Finance is an essential part of every business, but it can quickly get confusing. In this section, you can find advice on how to improve how you manage your finances.
Why should you keep track of your finances?
It is easy to avoid talking about money, but having an understanding of your farm’s finances is essential. An awareness of your finances, coupled with small changes, could increase your income and reduce stress. It can also be important to protect yourselves and your farms in the future.
Financial management is all about understanding how money moves in and out of a business and analysing this to make business decisions. It also involves protecting equity (anything the business owns, e.g. a farmhouse) from various sources of risk (e.g. the farmhouse being remortgaged to pay the farm’s bills). Good financial management activities include: maintaining financial records; implementing control systems (e.g. looking over the farm’s accounts to check for anomalies); analysing whole-farm profitability; investment analysis (e.g. looking at beef price forecasts before buying more cattle) and capital acquisition (e.g. buying the land previously rented). Financial management tasks often fall outside the interest and expertise of many farmers therefore it is important that you have the right support to help you.
There are many experienced accountants, financial advisors and software packages available to assist you. Still, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of the key measures that inform you of the financial status of your farm. Become friends with your financial advisor and your financial statements! Benchmarking and budgeting information can also help strengthen your financial management.
The average level of debt across all farms in 2017/18 was around £227,500. If you are experiencing financial hardship, it is important to remember that you are not alone. 17% of farms potentially face financial difficulties and may be unable to pay off their short-term debt. Don’t bury your head, help is available. R.A.B.I. and FCN are great places to start.
What is the advice?
2 Minute Farmer has identified 5 key questions that farmers should think about when considering their finances. Few people will be top of the game in all these sections. But if you decide that this is an area you would like to improve then it is useful to know the recommended practices and available resources. This could help you set goals and create a plan of action.
Hover over the next to each question to learn more about it and see some useful links.
Thank you to the people below who helped by contributing to or reviewing this page.
Farm Business Survey Research Officer
Relationship Director, Agriculture, Natwest