Estate Diversification: Planning the way ahead – The challenges for diversified estates
Manging estates have never been harder as the number of stakeholders has increased substantially and the demands on estates to not only be financially viable but also sustainable and offer ‘”greater good” benefits. All of this has contributed to an increasing need for estate diversification and careful management of those estates once diversified.
The demands for attention of modern estate owners and land managers are ever-increasing. Swapping hats is part of the job. One minute managers are talking about farming, livestock management, crop husbandry, soil and environmental stewardship – the next, they’re talking about diversification and commercial lets. Being able to understand what is going on at any given point in time, and more importantly navigating the way ahead is crucial for estate owners and their advisors.
The number of enterprises that an estate can have is vast, and getting a good understanding of profitability is difficult due to the range of production seasons and different cost centres. It is not uncommon for estates to have arable and livestock farming (both in-hand, contracted and tenanted), residential, commercial and holiday lets, energy production, shoots and forestry to name just a few.
With the reductions indirect subsidy in the UK already taking effect, land managers need to be able to plan ahead for all of the enterprises on estates on farms, not just those which generate the most revenue. With Figured, you plan ahead for all enterprises and business operations, as well as producing a consolidated view of the business as a whole.
According to Alex Hall, Associate Partner at Ceres Rural LLP, the combination of a consolidated view and granular detail is key for the estates and farms he works with.
“When we work with a manager, we want to help them understand what the current financial situation is, what is the direction of travel and also how we are going to get to our desired outcome. Being able to generate these insights at the field, business enterprise and whole estate level is increasingly important for our clients.”
Figured also enables the estate owner to work alongside accounting and advisory teams to get the most detail on estate profitability, and in real-time. By integrating with Xero cloud-based accounting software, the estate is able to split the accounting file into different business units using tracking options. These options then pull through into Figured, where they are used to split the Figured file into Multi-farm units. Different user permissions can be granted for each unit, meaning that estate owners can get the farming team to collaborate on the right parts of the business.