Car logbook records are high on the ATO’s hit list for this FBT year. Traditionally, this has meant filling out entries in a book from a local newsagency, which is simple enough. But honestly, how easy is it to make sure that this little paper book doesn’t succumb to water spills and rips in the FIVE years you must hold onto it? Or to make sure that the logbook does not fall victim to the mysterious black holes that exist in glove boxes and filing cabinets?

To solve this, a number of apps have been developed where you can log your travel on your phone using GPS data, and then email that report to yourself or straight to your accountant. The ATO have since acknowledged that as long as you can get access to the logbook in English at any time you want, they are happy to accept it. This means we can chuck out another annoying wad of paper and make our record keeping lives so much easier. With that in mind, we decided to road test some of the apps available to help make this process nice and easy. Remember, anything you spend on these logbook apps is tax deductible!

Best bang for your buck

  • Vehicle Log Book by Teklabs Cost:
  • Free for basic or $1.99 for pro version
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes App Store

This app is was great value. The design is simple and effective which makes it easy to setup and enter trips. As an extra bonus, you can upload an image of the odometer reading rather than just entering the figure which is great for record keeping and helps reduce errors. This app can run in the background so you can continue to use other apps such as music at the same time. The only downside we found is that the free version does not allow you to export the data to a PDF logbook report, but for the extra $1.99 it is definitely worth a look.

Tightarse approved

  • Logit Fleetcare by Fleetcare
  • Cost: Free
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes App Store

The most striking thing about this app is the design, which is bright and easy to understand. It has a maximum of two vehicles that can be logged but you do have the option to log a trip manually or via GPS. The app is clever enough to bring the closing odometer reading from one trip across to the opening reading for the next trip. The end exported report has excellent formatting and is clear and easy to follow. As with most free apps, there is a very small ad for other Fleetcare services however it does not interfere with the screen and is barely noticeable.

App with the lot

  • VehicleLog by Gunn Software Pty Ltd
  • Cost: $9.49
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes App Store

Being the most expensive app that we trialled, it comes with all of the bells and whistles you would expect for the price. The formatting is simplistic but does the job, and allows unlimited motor vehicles, with the option to enter the travel manually or via GPS. With a few minor setting changes, you can program automatic push notifications to remind you to enter the odometer reading when you are driving at a similar time each day.
The app can access your calendar and contact list to auto fill in destination addresses and descriptions of the trip. You can also obtain extra help through to app as to what is likely to be personal vs. business use. The best feature we found was the audit report that is produced in addition to the logbook record. This audit report records what time the trip took place and what time the trip was logged so you can determine if an employee is backdating the logbook and not keeping it up to date.

Prettiest App

  • Travel Logs by Sockii Pty Ltd
  • Cost: $5.49
  • Available from Google Play and iTunes App Store

Built to make full use of the cloud, this app can access contacts and calendars to prefill data for the trips and can easily be synced to iCloud to make sure that you don’t lose any data if the worst should happen to your beloved phone. The design is excellent, and the navigation through each step is easy to follow with an unlimited number of motor vehicles that can be entered. Entries are easy to record, and you can search and filter through past trips with a simple touch. From a record keeping view, having the data export into excel format only is not perfect but will suffice for ATO purposes.

Simplest Solutions

This method does not require an app. If you are a subscriber to InterSync, simply take a photo of your Odometer reading before and after a trip and send it to the team. They will use the pics to create a legitimate logbook for you, how easy is that?