• Menu
  • Menu
Auf der Geschäftsreise com digitalen Fahrtenbuch profitieren, Bild: Velimir Zeland / shutterstock

Advantages and risks of an electronic logbook for business travellers

You won’t believe it. But even in the digital age, manually kept logbooks are still used in some cases for business trips. In this article, you will learn, among other things, what advantages an electronic logbook has.

Yes, there was also a time before the digital age when things worked without digital technology. Nevertheless, the analogue logbook is not entirely error-free.

Let’s take a closer look at the problem area:

  • Time required and susceptibility to errors: The constant manual entry of start, finish, route, mileage, etc. is very tedious and error-prone. Incomplete or incorrect entries can happen quickly.
  • Booking chaos due to paperwork: Individual pieces of paper with handwritten notes are easily lost. In the end, receipts are missing, which leads to discrepancies in the billing.
  • Lack of transparency and loss of control: Without digital documentation, overviews of all travel expenses incurred are very difficult to create. The management level then lacks an overview to control costs.
  • Expense report delays: Manually compiling all the receipts for expense reports is very time-consuming for employees.
  • Risks in tax accounting: Missing or incomplete logbooks can lead to problems during external audits by the tax authorities if expenses are not correctly documented.
  • No analysis options: The pure paper data cannot be systematically evaluated in order to identify potential for optimization in travel expenses.
  • Lower productivity: The high manual effort required to keep the logbook and travel expense documentation ties up valuable working time and resources.

 

As you can see, there are some sources of error here that can cost quite a bit of money in the long run. And how can this be avoided? The answer is an electronic logbook.

How does an electronic logbook work?

A self-respecting electronic logbook usually offers eight functions or features: The features available depend on the provider and are often the following:

  • GPS location: The position of the vehicle or smartphone is continuously recorded via GPS or the mobile network. This allows the start, route and destination of the journeys to be tracked automatically.
  • Manual entries: At the beginning of the journey, the user typically enters the purpose of the trip, the number of people and, if necessary, other information in the logbook app.
  • Vehicle Integration: For even more accurate data collection, electronic logbooks can also be connected to the vehicle itself and read information such as mileage, fuel levels, etc. directly.
  • Document upload: Receipts, invoices and other receipts for travel expenses can be easily captured and uploaded to the app using a smartphone camera.
  • Cloud synchronization: All trip data and documents are synchronized in encrypted form with a central cloud platform and stored there.
  • Billing features: The logbook software offers functions for the automatic calculation of travel expenses, expenses and travel expense reports based on the recorded data.
  • Evaluations and reporting: The web browser interface of the platform can be used to carry out analyses of travel expense statistics, field service volumes, etc.
  • Workflows and approvals: Workflows for e.g. approvals and checks of the recorded travel data and invoices by superiors are often also integrated.
See also  The luxury of freedom: holidays in holiday homes and apartments

 

Modern electronic logbooks thus bundle the possibilities for digital, paperless recording and management of all business mobility by means of GPS, smartphone app and cloud.

The advantages for business travellers

So far, we have only highlighted the features. This is acceptable for mediocre product descriptions. But what are the advantages of the above-mentioned features for business travellers and companies?

  • Easy to use: Trip data such as start, destination, route and purpose no longer have to be laboriously entered by hand. Thanks to GPS positioning and interfaces to the vehicle, the recording is largely automatic or at the touch of a button.
  • Avoidance of sources of error: Incorrect or duplicate entries due to manual writing are eliminated. The digitally recorded data is therefore much more reliable.
  • No paperwork: Lost records on loose slips of paper are history. The data is stored directly in the app or cloud solution.
  • Faster expense reporting: Since all receipts are available digitally, the accounting documents for travel expenses can be compiled much more efficiently.
  • Integration of booking systems: By connecting to e.g. Hotel portals, rental car services, etc., a lot of data can be stored automatically.
  • Complete documentation: The electronic logbooks offer audit-proof documentation of all journeys and stays for any examinations and audits.
  • Cost control and analytics: Thanks to the central digital data storage, travel expenses can be evaluated across departments and savings potential can be easily identified.
  • Mobile access: Travel data can be accessed anytime and anywhere via a web application or mobile app.

 

In summary, it can be said that the two most important benefits for companies, but also for employees, are time and cost savings.

See also  5 tips on how to save money while traveling

The 3 risks

Everything has its two sides. Let us therefore also shed light on a very manageable number of risks. Compared to analogue logbooks, however, the ratio to the advantages looks much better.

  • The permanent GPS location and recording of all employee travel data can be perceived as an invasion of privacy.
  • If the software is insufficiently secured, there is a risk that data in the electronic logbook will be manipulated or falsified retrospectively (by the way, this is even easier analogously).
  • Electronic logbooks often entail higher costs and complexity due to hardware and software, licenses, cloud services and the required IT expertise.