By Dina Veljanovska
Farming is a major industry in the United States that contributes over $136B to the GDP, making it vital that farmers are empowered to run financially sustainable businesses. The right set of tools and advisory team can help ensure farmers understand their breakevens to make marketing decisions with confidence and take care of their budgeting, forecasting and production and livestock tracking in order to achieve their financial targets and ultimately, their goals.
We’re thrilled to have launched independently in the US earlier this year and to get to know some of our awesome partners that have used Figured to grow their businesses while helping their farmer clients.
We recently chatted with Bryce Bentley from RFSW about how he utilizes the Figured platform to start conversations with his clients about their future goals and aspirations, and how they can align their financial situation with them.
Ridihalgh Fuelling Snitker Weber & Co., commonly known as RFSW, is a Northeast Iowa public accounting corporation established in 1975. Their offices are located in Oelwein, Independence, and Jesup. RFSW currently has about 40 clients on Figured and started on their journey to better manage their finances and improve their profitability.
Bryce helps his mixture of clients with anything from estate planning and retirement planning, to investment and expansion opportunities, and everything in between. Bryce mentions, “we help move people in the direction they need to get to where they want to be”. On top of this the firm manages tax returns, audit reviews and compilations, but the real value comes from opening the door to advisory services through Xero and Figured. “I’ve been doing that for about two years now and have seen dramatic growth in my farming clients” says Bryce.
“I don't have interest in simply filing tax - I have an interest in educating my clients to make better, well-educated farming decisions. I want them to know the implications of their decisions may be—such as how a large asset purchase may affect their cashflow, or how taking on those extra acres will generate new cash and what this means for their costs. With Figured, it’s easy to visualize that,” says Bryce.
“When I sit down with my clients I ask them where they see themselves in 5 years - I need to know how to formulate a plan to get them to where they need to go, whether that’s retirement or expansion. The best part with Figured is that we can sit around a table with the lending institution and make a decision together, so that everyone that walks out of there knows what the decision is and makes the call together. This saves a lot of time and gives a lot more clarity than making a decision and then asking the banker if that’s okay. No one has been able to have these conversations before because they weren’t able to see the data right there in front of them.”
“The big things in Figured are the fact we can have inventory that's accurate, we can contract based on that inventory, and do a better job of understanding cost of production - my farmers can finally see it. I can look at every one of their fields, see all expenses and can see what their breakeven is on every little thing in their business, and that’s so valuable.”
“The younger generation is now coming through and they have a thirst for knowledge about their finances.They need to understand their position and the bigger picture. The Figured platform can provide them with information that they’ve never been able to access before. Now they can lock in exactly how much their break even is, understand the implication of what this is going to do to their operation. Figured allows them to stay on top of their numbers in order to be successful and look after the long term health of their farm.”
“Farming is a business, it’s not just a lifestyle, and you need to have the tools in place to manage the business well.”