The theme for Fieldays this year was ‘leading change’. Leading change is about driving prosperity in New Zealand’s primary sector, and in fact we see that our own vision aligns nicely with the three pillars of this theme - education, innovation and internationalisation.
One of our key philosophies has always focused on the importance of a connected farming team. We know that with only 20% of farmers actively managing their farm against a financial plan, we thought the best way to effect change in the industry is to not just give them better farm financial software, but to give them better access to the advisers who can really help them improve their farm’s financial performance.
Education through collaboration
Figured has been built around providing farmers, bankers and rural accountants with access to the same set of real time financial data. Our belief is that connecting farmers with the advisers who can help them use these insights creates opportunity for conversations that will really drive their business forward. With an advisory-focused approach from accountants and banks, farmers start to extract more value from these relationships to apply in their farming business, as the conversations shift from compliance to financial scenarios for growth and succession planning.
Innovation to deliver a next-generation solution
We knew that the benefits of Figured would only be realised if we participated in an ecosystem of connected solutions. That means this is not just about farm financial software anymore; it’s about harnessing the power of a network of people and systems to improve the performance of farming. However, what we’d like to see is more providers in the industry also open up access to their data for the benefit of the whole sector.
With this in mind, we’re moving towards bringing the farming team together not just around a specific farm’s financial data, but also benchmarked data that will also facilitate more meaningful conversations with key financial stakeholders about their performance. We see the ability to deliver value back to the farming team through utilising the financial data in Figured, as well as external data sources to create insights.
With Figured, this will mean access to data on a hyper-local level. It will give farmers and their advisers data that is refined beyond industry-wide benchmarks, so they can actually compare their performance against farms in their own area. It will help farming teams understand how their farm is performing in relation to those nearby, how well it is being managed and whether, when combined with external data sources, how sustainably it is run.
We believe this needs to extend beyond just financial data to include on-farm and production tools, to better connect what is happening on the farm, to what is happening in farmers’ bank accounts.
Going global is necessary
In the same way that farmers need an international market for export, as a tech company we need to expand our global reach in order to grow, be profitable and to develop the functionality on offer to our local farmers.
Earlier this year we announced our partnership with Farm Credit Services America, a leading provider of credit and insurance services to farmers and agribusinesses in the US. Farmers globally are faced with volatility, whether it be commodity prices or the weather, therefore understanding profitability is more important than ever. This partnership will not only provide a financial management solution for American agribusinesses but will also help us further develop our software into the next generation solution we envision for New Zealand and Australian farmers.
Leading change for profitable farming businesses
We know that growing and excelling in the future requires innovation and change, but importantly, it also requires collaboration - and leveraging technology to do so. New Zealand’s agriculture sector is already a leader in production and sustainability, but we need more organisations to be embracing opportunities that enable us to collectively work towards improving financial performance and profitability.