My family has been farming on Romney Marsh since 1897. Today, trading as Sinden & Cole, I work with my father and his cousin on 420 acres of owned and tenanted arable and sheep land. We use the Farmade MultiCrop software successfully to record our crops, which include winter wheat, oil seed rape, linseed and a few potatoes.
I have used a crop recording computer program for several years and so an office computer was not alien to me but moving away from manual accounting was still a big step. I saw an article in the Lloyds TSB magazine about KEY Starter.
For some time I had wanted to computerise my accounts but had been put off by over complicated accounts packages. I was pleasantly surprised by KEY Starter and the price was attractive. In January I went ahead and installed the software on my computer, without having to upgrade the hardware.
I got going by reading all the documentation that is straight forward and written for farmers, and I used the excellent support helpline when I needed to have bits and pieces explained. I am looking forward to discussing the results with my accountant.
As I have not yet had a year-end it is too soon to reveal all the benefits but there is a definite time saving. In our case three of us were manually preparing the figures. Now reports can be generated for the accountant and ourselves without having to spend hours adding up. Bookwork can be done quickly, and preparing the VAT return is also much simpler on the computer compared to using a calculator.
My advice to others? Make the change in the winter months when you have time to read the documentation, ask for support and get used to the program then in summer when you are busy you can whiz through the figures and get back outside!
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