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Best accounting software for farmers in 2021

Susan Honea

Susan Honea – 8 years experience helping businesses with bookkeeping, tax preparation and auditing

Last updated: April 16, 2021

Trying to find the right accounting software for your business? We reveal the best accounting software for farmers for any sized farm.

Best accounting software for farmers in 2021

Advances in agriculture have created efficiencies unheard of a generation ago. Farmers have used technology to make an acre of land produce more, but any increase in yield comes with overheads each farmer must carefully monitor with accounting software to ensure a profitable season.

Small to midsize independent farms require tools to properly monitor annual seed or livestock costs, pesticides, herbicides, employee and equipment costs, as well as the expense of transportation or silo storage. Larger independent or corporate farms with multiple sites demand the same information but with significantly greater detail or built-in financial management tools because of the sheer volume of crops or livestock processed daily.

This list highlights the best on-premises (desktop) and cloud-based accounting software for agribusiness based on farm size, from small family-owned farms to multi-site, multi-crop corporate operations. The description of each application will indicate the ideal farm size and the features offered, including tracking seed, stock, equipment, labor costs, and other tools to help make each year profitable.

Best accounting software for farmers: the snapshot

The following are the best accounting software options we identified for livestock and crop agribusiness.

  1. EasyFarm. Best accounting software for small independent farms. A product of Vertical Solutions, EasyFarm is one of the most straightforward and intuitive farm and ranch management solutions available. Users can easily hit the ground running with a variety of preset calculations and reports.
  2. TraxView. Best accounting software for large or corporate farms. Perhaps the most comprehensive agribusiness accounting package available for large-scale operations, TraxView boasts a variety of features ranging from accounts receivable to commodity accounting. TraxView will also accommodate payroll, inventory, and purchasing.
  3. CenterPoint Accounting Software for Agriculture. Best cloud-based accounting software for small to midsize farms. Although an on-premises version is available, farmers demanding in-the-field inventory, fixed assets information, and general ledger data will find CenterPoint (from Red Wing Software) offering an ideal agribusiness cloud accounting package. Red Wing Software has been in business since 1979.
  4. TransAction Plus. Best cloud-based accounting software for large farms. Large farming operations, especially those with a high volume of intercompany transactions, should find FBS Systems TransAction Plus a solid choice. TransAction Plus provides a series of core modules to handle accounts payable and accounts receivable, general ledger functionality, and robust document management.
  5. Wave. Best free or low-cost accounting software for small farms. Although not ideal for large enterprises, farmers interested in getting started with an accounting package without a large investment will find Wave to be a good fit. Wave provides the basics, such as bank account connections, account reconciliation, invoicing, and more.
  6. The Farmer’s Office. Small family farms and larger agribusiness enterprises will find The Farmer’s Office a good fit. Datatech designed this Windows-based accounting and project management software that grows with the business. The Farmer’s Office features include accounts payable/receivable, cost accounting, crop budgeting, and equipment costing.
  7. Agribusiness. CompuTech’s Agribusiness is an accounting package with a particular emphasis on inventory control and product sales. In addition to a robust accounts payable and budgeting module, Agribusiness includes functionality to track packing, receiving, shipping, and sales.
  8. Ultra Farm Accounting Software. Farmers concerned with application security will appreciate Ultra Farm. Designed to run on a Windows desktop or laptop, Ultra Farm does not connect to the Internet or access any cloud-based features. It is a feature-rich accounting package that can be installed on multiple computers without having to pay for extra licenses.
  9. PcMars. Touted as the “Most Farmer Friendly Software”, PcMars is especially useful for farmers based in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota. The software conforms to laws and regulations specific to those states.
  10. FarmBooks. FarmBooks is a user-friendly affordable option that exceeds farm and ranch accounting needs in many ways. The advanced reporting features will appeal to farmers who like to keep an eye on the bottom line.

See also: Accounting terms explained

Best accounting software for farmers

1. EasyFarm

farm-screenshot 1

Best overall accounting software for small independent farms.

Best for:
EasyFarm is an ideal solution for small farmers or ranch managers looking for easy-to-use, full-featured accounting software. EasyFarm comes with the standardized farm or ranch chart of accounts preset to ensure users hit the ground running. Users can set up as many different transaction accounts as necessary, and the asset account ledger looks just like a checkbook, making the interface intuitive and easy to understand.

Key functionality:
Ideal for farming and livestock, critical features of EasyFarm include customer, crop and financial management modules, and ledger functionality to keep multiple books. Additional functionality includes barcoding (RFID), order processing, traceability, and weather records.

