Katie and David Keiley make a formidable duo working for dairy farmers within Kite Consulting, David has recently joined from his position as Senior Dairy Consultant with SRUC and Katie is an Associate. They share a deep working knowledge of Landmark Systems’ KEYPrime Accounts and KEYPlanner software and use it to its full extent whenever possible with clients, jointly or independently, to add value and to keep farmers financially focused.

Katie has the experience to provide farming clients with the information they need to drive their businesses forward. “Without a certain level of detail, farmers are going to struggle as subsidies decline,” she commented. Her career spans 20 years of agricultural and accountancy experience across SW Scotland and Northern England, jobs which came naturally after her BSc Hons degree in Agriculture and a Masters on “Budgeting and the benefits for the Farm Business”. In the early days, whilst working for a rural secretarial bureau business, she was using Farmplan software.

In 2007, with a young family, Katie became self-employed. She is thinking how to celebrate ten years of providing management accounts to farmers using Landmark software. “It might just be with more clients and increasing my use of KEYPlanner!”

The standalone Landmark budgeting tool is liked by consultants as it allows ownership of the figures, building a budget in logical steps then producing reports and comparisons to withstand the rigour of any banker or professional.

“I give feedback to Landmark because they do listen and act on it. A good opportunity to do this is at their regular winter workshops, it is worth putting in the time to attend as I always get something out of it.”

Why Landmark? “The first question I had to ask myself in 2007 was which software to use. My brother, Angus Bell, recommended Landmark to me, he is a Director of Active BP and his career has also focused on financial management for farmers.

“The KEY software was flexible, had a great support team, and yet was enterprise specific giving the level of detail I needed for those clients who want to code and allocate every penny to an enterprise, and monitor performance to budget, and for others who couldn’t care less as long as the VAT return is done.”

“Dairy farmers have been through some very difficult times and our aim is to help make their businesses strong, and resilient enough to cope with any downturn,” said Katie. “We are past the days of information on the back of a fag packet and an annual look at the figures. I see clients on a monthly basis generally, and David consults at any agreed point monthly or quarterly, but he is continually using KEYPrime reports to monitor costs of production and to pick up on any areas deviating from the budget.” Katie stresses that once they have committed to reducing a cost of production, for example milk from 24.5p/l to 22p/l or less, then the only way to do that is by constantly monitoring the costs of the business. “David’s motto is “from parlour to palate” and as such he works closely with milk processors as well as farmers across Scotland to improve yields and efficiencies.”

Mollie (10) and Daisy (8) are old enough now for Katie to increase her commitment to new clients and her freelance work for Kite. “The girls are pretty hands on with calving and lambing, the ponies, hens, dogs and cats!”

– Katie & David Keiley

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