Pattie and Tony O’Boyle

Pattie and Tony O’Boyle

Wairarapa farmers Pattie and Tony O’Boyle are big fans of planning ahead – well ahead so they can assess opportunities and factor in unknowns that rural businesses routinely deal with such as weather, prices and now a pandemic.

The couple run dry stock – 80% sheep and 20% cattle - on 1075h of hill country at Tinui, thirty minutes from Masterton on the road to Castlepoint.

Pattie says knowing where you are headed, as opposed to where you’ve been, is vital. “In our business there’s plenty that can make or break expectations so keeping an eye on the future is important to us."

The couple have been with Farm Focus (formerly CRS) from the beginning and they have moved through every iteration leading to Farm Focus. Late last year, Pattie started working for Farm Focus as key relationship manager. Although she is now a strong advocate for the software, Pattie says moving from Cashmanager Rural to Farm Focus wasn’t all easy sailing and a change in mindset was required right at the start.

“I had to be patient and remember Focus has been developed here expressly for farmers so the package could do what we needed. I must admit I was wedded to Rural, but it wasn’t until I accepted Focus was different some of the magic kicked in and I could see advantages we had not had access to before.”

Pattie says Focus makes it so easy to plan so the new feeling of having control over the future is a real plus. “Now the detail is all at our fingertips and we can foresee a bump in the road ahead and adapt our plan accordingly. The whole point of planning is being able to see new opportunities and be more deliberate in positioning the business to take advantage of these.

“This is our business; our livelihood depends on it. We’re heavily invested in making sure it succeeds so any tools that will help along the way are important to us."

She says Focus does more than just crunch the numbers. “Since making the switch we’ve found on farm communication has improved tenfold with staff and suppliers. Staff feel more involved as part of the operation and same goes for our accountant or farm advisors.

“Because Tony and I both use Focus we seem to communicate more about where we’re headed. While I manage data capture and compliance we plan together, and both rely on and use the reporting functionality.”

Pattie says when asked about the single biggest advantage Focus delivers it’s a no brainer.

“Time …saving time is right up there. We all work off our devices now so if I’m sitting waiting to pick up the family from somewhere I can log in and catch up on invoice matching.”

She says there’s no end of month crunch now because Tony and herself dip in and out of Focus regularly from anywhere, so their business information remains up to date and saved in the system until needed!

“I have a variety of roles within the family, the farm business, the community as well as my off-farm employment at Farm Focus, so efficient use of my time is right up there and any application that helps save time is important. I’m in Focus most days which enables conversations around the future, how we can work smarter rather than being stuck in what has already happened. We both agree this has been an unexpected but positive change for our business.”