We look at a mix of online and desktop software created specifically for farming and ranching, as well as the top general accounting packages to find the best software for your farm. While QuickBooks is often an excellent choice for farmers and ranchers, there are other farm-specific accounting software that deserve serious consideration.
- QuickBooks Desktop Pro: Best overall accounting software for farms
- EasyFarm: Best for unincorporated or self-employed farmers
- FarmBooks: Best for farmers looking for the most affordable farm-specific accounting software
- QuickBooks Online: Best online farm accounting for farmers who want to manage their books from anywhere
- Wave: Best free online accounting software for farmers to easily import and categorize expenses
- The Farmer’s Office: Best for farmers that manage land for others
- CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture: Best for agriculture companies with in-house accounting professionals
How to Choose Accounting Software for Your Farm
Farm accounting software comes with a variety of features for a variety of different prices. I recommend you consider which of the following items are important to your operation when evaluating the best software for your farm.
- Cost: Obviously, cost is important, but it might be worth spending a little extra money on software with time-saving features.
- Online vs desktop: Cloud-based software can be accessed online, which is great provided you have fast, reliable internet on your farm. Desktop software is usually cheaper in the long-term but requires the installation and regular updates on your computer.
- Ease of use: This is probably the most important factor. In my experience, when people get frustrated with their accounting software, they throw their hands in the air and let their certified public accountant (CPA) worry about the bookkeeping, which gets very expensive.
- Bank accounts: You should be able to import bank account transactions, classify them to appropriate expense accounts, and reconcile the bank account to your monthly statement.
- Unpaid bills: Unpaid bills should be entered and tracked until you pay them.
- Payroll: Payroll integrated within accounting software is a big time saver if you have any employees.
- Classes: Classes within accounting software allow you to track and report income and expenses by enterprise like crops vs livestock.
- Job costing: Accumulate costs by field or herd to determine your profit or loss from particular endeavors.
- Inventory: Items such as grain, feed, or cattle held for resale should be accounted for as inventory.
- Fixed assets: Fixed assets include both machinery and equipment as well as breeding stock.
QuickBooks Desktop Pro: Overall Best Accounting Software for Small Farms
QuickBooks Desktop Pro is ideal if you’re looking for an affordable accounting solution with the flexibility to be customized to any farming operation and a huge network of knowledgeable CPAs and bookkeepers. We selected QuickBooks Desktop as one of the best small business accounting software. QuickBooks Desktop is easy to set up with a customized chart of accounts for farms and offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.
QuickBooks Desktop Pros
QuickBooks Desktop Cons
Large network of QuickBooks ProAdvisors
Not as easy to use as some farm-specific software
No mobile app
Payroll is an additional fee
Industry-leading accounting features
Customized chart of accountants
QuickBooks Desktop Pricing
Most farmers only will need QuickBooks Desktop Pro, but you might consider upgrading to the Premier edition if you want forecasting features or enhanced job costing features to determine your profit and loss by field or herd.
- QuickBooks Desktop Pro: $299.95 one-time fee
- QuickBooks Desktop Pro Plus: $299.95 per year
- QuickBooks Desktop Premier: $499.95 one-time fee
- QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus: $499.95 per year
- Plus subscription for either edition includes online backup, unlimited customer support, and a free edition upgrade each year
QuickBooks Desktop Pro Features
- Bank accounts: Connect bank accounts to load transactions automatically, classify to expense accounts, and reconcile to monthly statements
- Print checks: Print checks directly from QuickBooks Desktop Pro
- Input bills: Input unpaid bills and track them until paid
- Class reporting: Track and report profit and loss by customized classes like corn, wheat, or livestock
- Integrated payroll: Pay employees and file payroll tax returns directly from QuickBooks Desktop Pro, with an additional fee required
- Inventory: Track and manage inventory such as crops or livestock held for sale
- Customer support: Unlimited customer support, but only with the annual Plus subscription
- Widely-used by accountants: At tax time, transfer your accountant the QuickBooks file, and they can make any necessary adjustments before returning the file
EasyFarm: Best for Unincorporated or Self-employed Farmers
EasyFarm is great for farmers who tend to mix personal and farm funds in the same bank account. EasyFarm makes it easy by accounting for both your farm and personal bank accounts in the same program. The program is built to be used by farmers, not bookkeepers, and relies on farming terminology instead of accounting terms.
