Knowing exactly where they sit financially is key for successful Dannevirke dairy farmers Mark and Jaime Arnold.
The Arnolds are 50/50 sharemilking near Dannevirke, Hawke’s Bay, and milk 520 cows. They were the national winners of the Share Farmer of the Year at the Dairy Industry Awards for 2016.
The couple have been using Cashmanager RURAL since they began lower order sharemilking six seasons ago and use the program for both compliance and budgeting.
Jaime uses it for entering all monthly bank transactions, completing GST returns, and the wagebook section for their two employees. “It’s good because it has a direct link to the IRD website to see the Kiwisaver and tax portion. I can just add their annual and sick leave in and the awesome thing is, even though it’s a basic payroll system, you can have recurring regular transactions.”
Signing up for automatic bank feeds and Farmlands trader imports recently has been a time saver for Jaime, who admits accounting isn’t her favourite job, but she knows the value it brings to their business.
Knowing their financial position is important to them. “We can’t emphasise how important knowing your numbers is. The accounting side of the business is not my favourite part but I won’t give it up because I can see how much value there is in knowing exactly where we are sitting financially. It allows forward planning and analysis of the past as well.”
They create their annual budget using the previous year’s actuals as a guide. “We just tinker away until the new budget represents what we want to focus on for the season,” Mark says.
“We always like to save the initial budget and at the end of the season we analyse the actuals compared to what we spent.”
They are constantly revising their budget during the year and adjusting it according to the season.
Mark likes that using Cashmanager RURAL allows them to drill down and see where the money is going.
They use sub-codes extensively to break down exactly where money has gone, particularly for things like animal health. They use analysis by code often.
“I think the more codes you have, the better. For example under farm diesel we code for the dairy farm, run-off and private use (which is split). You can delve into why there are variances, like we wondered why we were using more diesel, but could see it was because we were travelling to the run-off more.”
The couple also uses the program for stock reconciliations and the Dairy Forecaster to automatically update the Fonterra payout. “It’s great, you just click it and you know the budget has updated to reflect the most recent info,” Jaime says.
Using Cashmanager RURAL online makes it easy for them to share information with their bank manager or accountant. If there are any major changes, like a payout increase or buying more supplementary feed, they flick a copy of their cashflow budget to everyone, so everyone is kept informed.
Jaime also loves the free support line, something Mark says is priceless. “It’s great knowing I always have that support.”