As everyone involved in agribusiness knows, this industry is ever-changing. Whether you are a farmer or a supplier, the cyclical ups and downs of this business are unavoidable. It’s important to know how to adapt to changes in the economy, markets, customers, competition, technology, regulations, taxes…the list goes on and on. Adapting is easier to do when you partner with the right people, a good accountant being one of them.
An accounting professional with extensive experiences in the agribusiness space will end up being a pleasant surprise and a trusted advisor to your business. That trust will grow as you watch them handle not only the tasks you would expect, such as your taxes, but also as they guide you towards making sound decisions that will help your operation reach the next level.
For example, an accountant can help you in regards to growth, expansion, and even best industry practices. One Holbrook & Manter client explains this a bit further sharing, “we might be thinking about buying another farm and trying to understand the financial ramifications so we’ll get a hold of Holbrook & Manter and have a what if discussion. Having this kind of input on a timely basis is really important when you come to forks in the road. Some of these opportunities only come along every generation or so and if you can’t be confidant and quick in making a move, you’re going to wait another generation or two. H&M is always there for us when we need them.”
Your accountant should have a deep dive understanding of your operations, so that they are able to assist you with detailed elements that help keep your business running smoothly. A current Holbrook & Manter client notes, “It’s more than just H&M’s accounting support that impresses me. We aren’t network engineers so when we needed to establish a computer network to work with our accounting package and some industry-type software, they offered to help and proceeded to get H&M’s IT group involved. They did a wonderful job helping us figure out the system components we needed and recommending a firm to do the installation.”
Should you enjoy handling certain accounting aspects of your business, working with an accountant doesn’t have to be the end of that. An accountant should recognize your strengths, and focus on assisting you in the areas that you would like to spend less time worrying about. Perhaps you like monitoring cash flow, but taxes aren’t for you. A valued client of ours shares, “I spend a lot of my time looking at numbers and thinking about what we can do to drive better business results — that is my focus. But, I rely heavily on H&M to make sure we are doing the things strategically that we need to do to minimize our tax burden and stay in compliance.”
Knowing where you stand financially on a day-to-day basis is vitally important. Your accountant should be able to provide you with financial statements, balance sheets and current cash flow information. If your mindset is bigger picture in nature, accountants who are certified to perform business valuations can assess your current operations and discuss the value of your business with you. Or if you would rather pass the operations along then succession planning is very important for you. Even if you are currently in a good place financially, you can’t stay there without proper strategic planning. Work with your accountant to develop strategic business plans that include objectives, measurable goals and supporting actions to be implemented against a measurable specified timetable. A firm like Holbrook & Manter, who has experience in the agriculture industry, can help you reach your financial goals.
So you see; an accountant is so much more than a number cruncher. They are an important strategic partner in your agribusiness’ success. In the accounting industry, we find that many of those owning or running a business, are doing it well. They already handle a great deal of their financial responsibilities on their own, but would like to have someone lighten their load, or remove these elements from their plate completely. An accountant who is experienced and more importantly, who cares deeply about your goals is the answer. Be open to a partnership that will serve you well for years to come.
Stephen C. Smith CPA, CGMA, MBA and CVA is a Principal at Holbrook & Manter, primarily focusing on the areas of Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, including manufacturing, agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. He can be contacted at 614-494-5300 or HolbrookManter.com. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 in central Ohio.