Rural accounts take stock of on-farm technologies

21 Dec 2017

Australian rural accountants are moving beyond just doing “the books” and are now advising farmers on how technology can help run their businesses, says online accounting software provider MYOB.

It is no secret Australian 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.

MYOB chief executive officer Tim Reed says this is having big impacts on the accounting profession.

“The growing prevalence of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and mobility 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.

“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,” MYOB CEO Mr Tim Reed.

Mr Reed says the emergence of cloud-based accounting software, such as MYOB Essentials, has removed a lot of the basic bookkeeping work, so accountants are now using this technology to do more analysis into what the numbers mean for their clients.

"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."

Rural Accountants becoming “virtual CFOs”

Eddy Missen of Michael Bland based in Colac, the Western District farming stronghold in Victoria, says the accounting business is in a better position than many rural firms because its team are 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.

Mr Missen says the team have positioned themselves as “virtual CFOs”, offering in-depth and tailored advice to small-to-medium sized enterprises.

“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,” says Mr Missen.

Business updates in real-time and on-farm

Dairy farmers Simon and Meagan Kerr from Balintore, a small farming community in South West Victoria, are seeing first-hand the benefits technologies can provide on-farm in terms of increasing efficiency, productivity and sustainability.

The couple say they can now run much of their 600-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 phones, which is particularly useful given the nature of farming means we’re often away from our laptops,” dairy farmers Simon and Meagan Kerr.

“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,” says Mrs Kerr.

Mr Reed says these changes in technology offer an exciting outlook for the accounting industry so long as technology providers, like MYOB, continue to evolve.

“Australia 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.”

Mr Reed says MYOB is in the process of combining relevant parts of its respective software solutions to provide rural customers and partners with a range of easy-to-use and cost-effective online tools that offer better insights into their operations.

“We’re exploring new ways of linking up farmers and their advisors by combining accounting information, banking transactions and on-farm data to drive more efficiencies and productivity.

“These days farming is truly a technology business,” says Mr Reed.

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For further comment or other information please contact:

Luke Chivers, MYOB PR Consultant

P: +64 9 925 3505 / M: +64 27 569 8907 / E: luke.chivers@myob.com

About MYOB

MYOB Group Ltd (ASX: MYO) is a leading provider of online business management solutions. MYOB makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across four strategic segments – Small to Medium sized businesses (SMEs), Practices (accountants, advisers and bookkeepers), Enterprise (larger businesses) and Payments. It provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. MYOB is committed to ongoing innovation and delivering efficiencies and growth opportunities for its growing client base across Australia and New Zealand.  For more information, visit http://investors.myob.com.au/Investors or follow @MYOB on Twitter.