Finance management service launched for farmers

A new digital finance management and planning tool for farmers is available from today, Thursday, July 2, which is aimed at “driving farm efficiency” and “improving farm viability and sustainability”.

The service – named ‘FarmPro’ – is a joint project by IFAC and Bank of Ireland. The service uses software from Figured, a New Zealand-based farm financial management online tool. IFAC licenses the software from the Figures platform.

FarmPro incorporates farm accounting data and financial management input from IFAC.

The service is being described by IFAC as an “advice-led, technology-driven” service, which is exclusively available to the agri-business firm’s clients.

IFAC and Bank of Ireland argue that the software will “fundamentally transform how farmers manage their financial well-being”.

The service, after being provided with financial data through IFAC, outlines the farmer’s current financial position and financial projections.

As well as farm financial data from IFAC, the service can also incorporate information on herd movements from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF). However, it is up to the farmer what data is shared to the service.

Outside persons (such as a Teagasc advisor or a bank official, if the farmer is looking for a loan) can be invited to view the information, but only with the farmer’s permission.

“In successive IFAC Irish Farm Reports, farmers across Ireland have expressed the same concerns – they want to know where they stand, be able to make better decisions and have more control over their finances,” noted John Donoghue, chief executive of IFAC.

However, many don’t have the time, the tools, or the know-how to make this happen.

Meanwhile, Eoin Lowry, head of agri at Bank of Ireland, said: “We strongly believe in the value of farmers accessing the most relevant data to drive decision-making, and FarmPro brings this to life.”

IFAC plans to have 3,000 farmers using the service over the course of the coming months. The service is free to use for 2020, with prices after that ranging from upwards of €6, depending on the software package.