EasyFarm can also grow as needed with four program tiers: EasyFarm Lite, EasyFarm Plus, two versions of EasyFarm Pro (Crops or Livestock), and EasyFarm Premier, with each tier adding to a rich feature set.

For farmers who rely on more granular information for managing their production, EasyFarm provides an input option to track a variety of elements, including quantity, cost, market value, weight, harvest area (by acre), share percentage, and so on—even the name of the truck driver and the truck number. In addition, production and sales reports are available for milk, crops, and livestock, and larger farmers can set up cost centers as necessary to show expenses according to specific elements of the farm.

Built-in payroll tracking is customizable to state requirements. The payroll module also facilitates pre-tax deductions and retirement contributions, as well as automatic calculations for overtime hours. And, everything is tracked automatically for later reporting to appropriate government agencies and generating end-of-year employee tax documents.

One of EasyFarm’s best features is its reporting module. Built-in report templates include cash flow, transaction registers of assets, payroll (including tax reports, such as Form 1040F, Form 1099, Form W-2, and Forms 94X), balance sheet, inventory, and journal entry.

In some cases, farmers may want to track their household expenses and their farm expenses on the same platform. EasyFarm allows farmers to do just that, but it keeps personal and business expenses separate within the database.

One potential drawback of EasyFarm is that accounts receivable functionality is included in an add-on module. Farmers who need to send invoices and then subsequently track payments against them can purchase this module for a modest fee, and it works with any version of EasyFarm.

Access & users:
EasyFarm is an on-premises application, but farmers do not need an elaborate and expensive infrastructure to successfully run the application; this does place user and group creation, management, and security on the customer. The creation of multiple users and granular permissions is an integral part of EasyFarm since the user maintaining grain or equipment inventory may not be the same user maintaining payroll.

EasyFarm also offers the EasyFarmHand app for Android, which allows users to transfer data via a cloud connection to the Crop & Field Manager. There’s also an add-on module for farmers who need to track oil sales and royalties. Both of these options work with EasyFarm Plus or Pro.

Ease of use:
EasyFarm’s simple-to-use menus and functionality are the keys to success. Users can begin adding data and running reports immediately after setup, providing the customer insight on profitability right away. Plus, the company highlights the “one entry” method with EasyFarm. If seed or chemicals are purchased and expensed, EasyFarm instantly adds the product to the equipment or supplies inventory without double-entry. The “one entry” significantly reduces data entry time and gets farmers back in the field faster. EasyFarm comes with detailed documentation; however, phone and email support are only available during regular business hours.

Cost:
To keep farms profitable, the price structure for EasyFarm is very straightforward. As noted, EasyFarm offers four tiers—EasyFarm Lite, EasyFarm Plus, EasyFarm Pro, and EasyFarm Premier. Each tier is reasonably priced, and the cost provides a perpetual license for the software and updates. The Pro versions are also focused on the specific type of farm that the user is running: Pro Livestock (Cattle Manager) and Pro Crops (Crop & Field Manager). The Premier version includes both the Crop & Field Manager and the Cattle Manager.

Things we liked:

  • Extremely easy to use with a rich feature set
  • Reasonably priced with four tiers for future growth
  • Works well for both crops and livestock
  • “One Entry” feature removes the need for double entry of data
  • Excellent reporting features, including handy tax reports

Things we didn’t like:

  • No cloud-based offering
  • No standard accounts receivable
  • Dated interface

2. TraxView

farm-screenshot 2

Best accounting software for large or corporate farms.

Best for:
Larger farming enterprises are intricately complicated, with many moving pieces that can affect profitability. TraxView is a robust Windows-based desktop application with all the functionality needed to maintain large and corporate farms and successfully manage every aspect of a farm or ranch for maximum profitability.

Key functionality:
TraxView has a myriad number of built-in functions. Among its many features, TraxView boasts functions for accounts receivable, commodity accounting, general ledger, order entry, and even point of sale (POS).

The order entry and POS functionality include barcode scanning with a real-time on-hand inventory, as well as seamless integration with the commodity accounting module, giving farmers a comprehensive view of their operations. In addition, pricing, tax rates, discounts, and shipping addresses are customizable for each customer. Inventory management is comprehensive, including tiered pricing, units of measure, and shortage notifications, giving farmers better control of their operations. Inventory valuations can be based on three different methods: Average, FIFO, and Lot Numbering.

Built-in payroll offers all typical payroll features, such as withholding tracking and direct deposit. Plus, farmers can track employee contributions to cafeteria plans, such as Section 125, and easily create and submit quarterly and annual tax filings from the stored data.

