Practical workshops designed to help provide the financial skills essential to manage a farming operation are being made available to primary producers in the Riverina and Northern Victoria.
Following the success of last year’s virtual Financial Skills Workshops – which prior to COVID-19 were held face-to-face – the two upcoming workshops will be conducted online.
Spearheaded by food and agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank’s RaboClientCouncil – a group of the bank’s farming clients who implement programs that contribute to the sustainability of rural communities – the initiative is being offered free of charge to farmers in the region.
The interactive workshop – consisting of two sessions of two hours – will focus on practical financial skills, including the difference between taxation and management accounting, interpreting financial statements and understanding banking requirements.
The chair of Riverina & Northern Victoria RaboClientCouncil Monique Bryant said with travel and distance now not a restricting factor to attending the workshop, the virtual format potentially reached a wider network of farmers from across the region.
“Rather than having to jump in the car to travel to the workshop, which might take the better part of the day, participants can block out two hours in the morning before continuing on with their day,” she said.
Mrs Bryant said with farmers now used to the delivery format of online workshops, the program aimed to provide the “missing link” for those looking to transition from a farm employee to a managerial position with more oversight of the financial side of the business.
“For those that haven’t gone onto higher education, that financial literacy piece may be missing, and prohibiting them from moving into a more managerial role,” she said.
Practical and interactive, the workshops give farmers the opportunity to learn from their peers, with discussions around developing a strong farming business, and direct access to banking staff to enable insight into how businesses are assessed.
Designed for aspiring and current farm owners and managers, Mrs Bryant said she hoped producers walked away from the workshop armed with better decision making tools, understanding of their business financial position and how to talk to their bank about the likelihood of getting finance.
Rabobank Riverina and Northern Victoria regional manager Sally Bull said the program helped put farmers in the driver’s seat – as they delved into the “ins and outs” of financial statements – in terms of what makes up a balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow.
“Using realistic case studies as the basis for calculating financial ratio’s, the second session takes this a step further into how this information can be used to make calculated business decisions,” she said.
“This then feeds into discussions around how banks assess a loan and the financial profile of a business.”
Director of Hudson Facilitation Tony Hudson will present the workshops, along with a number of agribusiness banking professionals.
Funded by RaboClientCouncils, the workshops are open to clients and non-clients of Rabobank and there is no cost for farmers to attend.