Checking In

It’s been a while. We had lambs, tax season got extended and now we’re onto first cut hay. It’s June and while it might be hard to believe, the first six months of 2020 are almost over. I know, it feels like just yesterday it was Christmas 2015… somehow 5 years have gone by since mid-March.

With that note, now that’s June and the spring busy season is starting to wind down, it’s time to check-in. Check-in with your budget (hopefully you used the template from here). Check-in with your plans and goals… and check in with your books.

Financial Check-In

With 6 months of 2020 come and gone, you should have five to six months of your book-keeping done to compare to your budget from earlier in the year. The major spring expenses have happened and now it’s time to focus on the revenues if you haven’t been. All the changes this year mean that you really need to by staying on top of your marketing.

Keeping your bookkeeping up to date is super important as it’s hard to make budget decisions without accurate numbers. If you haven’t gone digital for your book-keeping yet, I’d suggest taking another look. I highly recommend Wave Accounting as a Canadian budget-friendly accounting option. Accounting software can help you:

  • Streamline your invoicing and collect payments faster by automatically sending the invoices via email
  • Record transactions faster by uploading your bank (and credit card) statements
  • Keep detailed track of your sales taxes so you can quickly submit your GST/HST/QST returns when they are due
  • Highly customized reports to compare your financials frequently

Once you have your bookkeeping, budgets and if possible last year’s financials together, consider the following:

  • How have your expenses changed from last year? How did they change from your budget? Calculate the actual dollar and percentage difference.
  • What changed in your operation? Did your labour decrease? Were you unable to market your products?
  • Why did your financials change in the past 6 months? And no, don’t just say COVID19. Find the actual change that caused the financial impact.

After you reflect on your findings, take some notes and time to adjust your budget for the rest of 2020. You probably have new information that could mean a dramatic change to your budget and financial forecast. Doing this check-in will allow you to identify those changes and start looking for solutions.

Goals Check-In

Plans went a bit out the window with 2020 but they are still good to have. Plans give you a road map and some sense of direction. Odds are you set some goals in December even if you don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. It’s time to take out that notebook and see where you are with your goals. Or maybe just remind yourself of what you wanted to accomplish at some point down the road.

Write down what happened in the last six months and how your goals were impacted. If you have new goals or new priorities, write those down too. Take the time to pause and reflect on what’s happened both in life and in your farming career. Keeping notes on what happens will also help down the road. If something was a total failure, record it so you can look back on it.

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”

Jack London

Reset your goals and find new ones to get you to your dream vision and add another piece to your journey as a farmer. Take the time to look at your goals and adjust them as needed.

Checking-in doesn’t have to be overly complicated, it’s simply taking some time out of your day to look at what’s all happened in the last six months and start to process the impact on your farm business.

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About the author

I'm Ursina, a farmer's daughter who dreamed of one day owning her own farm and made it a reality. I love reading, big sweaters and trail riding across my farm with my horse. My mission? To help others turn their farm dreams into a reality and build their own farm business.

Agriculture Annotated

For Canadian Farmers • By A Canadian Farmer


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