Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Becoming a Geek

I grew up in a paycheck-every-week kind of family. So the budget went off of one paycheck. Mom had the monthly budget worked out to work with that weekly paycheck. And all expenses/income was pretty much set in stone. That is how I learned about check books, budgets, etc.

Then, 6 1/2 years ago, paperwork as I knew it became something vastly different. I married a farmer. And WOW. I feel like I'm just now starting to understand the farm side of book keeping. The household stuff I can keep track of pretty well. I haven't been overly detailed about where petty cash has been spent, but through Mom teaching me about budgets, we've always (ok, almost always), had more money than week/month.

Farming is a whole 'nother ball of wax. For starters, the magazine articles that need to be filed for future reference, and the pile of paperwork that needs to be dealt with daily is insane. Also, we get big checks in July when we grow wheat, but like this year when we will be growing only soybeans and corn, the farm income is in October/November. I go to the bank with large checks, and turn right around and write equally as large checks to pay for the fertilizers, chemicals, machinery repairs, filling the diesel fuel tank, and so on.
And then there is recording prepaid expenses, the figuring out what to purchase each year to drop the taxes we have to pay, depreciation of equipment, what is deductible, what isn't....

Jonathan has taken care of most of the farm budgeting so far, because he understands the terms, the numbers, and well, he understands the FARM. He was born on a farm. His mother rode in the combine with his Dad the entire day before he was born, for goodness' sake. He wasn't born in a barn, but he sure grew up in one!

But. I am about to embark on a new adventure. It may very well transform me into a book keeping geek: Learning to keep the farm records - with the help of the new computer software we bought at the farm show we went to in January. I've already added our household information to it so I could get the feel of the program and make rookie mistakes on little numbers. Like the $3.54 I spent at Tim Horton's, and the money I spent on my haircut. What category SHOULD I create for those things so when I run reports I have an accurate and detailed view of what our family account paid for....

Confession: I had WAY too much fun creating categories like "Gasoline", "Groceries" (with subcategories so I can tract food, baby supplies, etc...), Utilities, etc.

Now on to machinery, deductions, depreciation, paying employees, taxes, inventory....

I am glad there is an "edit" button!!

Hopefully next year our accountant won't cringe when we walk in. No more Excel Spreadsheets, no more half-figured out book keeping software.

Anyone want a cookie? I think it's time for a break...

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