I understand the appeal of auto-mileage tracking for business, but it’s incredibly problematic. I used it for a while when I first started using QuickBooks Self-Employed, but found it overwhelming to have to sift through every single trip I made. Its other challenge was that it also tracked every trip even when I wasn’t the one driving. Perhaps I was riding in someone else’s car, on a bus, or in a cab. I also found it incredibly invasive in terms of privacy: not only was it tracking and storing every place I went to work, but every place I went on my own time, a record, right alongside my business trips, of every place I went.

Granted, our phones do this already without telling us, but I see no sense in keeping an even more easily reported record of this. In both of my lines of work, client and patient privacy is essential (not to mention federally mandated), and I see no need for the IRS to know the exact location when other data should be sufficiently detailed. I include the date, the start/end mileage of my vehicle, and a note of who the trip is for (my own company directly, or otherwise the agency with whom I am contracting for a given assignment). I manually input my miles using an app called Mileage Log+, and it takes care of handling date, time, distance, etc. Selection of location (using GPS on your phone) is thankfully optional. And all records can be exported into CSV format for use in your own spreadsheet, which for me is much easier to then organize and review.

It’s the simplest, most direct way I’ve found that, after a bit of set-up, is also the most efficient. Also, it spares the “need” for an $8-10/month subscription that other mileage tracking apps seem to want to command.