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April 2018

Dear Friend,

Ready to farm in April
Only 260 shopping days until Christmas!

We hope the snow's melting and the field equipment is running in your neighborhood, but winter didn't give up without a fight this year! 

 In this month's FarmSmart:

  • Wittman to Kick Off Ag Software Success Summit.
  • Software Success through Professional Accounting.
  • TiMEsavr Keeps Your Code Current.
  • Mobile Data Entry Through Google Forms.
  • Three Options for Overhead. 
  • MACH 2 Demo.                                                                                                                                     SDG
dick-wittman-headshot-square-150x150@2x Ag Software Success Summit To Open with Management Accounting Workshop
Dick Wittman  

Nationally-known consultant Dick Wittman will open the FBS 2018 Ag Software Success Summit on August 22nd with an in-depth management accounting workshop, entitled:

"Using Management Accounting to Link Financial Performance Analysis and Strategic Thinking"

According to Wittman,

Few farmers understand cost structures and the strategic decisions that differentiate successful farms from those struggling financially. Traditional Enterprise Analysis hasn’t provided answers growers need to determine what decisions are contributing to success or failure. Ratio analysis is not well understood and seldom connected to goal setting and decision-making. This presentation is a primer course that showcases new initiatives in the farm management arena to implement professional managerial accounting systems. It also illustrates the often overlooked linkage between financial analysis and strategic decision making.

Participants attending this seminar will:

  • Become familiar with new initiatives and guidelines being developed by the Farm Financial Standards Council to implement professional managerial accounting systems in farm business operations
  • Gain an improved understanding of the linkage between financial analysis and strategic decision making
  • Develop strategies for guiding and motivating clients to increase the use of ratio analysis and the Dupont Model to evaluate whole farm business performance; and to assess the impact of alternative strategic shifts under consideration to improve operational efficiency, capital asset management, and use of debt leverage
  • Become familiar with a broad range of technical issues and concepts that must be understood before managerial accounting can be successfully implemented
  • Gain hands-on access to training and implementation strategies necessary to lead clients through the process of adopting managerial accounting practices
Wittman MA Grapevine
Wittman teaching Management Accounting in Grapevine, Texas

Regardless of which stage you are in implementing management accounting in your operation you'll find Dick's 4-hour, interactive presentation thought-provoking and practical.  Dick will kick off the FBS Ag Software Success Summit at 9:00 am on Wednesday, August 22nd at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Moline, Illinois.  Following Wittman's workshop attendees will meet producers who have already adopted management accounting plus professional firms that can help new M.A.adopters succeed.

Summit registration will open in May.  For more information contact or call 800.437.7638.

Dick Wittman manages a 19,000-acre dry land crop, range cattle and timber operation in northern Idaho in partnership with three other family partners.  He also provides workshops and private consulting to farm, ranch and agricultural support businesses.

He is past president of the Farm Financial Standards Councilcontributing editor for Farm Futures magazine, has served on the faculty for the TEPAP Ag Executive Program in Austin, Texas, and is an adjunct faculty member of Texas A&M University.  He is also a founding member of, a peer group of consulting professionals promoting excellence and integrity and empowering continuity in the agricultural family business consulting profession.

Farm Software Success Generic

This month we continue a series on the most important factors that contribute to successful farm software implementation and results.

Reason #4:
accounting expertise.
Accounting Expertise
We back the world’s most powerful ag software with cost-effective, professional accounting services ranging from setup and training to a full “virtual controller/surrogate CFO” assistance through the cloud.  In addition to FBS's internal staff we also work with and recommend these professional firms:

De Coders

Benefit #1:
Keep Your  Code Current

When FBS's TiMEsavr Service Agreement was initiated in 1997 one of our goals was to keep our clients current and compatible with constantly-changing computer technology and farm management practices.  State-of-the-art computers back then ran on Windows 95 and most farm software was still in MS-DOS.  Since then Microsoft has issued 7 Windows releases and FBS has continually advanced the frontiers of ag software with multi-user, cloud-based, management and multi-entity accounting, and integration with the "big world" of digital farming through 20 version releases.

