Press-Republican

Columns

November 25, 2012

Taking care of business

We are fast approaching the end of the year. This week we looked back with thanks for this year’s bounty. Now it’s time to figure out if it was truly a successful one or not.

While many of us can count on a weekly paycheck with all the appropriate taxes withheld and year-to-date totals all prepared, farmers don’t have it so easy. Because many farms are single proprietorships or family partnerships, they are essentially self-employed and have no one but themselves to keep track of income and expenses.

Like any business, an important part of farming is record keeping, data collection, organization and financial planning. That does not mean cleaning off the truck dashboard and stuffing every expense receipt, check stub and bill from last year into a shoe box with faded notes and well weathered deposit slips. Organizing your paperwork can be as simple as a cardboard banker’s box and a set of alphabetized hanging file folders.

Good record keeping is essential to determining whether your farm business is successful or not. And not just at the end of the year. A good system will allow you to keep track of how your business is doing at a glance.

One of the first steps one should take is to use a farm business account book to track expenses and receipts. The next step from there would be to utilize small business management software to computerize and modernize your farm recordkeeping. Some programs have farm and ranch business accounts already set up and ready to go. With computer business management software, important information such as profit and loss statements and cash-flow projections can be accessed at anytime of the year, not just at tax time.

Tracking income is a challenge no matter what kind of farming enterprise you have. Dairy farmers have a major source of income from milk sales but also have income from livestock sales, feed sales, government payments and income from rents or custom field work. Many smaller diversified farmers have multiple sources of sales income and expenses as well. With many sources of income comes the possibility of record keeping lapses. Keeping farm income and expenses separate and distinct from personal accounts is also essential.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time