Best Accounting Software for Farmers - Quickbooks Review

September 12, 2023

Wondering how to create a balance sheet for your agricultural operation? What about keeping track of your biggest farm expenses? FarmRaise is researching top accounting tools to understand which software is easiest to use and best suited for your farm finances. 

Why Do Farmers Need Accounting Software? 

While bookkeeping may be many farmers’ least favorite part of running their operation, a good accounting system helps producers build a more profitable farm business. Accounting tools enable farmers to know where their biggest expense and income categories are so they’re equipped to invest in their highest returning ventures while keeping a level eye on major cost sinks. Good expense tracking hygiene also helps farmers capture their maximum tax refund come tax season. 

Today, we’re going to do a deep dive on Intuit's QuickBooks, and compare how this tool works against our *favorite accounting tool* FarmRaise Tracks (ahem, and yes, we're biased).

QuickBooks Features and Tools

There's a Learning Curve

Getting set up in Quickbooks isn't alway straight forward - it's a system that you need to learn. We believe that this makes it harder to onboard vs. a simple tool like FarmRaise Tracks, enabling you to get started in less than 60 seconds. If you pay for most things on your credit or debit card, Quickbooks enables you to connect to your bank account and begin tracking and categorizing your expenses. However, Quickbooks does not have agriculture specific categories and you'll need to enter these if you want to track your expenses back to your Schedule F. Unlike Quickbooks, FarmRaise Tracks already has these categories set up and ready to go.

With Quickbooks, farmers and ranchers can track their expenses simply.

Efficient Fuel and Mileage Tracking

Dealing with high fuel costs this year? What better time than 2022 to write them off on your tax return? Quickbooks makes it easy to track your mileage in real time by simply turning on manual tracking to convert those miles into a tax write off. The automated mileage tracking tool was pretty cool, although we will say that FarmRaise Tracks enables you to track your mileage too!

The Quickbooks app allows you to track your milage and fuel usage.

Receipt Upload

Snap a photo of your receipts while you’re on the go and upload them to Quickbooks for easy categorization. You can also manually categorize the line items in your receipt to more accurately track your expenses. Unfortunately, these don't automatically map back to agriculture-specific categories - you'll have to create these categories from scratch. When it comes to this categorization, Tracks already has you covered

What Quickbooks Can Improve for Farmers

Too Complicated

Quickbooks has too many bells and whistles that make it hard to onboard and use. While we love fun features, we found that the tool itself could be a lot simpler and a lot more farm-specific. After learning more about what farmers need, we set out to build a simple expense-tracking app for farmers called FarmRaise Tracks. This tool is available as part of our Premium program to all users - check it out!

Made for farmers like you. Sign up for FarmRaise Tracks to get started!

No Automatic Line Item Categorization from Receipts

If we’ve heard farmers tell us one thing that they wish their accounting tool does, it’s categorizing the individual expenses of the farmer’s receipt. Quickbooks has the farmer do this manually, but if they could digitally parse and categorize these line items for the farmer, that would be a major upgrade.

Not Designed for Farmers 

Producers will need to build their own expense categories into Quickbooks; pre-made categorization system, which can be frustrating for a farmer who isn’t familiar with the farm’s Schedule F tax form categories. To better appeal to farmer users, Quickbooks should include a template - ideally one that mirrors the farmer’s tax form - that farmers can use to pre-fill the categories they’ll use to label their expenses. 

The Bottom Line:

When weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the software, the cost might sway you. Depending on your needs, Quickbooks can cost between $12.50 per month for the most basic plan (which includes expense tracking) up to $90 per month for the most advanced plan (which includes advanced business analytics).

For farmers who are comfortable spending most expenses via debit or credit card and are ready to self-design a farm expense tracking system, Quickbooks is a solid tool that will help you run a better business. But it may not be the most farmer-friendly tool on the market. If you want something that is designed specifically for farmers, check out FarmRaise Tracks which provides a simpler and more agriculture-centric tool for producers.

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