Southland farmers Sue and Rob Miller run sheep on 335h at Otama, north of Gore. As with many of her farming peers, Sue has more than one string to her farm bow. She runs ‘Rural Secretarial Services’ a small work from home business designed to take a load off rural business owners who already have their hands full on-farm.
“Most businesses have staff to run their office, pay accounts, GST – all the back-room stuff required to keep the business running smoothly. With my background in office management, I saw a business opportunity working with farmers expected to run their own office while remaining hands on out on the farm.”
When she established Rural Secretarial Services, Sue used the original CRS Software, Cashmanager RURAL package which was ahead of the pack back in its time. She switched her clients across to Farm Focus in April this year after seeing for herself the benefits an online, cloud-based application could deliver.
“I heard about Farm Focus and, after checking it out, knew it would suit my customer’s needs. I prepare budgets, manage GST, pay wages – anything a customer requires in the office space and this where Focus does the hard work for you. The application meets the needs of today’s farmers who run often complex operations requiring instant information access from anywhere."
She says one of the basic changes Focus delivers has provided the biggest advantage for her business.
"My customers are now able to tick a box giving me, or their accountant or bank manager, access to their business accounts. This has saved so much unnecessary travel for myself and my customers which is a time and dollar saver in one!”
Sue says Focus has also helped make farm budgeting and planning straight forward.
“With the old system there was more than one budget option and you had to make sure you were working with the latest version of the right one. Focus tidied that up with just the one budget option that can be easily tweaked and updated.”
She is also a fan of the new automated Stock Reconciliation Report that helps farmers keep on top of stock numbers in real time, including sales or new arrivals on farm. Quite apart from its practical application, this report provides information needed to meet animal health compliance obligations.
“Focus also makes it easy for me to show my customers how to do things! Some want me to do everything while others just want me to teach them how to do it themselves. Being able to work on screen with them is a real advantage.”
New automated processes have made short work of the previous tedious inputting at month's end, and Sue says those endless paper trails of the past are long gone.
“There’s a real advantage in being able to save invoices behind the bank transaction – everything is paired up which makes end of month less stressful because there’s no receipts and other bits of paper to chase up. Best of all I run a paperless office now because all the information I need is automatically saved in the system.”
Sue says keeping up with the latest tech advantages is important for any business and switching across to Focus has been a positive move for her business.