Accounting for the regions

Published on the 07/12/2017 | Written by MYOB

On-farm automation_MYOB

Rural accountants move beyond ‘doing the books’, advising farmers on technology to run business…

It is no secret Kiwi farmers are facing pressure to improve the efficiencies of their rural businesses, and mobile and online technology is part of the answer, especially with increasing importance of on-farm automation.

That’s according to MYOB New Zealand GM Carolyn Luey, who said this is having a major impact on the accounting profession.

“The growing prevalence of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and mobility improvements are driving huge on-farm improvements. We’re incorporating these tech trends into our cloud accounting and practice management software to give farmers and their advisors deeper insights and more control over their operations,” she said in a statement.

“Farmers want easy-to-use solutions that capture information quickly and easily. They want to collaborate with their teams, suppliers and advisers in real-time to help drive profitability.”

Luey said the emergence of cloud-based software has eliminated much of the basic bookkeeping work, and accountants are equipped to perform higher-level value-adding tasks. “Technology doesn’t do everything; you need a human being to provide judgement and analysis. Accountants are now focusing on critical thinking and problem solving.”

Nick Hoogeveen, of accounting firm Nick Hoogeveen and Associates in Paeroa, said his business is in a better position than some other rural firms because he’s mindful of the technological shifts on farms. “We’ve changed a lot in the past few years to provide our farming clients all-round business advice rather than just GST compliance and EOFY reporting.”

Hoogeveen said he’s positioned the business as a “virtual CFO”, offering in-depth and tailored advice to small-to-medium sized enterprises.

The Waikato-based practice provides management reports and updates tracking the performance of its clients’ businesses and advising how business outcomes can be improved.

“We place ourselves as business advisers rather than just the end-of-year ‘taxman’. It’s all about giving our rural clients better insights into their operations and future-proofing our profession,” he confirmed.

Farmers William and Kylie Brunt in the Hauraki Plains are seeing first-hand the benefits technologies can provide on-farm in terms of increasing efficiency, productivity and sustainability.

The Turua couple say they can now run much of their 420-cow farm from their mobile devices.

“We can access our key milk production and quality information and receive important business updates all from our mobile device, which is particularly useful given the nature of farming means we’re often away from our computers,” said Brunt.

“Having real-time information on-the-go means we can make decisions faster than we have before, making it easier for us to run our business.”

Luey said technological enablement makes for an exciting outlook for the accounting industry – and its customers. “New Zealand has always been a great place to farm, but we can only stay ahead of the game by ensuring our farmers have the latest accounting solutions to help them be more productive. These days farming is truly a technology business,” she concluded.

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