This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
What We Recommend The Farmer’s Office For
We recommend The Farmer’s Office for farmers and ranch managers who want to manage their ranch, crop, and overhead expenses on a single platform. If you want to know which crops or livestock are profitable, its advanced cost-accounting features are of great help.
With The Farmer’s Office, you can assign income and expenses to specific cost centers or enterprises, giving you detailed reports on your yields and profitability. Because of this feature, we chose The Farmer’s Office as our best farm accounting software for detailed cost accounting for farmers and growers.
The Farmer’s Office Is Especially Good For
- Farm managers with many employees: The program has an integrated payroll system that can handle high-volume agricultural payroll transactions.
- Farmers who sell agricultural products directly to consumers: If you need to bill customers for produce, the accounts receivable (A/R) module lets you issue and track invoices.
- Farmers managing multiple farm operations: The Farmer’s Office can be used to set up multiple companies with no additional fees as long as they’re on the same computer.
- Farmers and ranchers managing land for others: The Farmer’s Office has an integrated farm management billing system that allows you to bill farm owners for services like harvesting, water delivery, and pest control.
The Farmer’s Office Is Not a Good Fit For
- Farmers who prefer a cloud-based accounting program: The Farmer’s Office is a desktop-based accounting software program, so if you want to have access to your data from anywhere at any time, a cloud-based program like QuickBooks Online is an ideal option. QuickBooks Online is our choice for both overall best farm accounting software and best small business accounting software.
- Farmers with no background in ag accounting: While The Farmer’s Office is fairly easy to use, you need to have a certain degree of knowledge about basic ag bookkeeping to benefit from the software. Our recommendation for the best farm accounting software for farmers with no bookkeeping experience is EasyFarm.
- Farmers looking for an affordable farm accounting program: The Farmer’s Office doesn’t disclose its prices to the public, which means that it might be expensive. If you’re looking for a free accounting solution for tracking income and expenses, you should consider Sunrise.
The Farmer’s Office Pros and Cons
|Includes cost accounting to address the unique needs of farmers||Pricing isn’t disclosed publicly|
|Can set up multiple companies on one computer or network||Can’t track personal income and expenses|
|Chemical inventory and pesticide application reporting system||Unable to connect bank accounts and import bank account transactions|
|Includes ag payroll||No mobile accounting app|
The Farmer’s Office vs Competitors
We compared The Farmer’s Office with QuickBooks Online and FarmBooks using our internal scoring rubric scaling from one to 10—10 being the highest. The chart below sums up how The Farmer’s Office stacks up against its competitors across five key categories.
The Farmer’s Office trails two points behind FarmBooks in terms of farm-specific features because it can’t be used to track personal income and expenses, which is important if you’re a self-employed farmer who mixes personal and farm funds in the same bank account. However, its strong general accounting features work great as long as you keep farm funds separate from personal, which is always a good idea. It’s not the easiest program to use and definitely not the most affordable.
The Farmer’s Office Pricing
While prices aren’t directly provided on the Datatech website, The Farmer’s Office is available in three editions: Small Farm, Standard, and Enterprise. The software is sold as a license to be used on a single computer or network. If you want to install it on another computer in the same office, you need to purchase a secondary site license, which is 25% of the price of the original license. You may contact Datatech to request more pricing information or obtain a customized quote.
The Farmer’s Office Features
The Farmer’s Office is a fully integrated software with extensive features designed to meet the cost-accounting needs of farmers.
The general ledger (GL) is integrated fully with all the other operational modules of the program. The GL will make the necessary changes to your accounts automatically based on the information that you enter. Each module gets balances straight from the GL for specific accounts. For instance, the bank balance on your Checkbook screen comes from the GL cash in the bank account, and the balance displayed on your Tax Deposit screen in the payroll originates from the GL liability accounts.
The program can be used to track all farm operations’ income and expenses, including expenses related to payrolls, vendors, deposits, and pesticide usage. Expenses can be grouped by crop year, independent of the calendar or fiscal year. You can create cost centers for each field, ranch, crop, or block. The cost accounting module collects information based on the information you provide on your vendor checks, payroll checks, deposits, and pesticide usage.
To set up the cost accounting system, you need to create cost centers and define your expenses:
- Creating cost centers: A cost center is a component of your farm operation. It can be a field, ranch, crop, herd, tractor, or anything for which you want to track your income and expenses. The purpose of assigning income and expenses to cost centers is to know how much money you’re making and spending on a particular component of your business, helping you make better decisions. At the very least, you need to provide a description, ID number, and acreage when setting up a cost center:
- Defining expenses: Once you set up a cost center, you need to enter the expenses that you wish to track on your reports. This helps you know how your expenses break down into different categories, such as labor, materials, and chemicals. The Small Farm edition includes a sample chart of accounts with preset expenses. If you want more flexibility, like setting up subcategories, you’ll need the Standard or Enterprise edition. To set up your expenses, you just need to provide a description and an ID number:
The accounts payable (A/P) module in The Farmer’s Office helps you track your vendors and unpaid bills, enter bills as they’re received, and issue vendor invoices and checks. The A/P module includes the following components:
- Vendor file: Track vendor information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, default terms information, default general ledger account, and 1099 information. This is especially helpful for regular suppliers.
- Checkbook register: The checkbook register provides a single platform to enter vendor checks, deposits, transfers, service charges, miscellaneous debits, and voided checks. You can also enter handwritten checks without printing them.
