One of the biggest challenges farmers and ranchers face is keeping track of their finances.
That’s when a good accountant is important.
“A good accountant will help you plan for the future, retain as much cash as possible and even help you with current decisions,” Bob Kemble, a certified public accountant at the Nichols Accounting Group in Ontario, Ore., said.
“Like most people are, they’re always tax-averse, but I always make sure, if a client asks advice on whether to make a purchase, that they’re doing it for a good business reason,” Kemble said. “If it fits your operation, if it will make your life easier, then by all means make the purchase. But if you’re buying something just to save taxes … if you’re spending a dollar to save 35 cents … that’s not the right reason.
“‘Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog’ is a cliché but it really is true,” Kemble said. “I encourage my clients to look at their operation in a business sense.”
The challenges ranchers and farmers face vary depending on their crops and geography.
“We’re facing a lot of challenges over here with ONDA (Oregon Natural Desert Association) trying to make a big land grab in the Owyhees that would designate about 2.5 million acres as a national conservation or wilderness area,” Kemble said. “That could really affect our ranchers.”
For a large percentage of ag operators, navigating the maze of regulations, achieving proper bookkeeping and other business practices and developing strategies for risk prevention and crisis management proves a daunting task, one they shouldn’t try to go alone.
“Oftentimes a farmer or rancher is the CEO and everything else, so it sure helps to be able to bounce problems or concerns off a circle of trusted advisers,” Kemble said. “A good accountant is not only concerned with minimizing the tax bill but also with the larger picture of how to increase income after taxes and over time … and help them set up systems for record keeping, financial controls and management.”