Philippa and Grant McKenzie
Farm Focus – supporting a range of businesses
Southland farmers Philippa and Grant McKenzie switched to Farm Focus in May 2021 and having been long term users of the original Cash Manager package, Phil says she found the switch quite easy.
“The worst part was the thought of changing whereas the switch itself was pretty easy. The secret is to do your housekeeping …have your databases up to date and the rest falls into place.”
Phil says when the couple first started out, she looked for a farm smart planning package and their accountant suggested what was then CRS Software Cash Manager. “That was back in the early 2000s so naturally over twenty years later times have changed especially in the technology area. I’m not a big fan of change but I do know it’s a must especially when you’re in business. Compliance for example is becoming quite complex and having a package that is up to date with latest requirements is a big help.”
The couple recently moved off their dairy farm at Seaward Downs to the outskirts of Invercargill but that doesn’t automatically mean a slow-down for this pair.
“We put a contract milker on who has been with us for ten years and, to give him a fair go, we wanted to move so he wouldn’t feel we were looking over his shoulder.
"We have two dairy farms - The Home Farm, Dairy Farm 2 and a runoff. All up we milk 1250 cows, plus replacements, manage a family trust, established a blood stock company and run a couple of racing syndicates and, with a diverse business portfolio, this is where Focus is ideal for our needs.
“We also have another farm in equity partnership with our Contract Milker which runs 750 cows, but this is quite separate, but I can still access the farm accounting information through Farm Focus, but I cannot enter any information.”
Phil says having separate businesses requires separate accounts for maximum transparency.
“For example, there are a number of people involved across the racing syndicates and Focus makes it possible to keep them updated regularly so they can see everything is done to the letter of the law and above. This is a real time saver and provides peace of mind for all of us.”
Phil uses Focus most days to keep up to date and learn as she goes. “There are a number of new processes and practice makes perfect! I’m enjoying using Focus and have found my way around quite easily. The invoice scanner is helpful - I download invoices as these arrive and store them until I need them. GST is another win. It’s simpler to complete returns as you already have the details plus, I get a clear view of how our GST is looking well before month end which is new.”
Phil admits she doesn’t run a paper free office as she still likes the feel of paper in her hand. “It’s also helpful if I’m away and Grant needs information. I can print out in advance for him so he can find what he needs.
“I also ticked the box giving our accountant access to the accounts. They can look up what they need without waiting around for us to respond or drop into town with the information.
“As I said I like Focus and am pleased I got on and made the switch. Times change and keeping up with the times is still important even for us oldies! Now next on my learning list is the Stock Reconciliation Report.”