Farm Record Keeping– Options, options, options

Financial record-keeping involves two tasks:  Recording and Reporting.  Ledger books like the New England Farm Account Book can provide a good place for recording, but to make a report you have to transfer numbers from one page to another.  However, if you are a pencil and paper person, you can buy these ledgers at your local UVM EXT office.  If you are not, last year, University of Maine Extension created a free Excel version of the New England Farm Account Book.  To find out more, please ask <tori.jackson@maine.edu> or davidmar@maine.edu. This computerized version both records and reports!

Computer programs allow for both recording and reporting.  When people do not know what they are doing with a computer program, it is easy to keep adding accounts (or categories) and get reports that are 2 or 3 pages long.  I like to see a financial report that summarizes things so that it will fit onto a single page.  Then if we need more data, we can get another report.

The website, www.intuit.com, is for the company that makes Quicken, QuickBooks, and TurboTax. This is the most popular bookkeeping software used by small business. “Farm Accounting Using QuickBooks® Users Manual” is the name of a publication put out by University of Wisconsin Extension.  It looks like the basic how-to manual that many farmers have been looking for to get going with QuickBooks.  It is a free pdf publication.

Yankee Farm Credit www.Yankeeaca.com is a farm lending cooperative in Vermont.  They also provide farm financial services, including tax preparation and farm accounting.  They sell and service Center Point, a farm accounting program.

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About Dennis Kauppila

I work with farmers on finances. I started with UVM Extension in 1983, and have worked with hundreds of farmers on issues ranging from starting a farm, how to get a loan, leasing a farm, understanding farm finances, to retiring from farming. I teach 1 or 2 courses for farmers each winter. I am working with several farmers now on business plans, and I continue to work with many farmers on balance sheets and budgeting.
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