Connecting rural businesses and advisors

From left to right: Ben Gilmour, Senior Manager Moore Stephens Markhams, Guy Coats, and Chris Lamb, ASB Bank, discuss ...
XERO/SUPPLIED

From left to right: Ben Gilmour, Senior Manager Moore Stephens Markhams, Guy Coats, and Chris Lamb, ASB Bank, discuss how Xero can help connect rural customers.

Given the current farming climate, there has never been a more important time to have a firm grasp on finances.

Low milk pay-outs, languishing lamb prices and global economic uncertainty all combine to make farming tougher than ever before.

And with the average age of Kiwi farmers pushing 60, many could be forgiven for thinking it is too late to change financial planning systems from traditional pen and paper to online applications.

Xero and Figured are bringing farmers and advisers together to use live information on an easy to use, efficient platform.
XERO/SUPPLIED

Xero and Figured are bringing farmers and advisers together to use live information on an easy to use, efficient platform.

Guy Coats used to be the epitome of the pen and paper planner.

As a director of Waipuna NZ Ltd, he is always looking for the next deal to give him a solid return on his investment, but he may not have expected his best business decision to come from ditching the ballpoint pen.

Although his incredibly detailed and timely A3 sheets made perfect sense to him, they were much more difficult for his trusted farm advisors to get a handle on.

The three men examine Xero's new tool for financial planning.
XERO/SUPPLIED

The three men examine Xero's new tool for financial planning.

Coats' accountant in Hawke's Bay, Ben Gilmour, suggested switching to Xero and Figured, a farm based powerhouse product that allows financial planning, budgeting and reporting using cloud-based software.

Although Coats could see where his advisor was coming from, making the change from paper to computer seemed daunting. "I felt intimidated, not having a lot of computer knowledge and trying to have a conversation with these guys who have a lot," said Coats.

"Having done the budgets on paper, you didn't want to change them, ever!

"Change meant hours of work erasing all of those figures and putting in new ones. It was easy to just keep doing things the way I had always done them."

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Eventually Gilmour and Chris Lamb, Waipuna's trusted ASB banker, convinced Coats to become their first client to use the Figured software.

For Coats, once the decision had been made, the transition was surprisingly easy and he described it as feeling like he had stepped into the fast lane with technology.

Coming from Montana, USA, Coats also believes Kiwi farming technology and banking relationships are much better than those in the United States.

One of the big changes since starting using Figured is how they go over the annual review.

Now they sit down and consider all the information from Xero and Figured together rather than waiting for some paper statements that are months old.

"(Before Xero and Figured) it was like driving forward and always looking in the rear view mirror," said Coats.

So what has been the most effective part of changing from his beloved scribbles to the cloud based world of Xero and Figured?

For Coats it's the ability to see forward and make changes, rather than just hoping for the best.

The information the software, financial team and he produce is up to the second and incredibly empowering.

This allows Coats more precious time to do the things he loves; spending more time outside, getting out and buying stock and enjoying quality time with his family.

And he couldn't be happier with that return on investment.

To see how Xero could work for your business, sign up for a free 30 day free of Xero at xero.co.nz.

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