all the starting and ending locations, there’s no guarantee the miles will be accurate. The QuickBooks app computes miles based on the most convenient route between two addresses, not the route the employee actually took. 

As a result, the mileage logged won’t always be accurate. Remember, employees won’t always take the shortest or most convenient route. They can change routes due to traffic snarl-ups or lousy weather. 

Benefits of Tracking Mileage With Timeero

The Timeero mileage tracker strengthens the weaknesses found in the QuickBooks Desktop mileage tracker by providing numerous benefits, which include:

  • Saving Time and Improving Accuracy with Automatic Tracking
  • Eliminating Mileage Fraud with Automatic Classification
  • Decreasing Human Errors With Automatic Calculations
  • Increasing Compliance with Underlying Regulations
  • Encouraging Employee Accountability and Transparency
  • Minimizing Vehicle Expenses with Suggested Mileage

Save Time and Improve Accuracy With Automatic Tracking

Timeero automatic mileage tracking eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the amount of inaccuracies found in the QuickBooks Desktop mileage calculation. 

timeero mobile app
Employees can track mileage on any device: Android, iOS, or iPad

Timeero tracks mileage using drive detection technology. It tracks miles when the vehicle moves without requiring employees to manually enter any location data. With redundant data entry out window, employees can put more hours into their primary jobs.

The Timeero app tracks mileage based on the actual route and uses a preset speed threshold to improve accuracy. The default minimum speed – 4Mph – is configured to prevent the app from tracking mileage when a driver is walking or stuck in traffic. You can tweak the speed threshold to suit your business needs.

If you’re worried that automatic tracking will spark a wave of employee pushback, don’t fret. Timeero is configured to only track mileage when an employee is clocked in,  putting privacy into their hands. They can clock out to stop monitoring anytime and anywhere, provided that doing so doesn’t violate the company’s tracking policy.

Eliminate Mileage Fraud with Automatic Classification

QuickBooks Desktop mileage tracker leaves room for dishonest employees to fabricate their mileage logs. Trips that employees never traveled or personal trips taken may find their way onto your business mileage log, and you may not have enough facts to detect the fraudulent acts.

Timeero has put in sufficient measures to thwart fraudulent mileage logging attempts.

First, employees must clock in and select the designated job/task to begin tracking mileage. This prevents them from making up business trips or entering trips they never covered. 

Second, Timeero classifies an employee trip before they even hit the accelerator. Each mile the app tracks is attributed to the job an employee selected upon clocking in. Timeero doesn’t track private trips, so no such trip will end up on your business miles log. This ensures you reimburse employees for business miles only.

Decrease Human Errors With Automatic Calculations

If an error has been made during the reimbursement process, it doesn’t matter if the blame lies with the employee or the manager.  Inaccurate reimbursement can dampen employee morale.   Timeero computes reimbursement on the go based on the approved trips recorded to ensure every employee gets their deserved compensation. 

When payday rolls around, you only need to generate and export the mileage report to QuickBooks Desktop for fast and accurate reimbursement. 

Increase Compliance with Underlying Regulations

Non-compliance with federal and state laws can be costly. For example, your business risks missing out on tax deductions and claims if you don’t record mile logs according to IRS standards. 

IRS standards dictate that compliant mileage logs should include the following details:

  • Starting and ending points
  • Starting and ending times
  • Purpose of the trip (business, charity, medical or moving)
  • Mileage at the beginning and end of the trip 

Ensuring QuickBooks Desktop logs meet the IRS standards takes a lot of time and effort. In contrast, employees don’t have to lift a finger to record IRS-compliant logs with Timeero. Just drive, and the app will automatically capture details such as: 

  • The device used to track mileage
  • Job and tasks completed during travel
  • Total mileage
  • Start and end date
  • Start and end time
  • Starting and ending location
  • Map view with a turn-by-turn route

The IRS also requires businesses to subtract commuter mileage from business miles. Timeero deducts an employee's commuter mileage automatically. 

Here’s how it works.

If the distance between an employee's home and office (or the first job of the day) is 15 miles, set the commute to 30 miles for the total daily commute. Timeero will automatically deduct 30 miles from the employee’s mileage before or at midnight that day. Learn more in our commuting mileage reimbursement guide. 

Encourage Employee Accountability and Transparency

When field employees are out and about, it is hard to know exactly what they are doing on company time. For example, a driver may take a longer route for scenic purposes or a field technician may decide to hang out with friends instead of completing a repair job. These situations can inflate your business expenses and impact your bottom line. 

Timeero offers features to instill accountability and transparency throughout your workforce. It encourages field employees to follow company policies and reminds them to be where they need to be at the right time. 

timeero segmented tracking‍
Segmented tracking lets you monitor employee field activity with precision. 

Suppose you want to stay in the loop about the time field technicians take to complete repair jobs. This is where Timeero’s segmented tracking feature comes in handy. 

The tool segments the field technician’s trip based on the individual stops taken at each customer location. You can see the distance between locations, drive time, and, most importantly, the time spent at each location. 

Segmented tracking is the perfect solution for managing sales representatives, delivery drivers, and other field employees who make numerous stops during their shifts. 

Route replay is another feature that helps you stay on top of field employee activity. It lets you trace an employee’s trail during the day. If you require drivers to take designated routes, route replay helps spot drivers who are violating the rule.

