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Hawkes Bay farmers Sarah and Roy Kingston have made a couple of recent changes … both designed to make life easier.

The couple bought a 170h property of easy to flat terrain, about 15 minutes from Waipawa, and Sarah says they are enjoying the change to an easier terrain having previously farmed on some medium to steep hill country. “Our second, but equally as successful move was also made to make life easier – this time by saving time.

“I moved our financials from Cash Manager RURAL across to Cash Manager Focus (Focus) earlier this year and I’m pretty pleased, even surprised at how the move has saved time spent in the office.”

Over thirty years ago Sarah started out using a manual cash book to manage their farm financials which was labour intensive and time consuming. Coming from an accounting/economics background Sarah says she knew there had to be another way.

“In 1991 computers cost $2000 – $3000 which was a major outlay at that time. I could see the opportunities this new way of working would provide but technology was not mainstream and getting a computer was a radical move. Roy and I had a ‘discussion’ and I offered him three options; he could manage the accounts, our accountant could manage the accounts, or we get a computer, and I would continue to manage them. Following a quick cost v efficiency evaluation, he quickly decided the computer was indeed the way to go and the rest is history!

Sarah says migrating across to Focus was simple despite her initial reservations. “I don’t know what I was concerned about now. The migration process was straight forward, and I knew, if there was a hitch, the CRS Support Team were there to help.

“To be honest I used to resent time spent in the office, but Focus is much more user friendly than its predecessor. It’s faster and easier to navigate and I love that I can balance every day against our bank statements. I used to have to balance monthly but now every transaction is coded and immediately balanced. That’s so cool!”

She says farmers are not usually accountants, so it stands to reason that the person doing the accounts is often not an expert in financial matters. “CRS understands farmers and farming, so their farm management packages are directly applicable to our business.”

Sarah says being able to use her own codes is another positive change, but balancing is the business.

“It’s my favorite thing now. Budgets used to frustrate me but with Focus they are super easy and give a real time view of the bigger picture which is helpful. To be honest, it’s hard to mess it up and if something happens, there’s nothing that cannot be undone or tweaked to get you back on track again There’s always bumps in the road when you’re farming and now you can plan for these because you can see them coming.”

Having the ability to invite the bank or accountant to take a look at end of year is another positive for the Kingston’s – “we don’t need much interaction from our bank or accountant at our age and stage but it’s good to know our advisors are only a call away if needed.

‘We are really pleased with our easy to manage farm and Focus – and easier is exactly what we wanted!”

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