For our launch in the UK we are forming a community of Partners who share our vision that farmers should have better information and better support when making decisions on the farm.
Kite Consulting is one of the firms leading the movement towards using cloud software for better farm financial management in the UK. Having started working with Xero around two years ago, Kite Consulting saw the benefits of having access to accurate and timely data that Xero allowed, however still faced the challenge of not being able to accurately monitor cashflow down to the bottom line on a farm in an easy manner. Historically, their options were to use out-of-date accounts or cumbersome software that was cost-prohibitive for many farmers, or a combination of systems that required additional data entry and subsequent analysis.
Their search for an efficient solution to this problem brought them to Figured, through a connection with Nico Mouton of Agfirst in New Zealand.
Meet Kite Consulting
Kite Consulting is a team of consultants based throughout the UK. While they specialise in the dairy industry, they also have clients with mixed entity farming. As well as providing specialised advice to farming businesses and the allied industries, they provide input to many groups of farmers throughout the UK, sharing discussion about best practice, latest trends, and ways to improve business operations, as well as offer insight and skills training to young farmers who otherwise wouldn’t have exposure to the business side of farming.
A view of the whole farming business
What makes Kite Consulting a little different is that the advisors work across both operational (on farm), technical (breeding, nutrition, forage) and business advisory, which includes financials, planning, business strategy, succession and ways to maximise growth.
Sam Evans is one such advisor, based in Wales, covering Wales and the Shropshire borders. He’s an award-winning consultant who works with livestock and dairy businesses to improve their technical performance, and profitability. His approach is to help farming businesses understand their current level of competitiveness in the industry, then provide practical solutions to increase income and profit levels while ensuring long-term business stability in a volatile market.
Unlike an accountant, Sam and the other Kite consultants don’t manage tax accounts, end of year finances or day to day bookkeeping. The consultants do however focus largely on budgets, cashflow, and monitoring performance and mitigating business risk.
This, says Sam, is where Figured can play a crucial role in helping advisors like him help more farmers gain a better understanding of the actual financial performance of their farm on a current basis.
Kite’s ethos is centred firmly around relationships. Consultants get ingrained in their clients’ business - something that Sam sees as a privilege to be a part of. His own motivation behind his work is very much driven by a desire to see farmers succeed in the mid-Wales region he calls home.
“Over the last few years we’ve experienced extreme volatility. This has put a lot of pressure on farmers and subsequent supply chains, not just financially but also in the home, their relationships, and mental well-being. The area I come from isn’t the wealthiest, so I want to help create value back in my area, keep people here in the local community and keep the industry going strong. We get very close to our clients, and it’s a humbling process when they are turning to you to help them meet their goals and aspirations.”
Relationships backed up by research
As a company, Kite has set itself up to ensure that all decisions are backed up by sophisticated support. Sam says that many farms have been passed on in the family, and while they are good farmers, many of them haven’t been taught how to manage the farm as a business to ensure they are competitive and create surplus profit.
“A lot of UK farms are family farms, passed through the generations, that each generation adds to and grows further. They are good operators, but don’t necessarily have easy access to data behind them showing their competitiveness to others, or have live data that can then be instantly modelled against to counteract volatility. For example, milk price drops that come without warning, falling market prices or indeed impact of weather on the overall profitability,” says Sam.
“What software like Figured does is allow me to present financial data to them that is not just correct but also easy to understand. It gives them buy in when they can see information that is relative to them and their success.”
Plans critical under pressure
The past two years has seen the sector facing increasing pressure, and with the supply chain across the industry feeling the squeeze, credit has been harder to get. While banks have continued to support the industry, their review of finances has become more aggressive.
Kite’s consultants like Sam have always monitored budgets, cashflow, trends and plans to ensure their clients are competitive in the industry, however at a time where presenting up-to-date and accurate data to the bank is critical, getting this information in an easy and timely way was a challenge due to the data being in a number of locations, with some of it being current and some historic.
Working with Figured and Xero will allow Kite to ensure clients can present realistic and achievable plans to gain the support and confidence from their banks to work towards their business goals. As a more cost-effective option, it’s more accessible to more farming businesses compared to other recording software at farm level that was previously available.
“We are passionate about cutting edge technology to help clients become more competitive, and have enjoyed helping Figured adapt to a UK version which we see as a great tool to improve UK agriculture profitability due to the discussion data creates,” says Sam.
We’re excited to have partnered with a progressive, industry-leading firm whose values around supporting the growth and profitability of the agricultural sector align with our own, and looking forward to working with Sam and the Kite Consulting team in helping more UK farmers achieve their business goals.