Minimize Vehicle Expenses with Suggested Mileage 

The suggested mileage feature helps you minimize business expenditures to raise profitability. It analyzes the driver’s route history and suggests the shortest route to a destination,  reducing drive time.

The upshot is that the driver will deliver packages early or arrive early for meetings with designated contact. This can improve customer satisfaction, increasing conversion and referrals.

The drivers also cover less miles, which can significantly lower the fuel costs. Decreased mileage also translates to minimal wear and tear, which ultimately slashes vehicle maintenance costs. 

How to Set Up QuickBooks Desktop and Timeero Integration

Before you begin the integration, install QuickBooks Desktop on your devices and subscribe to a Timeero plan. The integration works on Windows PCs running QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Simple Start, Premier, Enterprise, or U.K. and Canadian editions. 

Here are the steps to complete integration: 

  1. Log Into Timeero

Log into Timeero as an admin and open the “integrations” tab. 

timeero integrations

  1. Select QuickBooks Desktop

Select QuickBooks Desktop from the integration options and click “configuration.”

quickbooks desktop integrations

  1. Install QuickBooks Web Connector

Select “Web Connector” and follow the instructions in the prompt to download the web connector to your device. Download the Web Connector QWC file: you’ll need it in the subsequent steps. 

quickbooks web connector 

  1. Upload Web Connector File

Once you install the Web Connector, head to QuickBooks Desktop and open FileApp ManagementUpdate Web Services to open the Web Connector. Click “Add an Application” and upload the QWC file downloaded in the previous step. We have a complete guide on how to configure the Web Connector

quickbooks update selected

  1. Connect Timeero and QuickBooks Desktop

Go back to the Timeero QuickBooks Desktop tab and click “Connect” then “Connect to QuickBooks.”

 timeero-quickbooks connection

  1. Complete the configuration

Go back to QuickBooks Desktop, open the Web Connector, and click “Update Selected.” 

  1. Map Users

Open the Timeero User tab and use the drop-down toggle to match Timeero users to QuickBooks Desktop users. Click “Map User” to start the process.

mapping timeero users

  1. Map Other Items

Map jobs, tasks, groups, and payroll items from the Timeero web app with their corresponding entries in QuickBooks Desktop.

mapping other items

How to Process Mileage Reimbursement With Timeero and QuickBooks Integrations

It’s easy to import mileage data from Timeero to QuickBooks Desktop for faster and more accurate reimbursement. Follow these steps:

  1. Generate Reports on Timeero

Log into Timeero and open the reports tab. Click “Report by Mileage,” set the date range, ideally the month you want to reimburse the employees for, and click “Generate Report.” Other report filters include By Date Range, By User or Group, and By Totals Only. Choose what suits your needs. 

reports date range‍

  1. Export Data to QuickBooks Desktop

Next, click “Export” and choose “Export to QuickBooks Desktop” from the drop-down options:

export timeero report

  1. Sync Report with QuickBooks Desktop

Head over to QuickBooks Desktop, click FileApp ManagementUpdate Web Services. Tick the Timeero checkbox and click “Update Selected.”

sync timeero report

Once you have the reports on QuickBooks Desktop, reviewing the mileage data and processing payroll should be easy. 

Does the Law Require Mileage Reimbursement?

No, federal laws in the United States don’t mandate businesses to make mileage reimbursements. 

However, if failing to reimburse employees for using their vehicles for business causes their take home to fall below the federal minimum wage, you could face hefty legal penalties. In a subtle way, the federal laws nudge you towards reimbursing employees.

According to state law, if you have employees in California, Illinois, or Massachusetts, you must compensate them for travel-related expenses and other costs they incur due to business use of their cars. 

Simplify Mileage Reimbursement With The QuickBooks Desktop - Timeero Integration

QuickBooks Desktop's real forte is streamlining business accounting and bookkeeping procedures. On its own, this software solution has done a fantastic job of adding tools that complement its strong points, such as the mileage tracker. However, as we saw in our guide, the QuickBooks mileage tracker isn’t accurate and requires manual data entry. 

Timeero remedies QuickBooks Desktop deficiencies, allowing you to enjoy accurate and expedient employee reimbursement. It tracks mileage and computes employee reimbursement automatically. Come payday, you'll only need to generate and export mileage reports to quickly reimburse employees.

If you’re using different accounting and payroll software and would like to explore its integration capabilities with Timeero, we've got you covered. We have several comprehensive tutorials covering Gusto Mileage, ADP mileage, Paylocity mileage, and Paychex mileage

Interested in what Timeero has to offer? Start a 14-day free trial today to get a first-hand feel for its mileage tracking capabilities. No credit card is required – just create an account, and you’re good to go. Alternatively, book a free consultation today, and our team will guide you through the startup process. 

QuickBooks Desktop Mileage: FAQs

How Do I Enter Mileage Expenses in QuickBooks Desktop?

To enter mileage expense, click “add trip” and enter the starting and ending location. State the purpose of your trip, leave a note to the manager, and click “Save.”

How Do I Import Vehicle Mileages into QuickBooks Desktop?

To import new vehicle mileage into QuickBooks Desktop, log in to Timeero and generate a mileage report. Click “Export” and select “Export to QuickBooks Desktop.”

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Samson Kiarie

Samson is a mathematician turned content marketer specializing in SaaS and Tech content. He focuses on the practical aspects of software systems while keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge principles to create informative and engaging content. When he’s not writing, Samson spends time playing or watching soccer.

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