- Direct expense checks: Direct expense checks are used to enter expenses for the GL and cost accounting when you’re ready to issue the check. As you enter the check, expenses are posted to the GL and bank account automatically.
- A/P invoicing: Enter bills as they’re received. These bills can then be paid based on a fixed due date or using standard terms. You can also create recurring invoices:
The Farmer’s Office has an A/R add-on module to issue invoices and track billings. You can create detailed billing statements, track outstanding invoices and sales tax, enter payment received, and print invoices, statements, and reports. Forms and reports include customer lists, mailing labels, year-to-date sales reports, invoice lists, cash receipts journals, sales journals, A/R reports, sales reports by territory, customer account inquiries, and customer invoices. Invoices in The Farmer’s Office are pretty basic, but that shouldn’t be a problem for farmers:
The Farmer’s Office can reconcile bank statements and checkbook information automatically to ensure an accurate account balance. From the Bank Reconcilement screen, check all checks that have cleared the bank. One thing we don’t like about The Farmer’s Office is that there’s no option to connect your bank account or import your bank statements. You have to compare your books to your bank statements manually.
The Farmer’s Office lets you create and use budgets for each cost center that you created. You’ll find this extremely helpful, not only in tracking expenses but also in applying for agricultural loans. You can use the budgets to present to lenders. The Farmer’s Office has a strong budgeting tool that allows you to enter budgets with as many details as needed. You can enter budgets for each cost center and also run a crop comparison report that shows how your actual expenses compare to your budget.
The system has customized payroll features for agricultural employees with wages reported on Form 943. For instance, when creating paychecks, you can charge each line to different crops or even add hourly rates. Farm managers or employers can also set up standard pay rates based on the crop or job entered. Some of its payroll highlights are listed below:
- Employee files: Maintain a record of all employees, including information like addresses, pay rates, marital status, and dependents.
- Deductions: The Farmer’s Office processes deductions for federal and state taxes automatically, depending on the employee’s tax status.
- Check entry and processing: If you need to enter check information from an employee’s time card, you can use the Batch Payroll Check window. After entering the gross wage information, the program will calculate deductions automatically.
- Employee history: Employee information records are stored indefinitely within the database, making it easier to print earnings reports for government agencies.
- Payroll entries: You can input data on payroll information directly from daily crew sheets. These can also be done automatically, eliminating the need for manual data entry for repeating entries. Payroll can be entered on a daily or weekly basis:
- Payroll reports: With The Farmer’s Office, you can run different kinds of payroll reports, including payroll journals, workers’ compensation reports, earnings records, and tax deposits.
- Payroll journal: The payroll journal is used to maintain a record of all expenses related to payroll, including information on gross wages and deductions. It can also calculate state unemployment, federal unemployment, employer FICA taxes, and workers’ compensation insurance.
- Tax deposits: When the payroll journal is printed, Farmer’s Office computes payroll taxes due for federal and state taxes automatically. The Payroll Tax Deposits window will display what you owe for your taxes.
- Employee Earnings Records: This record shows the list of checks that the employee received for a certain pay period, including regular wages, check total, deductions, and net pay:
- Workers’ compensation reports: These reports help you segregate rates paid for workers’ compensation insurance, depending on the crop. These rates can then be used to calculate your workers’ compensation liability.
This feature allows you to monitor the usage of each individual piece of your equipment. You can record a charge-out rate, allowing you to record the expense to the crop cost center for using the equipment. It serves as a memo entry without affecting your accounting balances, but it charges each cost center for the use of the equipment.
Pesticide Application Reporting
This feature gives you all the tools and forms you need to report all pesticide application activities, including information about your sites, chemicals, and applications. Pesticide application reporting features include the ability to print a Notice of Intent as well as a Monthly Pesticide Use Report. You can also enter chemical purchases to add to your inventory:
In addition to payroll and general financial reports, like cash flow statements, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements, The Farmer’s Office also generates farm-specific reports, including crop statements, crop comparison, and pesticide usage reports:
Customer Service and Ease of Use
The Farmer’s Office has a standard Windows-based interface, so if you’re using other Windows products, it should be easy for you to navigate the program. Its core feature, cost accounting, uses a one-time data entry approach on payroll checks, vendor checks, deposits, and pesticide usage. It has a streamlined layout, with the main menu arranged according to the main functions of the program, allowing you to find what you need quickly. Other handy features, such as an online help file, wizard guides, and a calendar popup, make data entry easy.
The Farmer’s Office comes with a 90-day warranty, including software updates and enhancement and unlimited toll-free support. After the initial 90-day warranty, you’ll need to pay an annual Software Support Contract fee.
Datatech offers several training options to help you get the most out of The Farmer’s Office. You may schedule a remote training session, attend training at their office in Frisco, Texas, or schedule on-site training in your office.
Training rates are as follows:
- California (remote training or in-house training at the Datatech Office): $120 per hour
- California (in your office): $120 per hour, plus travel charges
- Outside California: $150 per hour plus normal travel expenses like hotels, meals, and air travel
The Farmer’s Office Alternatives
If you need farm-specific accounting software with strong cost-accounting features, we strongly recommend The Farmer’s Office. Many of its features are specifically designed for farm operations, including equipment costing and crop budgeting. It also has chemical inventory and pesticide application reporting systems, which are extremely helpful for avoiding the overapplication of pesticides and helping with regulatory compliance.