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The difference between good and great

The difference between good and great

What is the difference between a good and a bad rural professional? Julia Jones from KPMG says it can be the difference between farmers taking their business from good to great.

Julia, who is now in her fourth year of being a KPMG consultant and previously worked in agri banking, says that it is now more important than ever for farmers to use a good rural professional and to understand how to make the most of that relationship: “As the world changes at a fast pace the farming business needs to keep up.

It’s important that those rural professionals you have partnering with you in your business are supporting change and business evolution in a positive way.

For this reason it’s important to not only understand what you should expect from a rural professional but also to understand what you need to do to get the very best out of working with rural professionals,” she advises.

She says there are a few key things farmers can do to make the most of their relationship with their rural professional.

“Be prepared and make sure you have all the information needed to make any meeting efficient. Listen and understand suggested changes your rural professional may suggest. Keep the advice as independent as possible and be responsible for your decisions.

Get your rural professional involved early if you are making signifi cant changes to your farming business to help you with the planning and decision making,” she advises.

But what about farmers who still don’t see the value in using a rural professional at all? “Ever watched a rugby game and been able to see where a try should have been made but those playing the game completely missed it? When you are working in your business it can be hard at times to take a good cold view of the game and see where the try should be made.

A rural professional, whether it be your accountant, banker or farm consultant, is on the outside looking in.

They will never understand your business like you do but they will see things that you may be missing and see the business through a different lens,” she says.

While in difficult financial times farmers are often tempted to use their advisors less, Julia says this is in fact when they are most needed.

“These times bring with them a great deal of stress and stressful times make it diffi cult for farmers to make the best decisions. Rural professionals can be a great sounding board and voice of reason during these times.”

Because rural professionals get to experience many different farming businesses, and as such see what works and what doesn’t, they are able to share this knowledge and experience with their clients, she says.

Julia says that rural professionals should have the goal and desire to empower their clients by growing their knowledge and skill so that over time their clients need them less. What should you expect from your rural professional?

• Trust, respect and integrity.

• Prepared to seek first to understand then to be understood.

• They tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.

• They challenge your thinking.

• They provide context not just rain on your dreams.

• You, the customer, are the most important person and the focus.

• Someone who keeps up to date with what is changing in and around the industry.

• They focus more on helping your business stay relevant by guiding and supporting change rather than keeping your business the same so they personally remain relevant.

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