Invoices from Fuel Vendors typically include files containing a more detailed breakdown of fuel stops and purchases. And while it might be nice to record that information in Tailwind, entering it manually is likely to be quite time consuming. Instead, Tailwind provides a tool that allows you to import the fuel file directly. The Fuel Import tool will automatically create a Bill for the fuel vendor in question, while also adding Fuel Stops to your Equipment records.
Setting Up – Fuel Expense Items
Before you can start using the Fuel Import tool, you will need to create several Expense items to be used that will allow you to allocate your fuel costs and related items.
- Fuel – Gallons
- Fuel – Litres (Only if you purchase fuel in Canada)
- Cash Advance (Only if you allow cash advances on your cards)
- Oil & Additives
- DEF – Gallons
- DEF – Litres
- Fuel Transaction Fee
- Fuel Rebates
Whether you use all of these items is up to you, but you will need to have some Expense items in place to associate with the costs that are being imported from the fuel record – otherwise, you will end up with Bills in your system that do not represent the full cost of your fuel card invoices.
Setting Up – Fuel Cards
Fuel cards will be associated to the personnel record of the driver, and you should instruct your drivers to ensure that they enter their unit number at the pump to ensure the fuel purchase is properly associated to the correct tractor. On the personnel record you will find a field where you can enter the number of the fuel cards that have been issued to this driver. [This interface is currently being updated; more details will be provided once we have figured out exactly how this will work.]
Using the Fuel Import Tool
To use the tool, start by locating the Fuel Import link in the Tools section of the left navigation menu. This will bring up the Fuel Import tool page.
File Type and Vendor
Begin by selecting the File Type that matches the fuel file you want to import. Next, select the Vendor to which you want to assign the resulting Bill.
Continue by filling out the remaining general information fields. The ‘Reference Number’ field will appear on the resulting vendor Bills, and is generally used for recording the associated Invoice number.
By default, the tool will allocate imported fuel stop data to different tractors based on their assigned fuel cards.
Allocating Expense Types – Fuel Vendor
Once you have filled out the General Information, continue to the section labeled ‘Fuel Vendor’ below. This is where you assign Expense Types to the different line items that will be generated on the vendor Bills. For example, you will probably want to assign the ‘Fuel (Gallons)’ and ‘Fuel (Litres)’ (if applicable) to a matching ‘Fuel’ Expense type. If you do not have an applicable Expense Type, you can always create a new one.
Note that you can select ‘Skip’ as an Expense Type if you want to exclude those charges entirely — they will not be included in the vendor Bill.
Deductions – Drivers, Owner/Operators
The remaining two sections are only used if you are passing some of the costs along to your Drivers or Owner/Operators. Any category that has an Expense Type selected will be automatically deducted and charged to whichever Personnel record is associated with the Fuel Card in question. (Note that this will not work if you have assigned your Fuel Cards to Equipment, rather than Personnel records.) These deductions will appear as negative-value Bills to the Personnel in question, which will be included when you pay your Drivers and Owner/Operators.
In most cases you will still want to use the same Expense Types, in which case you can use the ‘Copy From Fuel Vendor’ button to quickly duplicate the assignments you have already made.
Import the Fuel File
When you have filled out all the necessary fields, click the ‘Import Fuel Card File’ button at the bottom of the page. This will open a Browse… dialog from which you can locate and select the fuel file you want to import.
Once you select the file, the import process will begin.
Unassigned Fuel Cards
Once the file is imported, a box will appear showing any Fuel Cards that appear in the fuel file but are not associated with any records in Tailwind. For each card, you will have the option to associate it with either a Personnel or Equipment record, depending on how you have decided to organize your fuel cards.
If for whatever reason you decide not to leave a fuel card unassociated, the tool will still be able to create the Vendor Bill – however, it will not process any deductions related to that card, or create Fuel Stops on the appropriate Equipment.
Once all the cards are assigned, click on the final ‘Process’ button at the bottom of the page. You will be asked to confirm the import – click yes to complete the process.