Caroline Smith runs 150 South Devon cows and 380 hinds on 240h of hill country on the Napier-Taupo Road – not far from the Mohaka River. With the deer and breeding cows, plus finishing steers, and two daughters Holly (7) and Clara (4) you’d be right to imagine she is a busy person.
But sitting still is not in her DNA and Caroline already has her sights on establishing “Chipinga”, a South Devon stud on the property. She does have willing helpers – husband Geoff, who owns Geoff’s Electrical Ltd in Napier, provides another set of hands when needed, especially in the deer shed, and her father-in-law is also around and about when needed.
With a busy business to run, Caroline is a fan of any super smart technology that saves time and money and when introduced to the new Cash Manager Focus (Focus) farm management software, she was sold.
She says any technology that saves time is more than a bonus “I use a drone to quickly check the back of the property and Cloud Farmer for day to day running of the farm. I’ve also got our trough and tank levels recorded directly onto my phone so a farm accounting package that saves time caught my attention.
“I moved across to Focus earlier this year and I love it! Migration was simple –just a matter of following instructions and from there I haven’t looked back.”
Making a change to a new process always brings a degree of nervousness, but Caroline says the migration process was super easy, and the budget planning abilities Focus delivers are a huge step forward.
“I love it! Creating budgets and forward planning in Focus is a huge step up from RURAL. Don’t get me wrong …RURAL was a great package in its day but farming practices and requirements have changed greatly over the years. Focus’s automated technology makes budgeting a breeze – much quicker and easier which has definitely helped cut down time spent in the office.”
Caroline says she has created budget plans out to 2022-2023 which is a great help especially during Covid and the drought. “It has given us confidence in our planning and shows we can weather the storm.
“I’m able to budget out three/four years ahead which is fantastic. The old system was difficult to manage and I had to keep logging in and out, and then print stuff off. With Focus there is a continuous line that allows me to scroll sideways so it’s way easier to look ahead. I may or may not change my budget but if I need to make quick changes I can – it’s all down in black and white to review.”
She says communication with others on the farm is another real bonus. “Focus works in real time meaning my father-in-law and Geoff are both in the picture. They can log in from where-ever they are and see what is happening. Plus, if I need to be in contact with the accountant or bank manager they can log in on screen as well. No more print outs and long trips into town!
“I use Xero when I do Geoff’s business accounts and find Focus and Xero similar in design and function but found Xero has too many “add-ons” for farming. Focus has been specifically designed for farmers so you can’t really compare the two when it comes to farm accounting.”
Searching for invoices and receipts is also a thing of the past. Caroline says the automated invoice scanning capability means the work is done for you. “Invoices and bank payments are automatically aligned – it does it all for you quick smart!”
All in all, Caroline says Focus has walked the talk – “I’m pleased I made the move and it’s definitely helped make the office experience we all dread much quicker and easier to manage.”