Kiwi farmers and accountants, now is the time to take control

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Kiwi farmers and accountants, now is the time to take control
By Chris Vanderkolk

New Zealand has two significant industries which support the majority of our economy - tourism and agriculture. In the space of one week one of those industries, tourism, has closed shop for the foreseeable future. The other, agriculture, will be rattled, but if our farmers run their business in a smart and considered manner, they should be able navigate the times ahead, and lead New Zealand through this unprecedented social and economic event.

Being embedded in the agri-business community, we have seen our farmers face economic challenges before. We’ve observed that those who did not have enough control over their finances, including plans which factored in shocks, struggled to manage through the volatility. Now is no different.

However, we’ve also seen that those farmers who surround themselves with trusted experts are well equipped to manage the volatility. They are quick to respond to difficult situations, and most importantly, they are not alone in managing their businesses.

At Figured, we advocate for the importance of good financial planning and management, and in farming we believe that relies on two things:

1. Having access to real-time accurate financial information, at any time, from any device.

2. Working with experts to interpret this information, add informed assumptions about the future and make decisions as a team.

New Zealand's farmers are fortunate. As a country with one of the highest rates of adoption of cloud accounting technology, their advisors are better placed than anyone else to reach out and offer help. For the past 10 years, New Zealand accountants have been shifting their practices online, so that they can work from anywhere, and collaborate with their farming clients on any device with an internet connection.

In times of self-isolation and evolving advice from the government for workers to stay at home, cloud-based financial and production platforms for farming teams have never been more important.

We are currently re-working parts of the Figured app to give our accounting partners full access to our multi-year scenario planning tool and monthly rolling plan capability, so that they can begin engaging their clients and planning for the months and years ahead. This is a small thing we can do quickly to ensure our partners have the tools to support their clients with planning and modelling outcomes during these unpredictable times.

To our accounting partners, we encourage you to take us up on this offer. Your clients and our country's farmers will need your help to navigate the coming months, and we will be there to ensure you are able to get the most out of Figured to do so.

To the farming community, now is the time to reach out to your accountant, and ask them to help you create a financial plan which takes into account all eventualities. They have the tools to make it an efficient process, and will give you the confidence to carry on farming, in spite of the uncertainty we are all facing.