The Changing World of Farm Accounting
Just as farm equipment has evolved from horse and plow to powerful 4-wheel drive tractors and 48-row planters, farm data collection has experienced its own revolution. What started with pencil and paper before transitioning to desktop software has now advanced to a cloud-based farm accounting application.
With the use of cloud-based services in agriculture on the rise in recent years, the introduction of this new accounting solution, Traction, is a welcome addition to farmers who are looking for enhanced accessibility, added security and peace of mind. For most farming operations, one person assumes responsibility for data entry and has access to day-to-day financials and reporting. Beyond that, current farm desktop accounting software programs are archaic and not user friendly and non-farm specific applications make it extremely difficult for farmers to capture field-level accounting analysis. A cloud-based platform, like Traction, enhances collaboration and team engagement for all stakeholders on the operation.
While Traction is relatively new to the market, Laura Ehnle, Edelstein, Ill., has already experienced increased collaboration since implementing the application on her family’s farm. A long-time user of a popular farm data management software program, Ehnle admits she and her husband could have completed their farming career on the desktop software; however, as they start to transition their farm to their son, they need a program built for the next generation.
“Traction is the puzzle piece we needed for effectively transitioning our financial records and management to the next generation,” she says. “The upcoming generation doesn’t want to sit in front of a desktop computer. They’ve grown up doing everything from a phone or tablet.” Ehnle admits the software program she used for 20-plus years helped them build a financially strong farm, but the program never advanced to the 21st Century.
Real Time Collaboration
“I had to guide our son through the many steps of the old program,” she says. “I gave him a 2-minute tour of Traction, and he was off and running because it was so intuitive.”
For Ehnle, having constant access to their farm financial and field data via Traction is priceless. “I just really appreciate having that kind of information at my fingertips all the time,” Ehnle says.
“Imagine receiving some important marketing news and needing to act on it quickly, but you’re not sure what that will do to your bottom line, your profitability. With a few taps on your phone while your auto-steer continues to allow you to plant your crop, you’ve got your answer,” she adds. “That will be a difference maker.”
Caleb Finck, Tripp, S.D., agrees. “With Traction, you can pull up your account on your phone, tablet or whatever you have right in front of you, and you have all of that information right at your fingertips. Anywhere, anytime,” Finck explains. “Being able to have one place to put all of your operation and financial data, and have that be accessible all the time, no matter where you are, that is the thing that we are the most excited about,” he adds.
Finck farms with his grandfather, father and sister. Historically, keeping track of transactions and receipts to make sure they are all entered under the correct entity was a challenge. Since implementing Traction in early 2021, the process has become easier and more efficient. “Being able to access everybody’s entities so that it doesn’t matter who is doing it and all of that information is centralized, so we can do it from our phones, tables or desktop if we want – that’s probably been the biggest piece that we’ve been using so far,” Finck says.
As all farmers know, time is a precious commodity, and any application that increases their efficiency is worth investigating. Traction’s Basic Accounting solution allows farmers to connect their bank and credit card accounts to synchronize transactions – a feature that has completely changed Ehnle’s workflow.
“With Traction, I have gone to auto-pay on everything,” Ehnle says. The ability to tag bills directly to transactions has given Ehnle the confidence to go paperless with all of her bill payments. “Traction has totally changed my workflow and, without a doubt, it’s going to save me a lot of time,” she says.
“There’s a ton of time saving that’s involved in using Traction,” Finck agrees. “I can reconcile all my credit cards, my bank statements and all that kind of stuff, because all of those pull right into Traction.”
Just as farm equipment continues to advance by leaps and bounds from the horse and plows of previous generations, Traction’s farm data management software doesn’t show signs of slowing its advancements any time soon – the possibilities are endless. As Ehnle points out, “No one is going back to pencil and paper.”