Business Manager provides greater financial insight for Holkham Farming
A change from a generic business financial software package to Farmplan’s Business Manager has enabled Holkham Farming to gain a far greater financial insight into the business, resulting in improved efficiency and cost savings.
Agriculture has always been at the heart of the Holkham Estate, home to the agricultural reformer Thomas Coke, the 1st Earl of Leicester, who in the 1700’s was one of the instigators of the agricultural revolution and the famous 4-course Norfolk rotation.
Today, the north Norfolk estate has developed into a complex farming business, with 3,495ha managed by Holkham Farming Company. Within this there are five in-hand family farms totalling 3,160ha, for which Holkham Farming supply inputs and contract services, plus the company also incorporates a large potato growing business, Holkham Emerald Ltd, and the Holkham National Nature Reserve.
The decision to change from the generic software package to Farmplan’s Business Manager was made two years ago, and has revolutionised the company’s financial management according to Farm Accountant, Suzanna Gascoigne. In addition, the company also uses Farmplan’s Gatekeeper crop management and Cattle Manager software packages within its arable and livestock enterprises.
“One of the biggest differences between the two programmes is the level of detail that you can achieve with Business Manager,” she says. “With our previous software it was just not possible to gain the level of information that was required. Business Manager makes it extremely easy to drill right down as far as you want to go, as well as making it easy to export information to Excel which can then be analysed even further.”
“Previously when invoicing, if you made a mistake you would have to raise a credit note. With Business Manager you can just go back in and amend the invoice, or change the heading code, etc. I also regularly use Items Inspector which makes it very simple to analyse expenses, view transactions and see invoices raised, in addition to the Quick Pay and Bank Reconciliation functions, which are all very user friendly tools within the accounting software.”
“Because the data is live, at the touch of a button I can instantly provide the farm manager with any information needed and pull off really good, easy to read reports, which is fantastic and not something I could do before. Now at board meetings, there is nothing but praise from the board members about the level of information I am able to provide them.”
For Holkham Farming, as a contact company supplying goods and services to the in-hand and other farms, the ability within Business Manager to quickly and easily set-up individual reports for each farm into which inputs such as seeds, sprays and fertiliser can be allocated and re-invoiced, has been a great benefit and time saver.
“Another really useful feature of Business Manager is the Asset Register module. Again it makes it very easy to set-up headings and search codes, and then analyse anything that you want. Each asset has its own card, to which we can attribute costs.”
“Taking that a stage further we are looking to install a coded fuel system which will then allow us to precisely allocate fuel cost to each vehicle. As a contracting company this function is invaluable in enabling me to see exactly the operating and maintenance cost for each vehicle and machine, so again to ensure that this is reflected in the operating charges.”
“The VAT element within Business Manager is also excellent. Due to the number of businesses there is a lot of VAT to administer, but Business Manager makes it very easy to calculate and store records and returns. At the touch of a button I can quickly create reports and print those off, and send the returns electronically to Customs & Excise.”
“The great benefit for me of Business Manager is how easy it is to use, which means I have confidence in it. Apart from the initial training I have mainly self-taught myself but I am now keen to have additional training to see how much further I can go with the programme and the reporting functions it offers. In addition, the support from Farmplan is fantastic and I love the reassurance that if you do have a problem you can quickly ring them for a solution and they have never let me down yet, which was something we never had before.”
“For a farming business, I think that Business Manager is so impressive and invaluable. The programme is easy to use and quick to get around, which is essential and helped reduce my workload while at the same time allowing me to gain a far higher level of information. I can’t praise it high enough,” concludes Suzanna.
One of the biggest differences between the two programmes os the level of detail that you can achieve with Business Manager. With our previous software it was just not possible to gain the level of information that I wanted. Business Manager makes it extremely easy to drill right down as far as you want to go
Previously when invoicing, if you made a mistake it was difficult to correct and you would have to raise a credit note. With Business Manager you can just go back in and amend the invoice, or change the heading code.
I love the reassurance that if you do have a problem you can quickly ring them for a solution and they have never let me down yet, which was something we never had before.