Lifting the performance of farming together

It can be said that nothing truly great was ever achieved alone. Throughout history, every successful person or enterprise has achieved greatness with the backing of a team who each shares their knowledge and ideas to achieve an objective.

That’s the definition of collaboration and there’s no place it could be more beneficial right now than within farming businesses.

It’s also the philosophy upon which Figured was created two years ago, when we introduced a platform that could facilitate real-time collaboration between a farm’s financial management team. Not surprisingly, we’re really encouraged to see that the Fieldays 2016 theme highlights and celebrates the idea of working together for the success of the industry.

Silos are out

While farming is rewarding, it is a tough business, with constantly changing conditions and fluctuating prices that are testing on finances. Given current market conditions, the importance of a robust financial plan is more apparent than ever, and yet many farmers are relying on historical financial information when making significant decisions about their farm. We still see farmers, their bank and their accountant all working off separate ledgers, and unsurprisingly, looking at completely different sets of numbers. In these instances, the farming team is each working to different financial plans without actually connecting on the real needs of the farm.  How can everyone move in the same direction if they are looking at different roadmaps?

In a world of data-sharing and connections, working in isolation like this no longer makes sense.  Having seen the success granted to commercial business owners using single-ledger software, it’s no surprise that farmers, accountants and banks are looking for a better way to collaborate with each other to benefit farm performance.

Figured works hand-in-hand with cloud accounting software, Xero, to deliver immediate farm production and financial data, from livestock tracking and milk production to operating expenses and cash flow. Because Figured is cloud-based, the farmer, accountant and banker can all access the data and make instant updates. It offers a rolling forecast, and the ability to re-calculate the farm’s financial position when conditions change – quickly and with ease.

At the centre of success is partnerships

While technology like Figured and Xero can provide data and information, the real value comes when these technology solutions are partnered with farmers’ trusted advisers to provide true business insight.

This collaborative approach is critical to helping more farmers to not just confidently weather the volatility of the industry, but also to drive the success of their operations. When armed with accurate financial information, farmers and the advisors on their team are empowered to make better and faster decisions when opportunities arise, and ultimately achieve higher levels of performance and profit.  Our banking partners BNZ and ASB share our vision of bringing the farming team together to help farmers succeed, and as such are sponsoring Figured for free for their customers.

The farming team isn’t just those around the kitchen table however, it’s the support networks and industry good groups that empower farmers to grow and succeed.  That is why Xero and Figured are proud to have partnered with industry good organisation Dairy Women’s Network.  Their purpose is to support and inspire NZ women to succeed in the business of dairying, and they do this by providing education opportunities and social networks for women so they have the networks and tools to be able to accelerate towards success. Women play a huge role in farming businesses, often around managing the finances and helping out on farm, whilst juggling a family at the same time. With the increase in compliance requirements in farming businesses, particularly around health and safety, the paperwork to be done can seem like a never ending task. The education and support the Dairy Women’s Network provide members around everything from human resources, compliance and financial management show collaboration working at its finest. We are are pretty chuffed to be part of the team supporting them.

We’re in it together

As a business, we know that our own strength is in collaborative relationships with our partners, so we’ve aligned ourselves with innovative businesses (including Xero, BNZ, ASB, LIC and Dairy Women’s Network), who share our goal of lifting the performance of farming in New Zealand.  Through these partnerships, we can bring the benefits of real-time financial data into meaningful farm language, which is a game-changer for this industry. The late and great Henry Ford once said “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress but working together is success”, and through this collaboration, we will see acceleration to the industry’s innovation and success.

We’re excited to once again be at Fieldays 2016 alongside Xero. Make sure you come by the site to check out the latest features, and to see how Xero and Figured are changing the way the rural sector work together.