Unique input screens are easy to use
Could be difficult to find a bookkeeper familiar with EasyFarm
Includes printed reference and training manual
Issuing and tracking invoices to customers requires additional fee
Good for both crops and livestock
Cannot transfer transactions from bank accounts
Customized chart of accounts
Cannot track unpaid bills
The latest version of EasyFarm Lite has everything most small farmers need. However, if you have any employees, you will need to purchase the Plus version to include payroll. The Pro and Premier versions add the Crop & Field Manager and/or the Livestock Manager. These add-ons will help you manage your farm or ranch, but are not necessary for bookkeeping:
- EasyFarm 8.3 Lite: $509 one-time fee
- The program is yours forever; if you require support after the first year, you will need to purchase a support plan for $129 per year
- EasyFarm 8.3 Plus: $595 one-time fee includes payroll
- The optional support plan for Plus after the first year is $209 per year
- EasyFarm 8.3 Pro Corps: $800 one-time fee includes payroll and Crop & Field Manager
- EasyFarm 8.3 Pro Livestock: $800 one-time fee includes payroll and Livestock Manager
- EasyFarm 8.3 Premier: $1,100 one-time fee includes payroll, Livestock Manager, and Crop & Field Manager
- Print checks: Set up multiple farm and personal bank accounts and print checks.
- Desktop program: Program installs on your computer and doesn’t require a constant internet connection.
- Inventory: An easy input screen allows you to adjust inventory and provide details anytime inventory is purchased or sold.
- Track sales: You can track sales by customer, but you must purchase the accounts receivable module for $169 if you want to send and track invoices to your customers.
- Cost centers: Create cost centers to track profit and loss by fields, herds, any other asset or activity.
- Payroll: It’s simple to pay employees and assign time to cost centers. You can print quarterly and annual payroll reports and Form W-2.
- Tax reporting: Print 1099’s for contractors and tenants and print a list of income and expenses for IRS Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming.
- Customer support: Your purchase comes with a printed manual and one year of support. Customer support can be continued after the first year for $129 per year for the Lite plan and $209 per year for the Plus plan. Customer support includes email and telephone support for both product and technical issues. The website also has links to 31 helpful YouTube tutorials and a link to allow EasyFarm to access your computer to provide assistance remotely.
FarmBooks: Most Affordable Accounting Software Specifically for Farmers
If you’re on a tight budget but want a software that is easy to use and designed specifically for farmers and ranchers, FarmBooks might be your solution. FarmBooks is a full bookkeeping software that has customized accounts and reports so that nonbookkeepers can get started easily with minimal setup. You can visit its website to receive a free, 30-day trial.
Affordable speciality accounting software
Could be difficult to find a bookkeeper familiar with Farm Books
Requires no accounting background
No mobile access
Includes both invoice generation and bill tracking
Cannot import transactions from bank accounts
Customized chart of accountants
Can only use for one farm
Includes payroll at no additional charge
- $395 per farm
- 30-day free trial
- Bank accounts: Input and reconcile transactions from an unlimited number of bank accounts
- Invoices: Create and track invoices to customers
- Sales tax: Track sales tax liabilities
- Input bills: Input and track bills owed to vendors
- Amortization schedules: Separate debt payments into principal and interest
- Inventory: Track inventory by activity or enterprise, including recording livestock births. weanings, or deaths
- Financial reports: Reports are nicely formatted for readability and include a balance sheet, income statement, and general ledger, among many others
- Tax reports: Print tax reports for Schedule F, sales tax liability, and 1099 vendors
- Payroll: Calculate payroll, print paychecks, and produce payroll reports with information to complete quarterly and annual payroll tax returns
- Customer service: Available by phone, email, or submitting a support request online
QuickBook Online Plus: Best Online Farm Accounting Software
QuickBooks Online is great for farmers who rarely sit at a desk and need bookkeeping software that can be used from anywhere, like from the seat of a tractor using a smartphone. While QuickBooks Online doesn’t offer any farm-specific features, it’s easy to use and can be customized to track your profit and loss by activity or enterprise. QuickBooks Online is currently offering 50% off its subscription price for three months.
QuickBooks Online Plus Pros
QuickBooks Online Plus Cons
Effortlessly share books with an independent QuickBooks ProAdvisor
No features to help manage your farm
Assign income and costs to enterprises such as a fields or herds
Takes time to customize the chart of accounts for your farming needs
Mobile app available
Need a separate subscription for each farm
Automatically transfer activity from bank accounts
Integrated payroll requires an additional fee
QuickBooks Online Pricing
I recommend the Plus edition for farmers to assign income and expenses to fields, herds, or other enterprises to see exactly where you’re making or losing money. However, you can save $30 per month if you are willing to give up that ability:
- Plus: $70 per month includes five users
- Essentials: $40 per month includes three users
QuickBooks Online Plus Features
- Bank accounts: Connect bank accounts to automatically transfer activity into QuickBooks Online where you can assign each transaction to an account.
- Invoices: Issue invoices to clients and track until they’ve paid.
- Bills: Input unpaid bills and batch prepare checks when bills are due.
- Classes: Classes can be created to represent each of your activities or enterprises. You can then separate income and expenses by class.
