When it comes to tools to help a farmer manage an operation, is the most basic and widespread option always the best? Just think about your equipment, the tools you use out in the field. Do you buy whatever is cheapest, or do you like a certain brand or type of equipment? Do you buy the first thing you see, or research everything that is available first? The same logic applies to your agricultural accounting software. The software you use is a crucial piece of equipment that can help you stay on track and be profitable. Don’t trust it to whatever is easiest to find or cheapest! Instead, have a careful look at your options and what fits best for your farm. At least then if you decide to purchase the cheapest and most basic package, you will do so with your eyes wide open, and you will know exactly what you are getting. So a good question here is, with so many basic software packages available, who needs Ag software?
Farmers who want information in their own language.
You probably won’t find anything about enterprises, farms, fields, production, or other farm-related activities within a basic accounting program. That’s because those programs have to fit a huge variety of business types. Ag software presents tools and features to you in a way that is familiar and makes more sense.
Farmers who want to know how they are doing compared to established guidelines.
Did you know there is now a software tool available to help you understand where you should be with industry benchmarks? This same tool can also help pinpoint areas of strength and weakness in your farm, so you can increase your profits and reverse negative trends. This tool is ratio analysis, and some Ag software has this as one of its features. Ratio analysis includes guidelines, ratios and indices that are specific to Ag, so you won’t have to guess how you are doing; you can see it for yourself, using the numbers you have already entered into your system.
Farmers who want to plan how much profit they will have, and where it will come from.
Software specifically for Ag gives you tools to track information in the way that is most useful to you, whether it’s by profit center, by enterprise, by account, and much more. Tracking information helps you understand which areas of your farm are profitable, so you can focus on your income generating enterprises and increase your profits. Another helpful tool for planning is the ability to run ‘what if’ scenarios. Doing this allows you to project future sales, cash flow, income states, and assets and liabilities. Once this information is tracked and reported consistently, managing your finances becomes much easier and can become more goal-oriented.
Using an Ag-specific program to run your farm can make your information much easier to enter and understand. No matter which program you choose, make sure it can provide you with the financial information you need, in the way you want to see it.