Zoho is a SaaS behemoth that creates helpful software for businesses and freelancers. As such, you'd expect the Zoho mileage tracker to perform well and snag a spot in the best mileage tracking apps list. And while the app has notable strengths, it also has a few niggles, as you'll read in our Zoho Expense mileage tracking review.
Zoho Expense consolidates business expense management into one platform, which is alluring. However, Zoho Expense might not be a safe bet if you only want to track mileage. The app doesn't ensure accuracy — it tracks mileage even when an employee walks or wanders in the office complex. Read on to find the nitty-gritty details.
Remember that we reviewed the mileage tracker alone — and its performance doesn't reflect that of the Zoho Expense suite. Actually, based on the rave reviews online, we think Zoho Expense has some great features — the mileage tracker is just an outlier.
Timeero streamlines mileage tracking to improve employee reimbursement and tax deduction.
Watch this video for a sneak peek at Timeero mileage tracker features.
Zoho mileage tracker is a mileage tracking feature of the Zoho Expense management software suite. If you have been using Zoho Expense or are considering using the app, you already know it provides features to track nearly all business expenses.
A business owner's dream is to track business travel expenses, including mileage, in one suite. It helps keep a lean software stack and can save your IT expense. However, using such broad software comes with a tradeoff — there are no specialty tools.
Since Zoho Expense has to 'split attention' to all expenses, some features look like an afterthought. For example, the mileage tracker looks half-baked and doesn't stack up well against the standalone counterparts such as Timeero or Driversnote.
Zoho Mileage Tracker Steep Learning Curve
Another downside is that the Zoho Expense mileage tracker has a steep learning curve. But, again, this is down to the product design. With so many product features, some essential tools are unintuitively placed. As a result, employees (particularly the non-tech-savvy) will need help accessing the mileage tracking tools.
We have tested numerous mileage tracking apps, including our very own Timeero mileage tracker, and you would expect our testers to find their way around any tool easily. But, on the contrary, the Zoho Expense mileage tracker gave our testers a hard time figuring out how the tool works.
In all fairness, first-time users will need days, and in some cases weeks, to master the workflows and functions of the Zoho mileage tracker. For example, the Zoho mileage tracker requires you to start and end tracking. Therefore, you'd expect to find the start and end buttons on the home tab, which is not the case.
To access the buttons, you must long-press the Android or iOS app and hit 'track mileage using GPS.' Alternatively, select 'widgets' to add a widget on your smartphone for easier access.
These extra steps don't help the usability of the app. On the contrary, they complicate things and could be a turn-off and a source of employee pushback.
Zoho Expense Mileage Tracking: Key Features Walkthrough
Despite earlier signs that the Zoho mileage tracker wasn't in the echelon of the best mileage tracker, we didn't cut it any slack. Instead, we took it for a whirl, stretching it to its limits to reveal the chink in its armor. Here's what we found:
Zoho Expense mileage tracker allows you to track mileage expenses in four different ways:
Mileage Expenses By Distance Covered
With this method, employees will have to input the distance traveled manually. That begs the question, how does Zoho expect the employee to track mileage? It means your employees must use another mileage tracker to log the distance traveled.
Still, manual data entry leaves room for human errors (both intentional and unintentional), which are synonymous with using Excel to track mileage. Rogue employees could add a few extra miles to claim a higher reimbursement from your business.
Mileage via Point-To-Point Map Location
In this case, the employee chooses the start and end destination on a map. Once they do that, Zoho Expense automatically serves up several possible routes. The employee then chooses the ideal route they took. Finally, Zoho computes the miles covered based on that route.
There are more accurate ways to track mileage, though. First, remember that a lot could happen during a trip — the employee is stuck in traffic or boards a public transport vehicle. In both cases, the company shouldn't compensate them for miles traveled. But, the point-to-point method includes the miles to your mileage expense.
Mileage Expense By Odometer Reading
If your company tracks vehicle odometer readings, you could use that to reimburse employees for mileage. Zoho Expense requires employees to input odometer readings to create mileage reports.
While this method is more accurate than the first two, it still leaves room for human error. In addition, it eliminates the chances of employees claiming reimbursement for miles logged while using public transport or riding a bike. Still, the manual entry could allow unscrupulous workers to inflate miles.
Mileage Tracking Using GPS
We saved the best for the last. The best mileage tracker uses GPS technology and a smartphone accelerometer to track mileage accurately. Zoho Expense embraces the same technology to automate mileage tracking, but does it enhance accuracy?
We took Zoho mileage tracking for a test on a short trip — the vehicle odometer recorded 10.68 km (6.624 miles). Surprisingly, the Zoho Expense mileage tracking app logged 7.79 miles.