TraxView even includes a credit history feature that farmers can use to track which customers pay on time, which can help with decision-making related to extending credit or requiring prepayment. Prepaid contracts are tracked automatically in a sub-ledger, and customers can view their account information using OnlineAccess (formerly PatronAccess), which is an add-on module.

Other highlights that make TraxView an exceptionally well-rounded accounting application include production tracking, blending, purchasing, and sales analysis features. All these features combined into a single application reduce the need for third-party applications, and all required data for a profitable enterprise remains available in a single location. Similarly, AgRemote and Elevate bin management modules can be integrated for farms that are scaling and need additional functionality.

Access & users:
TraxView is a Windows-based application, meaning maintenance and security responsibilities fall on the farm owner or site manager. The application administrator creates the needed users and groups and explicitly sets permissions to ensure each user sees only the modules and data relevant to them. An audit trail allows the administrator to see which users have completed which actions in the software.

Ease of use:
It would seem logical to assume any application with such extensive functionality would be complicated and hard to use. However, the menu-driven application makes navigating TraxView easy and using each module very intuitive. Phone and email support is available if help is needed navigating the software.

Cost:
AgTrax does not provide a demo or a trial period version of TraxView. Pricing varies from customer to customer, and AgTrax does not provide pricing information on its website, which suggests that it may be cost-prohibitive for smaller farms.

Things we liked:

  • Extremely rich feature set and functionality
  • Granular user permissions
  • Comprehensive features reduce the need for third-party applications
  • Audit trail functionality improves data security
  • Easy to navigate and set up

Things we didn’t like:

  • Priced for large ranches or corporate farms
  • Add-on modules are required for online access
  • No mobile or iOS/Mac apps

3. CenterPoint Accounting Software for Agriculture

farm-screenshot 3

Best cloud-based accounting software for small to midsize farms.

Best for:
Small and mid-size farms needing a full-featured accounting package without a computing infrastructure overhead will likely find CenterPoint Accounting software for agriculture an ideal choice.

Key functionality:
CenterPoint (from Red Wing Software) can be installed as a cloud solution or a desktop solution and offers a versatile set of accounting tools for farmers to ensure yield profitability. The tools integrated into CenterPoint assist farm owners and managers with making wise business decisions. For example, the general ledger automatically calculates a number of ratios and indices, including ones recommended by the Farm Financial Standards Council and others developed by the Ferguson Group. Each ratio and index also allows for further drill-down and trend analysis across multiple years of information.

Critical features in CenterPoint include accounts payable, a simple accounts receivable function, financial analysis options to assist in budgeting, and cash management options to track the market value of everything from crops to livestock and equipment. Asset and liability tracking is also included, with automatic depreciation calculations and amortization schedules that save farmers tons of manual data entry and help with planning.

An add-on Accounts Receivable Module is available for farmers who manage complex invoicing and receivables, and farmers using this module can also take advantage of several different add-on modules. A robust Sales Order Module streamlines the quote to order process—including an automated back-order processing option. Similarly, an Inventory Module allows granular cost, value, unit of measure, and price tracking. The Purchase Order Module not only facilitates stock monitoring but also creates purchase orders automatically from sales orders as they’re generated.

Additional features key to sound financial management include a payroll integration option to ensure staff pay is accurate and easy to calculate. Plus, a Management Accounting Module that facilitates even more detailed reporting and analysis, including both cost and profit center reporting.

An added helpful feature is the Report Writer. This option creates easy-to-read and use reports based on the data stored by CenterPoint. The reports can be easily emailed to managers and employees by the application administrator. And, Schedule F information can be generated quickly come tax time.

Access & users:
The application administrator can create and manage multiple users and groups. CenterPoint is available via a web browser or mobile app in the field as long as the laptop or tablet connects to Wi-Fi or a cellular hotspot. The site administrator controls user and group access permissions at the company and menu level.

Ease of use:
Intuitive menus and browser-based access make CenterPoint an exceptionally easy-to-use application. CenterPoint also offers wizard-based data entry, adding significantly to the simple usability of the application. The menu-based security also contributes to the ease of use by ensuring a user is familiar with each module’s functionality and purpose based on assigned permissions. Red Wing Software offers in-person training for CenterPoint software for an added cost. However, free one-hour online video demonstrations are available to allow new users to get a feel for the software’s functionality.

Cost:
Farmers and ranch managers interested in implementing CenterPoint must contact the vendor for a quote. The cloud-based solution does incur a monthly hosting fee along with an up-front payment, while the desktop solution incurs an up-front payment and a yearly subscription fee. However, Red Wing Software does offer a free demo.

