By Chris Vanderkolk
In partnership with ifac and Bank of Ireland, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Figured to the Irish farming community. Today's launch sees ifac and Bank of Ireland utilise Figured to improve the financial management of over 3,000 dairy farmers. Figured, utilising our platform partner Xero, is the platform that will support ifac taking a radically improved planning and advisory service to the Irish market.
The proposition is called FarmPro (ifac.ie/farm-pro) and it includes a dedicated ifac support team, advisory services to support effective budgeting and business planning, and clever use of technology through automated livestock and financial data to save time and enable up to date farm financial reporting. The Bank of Ireland are supporting adoption of this service as they recognise it will help their customers to improve their farm financial management and ease the process of lending decisions and reviews.
This is a partnership which has grown over the past four years, one which has included significant diligence and discovery by ifac and Bank of Ireland, including extensive customer and market research, both in Ireland and New Zealand - an established agri economy with strong farming and cultural links to Ireland.
It also marks a major milestone in Figured’s international journey, as we seek to bring better financial management tools, more accurate financial data and greater confidence in decision making to the world's farming teams by partnering with industry leaders and innovators in accounting, banking and beyond.
Setting a new standard in farm business management
Ifac traces its roots to 1973, with the rapid transformation and expansion of the dairy sector driven by Ireland's entry into the EU - ifac was formed as a co-operative to meet the need of delivering specialist agri oriented accounting services. As an organisation, ifac has always been driven by innovation and a philosophy of deep connection to the Irish farming community.
The launch of FarmPro further supports that connection with the farming community, and reflects an understanding that their clients share a concern held by Farmers all over the world - they want to know how their businesses are performing, not just from a production standpoint, but from a financial perspective.
John Donoghue, ifac CEO: ”(Irish Farmers) want to know where they stand, be able to make better decisions and have more control over their finances. FarmPro will help farmers to achieve these aims. For the first time, farmers will have access to a precise snapshot of their farm performance using the latest on-farm data, and Ifac’s expertise in budgeting, forecasting and benchmarking to help them build forward looking plans.”
The Farming Team in action
Figured is founded on the idea of the “Farming Team”, in which farmers work collaboratively with their financial advisors and lenders, leveraging cloud technology to share live financial information about the farm, and enabling each expert to provide their input and guidance on major farm decisions. As we launch into Ireland with ifac and Bank of Ireland we’re seeing one of the finest examples of this model being put into action, and being done so by industry leaders who believe that accurate financial information and expert advice is key to supporting their clients.
Figured UK & Ireland Managing Director David Kirby believes that Ifac and Bank of Ireland are leading the way globally by launching FarmPro: “the approach ifac have taken to crafting the FarmPro proposition, resourcing this and taking this to market with the support of the BOI is one of the best examples we have seen across our markets so far".
Dave Dodds, CEO Figured: “We first connected with the team at ifac in 2017, it was clear that they had the drive and industry relationships to bring real change to the way Irish farmers manage their businesses and access capital. We also recognise the strong cultural similarities in how the Irish and Kiwis work - there’s a real willingness to ‘just get things done’, and we both share a vision for financial advisory services for farmers powered by cloud technology. We’ve enjoyed working with the team at ifac and believe Figured in combination with their Farm Pro services will be a game changer for Irish agriculture.”
Co-designing the solution
As we’ve worked with ifac and Bank of Ireland to bring FarmPro to market, it's been evident that the success of the service is built on combined experience and understanding of the needs of the farmer and accountant. We knew the success of Figured in Ireland would depend on Ifac’s ability to build a meaningful service on top of Figured, rather than act only as a software reseller. The resulting service, FarmPro and FarmPro+ brings together the Figured product experience with Ifac’s industry knowledge and expertise to create a scalable, efficient advisory service for Ifacs customers.
Figured to was required to adapt to the market, and with the input of the team at Ifac we’ve been able build an integration with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) to bring livestock movement data into Figured, which when combined with live financial data via their extensive bookkeeping service gives farmers and their advisors an almost fully automated view of farm financial position, by removing the need for manual production data input.
This integration also signals the future of Figured as we seek to bring more production data into Figured via API and build out the ecosystem of connected farming, banking and accounting systems, it also reflects Figured’s philosophy of designing solutions with those partners who are the primary users.