Show Me the Money, Electronically

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Hello. I own a small blueberry farm and am wanting to do a better job managing our finances. I do pretty much everything by hand, including paychecks for my employees. Could you give me some advice on which Quickbooks (or other accounting program) would best suit my needs? Thanks so much!

- Yamhill County, Oregon

Both Quicken and Quickbooks programs from Intuit Software are very good accounting programs. Quicken is considered to be the simpler of the two and was born as a checkbook manager for households, but is quite useable to manage finances for a small business as well. Quickbooks is what you could eventually grow into and since they are from the same company, it’s relatively easy to migrate upwards later on. Many community colleges offer courses in one or both of these programs, and Chemeketa Community College has a program that applies this directly to farm businesses.  

Oklahoma State University has had educational programs on Quicken/Quickbooks for decades. Professor Damona Doye has a Quicken vs. Quickbooks factsheet online that talks about the relative advantages of each. 

See also:

If you are a relatively new farmer (or even if you’re not), we are going to be doing a beginning farmer workshop series in Aurora this spring. While we won’t be focusing on record keeping, the emphasis on creating a business plan would be useful for any small business venture. Watch for more information on the Building Farmers in the West website.

I hope this answers your questions or at least points you in the right direction.

Bart Eleveld
OSU Extension Economist, Farm Management
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