Things we liked:

  • Cloud-based or local installation
  • Scenario-based profit, cash flow, and strategy forecasting
  • Advanced inventory control
  • Free online demonstrations
  • Wizard-based data entry

Things we didn’t like:

  • What-if scenario feature lacking without detailed financial information
  • More robust features require add-on modules
  • Lack of public pricing suggests it may be expensive

4. TransAction Plus

farm-screenshot 4

Best cloud-based accounting software for large farms. 

Best for:
FBS Systems TransAction Plus is a full-featured automated accounting system for large farming or corporate farming operations. FBS offers both on-premises options and a cloud-based application.

Key functionality:
Large farming operations contain hundreds of moving pieces required to operate seamlessly to ensure a harvest and a profit. TransAction Plus includes many tools to ensure large farming enterprises see the most return on every dollar invested.

Based on a typical general ledger, TransAction Plus facilitates double-entry accounting using either cash or accrual methods, and the audit trail ensures that administrators always know who made what entries or changes. Journal entries are easy, and TransAction Plus even includes an auto-reversing journal entry feature.

FBS has designed its software to ensure that it’s fully scalable for all farmers, whether livestock or crops. The current version of TransAction Plus provides unlimited client capacity. Farmers selling regionally or nationally will find the client management tool exceptionally helpful. It allows for the ability to track previous sales to clients and forecast future sales.

Large agribusiness enterprises might farm multiple crops or livestock. Each crop may be under a different label or entity with entirely different accounting required. These differences might be an issue for many agribusiness accounting packages, but TransAction Plus can easily support concurrent multiple fiscal years based on the crop. And data from the different crops can easily be imported into the various canned reports or exported into Excel for additional analysis.

The detailed dashboard allows unlimited access to the backend data. Each dashboard widget allows “drill down” editing and analysis, too. Application administrators can also export their drill-down analysis to the many available reports, even making changes on the fly with the reports’ drag-and-drop functionality.

TransAction Plus also integrates seamlessly with FBS’ other modules, including Accounts Payable and Receivable, Payroll, Depreciation, Crop Audit, LifeCycle Budget, Smart Feeder, and Purchase Orders/Supply Inventories. Plus, consolidated statements are available for multi-location farms or large farming enterprises.

Access & users:
FBS offers a cloud-based and on-premises version of TransAction Plus. The browser-based version is accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet or cellular connection. The on-premises version is accessible only from the Windows systems on which the administrator has installed the software. Multiple users with specific permissions can access the application, but this is an additional paid feature.

Ease of use:
TransAction Plus comes with a learning curve. It is a powerful application that requires both a farming and accounting background to use the tool to its full potential; however, online and on-site training are both available, and FBS hosts an annual Ag Software Success Summit at which additional training is offered. Users can also pay extra for Basic, Priority, or VIP level support.

Cost:
FBS’ TransAction Plus software isn’t the most expensive software available, but it isn’t inexpensive either. Depending on the number of modules required, users could easily spend more than $15,000 for an initial implementation of the desktop version; users requiring fewer modules will, of course, spend substantially less. The cloud version ranges from just under $500 to just over $5,000 for an annual subscription.

Things we liked:

  • Advanced features set for complete data analysis
  • Choice of desktop vs. cloud
  • Concurrent fiscal year option is essential for multiple crops or livestock
  • Fully scalable solution, no matter the size of the farm
  • All-in-one farm ERP solution

Things we didn’t like:

  • Significant learning curve
  • Can be expensive if several modules are required
  • Customer support costs extra

5. Wave

Price from FREE/mo

Best free or low-cost accounting software for small farms.

Best for:
Being frugal helps ensure profitability, and few things are as frugal as free. Wave accounting software is the perfect solution for small farmers or users dabbling in truck farming, hoping not to incur additional costs to cut into their profit margin.

Key functionality:
Wave is a fully cloud-based double-entry accounting application, meaning its users do not even have to download and install the application, and Wave is functional on a variety of mobile devices. As a free application, the features are limited but should be sufficient for a small farming operation.

Wave comes with an impressive number of invoice templates, along with invoice and receipt scanning, a must-have to help avoid input errors. And since few things cut into profitability like missed payments or forgetting to send invoices, Wave comes with reminders built-in and easily configured by users. Plus, Wave facilitates payment processing via a variety of platforms, including PayPal and Wave Payments.

Similarly, Wave’s expense management and accounts payable features are robust. The bill payment process is simple, and Wave makes use of bank feeds to automate much of the expense tracking process. Plus, Wave permits unlimited bank account and credit card connections, and it includes billable expense tracking and time tracking, along with unlimited receipt and invoice scanning.

