Why has a bank invested in an agri tech company? An update from BNZ

By Scott Wishart, National Manager – Agribusiness, BNZ

BNZ has recently taken an investment in Figured, a company that is rapidly adding value to the rural sector of New Zealand through its ability to add real time budgeting to the data feeds from Xero. We’ve been working with the team at Figured for quite some time, and it became obvious that they had a solution that could solve a number of industry and bank problems.

Banking is all about getting the right information at the right time, and that often means multiple parties providing information. Often the process of consolidating and making sense of the data is a time consuming one, and means that we spend a large portion of time just trying to interpret the information, rather than analysing it. With Figured, we can offer a platform to our customers where all parties can collaborate on a single form, and once agreed, can be locked down and uploaded directly into the bank’s credit system.

This will enable our customers and their advisors to make better, more accurate strategic decisions, and enable the bank to get behind these decisions as quickly as possible. It also makes the ongoing monitoring of progress a lot simpler, which is just as important.

To ensure we get the maximum benefit from the platform, we’ve obtained 4,000 licences which we will be offering to our customers free for two years (starting July 2016) and we will be shifting all of our internal budgeting processes off our current spreadsheets and onto Figured. Add to that the integration with the likes of Fonterra for production and payout feeds and you start to see where this is going.

From our perspective, the future in agri technology is an exciting one. We see an integrated approach where data is standardised and able to be passed from one system to another in real time as needed. Production information like tallies, kill weights and quality will be integrated with financial information and will allow farmers access to more data than they’ve ever had.

Through our partnership with Figured, we will be able to help our customers make sense of all this information and will be able to look at innovations around automated credit decisions, customer benchmarking and numerous other tools to help farmers understand their businesses better, and ultimately make more money.