The Proper Way to Use a Log Book

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A log book is essential for business owners.
A log book is essential for business owners. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A log book is a broad term that can be used for many different types of tasks. One of the most common uses for a log book is to track information as you drive. Details like reasons for the trip, dates, mileage, driving time, maintenance, miles per gallon and services to your vehicle can all be easily tracked in your log book. When you use your vehicle for business purposes, the information in your log book can then be used for tax purposes.

Figure out the type of information that you need to track in your log book. Using the example of a log book for driving, you could keep track of what time you drive, how many miles each trip takes, the purpose of the trip and the date. For services, the log can help you keep track of the service date, what service you received, such as an oil change, and how much each service costs you. Calculate your miles per gallon.

Label the various sections of your log book. Each piece of information that you need to include should get its own separate column. This makes tracking the information much easier. Use a different set of columns for each type of information. For example, one set of columns might read, “Date, Time, Mileage and Purpose,” while another set reads, “Date, Service, Cost, Payee.”

Keep your log updated. For example, every time you use your vehicle for business, write down all of the relevant information in your log as you get into the car. Don’t forget to add the ending time and mileage.

Add up totals. In your log book, some information might need to be totaled up, such as at the end of each quarter or year. For example, miles for each trip in your vehicle and the total cost of all service to your vehicle are two columns that need to be calculated.

Write legibly. To properly use your log book, you must read your own handwriting. You might also need to share your log book with your accountant or employer.

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