Chart of Accounts
This explanatory guide has been developed as a resource to assist in understanding and interpreting the Standard Chart of Accounts developed by Dairy Australia to be utilised by the Australian Dairy Industry.
The aim of this document and the Standard Chart of Accounts (SCoA) is to drive consistency across the Australian dairy industry in how we discuss, describe, calculate and report farm business performance.
There has been a significant amount of work undertaken by a number of groups within the Australian dairy industry over a long period of time and the culmination of this work and the assessment of previous documents has resulted in this guide and the Standard Chart of Accounts being developed.
Some of the major contributors over recent years have been Murray Dairy through the development of their Financial Records Guide and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) formerly known as the DPI, through the Dairy Farm Monitor Project (DFMP) that started in the 2006/07 financial year.
More recently the work undertaken to establish DairyBase, the new Dairy Australia web based Farm Business Management tool, has resulted in a further review of terminology utilised in farm business management and the logical flow of income and expenses as it is interpreted in management accounts.
The original Financial Records Guide for Dairy Farms was produced by Murray Dairy for all dairy farmers to provide assistance with establishing and maintaining a Chart of Accounts following the introduction of the GST in 2000.
It was designed to enable dairy farmers to improve financial and farm management decisions through the better use of financial data to monitor costs or benchmark performance.
The original guide was developed in response to a group of dairy farmers seeking assistance regarding the establishment of their Chart of Accounts.
In response, Murray Dairy established a Reference Team comprised of dairy farmers, consultants, extension officers, accountants and rural counsellors to provide dairy farmers with information on establishing and maintaining a Chart of Accounts. Murray Dairy subsequently revised and updated the guide to bring it into line with changes in the Dairy Industry.
With the recent release (May, 2015) of DairyBase, the Financial Records Guide for Dairy Farms has again been updated to ensure consistency with DairyBase and the Dairy Farm Monitor Project.
This version of the Guide provides a complex Chart of Accounts, which should satisfy the requirement of the most detailed record keeper and a truncated version providing the minimum requirement to complete a DairyBase analysis.
Whilst one of the main aims of a Standard Chart of Accounts is to drive consistency across the Australian dairy industry in how we discuss, describe, calculate and report farm business performance it also meets many other goals.
The Standard Chart of Accounts enables dairy farmers to manage the flow of financial information through their business and establish an efficient system for paying bills and complying with Australian tax regulations. Whilst ensuring tax compliance, the Standard Chart of Accounts can also be converted to management accounts with relative ease to enable farmers to make informed decisions in their businesses. The management accounts enable farmers to complete end of year and comparative analysis on their business by ensuring a consistent approach to the allocation of financial information and financial terminology used within the Dairy industry. It will also enable conversion to a regular cashflow and could be utilised for budgeting within businesses.
The Standard Chart of Accounts has not been established as a rigid tool to prescribe the exact setup of farm accounts on all dairy farms, it has merely been developed as a guide to the way a dairy farmer can keep financial records but, if used correctly, will give consistency in record keeping. As well as providing farmers with data to make informed financial and farm management decisions, the Chart of Accounts will allow farmers to effectively benchmark their business. The use of 'benchmarks' by some sectors of the dairy industry can only be accurate if each business doing the comparisons have put their income and expenses in the same category in their financial recording system.