No software is perfect. The most effective mileage trackers we've tested garner 95 - 98% accuracy. Seeing Zoho Expense record a 117% accuracy was a surprise and a sign that something was off with the tool.
Problems With Zoho Mileage Tracker
We suspected the error was down to the base speed. We scoured the web for details about the Zoho mileage tracker base speed, but it came out empty. We contacted customer support through email, and the response confirmed our fears.
The best mileage tracker, such as Timeero, stipulates the base speed which a vehicle must reach for an app to track mileage. In most cases, the speed is high enough to eliminate chances of tracking mileage when the employee is walking or running.
This is where the Zoho mileage tracker gets it completely wrong. According to the Zoho Expense representative:
"We do not have any specific speed limit for the mileage tracker. The mileage tracker would start tracking the distance as soon as you tap the 'Start' button and stop tracking when you tap the 'Stop' button on the mobile application."
Without a base speed rule, the app tracks mileage even when the employee walks. This explains why it recorded an extra 1.166 miles during our test trip.
Rather than speculate, we did another test to prove that Zoho Expense was in recording mileage when walking. We started the mileage tracker while in the office for two hours. To our surprise, Zoho Expense tracked 1.25 miles.
If our test results are anything to go by, the Zoho Expense mileage tracker has left room for glaring inaccuracies for failing to stipulate the base speed. If you use this app, your mileage logs will be fraught with inaccuracies. You'll reimburse employees for time spent walking in the office.
One thing Zoho Expense gets right is the offline mode. We cut off our internet connection mid-trip, and the app tracked mileage without a hitch. In addition, the app is primed for anywhere, anytime tracking. So whether you're traversing remote areas or valleys where coverage is poor, the Zoho Expense mileage tracker won't miss any mile.
According to the IRS, different mileage attracts different rates. So if you don't classify your drives, you'll get employee reimbursement and tax deduction wrong. This explains the whole essence of classifying each drive.
Some mileage tools, such as MileIQ, offer a one-swipe classification, whereas Driversnote provides a set of auto-classification rules. Sadly, the Zoho Expense mileage tracker doesn't provide any drive classification options, which is a huge miss.
However, it still leaves an option to disregard personal drives. When you click the 'end trip' button, the app downloads the drive card and gives you two options' convert to expense' or 'discard.'
You could create a policy requiring employees to discard personal drives and convert them to expense trips completed for business purposes. Still, this type of classification could be prone to errors that could trickle into your reimbursement and tax deduction claims.
Zoho Mileage Tracking Policy
To add some accuracy to employee reimbursement, Zoho Expense enables you to create a mileage tracking policy. The policy predefines the mileage rates to be applied to different vehicles.
Sadly, you can't set mileage by employees or departments. While there's no option to apply the standard IRS mileage rates automatically, you can do so manually. You can use our reimbursement policy template as a springboard when creating your company policy.
One thing we like is the mileage expense limit options. With this option, you can set the mileage expense limit your business shouldn't exceed. And then, using the reporting tools, you can track your mileage expense against the predefined limit.
That's a good way to stay on top of mileage expenditure. You can see how much mileage employees have clocked and tweak routes and organizational policies to stay within budget.
Reporting With Zoho Expense Mileage Tracking
Creating Zoho Expense mileage tracking reports can be a tedious process for employees. When you end a trip, the app displays the drive card, prompting you to discard the drive or convert it to a report.
When you choose 'convert to expense,' the app asks you to confirm the details and whether you want to claim reimbursement for the drive. Then, when you select the vehicle you're tracking mileage, the app automatically applies the rates to compute the expense.
When you click 'save,' the app adds the mileage log to unreported expenses. Then, you have to select the expense and click "add to report" to create a report for that expense. This report will automatically go to unsubmitted reports — you have to select it and hit 'submit' to send it to the assigned manager.
The app notifies the manager, prompting them to review the report. However, for all intent and purpose, the long process only complicates Zoho Expense usability and can be strenuous for employees.
Report Filters For Managers
It is easy for managers and business owners to keep tabs on fuel and mileage expenses. You can generate reports to view 'expenses by category.' They will display all expenses, including mileage expenses and their corresponding expenditure.
Alternatively, you can create a mileage' expenses by user' report. This report will show you an employee and their mileage expenditure. You can pinpoint employees consuming the lion's share of your mileage budget.
The expense policy violation by user report lets you drill down further and determine users breaching the expense policy and by how much. Other notable reports include:
Time taken for approval
Expense by department
Expense by project
Zoho Expense Integrations
Regarding integration, Zoho Expense integrates seamlessly with other Zoho apps, including Zoho Books, Zoho Projects, Zoho People, and Zoho CRM. It also works with other bookkeeping and accounting software such as QuickBooks, Quickbooks Online, Sage Accounting, and Xero.
