By Scott Schmidt, Conservis VP of Business Development & Partnerships
Because of the skill-set they bring to the table, and their problem solving expertise, working with CPAs who understand farm accounting allows for a deeper dive into what helps a farmer thrive. These trusted advisors can scrutinize information from a farm management system (FMS) to ensure that growers are empowered to make the best decisions for their unique operation.
Record breaking fertilizer costs. Rising concerns over inflation. Dramatic changes in the supply chain. These factors tell us that now is the time when CPAs and other trusted advisors can really show the value they bring and positively influence the outcomes of the 2022 season.
Reports indicate that prices for fertilizer more than doubled in 2021, and now farmers must adjust their plans (or in many instances, create a plan!) accordingly for spring planting. Price concerns and availability of inputs are leaving farmers to ask questions such as:
- Should I shift production to less fertilizer-intensive crops?
- What will a reduction in fertilizer application have on 2022 harvests?
- How will potential increases or decreases in commodity prices affect my bottom line?
- Do my land rental agreements still make sense (and money)?
The answers to these questions have significant implications for the grower. With a farm management system (FMS) like Conservis, farmers are able to easily plug in those numbers and see how they impact potential expenses and revenue. Organizing the data and deciding what to do with that information is where the trusted advisor fits into the picture. With access to a grower’s FMS data, creating different “what if” scenarios allows the CPAs to provide additional/valuable support by organizing and analyzing the data. This fine-tuning of fiscal planning optimizes outcomes.
Big changes in costs, commodities, and availability of inputs requires access to big data
Farmers only have so much time in the day. Becoming a data scientist isn’t probably high on their lists of goals for the new year. But, opening connections between farm data and trusted advisors should rank right at the top of those new year resolutions.
At Conservis we have seen how processes such as FSA reporting goes from a couple of people working a couple of days to one person producing the data in just a couple of hours. The benefits of developing a strong relationship between farmers and trusted advisors go far beyond this process. When growers utilize FMSs like Conservis, and share the data with their advisors, these benefits materialize quickly for both parties.
Deeper insights from trusted advisors means better advice for farmers
With deeper insights into the financial insights, trusted advisors are able to offer more comprehensive advice, utilize real-time data, and demonstrate their expertise. In addition, those CPAs who work with many growers are able to share observations about the best practices of particular farm clients that allow those operations to excel. Growers receive better advice and can plan more effectively for the future. This is a win-win for trusted advisors and growers.
Trust in Food research also shows that “there is ample opportunity for agriculture stakeholders to collaboratively design solutions.” This same discussion of collaboration between farmers and trusted advisors also highlights the value of a grower’s ability to efficiently share data with advisors and other stakeholders downstream.
“Our perspective is that an important pillar of the transition to a sustainable, resilient and equitable agricultural supply chain is the flow of information from the farm.”
However, I have seen what happens when there is little interaction between the trusted advisor and the data coming from a farm management system. Clients might not be telling their CPAs or bankers that they have an FMS in place, and there are lost opportunities for the grower and advisor.
"To be clear, value IS being received if a farm is not sharing FMS data with their CPA. However, the skill-set and problem-solving expertise of CPAs allows for a more “consultative” relationship and even more value delivered to clients."
When farmers do share that data? You see the differences. I’ve had CPAs tell me that when their clients use Conservis, our system allows for efficient organization of data, which shrinks the process time in half. In half! And here is the cool thing. Both the grower and the CPA get the benefits of this shared relationship.
Share FMS data and harvest success in 2022
Set yourself up for success in 2022 by building that relationship. If you are a grower, does your CPA know you use an FMS? Do you share data with the CPA to get the best advice possible?
If you are a CPA, do you ask your farming clients if they use an FMS? Do you talk about the possible data streams you can use? Are you seizing the opportunity to deliver greater value and deepen client relationships?
There are challenges on the horizon in farming. Rising costs, reductions in availability of inputs, and labor shortages are all real problems with real impacts. Now is the time to share the data an FMS provides to make the best decisions for 2022.
Are you a farmer and want to learn more about how you can share data with your trusted advisor?
Are you a trusted advisor and want to learn more about how the data and reports from an FMS can benefit you and your services?
I’d love to chat more with you.