Accounting for Logistics & Transport

The road transport and logistics industry is a big part of the Australian economy and contributes 3.1% of GDP. In fact, the latest statistics suggest Australian logistics is a $94 billion industry comprising road, rail, air and sea freight, together with warehousing and handling. The industry continues to grow with the increase in population and economic activity and some states forecast freight movement tonnages will increase at a greater rate than the population.

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Road transport dominates movement of freight around the country and it is a critical link in the increasingly complex chain that moves freight from ports and terminals and distributes it to warehouses and retail outlets. Success in road transport can be a 'long haul' and information technology and customer demands are driving a more integrated approach to logistics management with widespread use of real-time freight tracking through electronic monitoring and messaging systems installed in transport vehicles.  The road freight industry has become more complex in recent years with the introduction of some sophisticated technology in trucks, loading systems and office systems and while the capital investment of a road freight business is probably at record levels, finance remains tight in the post GFC era.

The road freight industry is highly competitive and smaller operators have little influence over key costs such as fuel and labour or the price they are able to charge their customers. They are price-takers and even some of the large operators struggle to differentiate their services from those provided by a large number of owner/drivers and small operators who drive down price by engaging in price-led competition. It is a highly competitive industry and both customers and the broader community expect the highest standards of safety and efficiency. The competitiveness of the industry is reflected in low industry returns with average profitability of just 6.2%. It is a fine line between success and failure and road freight operators must measure and understand their costs and have an accountant who understands their industry.

Industry participants like interstate drivers, long haulage contractors, couriers and taxi truck operators all face issues like road congestion, fuel excise, maintenance and fluctuating fuel prices. The pressure of deadlines means safety and fatigue remain big concerns as does increased regulation for all prime movers and trailers under the guidelines of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme. The industry is also not immune from staff turnover and rising operating costs. While the industry spans a wide range of participants from one truck, owner-drivers through to large national fleets, they all face long hours. It's no surprise that bookkeeping and administration often don’t get the attention they deserve and while GST, BAS and tax payments often represent some of the largest financial obligations for a road transport business, many end up paying too much tax and incur fines for non-compliance.

Having an accountant who understands the mechanics of the road freight and logistics industry can give you a serious competitive edge. Over the years we have attracted a number of road and freight transport clients who all have to deal with the usual small business compliance issues of GST, BAS, PAYG and superannuation. However, we believe you want more than just tax compliance services which is why we provide advice on cash flow management, finance and wealth creation. Over the years we have mentored dozens of transport businesses through the various stages of their business life cycle from start up right through to sale and we offer you experience, technical tax knowledge and most importantly, an intimate understanding of your industry.

As business start-up specialists we have developed a number of practical tools to help you make the right opening moves including our comprehensive start up expense checklist. We’ll advise you on the most appropriate tax structure for your business taking into account income tax considerations, asset protection and eligibility for future discount capital gains tax concessions. Next, we will help you select the most appropriate software for your business and factor in your business needs and level of accounting skill. Far too many people make the mistake of buying sophisticated ‘double entry’ accounting programs (like MYOB and QuickBooks) that are beyond their needs and level of accounting skill. Our client brief includes helping you save money and it starts with the right tax structure and accounting software.

We will offer you advice on how best to finance your prime mover, truck or trailer and make sure you understand the different tax treatment of a lease compared to a chattel mortgage. Through our affiliate partners we can also assist you to obtain finance at highly competitive rates.

In summary, our business advisors offer trucking clients a range of tailored business solutions including: 
  • Start-Up Business Advice for your Transport and Logistics Business
  • Spreadsheets and Tools including a Start Up Expense Checklist
  • Advice and Establishment of Your Business Structure taking into account issues like Asset Protection, Tax Minimisation and Future Discount Capital Gains Tax Concessions
  • Business Registrations including ABN, TFN, GST, WorkCover etc.
  • Preparation of Business Plans, Cash Flow Forecasts and Profit Projections
  • Accounting Software Selection and Training – Bookkeeping, Invoicing & Payroll
  • Preparation of Finance Applications & Bank Submissions
  • Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll Services
  • Tax Planning Strategies
  • Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
  • Advice and Assistance with Websites - Development, Content and SEO
  • Personal Financial Planning & Wealth Creation Strategies
  • Business & Risk Insurances including Income Protection and Life Insurance
  • Vehicle and Equipment Finance (Chattel Mortgage, Lease etc.)
  • Monitoring and Controlling Labour Costs
  • Recession and Survival Strategies
  • Business Succession Planning

We are so much more than just tax Accountants. We are business advisors and profit builders who genuinely care about the success of your transport or logistics business. Here at Freedom Accounting Group we service the needs of a number of road, rail, air and sea freight operators and offer you strategies to grow your business, your profits and your wealth. Transport logistics have become a real niche within our accounting practice and if you’re looking to get your business off to a flying start or want to grow your existing business, contact us today.

If you're a committed and ambitious transport and logistics business owner looking to accelerate your business success we invite you to book a free, one hour introductory consultation to discuss your business needs. You'll get practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice designed to help you build your business and grow your wealth. To book a time, call us today on (02) 6021 0335 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page.

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