BooksTime  ➞  Articles  ➞  Farming Business Guide to Agricultural Accounting

May 05, 2023

Farming Business Guide to Agricultural Accounting

Reading Time 7 mins

Regarding agricultural accounting, many farmers nowadays find themselves in a challenging position. Understanding the fundamentals of this type of bookkeeping may take a lot of work, especially for those just beginning in the industry. But long-term success depends on mastering these basics. With our guide to agricultural accounting, farmers will be better equipped to handle the economics associated with their operations.

What is considered a farm business?

The common problem is that farmers are not sure where their hobby ends and what qualifies as an agriculture business begins. In compliance with the IRS, you have an agriculture firm if you grow, supervise, or manage a farm to get profit as a proprietor or tenant. It is not considered an agricultural business if the farmer contracts to harvest goods from someone else or purchases or resells plants or animals.

Every business needs accurate financial records. It is especially relevant for those with a farm or engaged in related activities. Some aspects of agricultural bookkeeping, such as livestock and land, are precise to agricultural firms.

Bookkeeping for farmers: Things to consider

As a farmer, you must retain all financial documents to keep your farm running smoothly. It comprises all supporting wages, sales, purchases, and various commercial dealing records.

Consider these instances of the forms you have to maintain to handle agricultural accounting:

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Business bank statements
  • Canceled checks

Tax law and tax forms details, account classifications, and facilities of presenting costs also belong there.

Farmers need to familiarize themselves with the industry’s branch accounting nuances. And it’s better to have an accountant who is well-versed in this subject and has previously overseen farm accounting services to agricultural firms. Additionally, you save time by contacting a firm that offers accounting services. It is crucial during the early phases of a company’s life cycle when all efforts are concentrated on business growth, marketing, and forging connections with its partners.

Farming Business Guide to Agricultural Accounting

No More Bookkeeping Stress

Keeping proper financial records is time-intensive and small mistakes can be costly. BooksTime makes sure your numbers are 100% accurate so you can focus on growing your business.

Importance of accurate accounting

It is vital to understand the importance of accounting in agriculture. Here are a few benefits of good bookkeeping.

Cost of manufacturing calculations made more easily

Calculating the cost of production is made easier and is free from issues, which is one of accounting’s most significant benefits. The need to increase profits in the agricultural enterprise drives the need to get knowledge about the cost of production. Arriving at the best financial decisions may be accomplished by estimating the actual expenses of farming and management. A guarantee of accurate cost calculation of manufactured goods is provided by the correct distribution of expenses in fields, subdivisions, and crops throughout the year and the subsequent closing of expense accounts.

Capabilities to plan and budget

Setting a budget is a crucial business component. It enables farmers to monitor the financial development of their farming enterprises. Planning everything strategically, from input to operational costs, is part of this. It is crucial to maintain adequate accounting procedures to create a financial budget.

Streamlined farm management

Small farmers must have an organized system of agricultural accounting to streamline effective management. Precise accounting guarantees that farmers have access to the resources, manpower, and equipment they need. It can improve farm management efforts and eventually boost their farm’s profitability.

Maintaining your own bookkeeping might be a challenging process. As a result, it is preferable to let ag accounting professionals maintain your records. Correct calculations are possible if you collaborate with a professional bookkeeping specialist.

GAAP accounting and inventory

It’s crucial to keep an eye on the inventory you have. Any asset kept for sale must be accounted as inventory according to US GAAP Section 330. Finished products, finished goods, and finished items are also included in lists of the farming business.

Work in progress and final products are included in inventory accounting, even though these are worth the cost of manufacturing in WIP. The value is the market or prospective sale value after completion. Farm accountants and profit centers must thus maintain precise, dependable, and current records. Systems must be in place to keep these documents and tracking costs simple.

Cash method of accounting

Agricultural and traditional commercial accounting differ significantly in how and when transactions are documented and acknowledged. Farm businesses must select an income and spending accounting method. A company can frequently use cash, accrual, or hybrid accounting procedures.

Most farmers store their agricultural records using the cash approach. It is the easiest of the three accounting systems to maintain records. But not all farmers can employ the cash technique. If these options apply to your farming operation:

  • a company with total annual revenues of more than $26 million;
  • a partnership that collaborates with a company with a gross farm income of more than $26 million;
  • tax shelter.

To cap it all, on a cash basis, which means that revenue is accounted on the day the payment is obtained, almost all US farms pay taxes. Costs are noted when payments are made for bills.

Accrual method

According to accrual accounting, farm financial gain is commonly accounted in the year it is earned, and costs are either deducted or capitalized in the year they are incurred. If you handle an inventory, you have to calculate the farm’s gross gains with the help of the accrual technique. Income is recorded using the accrual approach when it is generated rather than always when it is received. The costs associated with this revenue are reported concurrently. In essence, the matching principle accurately assesses profitability by matching income and spending. Cash accounting, however, is susceptible to distortions brought on by year-end tax planning.