All of that work, folks, is done right here in the U.S. of A. by our internal development team.  Greg Streeter (in the foreground) has nearly 25 years of experience developing ag software for FBS.  Dr. Martin Traviolia (in the background) joined us in late 2015 from the communications industry and is designing our next-generation software.  Much of their work over the past two years have been to enhance FBS's performance and expandability as well as tweaking the user interface.  Even more is planned for the upcoming Version 11.3 and the years ahead.

So by renewing your TiMEsavr subscription you'll be partnering with us to keep your software (and business) current and compatible.  Thanks!  

Next month we'll cover the service benefits from TiMEsavr.


Google Forms.jpg

Free Google Forms Webinar

Are you interested in using your phone or mobile device to input accounting or production data into FBS?   Then schedule a webinar with Sarah Dixon to learn how to use the free Google Forms app to transfer data into FBS TransAction Plus, Crop Audit and Smart Feeder

She'll show you how to synchronize field, group and product pick lists and transfer data from the Google cloud into FBS using the TA+ Import or MACH 2.0 modules.  To schedule your webinar email or call 800.437.7638 extension 100.

Catch up on other webinars you've missed by watching them on the Webinar page of our website.


Q&A: Three Overhead Options

Sarah Dixon, FBS Sales and Support Coordinator

Q.  How do I get costs of equipment, land, repairs and other expenses to the field or group levels?

A.  There are three ways to do this:

  1. Through Crop Audit field operations.
  2. Use the overhead allocation tables.
  3. Cost Drivers through E.CLIPSE.

Option 1

Crop Audit allows you to assign operations such as planting, spraying to the field through Field Operations.   Go to Setup>Crops>Field Operations.

Field Operations

Either using your state university’s published custom rates or your own estimation of your cost of fuel, labor, wear and tear on the machine enter the Per Acre, Per Hour, Per Mile or Per Unit (bushel, point of moisture, etc.).  The Crop History Report computes operation costs using these values as does the Crop Cost Analysis Report if you check the box for Use crop operations costs.  

Advantages:  Quick and easy cost analysis and projects at the field level without requiring any accounting knowledge or entries (temporary, report-time calculations).

Disadvantages:  Uses potentially misleading, unreconciled “plugged” values.

Option 2

Allocation by Percentage

Use the Overhead Allocation Table (Setup>Overhead Allocation Table) to allocate by percentage from a Consolidating Center (such as the Crop Harvesting Center in this example) between Production Centers using percentages.  

Advantages:  Will allocate actual costs assigned to a Consolidating Center out to Production Centers without requiring any accounting knowledge or entries (temporary, report-time calculations).

Disadvantages:   Only allocates direct costs from the Consolidating Center, and no field or group-level costs analysis.

Option 3

Crop Cost Drivers Livestock Cost Drivers 2
Crop Cost Drivers Livestock Cost Drivers

Using the E.CLIPSE Management Accounting system select an appropriate crop or livestock Cost Driver such as Operation (trip) Acres or $/Head/Year (by location).  Begin with an estimated Standard Cost to “prime the pump.”  As time goes on the system can automatically adjust the rates to reflect actual costs or you can leave the standard rates in place and monitor the variance in projected versus actual overhead costs.


  • “Multi-hop” allocations from Labor or Equipment Centers to Consolidating Centers to Production Centers.
  • Cost Drivers can be linked to Field Operations.
  • Automatically adjusts to actual costs.
  • Full cost absorption and analysis at the field or group levels.
  • Generates work -in-process (WIP) cost flows through your balance sheet.
  • Creates detailed audit trail of allocation transactions.

Disadvantages:  Requires either internal management accounting knowledge or access to virtual controller (see Farm Software Success article above).

If you’d like to begin implementing one of these practices and need some assistance then please contact Sarah in support!

MACH 2.0 2017

Schedule a Demo