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Xero to launch rural cloud service

Xero is building its network of rural sector partners as it gears for the mid-year launch of the Farming in the Cloud service. The web platform lets farmers, accountants, banks and rural services firms work from the same data, bringing together a centralised toolset.

Among the key collaborators is Figured, which has developed a farming add-on for Xero’s software.

Figured — on Farm was launched at Xerocon in Auckland today and is designed to make livestock reconciliation easier and provide timely and accurate financial information for shareholders in the 55 farms it manages.

“With seamless information between all parties and no need to transfer data, everyone’s focus is on adding value rather than gathering information,” says Duncan Anderson, the project director for Figured.com. “Figured means you no longer need separate engines for your financial management. It can now all be done using our complete livestock reporting and farm budgeting tools.” Figured was developed by Wellington company Hashbang.

Other farming software providers integrating their programmes with Farming in the Cloud are iAgri and Aghub. Xero says it will announce more partners of the service soon.

Xero is also working with Vodafone to launch the service. The telco is contracted to deliver the government’s five year Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) aimed at improving connectivity in the rural sector.

Three years in, the initiative has covered 180,000 of the 250,000 targeted addresses.

“Running such large businesses, as many farmers do, with limited financial management resource, the beauty of this product is that it allows for far greater oversight of cashflow management and makes forecasting much simpler,” says Xero’s sales and product lead Ben Richmond.

“It also allows for greater collaboration with key stakeholders, such as accountants and banks, so that they may act as true rural advisors, monitoring farm performance, providing relevant, real-time financial advice.”

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