- Projects: Multiple projects can be created within classes to provide a further breakdown of Income and expenses. For instance, a project could be created for each field within the class of Crop Production.
- Taxes: Give your certified public accountant (CPA) online access to your account so he or she can easily make any necessary adjustments before preparing your tax return.
- Reports: Create robust reports, including profit and loss by class.
Wave: Best Free Online Accounting Software
If your farm is small and you don’t want to spend money on software, then Wave is your perfect solution. Wave is free, easy to use, and much faster than trying to use a spreadsheet to track expenses. Connect your bank accounts once, and they will update to import transactions periodically. Assign the transactions to accounts you customize, and you’re done.
No features to help farm management
Only one user
Connect to bank and credit card accounts
Cannot assign income and expenses to activities or enterprise
Input and track bills
Will need to customize your chart of accounts for farming
- Bank accounts: Connect bank and credit card accounts to load and classify transactions automatically
- Reconcile accounts: Reconcile bank and credit cards accounts easily
- Invoices: Issue invoices and track payments received
- Unpaid bills: Enter unpaid bills and track until paid
- Reports: Print balance sheet, income statement, general ledger, and income
- Payroll: Integrated payroll is available for a fee
The Farmer’s Office: Best for Farmers Who Manage Land for Others
If you farm fields owned by someone else, The Farmer’s Office by Datatech will help you track direct expenses and allocate overhead so you can bill the landowner easily. In addition to this handy feature for farm managers, The Farmer’s Office is a very robust farm bookkeeping and management system.
The Farmer’s Office Pros
The Farmer’s Office Cons
Advanced features for allocating costs to enterprises
No upfront pricing
Ag payroll included
Easy to use, but best to have some bookkeeping knowledge
Track chemical inventory
Cannot import bank transactions
Pesticide use reporting
The Farmer’s Office Pricing
As with many comprehensive accounting packages that include extensive features, you’ll need to talk to Datatech about your exact requirements before it quotes you a price.
The Farmer’s Office Features
- Advanced cost accounting: In addition to direct expenses, allocate payroll taxes and workers’ compensation to enterprises based on labor assigned
- Farm management billing: Costs billed to landowners for farm management services may include not only direct costs but also:
- Labor rates marked up from actual cost
- Payroll taxes and workers compensation
- Chemicals marked up from actual cost
- Equipment charges
- Equipment costing: Assign costs to pieces of equipment and then allocate costs among enterprises as you use the equipment
- Banking: Enter deposits, write checks, and reconcile accounts
- Unpaid bills: Enter and track unpaid bills
- Payroll: Payroll customized for agricultural businesses including required payroll tax returns
- Reports: Excellent selection of easy-to-understand reports
CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture: Best for Ag Companies With In-house Accountants
CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture by Red Wing Software is ideal if you have been in business for a few years and are looking to expand the type of crops or livestock you offer or add more land. The software’s powerful budgeting and forecasting tools allow you to project future income, expenses, and cash flow requirements based on various scenarios that you choose.
CenterPoint Accounting Pros
CenterPoint Accounting Cons
Powerful budgeting and forecasting tools
Cannot transfer activity from bank accounts
Financial analysis tools
Powerful software best utilized by experienced accounting and finance pros
Fixed asset manager
No upfront pricing
Locally installed or online
Support requires customer care membership
CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture Pricing
CenterPoint is powerful software with numerous options, so it’s understandable that CenterPoint needs to understand exactly what you need to customize the software for you. You’ll need to talk to CenterPoint to receive a customized quote for your software.
CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture Features
- Ratio analysis: View common financial ratios calculated for your farm and compare them to the average ratios of other farms.
- Budgets and forecasts: Project future sales, cash flow, income statements, and balance sheet detail based on “what-if” scenarios that you create.
- Accounts receivable module: Create and track invoices, create detailed billing statements, track sales tax, calculate sales commissions, and produce in-depth reports.
- Fixed asset manager: Record fixed asset purchases, like machinery, and calculate separate depreciation expenses for federal and state returns as well as management purposes.
- Segment operations: Segment operations to track profit and loss separately for enterprises, cost centers, or any other operations for which you want detail.
- Inventory: Track the cost and value of inventory in multiple locations while balancing inventory reports with general ledger account balance.
- Payroll: Integrated payroll from CenterPoint Payroll is available for an additional fee.
We believe that QuickBooks Desktop Pro is the best accounting software for most farms because of its price, flexibility, and enormous support network of QuickBooks ProAdvisors. However, there are also several good choices for farmers of any size that want farm-specific accounting software that will help them manage their business.
You can buy QuickBooks Desktop Pro for $299, and it is generally usable for at least three years before Intuit stops supporting older editions. QuickBooks Desktop comes with a 60-day, money-back guarantee.