Other notable integrations include:
Microsoft Office 365
Zoho Expense Pricing
Zoho Expense mileage tracker isn't a standalone tool. As a result, you have to buy the entire Zoho Expense suite to use it. However, no credit card is required to start the free plan.
Luckily, you don't need a paid plan if you only want to track mileage expenses. The mileage tracker is available on Zoho Expense free plan. The vendor lets you track mileage using one of the four methods without spending a dime.
However, if you need to track other expenses and per diem automation, you must get a paid plan. There are three paid plans:
Standard — $3 per user per month (billed annually) or $5 per user per month (billed monthly)
Premium — $5 per user per month (billed annually) or $8 per user per month (billed monthly)
Enterprise — $8 per user per month (billed annually) or $12 per user per month (billed monthly)
Timeero: The Smarter Zoho Mileage Tracker Alternative
Zoho Expense's focus on helping small businesses and startups track expenses is reasonable. However, as we have seen with the mileage tracker, some of its features leave much to be desired. The mileage tracker, in particular, has proven inaccurate, as it logs mileage even when the employee is walking.
If you'd rather use an app that tracks mileage only when the employee is driving, we recommend using Timeero. The app helps you track mileage more efficiently without jeopardizing the accuracy of the logs. This makes it great for businesses and self-employed drivers.
Let's take a closer look at Timeero's key mileage tracking features:
Timeero Is Easy To Use
Timeero's user-friendly mobile app offers a flat learning curve for all employees, including the non-tech-savvy. The apps are available on Google Play and Apple's app store. Starting and stopping mileage tracking is a cinch, thanks to an intuitive user interface that ensure each feature is easy to access.
Not just that. Timeero eliminates the lengthy reporting process. It tracks mileage automatically and uploads the data to the company dashboard for managers' approval. That takes the reporting hassle off the employee's plate and lets them focus on other meaningful tasks.
Create Accurate, IRS-Compliant Mileage Logs
Timeero tracks mileage when the vehicle exceeds a predefined speed. For example, if you set the threshold to 4 miles per hour, the app will only log mileage when a vehicle exceeds that speed. It doesn't log miles when the employee is walking.
In addition, the mileage tracking tool is backed by a solid offline mode. So you don't have to worry about missing miles when traveling through areas with no network coverage. Timeero keeps tracking mileage and syncs the data to your system when the employee reconnects to the internet.
All these features significantly improve the accuracy of your mileage logs, helping you reimburse your employees’ mileage properly while staying compliant even with the strictest laws, such as California Labor Code 2802.
Employees have to clock into specific jobs to start tracking miles. That solves the classification problem. You can tell which job the employee tracked the mileage for and apply different mileage rates for proper remuneration.
Even better, Timeero doesn't intrude on employee privacy. The app tracks employees' whereabouts and mileage on the clock. The app ceases to track their mileage and location when they clock out.
Stay On Top of Driver Behavior
If your travel policy requires drivers to maintain certain speeds or follow specific routes to save fuel costs, Timeero will help you enforce that. The route replay lets you recreate a driver's route in a workday to tell whether they followed the assigned route.
Moreover, the route replay comes with breadcrumbs, which provide detailed timestamps and speed data. For example, you can click on a breadcrumb to see how fast (or slow) the employee was driving during a trip.
The breadcrumbs also come in handy if you want to know when the driver arrived at a customer's location or assigned destination. You can use the timestamps to approximate the time a sale rep spends with a customer.
Other Timeero Features
Real-time GPS location tracking
Final Thoughts: Is Zoho Expense Mileage Tracking Worth It?
Our test results prove the Zoho mileage tracking app isn't up to the task. For example, it records miles when an employee walks, which can lead to inaccurate reimbursement and tax deduction claims. The complex usability and lengthy reimbursement claim process are other reasons to turn your back on the Zoho Expense mileage tracker app.
Thankfully, the market is full of capable Zoho Expense mileage tracker alternatives. If you're looking for a mileage tracker that's easy to use and prioritizes the accuracy of mileage logs, Timeero ticks all the boxes.
Please don't take our word for it. Start a free trial today and get a first-hand feel for features risk-free for 14 days. Our customer support will be on standby to lend a hand should you hit a snag when using the app during the trial.
FAQs: Zoho Expense Mileage Tracking Review
Does Zoho Expense Track Mileage?
Yes, Zoho Expense allows employees to record their miles when they travel for business purposes. However, the app does not distinguish between different modes of transportation; it tracks mileage even when an employee is on foot.
How Do I Record Mileage in Zoho Expenses?
To record mileage in Zoho Expense, you long-press the mobile app and select "start GPS." When you start moving, the app will track mileage automatically. You have to click "stop tracking" to end mileage tracking.
Take Timeero mileage tracking features for a spin risk-free.
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.