Bookkeeping Tips for Farmers | McEvoy Lelievre & Associates

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Bookkeeping Tips for Farmers

If you are like most farmers, you would much rather be out in the barn or out in the field rather than sitting at your desk doing paperwork.

You start at the crack of dawn working hard, mentally and physically, which many occupations these days don’t understand. When are you supposed to find time to get all the paperwork done that is required to run your business?

Here are some simple steps to use for your business

1. Dedicate frequent and shorter blocks of time for office work

Rather than letting the paperwork pile up until the end of the month, set aside 30 minutes a day to spend in the office. A good time would be after the early morning chores which means your mind will be at ease because you know you were able to get some priority farm work out of the way. You will probably be ready for that second cup of coffee too, which you can have at your desk while you work. Businesses will be open after 9 a.m. in case you need to make any calls, and your mind is still fresh to focus on the tasks at hand. Doing daily paperwork means the previous days incomplete tasks will be fresh-in-your-mind so that you can jump right in without having to figure out where you left off. Entering in receipts on a daily basis means you can review daily for mistakes, which can be costly if left unattended. Your information is current and available which means you can access information when needed to make decisions.  No last minute report deadlines.  Just run the report on your bookkeeping software and you are good to go.

Like any active professional such as yourself, sitting for any length of time is frustrating. Doing shorter periods of time at your desk, on a regular basis, also helps manage the stress of long sitting times.

2. Use technology to stay organized

If you don’t have a mobile phone, it might be time to invest! A mobile device like a cell phone can be a valuable investment for farmers. Mobile phones, or smart phones, are portable computers and are now used less for talking with people; instead they are used for managing information and sending emails or texts. Taking a photo of a broken tractor part can be emailed to a supplier to get a quick warranty approval. Photos can be taken of receipts or inventory and stored on the computer, or if you still prefer paper, it can be printed. Stay organized by using a free online calendar service such as Google that can be added right to your mobile phone. You can set up an email notifications on a calendar entry to be sent to your inbox as a reminder as the day approaches. For reporting events such as payroll and HST remittances that are due regularly, you can add a setting to repeat daily, monthly or annually, and even specify the particular day of the month. Using technology can help save time, stay organized, and save money.

3. When to hire help

One of the perks of owning your business is that you have the authority to designate tasks to whomever you choose. However, it is hard sometimes paying someone to do tasks that you believe you should be able to do yourself. Times are tough, so saving money is important; but, sometimes NOT hiring someone can cost you money rather than save you money. Let’s be honest, you know the value of having the right team to build a successful business; including your veterinarian, your mechanic, and your farrier to name a few. Your bookkeeper and your accountant are valuable members of your team of experts. They will advise you on what information the Canadian Revenue Agency, WSIB, and other government organizations need to have to operate a compliant and successful farming business. Hiring a skilled financial team will help take the burden of doing some of the office management tasks, so you have the time to do what you do best; farm.

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