As a result, accruals are necessary to get accurate reporting in agricultural accounting and cash for tax return filing. Most conventional accounting software forces customers to keep two sets of books or make a choice, which is just not practical.

Advice on bookkeeping

Many farmers find bookkeeping to be a really monotonous task. But having precise knowledge of your numbers is crucial. You can benefit significantly from the accounting, provided a few guidelines are followed. The yearly financial report offers a quick way to farmers, their shareholders, advisors, and banks to understand the company’s financial situation. You should review the following suggestions with the accounting expert to enhance business bookkeeping.

Quantity posting in natural terms

All significant ledger accounts should have quantities in kind with the correct unit recorded on the spending side (seeds, fertilizer, diesel fuel, animal feed, etc.) and the revenue side (in-kind income).

For all accounts, a single structure

A corporate group’s chart of accounts must be the same to all its members, whether commercial or agricultural. Additionally, service providers shouldn’t have a unique commercial chart of accounts or fiscal year.

Detailed assessment of production stockpiles

Inventories should also have a thorough valuation in the bookkeeping for farmers records. But it’s crucial to accurately estimate the stock based on the quantity and expected weight on the control date.

Keep an eye on government subsidies

Agriculture is essential in numerous countries. That is why a lot of countries give farmers subsidies. Alteration is the only thing consistent in the world of agricultural subsidies. They may be provided to milk production one year and pork the following. Subsidies should be observed and reported on, especially if given out as direct payments.

Farming Business Guide to Agricultural Accounting

Recognize your stock

Since it’s part of their business, most farmers are quite familiar with their present herd. However, stock levels fluctuate, particularly in heavy seasons and during lambing or calving time. For the sake of maintaining a clear record of your agricultural business, inventory changes must be recorded.

Changes in land use must be tracked

Economic developments and changes in land usage are strongly intertwined. One illustration is the societal movement toward vegetarianism, which may cause grasslands to be used in non-animal produce. As previously indicated, the government occasionally offers subsidies for particular crops. If you want to employ short-term agricultural subsidies, keep up with all land-use alterations.

Check your asset inventory often

The asset registry should be examined and updated every year to reflect disposals. Make sure assets are labeled appropriately so you can track what was acquired at the location even years from now.

Use the Internet and the cloud

Nowadays, most farmers have access to the Internet in some way. It is typically sufficient. Internet usage for the following purposes in particular:

  • Examining stock market movements and pricing. You may be aware of these figures by using defrosting trends. Price tracking is used to assist farmers in determining how best to utilize their property. Applying the Internet is typically quicker and more effortless than obtaining this information through the mail or word of mouth.
  • Weather forecasting. You may obtain crucial knowledge necessitated for practically every sort of farm with the aid of the Internet.
  • Use of cloud-based software. These new platforms provide quick access to data, accounting instruments, resources, and bank accounts.

Farmers now have access to the most recent agricultural software because of the Internet, particularly cloud computing. Top-notch farm accounting software should provide direct connections to banks and agricultural suppliers. You may handle the partners, suppliers, and resources with the help of one tool.

Outsource may be a great alternative for a farmer

Accounting in agriculture may be difficult. As a result, it is frequently advantageous to retain an expert who knows all agricultural tax regulations. All of your bookkeeping responsibilities may be completed by collaborating with an accountant. You may handle your books and organize your firm with their assistance. Consider outsourcing the accounting to an outside company if you are overwhelmed and puzzled by all the financial data. It is a quick and advantageous process. Due to this, farmers may spend more time on the business and less time handling books.

Summing Up

A proven approach to make sure your farm company operates as profitably and effectively as possible is through agricultural accounting. To ensure a sustainable farm, it is possible to construct comprehensive economic plans, develop future growth strategies, and improve management choices with accurate and timely financial resources. Accurate accounting also simplifies tax preparation and could help you pay less in taxes.

When making choices about growth, investments, labor expenses, crop sales, etc., agricultural firms may keep ahead of market trends and prevent expensive errors by accessing trustworthy financial information. You will get long-term advantages by staying on top of the accounting requirements, which will stimulate the development of your agricultural firm. Hiring a professional to help you will make the rancho or farm run smoother, allowing you to concentrate on the farming essentials.

Share This Article

Rate the article
Rate the article
(0 voted) 0 / 5

Author: Charles Lutwidge

Read previous article
Read the next article

Talk To A Bookkeeping Expert

A bookkeeping expert will contact you during business hours to discuss your needs.