Free applications rarely come with unlimited features. As such, features like payroll and bookkeeping services cost extra, but they are available. And, while project management features and the detailed cost accounting features that other products on this list have built-in are not available, Wave does provide excellent contact management functionality, including a client portal that allows customers to pay invoices online. Come tax time, though, limited prep features are available.

Access & users:
As a cloud application, access to Wave is possible from any desktop, laptop, or mobile device. However, the free Wave offering is restricted to a single user. Customers interested in adding multiple users or granular user permissions will need to upgrade to the subscription-based Wave application. Despite the limitation on the number of users, one user can manage multiple businesses with a single Wave account.

Ease of use:
The cost of Wave may be the initial appeal for many customers. However, Wave is also popular due to its easy-to-read and navigate dashboard. Users will have few issues navigating the Wave platform. Ease of use is an essential factor for the tablet version and the other mobile applications.

Cost:
Wave is free. Interested users can create a Wave account and start using the application right away.

Things we liked:

  • Free to use
  • Unlimited credit card and bank connections
  • Multi-entity support
  • Unlimited receipt and invoice scanning
  • Unlimited invoicing and expense tracking

Things we didn’t like:

  • Little room for growth
  • Limited to one user on free platform
  • No tax support

6. The Farmer’s Office

farm-screenshot 6

Best for:
Datatech has designed The Farmer’s Office for use with both small and large farms. The perk here is that small farms will not outgrow The Farmer’s Office as their profits increase.

Key functionality:
The Farmer’s Office comes replete with all the features needed to manage farm finances. It’s a Windows-based desktop application, so all the menu-driven features will feel comfortable to most users. Plus, it’s got lots of automation features to save time and effort, allowing farmers to focus on what they do best.

While the platform is a double-entry accounting system based on a general ledger, many of the features are designed specifically for farmers, rather than for general accounting. Therefore, core features like accounts receivable require add-on modules. But, The Farmer’s Office boasts comprehensive cost accounting, which is what the vast majority of farming operations require. Cost accounting features in The Farmer’s Office include crop year tracking, crop budgeting, equipment costing, and consolidated reporting. The Farmer’s Office even facilitates an acreage split for large, multi-location operations.

Other impressive features include an easy-to-update chemical inventory as well as a pesticide application reporting tool. Applying cost accounting to pesticides and tracking usage is critical to ensure an over-application of pesticides is not eating up profits. The available reports include everything that a farmer—or a farmer’s accountant—will need. All reports can be exported to Excel, and custom reports can easily be generated on an ad hoc basis.

Payroll functionality includes lots more than just paychecks. Worker’s comp, timecards, and automatic calculations for a variety of payroll rules (such as PTO and overtime) are all built-in. Deductions are also calculated automatically for federal and state taxes and additional situations, including 401(k) contributions and benefits. The Farmer’s Office even handles H-2A payroll seamlessly, and it tracks all payroll data in its central database.

The Farmer’s Office allows many day-to-day tasks to be automated. For example, users can automate the cutting of payroll checks and vendor payments, preventing late fees and keeping employees happy. Recurring journal entries can also be set up and then posted at periodic intervals.

Access & users:
The Farmer’s Office is an on-premises Windows-based application. Although this may limit access to the application, it enhances security through centralized user and group creation and maintenance. The Farmer’s Office allows multiple users over the network access. The application administrator can apply detailed permissions to ensure users only access the functions required to complete their jobs, and multi-user access is supported.

Ease of use:
Those familiar with Windows applications will find The Farmer’s Office exceptionally easy to navigate and use. The interface is intuitive, and application administrators can configure user accounts to ensure only the modules required for job completion are available. Datatech provides online and email support during standard business hours if users do get stuck or experience issues. In addition to detailed documentation, Datatech does offer in-person and live online training to customers.

Cost:
Datatech is very confident users will be impressed with The Farmer’s Office and offers a free trial for potential customers. Datatech does not, however, provide any information about software or maintenance costs, suggesting it may be on the more costly side.

Things we liked:

  • Lots of task automation
  • Pesticide inventory and application records
  • Easy to navigate and intuitive interface
  • Multi-user access
  • Acreage splits

Things we didn’t like:

  • No public pricing information
  • No mobile apps or cloud-based access
  • Limited accounts receivable functionality

7. Agribusiness

farm-screenshot 7

Best for:
Compu-Tech’s Agribusiness software is a full-service agricultural accounting program geared toward the fruit and vegetable industry. Agribusiness has features growers require to maintain profitability, including tools for warehouse management, sales, and general ledger functionality.

