After dry weather withered last season’s milk production in Victoria, it’s easy to see how the financial success of regional farming can swing on the whims of Mother Nature. But as Warragul-based business advisory firm Pursuit Advisers are proving, data-driven services are here to give farmers a new way forward.
One of the firm’s accountants Darren Adams explains. “We started using Xero three years ago and it quickly became our first choice for new and existing clients. That service was even better when we set up direct NAB-to-Xero feeds for our clients who bank through NAB. It’s such an efficient set-up-and-leave system. It saves us time double-handling data.”
Looking forward with Figured
The company offers advice in areas of financial planning, business and tax, lending and Super. They work with industries that include manufacturing, wholesale, retail, professional services, trades and primary production. It’s now become one of the first firms in Gippsland to use Figured – the livestock tracking, farm budgeting and forecasting tool – alongside Xero.
“We operate in a rural area where primary production is a key industry,” Darren explains. “And we’ve seen many farmers struggle over the years. Whether it’s rain or drought, it can have serious consequences on farm finances.”
By linking compatible cloud-based systems into one approach, the team can efficiently create and upload business budgets, before importing the actuals. “The data import takes about 30 seconds,” says Darren. “Before, we’d spend hours plugging those figures into a forecasting system.”
“Now we spend that time talking to our clients about the results – and the data is always up to date, even if a client phones up out of the blue.”
Selling cows to plug the gap
With around 150 Xero-based clients now on its books, Pursuit Advisers know their modern approach is going a long way to helping local businesses plan for the future, whatever the weather.
“A dairy farmer came to see us recently,” said Darren. “He had consistent profits, but poor cash flow, so he was in a high-debt situation. We used Xero and Figured in tandem. Xero as our general ledger software and Figured as our ability to forecast.”
“Our client can now see what’s happening in his business almost immediately, and is able to adjust accordingly. He recently sold some cattle because our forecasting showed a hole in his future cash flow – this ensured he could pay his bills. It’s been a valuable change to the way he’s been thinking about his business.”
Using data to mould the future
And the solution has altered the future of Pursuit Advisers too. “We’ve moved from preparing a tax return once a year to proving ourselves in a monthly advisory role,” says Darren. “Our clients know that we can use real-time numbers to take their business to the next level.”
“It’s such an effective working method for an unpredictable market. We’re hoping it will be our core solution to guide our clients through the good times and the bad.”