The Little LogBook already has a legendary reputation for helping vehicle owners minimise admin and save hard-earned cash when it comes to tax season. Thanks to a major software upgrade late last year, capturing trip data and managing the mundane task of keeping an accurate trip logbook has been made even easier. And now, businesses can get in on the action, too. Here's a breakdown of the new features you'll find on this already-brilliant, upgraded device.
In life, it's often the little things that make a big difference. And the Little LogBook, the brainchild of Gauteng resident Andre Swanepoel, is a perfect example. Since its inception back in 2009, this practical, no-fuss device has helped vehicle owners the world over – removing the headache and hassle out of filling in manual logbooks or billing clients and, as a consequence, saving them serious money in the process. No wonder it has such a loyal local following.
That said, no matter how good a product is, it can't afford to remain static forever. Seven years on, and Swanepoel figured it was time for an upgrade. “I'm the world's worst when it comes to filling in logbooks, that's why I created Little LogBook in the first place. Over the years we've received lots of constructive feedback from loyal users. That, coupled with an eye on the future, is what our new software update is all about – making capturing travel data child’s play, while reducing administration even further.”
Fortunately, the Little LogBook's new software upgrade, called Little LogBook Global, takes nothing away from the original version. In fact, existing users of the original software, simply need to follow the quick upgrade process to start reaping the rewards. What it does is significant. Apart from streamlining some processes (reducing admin even further), it also provides extra functionality to help make vehicle ownership easier. These new features include the ability to automate the marking of trips as business or private, choose a preferred map interface, automate trip data backups and set important vehicle reminders such as service and licence expiry dates. As a result, Little LogBook Global is servicing a wider audience and growing fast, with companies getting in on the action too.
Little LogBook Global benefits in more detail
New Automark Rules reduce admin even further by making the process of logging trips easier and less time-consuming. Swanepoel says all you need do is configure the rules for your trips, and the software will automatically classify your trip data as either business or private in future trip downloads. You can also rename your system-assigned location names to reflect criteria personal to you and the company, such as Office, Home, clients names etc. All future visits to these locations will reflect the chosen names, making it very easy to identify the trips undertaken and create client-specific reporting.
In fact, the way Swanepoel sees it, this is the most pivotal update of the lot. As he wryly observes: “We all spend way too much time messing with admin. In business, we can ill afford staff wasting time administering the business, when they should rather be out there, turning the wheels of industry.”
Previously, users were responsible for backing up trip data themselves. As you can imagine, this didn't always work out too well. Swanepoel explains: “I've seen it countless times where users have lost valuable data because of not performing regular backups. Whether it's a PC that's crashed, or spilt coffee on the keyboard, the end results are the same – the loss of claimable tax expenses.” Now, backups occur automatically every time you exit the software, with the added option to personalise the backup location and eliminate the risk entirely.
Another new feature is the ability to manually input trip data – an essential add-on, especially for those who forget to plug their devices into their vehicles. Says Swanepoel: “I've had clients who've driven from Gauteng to Cape Town and back forgetting to activate their units, causing them to take huge financial hits. Now mistakes can be manually corrected, financial losses like these are a thing of the past.” It is important to note that manual entries are clearly marked as such, to avoid any questionable behaviour.
On the mapping front, the original software relied exclusively on a single map provider. This wasn't a problem, but it did limit one's options. Now that various map providers have been included, users can choose between more detailed or stripped-down display options, according to their individual preferences. Says Swanepoel: “What Little LogBook does is overlay trip info onto the maps, so you don't need roads for it to work. Its updated on-board GPS will record your route, speed and altitude, even if it cuts straight across the Kalahari desert.”
Great news for Business
Previously, Little LogBook catered more to individual taxpayers. Now, thanks to Little LogBook Global, companies looking for an easier way to manage their outbound expenses, staff and vehicle fleets can also get in on the action. Its plug-and-play functionality allows managers to effortlessly transfer devices from one staff member to another as they come and go in the organisation. And, when buying or selling company vehicles, it helps cut out unnecessary costs as no installation or de-installation is required. With automated trip recording, report and trip data back ups, companies can breath easy, knowing they no longer have to rely on staff to keep their vehicle admin in check. POPI compliant options, further bolsters Little LogBook’s place in the workspace.
Another big plus is its ability to compile various reports. For example, when billing clients you can include the cost/kilometre rate, along with the route travelled on a printable map. Special allowance has also been made for those keeping track of vehicle expenses. Now users can scan cash slips and invoices into the system to compile really extensive Vehicle Cost Reports. Here everything can be included; from fuel expenditure and annual service costs, to those brake pads you had to replace, and even that new battery you had to fork out for.
Pinpoint accurate locations, date and time stamps are invaluable when managing outbound staff and vehicles. Thanks to Little LogBook Global's ability to build filtered client-specific reports, managers can even check if their sales reps have been visiting clients as regularly as promised.
Reports can also be compiled using various formats, including Excel, PDF, CSV and KML (or Google Earth file). Staff don’t even need to email the reports to their supervisors, as each report created is automatically saved in a choice of 1 or 2 locations – one on the users PC and another to the company’s server, freeing them up to focus on the paying job at hand.
The GPS tracking accuracy of Little LogBook Global makes it great for monitoring driver behaviour too. This is particularly helpful when traffic fines start arriving at your door and disciplinary decisions need to be made. It also provides evidence to corroborate “the story” and help business owners make informed decisions. Says Swanepoel: “Our devices have also been used in many CCMA cases. Especially when there's a dispute over whether the staff member was 'there' or not, or if the company vehicle was suspected of being misused.”
When Swanepoel first developed the Little LogBook, he wanted a product to help him keep his own logbook as he kept forgetting to jot down his mileage and activity. It had to automate the recording, and be easily collated to reflect his business mileage for the taxman – that his invention proved to be so popular with fellow road users was a bonus. The new-and-improved Little LogBook Global has become so much bigger than that – now, both individuals and companies have the ability to store all their vehicle trip data, invoices and corresponding documents in one safe place. As Swanepoel points out: “What this means is next time SARS comes knocking, Little LogBook Global users will be able to provide so much credible information, chances are they'll never want to go through it all.”
The way I see it, an already good deal just got a whole lot better. – (c) 2017 NavWorld
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