Key functionality:
Agribusiness is based on a full-featured general ledger accounting system, which includes checking reconciliation, depreciation schedules (an important tax-saving feature), 1099 tracking and reporting, and an automated year-end closing journal. This functionality is baked into Agribusiness and spares a grower the trouble of using third-party accounting software. Plus, for smaller farms with limited accounting needs, the general ledger module is available for purchase on its own.

Agribusiness’s accounts payable features allow farm owners and managers to print and void checks and even set accounts to repay on a specific schedule. Other features in the Accounts Payable module include connections to multiple banks and even a variety of printed check formats if needed.

Budgeting is also an important aspect of profitable farming. Agribusiness supports multiple budget periods, including non-fiscal periods, and budgets can be customized by general ledger account and allocations.

Specialized features for fruit and vegetable growers include a Pallet Ticketing system. Among the many advantages, this feature contains are printing pallet tickets onsite, online pallet and sales inventory, and even support for tracking multiple fruit pools and different growers on the same pallet. Pallet inventory control is much easier to maintain with the built-in ability to create barcodes to avoid errors caused by manual entry and even printing RFID labels for wireless inventory control.

Payroll features are also built-in, and one of Agribusiness’s unique features is its ability to manage multiple payroll companies in one database. Plus, it manages all other payroll functionality—such as minimum wage adjustments, benefit plan contributions, direct deposit, and timekeeping—and payroll tax reporting.

Access & users:
Agribusiness is an on-premises Windows application with a plethora of security features, including the application manager’s ability to create multiple users and groups—even nested groups, if required. The administrator can apply specific security to user accounts to ensure access to modules and functions necessary for each user.

Ease of use:
The interface and menus will feel familiar to users accustomed to Windows-based applications, making Agribusiness a very intuitive application to work with for most users. Compu-Tech provides phone, email, and web-based support when issues arise.

Cost:
As with many of the products on this list, pricing is not publicly available. Interested growers can request a quote for Agribusiness software from the Compu-Tech website. The use of the software requires a one-time license and installation fee. A yearly maintenance and support agreement is required for new features and software upgrades.

Things we liked:

  • Good general ledger and budgeting features
  • Pallet inventory and control
  • A complete payroll and timekeeping function
  • Multi-user access
  • Multi-company feature for payroll

Things we didn’t like:

  • No mobile apps or cloud-based solution
  • May require significant IT support to maintain
  • Limited support available

8. Ultra Farm Accounting Software

farm-screenshot 8

Best for:
Ultra Farm Accounting software is a Windows-based, full-featured accounting system designed for small to midsize farms, whether the business is in crops or livestock.

Key functionality:
Ultra Farm Accounting is a suite of tools to ensure farmers and ranchers track yields and livestock properly for maximum financial advantage. Like most other products on this list, it’s based on a double-entry general ledger system, and data flows seamlessly from point of entry to other relevant locations within the software.

Among the many highlights are an easy-to-use invoice module, which is built to handle full and partial payments. In addition, Ultra Farm helps busy farmers maintain a master list of services and products, accurately calculates sales tax and even manages discounts and shipping charges.

Farmers and ranchers can quickly configure up to five checkbooks with different owners for easy handling of farms managing multiple entities or multiple types of crops or livestock on a single farm. The data for each entity (or owner) is maintained in separate files but can be combined for a whole farm review.

Because Ultra Farm is Windows-based, users can effortlessly export data to Excel to further analyze or import into other applications. Users needing additional financial analysis and planning tools can also export to FINPACK for Ag Professionals.

Access & users:
Ultra Farm is entirely on-premises and does not require Internet access. Farm Biz licenses the application by site and not individual users. This licensing structure allows farms or ranches with multiple entities to create multiple users for each. Because the application does not require an Internet connection, information is more secure from data leakage or malware. Application administrators can also configure Windows permissions.

Ease of use:
Ultra Farm can be installed and run on stand-alone devices operating any version of Windows from XP to 10. The application is a standard menu-driven application. Users with even limited exposure to Microsoft Windows will find moving through the modules very natural, and the program will be especially convenient for users with any experience working in Excel. Farm Biz provides a toll-free number for emergency support. Users can send messages through the Farm Biz website, which states a promise to reply to all messages within 24 hours.

Cost:
One of the most appealing features of Farm Biz Ultra Farm software is the flat-rate pricing. The cost is under $600, and users can install the application on multiple desktops or laptop systems.

