Fuel Management From a Finance Perspective

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I recently joined fuel management group and I’m very excited about the opportunity to work directly with clients and prospects with their fleet fuel management programs. For the past 25 years, I’ve always been a finance guy in the back-office and enjoyed working with data. My career also included a number of years in the mobile fleet fueling industry. It was a great experience for me because there was plenty of data to look at; gallons, cents, miles, hours, etc. I prepared all kinds of analyze to help run the business and also helped clients understand what they were paying for fuel and where it was being used.

I took for granted that clients were actually looking at the reports provided to them. It seemed common for them to ask for verification of pricing or if the amount of diesel fuel delivered was accurate. What I’ve come to realize recently is that many companies are actually not looking at this kind of data closely. The result is they are leaving a lot of money on the table. Even though I’ve broadened my horizons beyond finance, the accountant in me is screaming “how can anyone let this happen?”

If I were a CFO, Controller, or Fleet Manager of a company and fuel was one of my top expenses, I’d be doing whatever I could to make sure it was managed effectively. Fuel prices are changing every day and there can be thousands of fuel card transactions being generated. This creates a significant chance for errors to occur and, therefore, the data must be audited. Otherwise, dollars will surely be wasted. Auditing is easier said than done, and you need the right tools too. It can be a daunting task for anyone who has a lot of different responsibilities on their plate.

Despite the challenge, the data needed to properly implement a robust fuel management system is readily available. With a little knowledge, a finance or operations person can set up a spreadsheet or database to bring it all together, analyze it thoroughly, and validate the results. If you’re not comfortable with doing that, or your staff is just stretched too thin to tackle it, that’s still no reason to ignore getting it done when so much money is at stake.

One of the main reasons I joined the company was to be able to provide this expertise to clients, save them a lot of money, and take a load off their shoulders. From a finance perspective, I saw it as a great opportunity and knew that I could easily explain the huge potential for fuel savings to other finance people. Then, making the decision to rely on outsourced fuel management expertise would be one of the best, and simplest, decisions they ever made.

Source by Glen Sokolis

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