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Unlike standard accounting software, it refines the accounting process, automates billing and invoicing, and analyzes profitability based on variables specific to the logistics industry.
But given the plethora of choices, which accounting software platform should you pick?
In this article, we’ll explore what logistics accounting software is, its different types, and the leading software solutions in the market. We’ll also discuss the 8 essential features of a logistics accounting software tool and the latest trends in logistics management.
Logistics accounting software is a financial management system that can handle multiple financial tasks for your supply chain management or logistics company. It integrates accounting principles into logistics-related functionalities to streamline business operations.
Whether your freight forwarding business involves collaborating with a trucking company or is provider of shipping carriers, logistics accounting software can help with:
Now, there are different logistics accounting software platforms in the market.
Let’s review the options available.
Logistics accounting software is broadly classified into integrated and standalone software:
All accounting functions in an integrated accounting software solution are interconnected, eliminating the need to re-enter information from one system to another.
Integrated accounting software usually includes modules that work together and share information in real time, ensuring accurate and efficient financial management. These modules include:
Such integrated systems also reduce the possibility of human error or the need to reconcile various ledgers since they update automatically.
A popular integrated accounting system is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. ERP software helps logistics and transport companies manage day-to-day business and finance activities, making it ideal for small or mid-sized production or distribution-based enterprises.
For example, Enterprise Resource Planning platforms like Shipthis integrate accounting management solutions with other core freight forwarding processes like:
Moreover, Shipthis’ comprehensive systems offer a centralized database for managing financial transactions, reporting, and analysis for your logistics business.
Note: Besides ERP, integrated systems include third-party logistics and cloud-based platforms.
A standalone accounting system is an independent software or application designed solely for accounting purposes. Unlike integrated accounting systems that combine multiple functionalities of a freight forwarding business, standalone accounting systems focus solely on accounting tasks. Plus, they don’t integrate with other business processes or systems.
Now, let’s check out the top logistics accounting software tools best suited for your business needs.
Below are the top logistics accounting software solutions for freight forwarders.
Shipthis is a robust, AI-driven, cloud-based ERP software solution that covers all aspects of your freight forwarding operations, from bookings to end-to-end financial transactions.
Some key features that make Shipthis a standout accounting system include:
Shipthis’ pricing starts at $89/month per user.
NetSuite Cloud Accounting is an accounting platform that integrates with other NetSuite platforms. These other platforms include order fulfillment and inventory management, financial management capabilities, e-commerce, and more.
NetSuite Cloud Accouting’s key features include:
NetSuite Cloud Accounting’s pricing is available upon request.
QuickBooks is a standalone accounting software that tracks your business revenue and organizes all financial information.
Quickbooks’ key features include:
Quickbooks has paid pricing plans starting at $18/month.
Zoho Books is a cloud-based platform that undertakes all accounting operations for your logistics company, ranging from core accounting to bank reconciliation.
Zoho Books' key features are:
Besides a free plan, Zoho Books offers paid pricing plans starting at $20/month per organization.
Note: Zoho also offers a warehouse management software (WMS) tool called Zoho Inventory to address all your inventory control and management needs.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting platform with tools that enable easy creation, sending, and tracking of invoices.
Some of its top features are:
FreshBooks offers paid pricing plans starting at $8.50/month for five billable clients.
CargoWise is an ERP logistics software platform with accounting tools that simplify global trade by managing rising tariffs and regulations and addressing margin pressures.
Its top features include:
CargoWise’s pricing is available upon request.
Descartes is cloud-based logistics management software involved in global trade-related intelligence. It helps with accounting, inventory management, assets, and customer support information.
Descartes’ top features are:
Descartes pricing is available upon request.
While these tools boast impressive features, the best logistics accounting software must have certain indispensable features:
A sound logistics accounting software system must have the following key features to enhance operational efficiency:
The software must keep track of all accounting data, invoices, purchase orders, and cash inflows on a single platform. It should streamline end-to-end accounting in your organization and simplify every financial operation for all stakeholders.