Things we liked:

  • Easy to use for both crops and livestock
  • Multi-entity support
  • No internet connection required
  • Multiple installations per license are allowed
  • Affordable even for small farms

Things we didn’t like:

  • Lack of a cloud version of the software may deter some potential users
  • Interface is dated
  • In-depth analysis tools are limited

9. PcMars

farm-screenshot 9

Best for:
Perhaps one of the most specialized farm accounting software applications available, SoftShell Computer Services’ PcMars for Windows is designed for use by all farmers but it meets the specific needs of farmers in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota. The Iowa Farm Business Association named PcMars the “most farmer friendly software.” PcMars provides functionality useful to both farms and ranches, but it touts itself as flexible enough for other types of businesses, too.

Key functionality:
PcMars PLUS provides all the functionality expected in a farm accounting system, but with additional built-in information for the states mentioned previously, based on data from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management. The software has been available in one form or another for 35 years, and its intrinsic ease-of-use is the most appealing feature for many agribusiness professionals.

PcMars comes with several standard charts of accounts options from which users can choose, and the chart of accounts can include up to 625 different account codes, far exceeding the standard offering of many accounting products. In addition, PcMars’s banking features include tracking up to 30 different banks, money markets, or other funding accounts. The current bank balance is displayed and updated as the user enters new data.

The payroll feature is available for an unlimited number of employees. Pre-configured data in the application ensures the correct deductions for state, federal, and FICA are withheld. Furthermore, farm managers can add pension deductions, as well as three additional user-created deductions. Administrators can print checks as needed or schedule a batch process for mass printing weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Farmers finding poor inventory control to be a profit loss source will appreciate the significant inventory capability in PcMars. Users can enter the degree of detail that is most useful for tracking seed, chemical, and equipment inventories. PcMars provides the farm manager with a detailed Net Worth statement report using the data entered based on market value or cash basis numbers.

Finally, PcMars provides a straightforward backup system to prevent data loss. The data is backed up as a compressed .zip file easily emailed or saved to external media by the application administrator. Data can also be exported to FINPACK for Ag Professionals for further analysis.

Access & users:
Although ease of use is the primary goal of PcMars, the application is an enterprise-ready tool that allows farmers to create “enterprise segments.” Unlimited entities are supported, as are unlimited users. User permissions are available, and even if multiple employees need to use a single computer, their login-based access restricts who can see what.

Ease of use:
Again, developers created PcMars not only to be full-featured accounting software but one that is exceptionally easy to use. Everything about PcMars is intuitive, even for users without a great deal of experience using Windows. The vendor provides an extensive library of support videos and documentation for users who do experience some difficulty either in use or installation and configuration. Phone and email support are also available.

Cost:
The cost of PCMars can vary based on a variety of features or configurations. However, a one-time price for the full, feature-rich application is under $400. The purchase price includes updates provided free of charge. A demo version of the software is available to interested customers but with limited functionality.

Things we liked:

  • Easy to install, configure, and use
  • Excellent payroll features
  • Easily configure for crop or livestock farming
  • Enterprise segmenting feature is a bonus for large farms
  • Strong inventory management functionality

Things we didn’t like:

  • Built-in application data applicable to only a handful of midwest states
  • No mobile apps or cloud-based access
  • User interface is out of date

10. FarmBooks

farm-screenshot 10

Best for:
FarmBooks is an excellent option for farmers with limited budgets. It includes all the features that a farmer would need at a cost that’s reasonable for even start-up and independent farmers.

Key functionality:
FarmBooks is built on a standard general ledger platform, with an Accounts Register (the chart of accounts) as the central location for seeing income and expense information. Users can drill down within the Accounts Register to see additional detail for each account. And, FarmBooks’ color coding in the detail pane makes it easy to identify which lines are income and which are expenses.

One of FarmBooks’ more important features is that it includes full accounts payable and receivables capability by default. While many farms don’t need comprehensive invoicing and receivables features, it’s nice to know that it’s available. Plus, invoices and statements can be created and emailed directly from FarmBooks, so there’s no need to move back and forth between two programs.

Farmers typically need to be able to track inventory, assets, and liabilities, as well, and FarmBooks does it all. Its inventory management features include two units of measure, key dates and weight measures for livestock, and real-time inventory value balances for crops. Information in the inventory manager is updated as invoices are sent. Asset and liability tracking are both easy to navigate, and liability values adjust automatically with amortization schedules.

FarmBooks allows users to manage unlimited bank accounts, so even large, multi-commodity farms will find FarmBooks attractive. Plus, it’s a one-stop shop for managing both personal and business finances—while also preventing commingling of funds. However, there is currently not an automatic bank feed built-in, so all transactions must be entered manually.

