By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash
Broaching the always touchy subject of finances and the oft-time touchy subject of digital recordkeeping, Krista Kilback and Kathy Neufeld discussed the subject with the audience of the virtual 2021 Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase organized by Farms.com on November 16, 2021.
Hosted by Kilback, Manager of Marketing and Sales for AgExpert with Farm Credit Canada, she talked with Neufeld, a CPHR—Chartered Professional of Human Resources—Manager with Stark & Marsh CPA, LLP.
Presented as “Fields and Finances: Tales from the Farm Accountant”, the duo acknowledged that there are many in the ag industry who are still reluctant to go digital in their recordkeeping and accounting, preferring to do things as they have always been done – pencil and paper.
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it does slow down the work process, when requiring an answer can impact the timeliness of making a decision.
They outlined the three main challenges the ag accounting industry sees when it comes to getting everyone aboard the digital accounting train.
Neufeld and Kilback noted that unless a producer really is adept at performing accounting duties, it is probably a task best left to the professionals.
Per the very old adage: “let the cobbler stick to his last”, it implies that one should do the work one is expert at. For the producer, asked Neufeld, “would you rather be sitting in your combine doing work, or doing your paperwork?”
While many of today’s producers are in-step with technology, Neufeld said that there are still many farmers who are still old-school and are reluctant to embrace digital technology simply because they don’t know how.
“Talk to an accountant,” said Neufeld. “Producers usually want guidelines, so we point them to use a recordkeeper.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” noted Neufeld, “and ask again for clarification—just take the time to ask questions.”
She noted that many farmers use their financial data in a timely manner, but because of level of work involved in farming can easily fall behind causing the record books to be pushed aside—which makes the ability to make a farm decision for the immediate or future that much more difficult. This is where digital recordkeeping is vastly superior to analog.
Still, both Neufeld and Kilback stated that some people are still wary about utilizing digital technology.
Neufeld pointed out that not so long ago, people were wary about microwave ovens and ATMs, and maintain that fear about their data being stolen while online shopping—so certainly they would have concerns about their financial data being transferred to something called the Cloud.
While the concerns are all very much real, the reality of the situation per Neufeld, is that financial institutions maintaining such data are highly secure—more so than one’s physical desktop.
Neufeld pointed out that the best thing any person can do who is unsure about the digital technology of recordkeeping, is to educate yourself… to not be afraid to ask for help, be it with family, friends, or an accountant.
“Knowledge is power—but digitizing (their accounting) is something everyone should move to. It makes life easier,” said Neufeld.
For all registrants of the 2021 Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase, you will still have access to all presentations and exhibitor area until November 29, 2021. This allows you to view presentations or contact exhibitors at a time more convenient to you, even if the event is no longer live.
There is still time to register: https://www.farms.com/precision-agriculture/conferences/virtual-precision-ag-conference-2021/