agMIS  farm management accounting in MIS mode

agMIS's the simple-er way!

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Welcome... to what is probably the most unique of all farm records web-sites.

While farm records software elsewhere wants you to become a better accountant, we're here to help you become a better manager.

In a nutshell, that's how we're different.

Why are we different?

We're different by design.  We didn't plan it that way, but before we designed anything, we used our experience to research and study what was needed, and the best ways to serve and solve those needs.

While we were doing that, others were modifying universal accounting program code, into their own private products.  (It really explains how we're different.)

We stand by our efforts, and the fact our management tools are able to support any true accounting program any farm may want or need.  Including none, of course!

Why?  Because our research told us that farm families don't need more accounting, but every farm family does need more good management tools -- tools able also to support any accounting need.  Or want.  And once again, that includes 'none'.

It's the way management and accounting is done in the business world elsewhere, and what we've done -- unlike the others -- is fashion the same capabilities into farm-family-useful products.

Did ag make a mistake?

In our view, agriculture has mistakenly blamed the absence of dual controls (company comptroller's methods for safeguarding owners' rights and properties), as the reason farm checkbook records are inadequate for management purposes. 

It's an unjust, erroneous and selfish conclusion and a topic deserving objective analysis, and we invite and encourage your questions and thoughts.  One way to send them is via the 'agMIS Challenge' or 'Contact us' pages of this website (click above).  Readers are assured we'll respond to worthwhile questions and comments, and we'll enrich this website's information too, with every bit of useful information we uncover.

Our philosophy

We believe those who work the soil or are otherwise engaged in producing materials that ultimately replenish our world food supply, are good stewards of their resources.

Those resources include financial records, and that's why we also caution against surrendering responsibility for them to others.

Our experience

Tom Murphy -- professional accountant and business systems analyst -- has a lifetime of experience in the research, analysis, design and development of 'management information' (MIS) systems and software -- in a wide range of businesses and industries elsewhere -- and has brought that experience back to his farm roots.

A key element of that expertise involved picking the brains of key operators and decision-makers -- department heads, engineers, shop foremen, vice presidents, line managers, and more -- and designing computer systems to support (a) their management information needs, as well as (b) financial information for the 'controllership' function.

Note MIS' multiple and unique roles

Well-designed MIS systems, first of all, serve and support managers.  But when 'accounting' audits and uses the same information, integrity of decision-making information is insured, and accounting work is minimized!  Read that again, and think about it!

The ag MIS system

The agMIS system is the product of that effort and expertise applied to production ag.  Most farm families will find they need no other financial software, but those who do have additional records needs will also find it can fully support those needs, and in accounting and audit-acceptable ways.

P.S.  For years -- and as early as about day 2 of personal computers -- ag has been misguided by wrong info about the purpose and nature of 'general ledger accounting' -- renamed in ag for some reason as 'double-entry accounting'.  E-mail your questions (see left), and we will try to clarify this vital topic for you.

The agMIS system, briefly

--- agMIS inputs ---

The agMIS system is an integrated set of 3 farm-related data files, per the examples below.  Users decide, in all cases, the extent and the way they use (or do not use) the input boxes (all the spaces with green backgrounds).  But the more of them they use, the more outputs they'll enjoy and benefit from.

One file:  a file of transactions and events

For most, the primary and and most necessary file is a database of transactions and events of records like the one here.  Not much different from 'accounting' programs, right?  And creating it requires either typing into its spaces, or picking from your own pop-down lists.  Or both -- just like 'accounting'.  Notice, however, the absence of an 'account number'.

And that's merely where the differences begin.

Other 'Transaction types' handle receipts and deposits, and two more types can handle budgeted expenditures and receipts -- for expanded forecasting and planning.  Still another accepts 'notes' of whatever users consider important, when dollars aren't involved. 






                                                           And most useful of all -- a unique and powerful transaction type will 'charge' dollars to production costs when the cost event isn't triggered by a current-period payment (family labor, depreciation, application of prepaids, and much more).

Second:  a file of Site, Sub-site and Product parameters

By themselves, these data parameters support accrued cost and accrued returns reports as well as work-in-process, finished goods, and cost of goods reporting.

But notice the expanded possibilities when users use agMIS to link these quantities to dollars in the file above, i.e., precise unit costs, at Site, Sub-site and Product levels.  From totals to details, too, of course.

Note also the generic nature of the category definitions.  They're particularly beneficial to multi-product farms, as well as for secondary-level costing of specific operations, machines, and the like.

Third:  a file of facilities records

Every family has reasons for a convenient record of major assets and properties, as well as -- from time to time -- lists from them.

And sometimes those lists need to be valued at 'cost', other times at 'market'.  And perhaps still other times, at 'useful life' or 'accelerated' depreciation levels -- all beyond accounting's scope, of course, unless you're into complex but otherwise useless debit and credit 'accounting' entries.

This third agMIS file is built to respond to those types of information needs, plus we've tweaked it to accept other assets (like short-term ones, for example).  And short- and long-term debts and liabilities, too -- thus making it possible to produce balance sheets and property lists but still avoid those complex and hard-to-explain valuation debits and credits in 'accounting' programs.

The 3 files above are the principal agMIS inputs records, and thus represent the bulk of time and effort required of its users.

--- agMIS outputs ---

As you study the lists below, keep in mind the middle name of 'MIS' is 'information', and that's in sharp contrast to the 3 things -- account lists, balance sheets and income statements -- that 'accounting programs' provide.  And in addition to everything spelled out below, we've also built into agMIS the tools that make it easy to export any output or report, for those who want or need to tweak their data some more.

And finally, remember too that every report and output listed below comes in 2 varieties -- one in brief and concise summary (total) form and format for quick management information, and the other in line-item details for later analyses.
Managing costs of production
Every farm's principal information need
Managing cash and taxes
Every farm's required information need
Managing facilities
'How do I look?' -- Every farm's question

- Crop costs -
per acre, bushel, farm, field, product, landlord, more
- Livestock costs -
per pen, lot, cwt, head, litter, more
- Dairy costs -
per head, cwt, more
- Machine operating costs -
per hour, acre, mile, more
- Project costs -
(up to ) 3 levels of costs for anything you can quantify, including multi-year

- Work in process accounting -
- Finished goods accounting -
- Cost of goods accounting -
- Accrued income accounting -

any/all above categories

- Cash flows -
- Sources and uses of funds -

- Payables -
- Receivables -
- Checks/checkwriting -
- Budgets -

- Taxes -

Schedules F/C/A, 1099's, W2's, 941's

- Vendor lists, recaps -

- General ledger support -



- Properties lists, files -
farm, off-farm
multiple values, valuations
alternative depreciation values

- Net worth statements -
farm, family, farm and family
retired, active assets
multiple values
totals and details

- 21 Performance evaluations -
totals and details
'what ifs'

And finally...

Study again the output lists above, and notice the absence of such things as 'journals', 'ledgers', 'account lists', and 'registers' -- all standard and tell-tale products of 'accounting' programs.  And then contrast the agMIS focus on 'management information' -- because they represent the true agMIS difference.

Then ask yourself how many ways an agMIS system can benefit you -- from (1) reduced recordkeeping time and effort, (2) user-focused records and recordkeeping, (3) reduced investment in 'accounting' software and support, (3) in-house financial evaluation capabilities and (4) overall, as a better-informed manager and decision-maker.

Because they're some of the real reasons to own your own agMIS system.

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Last updated:  August 21, 2012                     All content (c) Copyright 1998-2012 - T, Murphy Associates