Payroll is built-in, too. Users can quickly create paychecks in the Check Writer, and FarmBooks automatically tracks all withholdings and deductions for later reporting.

FarmBooks also includes comprehensive reporting, and not just for payroll. Built-in payroll reports include the Form 94X series, as well as quarterly wage reports and pay stubs. In addition, there are nearly 30 additional reports, including the basics that any farm would need (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow, and check register), as well as lots of tax preparation and financial analysis reports, including Schedule F, Sales Tax Liability, and Form 1099. There are even consolidated enterprise-level reports for larger farms, and information can be exported to Excel for additional analysis.

Access & users:
Currently, only one user is supported, and the license is per farm. However, FarmBooks is affordable enough that farmers with multiple locations could purchase several licenses and install them separately. There is no cloud-based access for FarmBooks, and no mobile apps are currently available.

Ease of use:
FarmBooks is a Windows-based system, so navigation is simple. Everything is menu-driven and form-based, and there are tabs across the top of each area to facilitate sub-navigation. Many tasks, including employee setup, data import, and database backup, also include helpful wizards to walk the user through the process. In addition, FarmBooks provides a comprehensive user guide to help new users get up and running quickly, and lots of online resources are also available.

Cost:
At just under $400 per farm, FarmBooks is affordable. Users are responsible for paying an annual maintenance fee after the initial purchase, but it, too, is modest.

Things we liked:

  • Very affordable, even for tiny farms
  • Helpful customer support and user materials
  • Unlimited bank accounts
  • Robust reporting feature
  • Built-in payroll

Things we didn’t like:

  • Interface feels dated
  • No mobile apps or cloud access
  • No automatic bank feed

Accounting software for Farmers FAQs

What is the advantage of accounting software specifically for farms?

Accounting software designed specifically for farmers goes far beyond tax preparation. Software that meets your specific needs as a farmer can help you plan, budget, and prepare to acquire financing. Such software can not only focus on finances but can link them to your production records such as crops or livestock, helping you generate an analysis to inform your management decisions.

How can accounting software help a farmer with planning and budgeting?

One question farmers always want an answer for is how much getting the next crop in the field is going to cost. Along with that is how much of the profits from the last season (or cattle sale) do they need to hold back and reinvest in the farm to ensure they don't have to borrow from the bank (or borrow a minimal amount as necessary). In the past, those were questions they answered themselves (or hired an accountant to answer for them). But now, a farmer can find an application in which they enter years of data so they can properly plan for the next season. With accounting software, it’s easier than ever for a farmer to determine how much to sell and at what price and make decisions about expenses.

What are the basic software accounting features a small farm would need?

At a minimum, the accounting software farmers use should include general ledger and accounts payable functionality. Additional helpful features include inventory management, fixed asset management, budgeting, and supply chain management (purchase orders, in particular). Larger farms will need all these features plus specialized functionality for their specific type of agribusiness. For example, livestock farmers will need inventory management features that allow for birth and weaning dates, weights, and similar. Crop farmers will need inventory management features that allow for multiple units of measure, crop harvest dates, etc.

Why do I need accounting software as a farmer?

Come tax time, you will want complete records of any purchases (seed, equipment), sales (grain, for example), any expenditures (say, fertilizer), and any bills associated with the farm (utilities). In addition, you want to make sure you pay yourself. Software helps you maintain complete records, typically helps with reconciling bank accounts, and makes sure your balance sheet is up to date.

Conclusion

Farmers and ranchers in business for decades or just getting started will easily find an accounting and management package to meet their specific needs and price range. As it turns out, there is an impressive number of features available in specialized agribusiness software ranging from stand-alone, on-premises Windows applications to multi-node, fully connected farm applications for use in the office and the field.

Virtually all agribusiness accounting applications support full-featured payroll modules, with many pre-configured with the appropriate state and federal tax rates to ensure proper withholding. Additionally, a robust general ledger appears to be a common and much-needed feature in agricultural accounting applications.

Most software packages include an inventory module of some kind. However, only the Trimble Farmer Core provides the degree of detail needed to completely correlate feed costs, schedules, and livestock weight gain data for fool-proof profitability.

Finally, agribusiness professionals from truck farmers to multi-site corporate farms can undoubtedly find an application within their price range. Small operations will see the price point for Ultra Farm Accounting software and PcMars reasonable and well within reach. Larger organizations will easily see significant value in CenterPoint and Farmer Core despite the steep price to get started.

See also: