Western Australian farmers invited to fine tune their financial management skills at free workshops

Rabobank

Practical workshops designed to help provide the financial skills essential to manage a farming operation are being made available to Western Australian primary producers.

Following the success of last year’s virtual Financial Skills Workshops – which prior to COVID-19 were held face-to-face – the course will again be conducted online in 2021.

Spearheaded by food and agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank’s RaboClientCouncil – a group of the bank’s farming clients who volunteer their time implementing programs that contribute to the sustainability of rural communities – the initiative is being offered free of charge to farmers in the state.

The interactive workshops will focus on practical financial skills, including the difference between taxation and management accounting, interpreting financial statements and understanding banking requirements.

The incoming chair of Rabobank Western Australia RaboClientCouncil Erin Green, of “Carrawingee Farms” in the Yuna district, said the response to last year’s virtual format had been overwhelming, with the workshops having booked out quickly.

“While it’s unfortunate we couldn’t run the previously-planned face-to-face workshops, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the online option was equally as successful, with people appreciating the opportunity to learn new skills without leaving home,” she said.

Ms Green said she hoped producers walked away from the workshops – which are designed specifically for aspiring and current farm owners and managers – feeling positive and inspired to strengthen their businesses.

“This workshop gives farmers an insightful overview of how to run the farm from a business point of view,” she said. “As we all know, these days, the business of farming has moved well beyond the paddock gate and it’s imperative to understand the financial basics.”

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 enabling insight into how businesses are assessed.

“The workshops teach participants how to analyse their financials in order to provide a deeper understanding of their business’s strengths, weaknesses and overall financial status to ultimately enable more robust decision making for their future,” Ms Green said.

Rabobank Western Australia regional manager Steve Kelly said the program content helped put farmers in the driver’s seat – assisting them to understand the financial performance of their business, particularly when communicating with their bank and other financial stakeholders.

“This kind of information is real and valuable, and having a greater understanding of your business when approaching your financier really helps when applying for any additional finance requirements or to fund a new venture,” he said

Further contributing to its practical appeal, the workshop content has been tailored to farming businesses in the region through realistic case studies.

“Through these case studies, the sessions will look at what makes up a balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow,” Mr Kelly said, “and then interpreting the financial ratios to make calculated business decisions.

“This then feeds into sessions on how banks assess a loan and the importance of developing a business plan as well as managing the business through adversity and positioning it when the season improves.”

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.

To register visit https://www.rabobank.com.au/about-rabobank/client-councils/

WA workshop details are as follows:

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