two farmers walk trough a crop field

Are Accountants Failing Farmers?

At first glance you may think that it is a bit strange to ask if accountants are failing farmers and you might be quick to answer: no! Your accountant delivers what you have asked him to do for more years than you care to remember and apart from his fee, there’s not been much to grumble about. And even with the fee, he has usually been happy to wait for your payday before expecting his. You have known him for a very long time and he does seem to have modernized his accounting systems, so it seems he is right up to date with the latest practices. In that sense, you would be right. Accountants in general and your accountant in particular, probably have been doing a great job for their farming clients. Doing what they have always done.

The Changing Profession

But for many years the accounting profession as a whole has been changing. Increasingly there has been greater emphasis on providing value-added services to clients and less emphasis on just helping with the books. Think about it. The chances are you still remember the days when the annual trip into town was made, clutching that box of paper accumulated over the last year or so, and secretly you felt a little sorry for the bookkeeper who had to try to make sense of it all. Today you dispatch your information off into the Cloud and your accountant works with you as you go along. No more cardboard boxes! And of course, the Taxman is also increasingly available online as well. All these efficiencies which have no doubt translated to lower fees for you?

As you know, these days, accountants spend a few years at university followed by a couple of years undergoing professional training and thereafter, spend a considerable amount of time each year in ongoing training and professional development. But perhaps the most significant training they receive is when they enter professional practice and spend years working closely with clients from a range of industries. Good accountants develop great understanding of their clients’ affairs and their training equips them to do so much more for their clients than help them look in the rearview mirror.

The Accountant/Advisor

And that is really the question posed here. If your accountant is essentially offering you the same old same old, albeit using those slick new tools, then the chances are, you are not benefitting fully and in that sense, your accountant may be failing you. Sorting out compliance really isn’t enough any more, and if your accountant is not visiting you, not talking to you about potential, not spending time exploring key drivers of success for you and your family, then he may be missing the mark.

Ok, I hear you say, but I get plenty of advice all the time – from my farm planner, from my bank, from the supplier of just about every piece of equipment or farming input I have ever bought, from my mates and family. Isn’t that enough?

Well that depends. With all of that advice, for example, do you have a life plan? Do you know where all of your hard work is headed? How is this all going to pan out for you and your family? There are a host of matters to take into account, both technical and personal in nature, and your accountant should be ideally placed to help.

Is your accountant on top of this?

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