Cashmanager RURAL is helping Lisa Marcroft’s family capture farm business information in one central place, where everyone can access it, as they start the farm succession process.
The 1500 acre family farm is located at Te Akau, Waikato. A dry stock property, it is run as a breeding unit and they trade a lot of cattle.
Several years ago Lisa’s father indicated that he wanted to take a step back from running and making all the decisions about the farm.
The family got Rabobank involved and held a workshop with all family members. “We made a decision that as a family we wanted to continue to farm the land, not to sell, and to provide dad with the freedom to do other things that we would employ an experienced farm manager.”
As neither Lisa nor her two siblings wanted to be farming day to day, the idea was that the farm manager would take on more responsibility over time, as he learned more about the business.
Although she is not practically farming, Lisa wanted to take a more active role in the farm business.
It was recommended to the family that they set up an advisory group for the farm, which they decided to do. Lisa and one of her brothers were keen to be involved in the group, along with their father, and an independent farm consultant from AgFirst.
They set about thinking about the role of the advisory group and developing a strategic plan for the business. Lisa also completed an Understanding Your Farm Business course through the Agri Women’s Development Trust.
“I identified that we could really benefit from moving from a few figures in dad’s notebook and bank account to having a budget, forecasting and reviewing the variances in the budget.”
The budget needed to be transparent for all members of the advisory group, in terms of income and expenditure, and having an electronic record of stock was also important.
“There were two choices for us and, for me, to hear users of Cashmanager RURAL talk so positively about a piece of software, there really was no second choice…I thought, it must be good.”
After talking with their accountant and other people in the industry, the decision was made to go with Cashmanager RURAL. Lisa then attended a course, which she found beneficial. “The class sizes were so small and it was hugely helpful. I find the software to be very user friendly.”
The advisory group now puts together the budget and meets quarterly. Reviewing the finances is always on the agenda.
“We look at the financials and the stock going in and out. It gives us something concrete to go on and base decisions around, and address any variations. We can understand what has happened and why.
“We are not expert users (of Cashmanager RURAL) yet, we’re using the basics, but it’s going to help us in terms of growing the business and evaluating options as they become available. It gives us really good information about what we can afford to do and enables forward thinking.”
If something happened to their father tomorrow, using Cashmanager RURAL gives them a tool to help run the business. “We have a record of what’s happened in the past, like how many lambs we can expect or how many cattle we have on the property over winter.”
The farm manager is involved in putting the budget together, it gives him an overview of what’s happening on the farm and means he can plan. “There’s no surprises for him either. He’s part of the team and feeds into the planning process,” Lisa says.
“It’s fantastic for me to be involved. Using Cashmanager RURAL has been a win-win all round. We’re absolutely delighted with it.”