Fuel Cards Are Changing the Way We Work
Claiming VAT back on fuel used in a professional capacity has been the bane of my life for as long as I can remember. When we made the switch to using fuel cards, I had imagined that somehow, claiming VAT back would be even more difficult. I can honestly say that fuel cards have left me pleasantly surprised.
We use a gray fleet, which is where private vehicles are used for professional use. Before we started using fuel cards, this meant sorting through receipts for fuel purchases and hoping that we weren’t paying out for private use too. Now, we receive itemized receipts, and have the information delivered to our inboxes every week. Our drivers fill up their vehicles at the end of the working day, and can then use them for their own personal tasks. At the start of the next day, they use their cards once again to fill up their cards, and this way we know that each morning’s top up covers only private use.
What I love about cards is that they make fleet management simple. I don’t have to worry about how many faded and lost receipts I’m handing to my accountant each month with a sheepish face. Because we can keep track of exactly where and when fuel purchases were made, fuel cards mean that it’s easy to separate out fuel usage even for vehicles that are used for both private and professional use.
Beyond simple management, fuel cards also let us do much more. Because the fuel cards we use allow you to make a note of the mileage when you fill up, we’ve started to rank our drivers on fuel efficiency. Since bringing in rank tables and marking out how far each person’s fuel is taking them, our drivers have started to take steps to improve the ways they drive. This is obviously great from a fuel saving perspective, but also leaves me feeling a lot more confident in my fleet. I know that fuel efficient driving is often also safer driving, with smoother transitions, sensible breaking and lower top speeds. Without fuel cards, we wouldn’t be able to monitor fuel efficiency in quite the same simple way, so they’ve done their part to give me a safer staff member and a fleet that I don’t have to worry about.
Of course, nothing written on fuel cards would be complete without mentioning the money they’ve saved our business. Typically, we see a saving of a few pence per liter on pump prices, which adds up to a considerable saving when you consider that we have a fleet of five cars that are in use all the time within our working hours. Most of our cars have a tank capacity of 50 to 70 liters and tend to top up two or three times a week. Whilst many might turn their nose up at saving around AÃ¯Â¿Â½20 or AÃ¯Â¿Â½30 a week, this certainly adds up over the course of a year and is a no-brainer considering fuel card require even less effort to use than a credit or debit card or cash to pay for fuel. Coupled with this is the saving on VAT that I mentioned at the start of the article. For very little outlay, we’re saving literally thousands of pounds.
Fuel cards have, without a doubt, unequivocally altered our business and the way we manage our fleets.