For example, Shipthis' GAAP Compliant Accounting Module lets you stay on top of all financial transactions with its dedicated dashboard.
Besides undertaking essential accounting functions, your software system must optimize resource allocation to maximize revenue.
Better inventory control and labor handling will help you manage the workforce or team more effectively.
Your logistics and freight forwarding business must have multi-currency capabilities that can be utilized in quotes, sales, invoicing, billing, etc.
A logistics accounting software platform with a currency manager panel, like Shipthis, lets you add pre-decided base points or fixed corrections. It also periodically updates exchange rates for your organization.
With a logistics accounting software solution, you can create a customized workflow depending on your organization’s needs. It’s also important that your platform automates accounting processes to improve productivity and ensure a smoother workflow.
Logistics accounting software should ideally be equipped with a dashboard that relays all cash management data in real-time. This lets you track receivables and payables at any time and even send reminders to clients for pending payments.
An all-in-one logistics accounting platform will have a profit and loss analysis tool that allows you to monitor all significant financial transactions of your freight forwarding business.
The logistics software system should allow for easy integration with major banks from around the world. This lets you access bank statements in direct feeds.
Moreover, it should also facilitate easy data exchanges with other shipping apps with open APIs.
Accounting software should give you easy access to all your financial data and documents in one place.
It should also present all the information visually, helping you manage inventory, approve workflows, handle costs, forecast profits, and more with a single click.
But here’s the thing:
These essential accounting offerings should go hand-in-hand with upcoming market trends in logistics or freight management. This will help further the longevity and use of your logistics software solution.
So, let’s explore the market trends in the logistics industry.
Some of the latest trends in the logistics management sector include:
New logistics software or transportation management systems (TMS) provide you with the date, time, and status of the shipment, including inland and onboard movements. They also help with route planning, making revisions automatically, and notifying all parties of any changes.
Inventory transfers in the freight forwarding business (like in a trucking company) have been fast-tracked with RFID and GPS. RFID scanning lets you know when your shipment has arrived, while GPS lets you know its exact location during transit.
Moreover, the future of logistics management seems poised to embrace tools and technologies that will boost supply chain visibility. Platforms like Shipthis already provide a dedicated dashboard that lets you track and trace your shipments and provides real-time visibility.
The logistics industry must adhere to strict regulatory guidelines linked to every part of the supply chain management process. Some of these guidelines include:
That’s why logistics accounting software systems must let you track your shipment’s customs clearance status.
And that’s not all…
These management software tools should also provide regular updates about compliance laws you may have overlooked. This facilitates adherence to regulatory rules and reduces the risk of penalties and fees.
New-age logistics accounting software systems have provisions to automate all processes in your business through customizable workflows.
You can seamlessly undertake step-by-step shipment processes by automating critical processes like:
Powerful freight forwarding platforms, like Shipthis, offer an insightful dashboard that helps you customize workflows to streamline every operation. Plus, employees can view all their pending tasks from workflows and identify those on high priority.
With the software industry transitioning to service-based products instead of one-time purchases, freight forwarding software solutions are also making the shift.
Many logistics management software vendors now let you either deploy applications on-site or host systems through the vendors' servers.
The freight forwarding industry handles huge amounts of data. Manual processing of simple tasks can lead to inconsistencies and errors, or waste a lot of time.
However, with digitalization, you can:
While a standalone logistics accounting software tool takes care of just the accounting functions of your enterprise, an integrated system manages multiple tasks seamlessly.
That’s why it’s easy to enhance your business’ operational efficiency with an integrated accounting solution that marries the accounting feature with top market trends — like Shipthis.
Shipthis’ logistics software solution automates and digitizes key operations to streamline your freight forwarding business. It puts you at the forefront of digital transformation in the freight forwarding and logistics industry.
Ready to get started?
Book a free demo of Shipthis.