Dear LiteFarm Community,
It is with much excitement that we present our latest release to you! It’s been quite an investment, but we think the expense will be worth it. We certainly thought you could profit from some change to the Finances section and we decided the buck stopped here. We hope you have interest in what we've built! Without further ado (and no more financial puns, I promise!) let's discuss improvements to the Finances section.
First though, I need to make clear that none of this would have been possible without the support of the farmers, researchers, designers, developers, financial supporters, and of course the incredible community of contributors that make up the LiteFarm Community. We want to extend a big THANK YOU to this incredible group of people! Special thanks to Javier Antonio Hernandez De Paz, Yu Tian, Gursimran Singh, Orangel “Kike” Marquez, Iván Perdomo, Mika Saryan, Navdeep Dhammu, and Bertrand for helping us deliver this release. LiteFarm is a better product and a more fun and engaging place to work because of this fantastic community.
We’d also like to announce that previous contributor Antonella Sgarlatta has joined the core team as our new Tech Lead. Loïc Sans joined the core team as Design Lead around the same time and many of the fantastic designs you're about to see are his handiwork. Welcome Antonella and Loïc!
Gratitude and housekeeping accomplished, here's what's new:
Updated finances overview
We’ve completely overhauled how LiteFarm presents financial information to better reflect the realities of running a diversified farm. Revenues and expenses - collectively called transactions now - are shown together in a list format that will be familiar to many viewers.
You should also have a much easier time finding exactly the transaction or transactions you’re looking for. Transactions are now searchable and filterable. You can filter by commonly used periods such as “Year to date” and “This month” or customise a date range to find whatever is most useful to you at the moment. You’ll also be able to filter by specific types of revenues and expenses, including those you create yourself (more on that below!).
We’ve also introduced three new visual indicators for important financial metrics on your farm. We hope these indicators will give you a good “at a glance” understanding of how your finances are looking right now. The first shows your total revenues, expenses, and profit or loss. The second shows you a breakdown of your expenses and what percentage is attributed to labour and all other expense types. Lastly, you’ll see your estimated revenues based on harvest tasks that haven’t yet been completed or abandoned. Each of these indicators are responsive to the filter criteria you set and are clickable to allow you to drill down and see the underlying data.
Lastly, we’ve bundled crop sales and labour expenses that occur on the same day into one single, expandable and collapsable transaction. This should make it easier to see the big picture while still giving you the option to delve into the details.
You can now export your transactions list
Financial document exports have now arrived! You can now export all the transactions you’ve recorded as a spreadsheet. You’ll be able to filter what is exported according to the timeframe and types of revenues and expenses you need as well. Transaction exports will download as Excel spreadsheets (.xlsx) with two tabs. The first tab will be the list of transactions that meet your criteria and the second will show the filter criteria you set for the export.
The next time we work on Finances, we hope to introduce the ability to export additional document types, such as whole farm income statements. If you’d like to be able to export an income statement - upvote that idea here! If there are other types of documents you’d like to be able to generate, add your thoughts here!
Record new revenues
We understand that many diversified, sustainable farmers earn money through a number of means. Some of these involve the sale of crops and others don’t. Now, LiteFarm reflects this more diversified reality! Starting with this release, you’ll be able to create and document revenues that aren’t related to the cultivation of crops. Don’t worry - you’ll still be able to document crop sales and record them against particular crop plans the same way you had previously.
However, you’ll now also be able to define any number of other revenue types for your farm as well. If you’ve used custom task types in the past, you’ll have a good idea about how this works. For each revenue type you create, you’ll be able to decide whether that revenue should be attributed to your crop plans or not. For example, you might want to attribute a “catering” revenue type to certain crop plans but not a “carpentry” revenue type.
Lets take an example. Say you run an agritourism business where you host and cater events. You’ll now be able to create a revenue type called “Event hosting”. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to create as many “Event hosting” revenues as you’d like and they’ll all be documented with the revenue type “Event hosting”. Whether you’re hosting a wedding this weekend, a photo shoot under the fall leaves next week, or a farm to fork dinner under the stars - revenue types should give you a greater understanding about where your revenues are coming from. You’ll also have the ability to modify and retire revenue types as your operation evolves over time.
Moving forward, we’re toying around with the ability to customise the icons for custom revenue types. If this would be helpful on your operation, upvote it or add your thoughts here. We may also introduce new “default” revenue types in a future release depending on what revenues types the community starts creating over the next few months.
Custom expense types
Similar to the addition of custom revenue types, you’ll now be able to define any number of custom expense types for your farm. You’ll be able to include a short description so everyone on the farm is on the same page about what exactly that expense type means. You’ll also have the ability to modify and retire custom expense types as your operation evolves over time.
Moving forward, we’re toying around with the ability to customise the icons for custom expenses. If this would be helpful on your operation, upvote it here.
Other updates to expenses
We didn’t build custom expense types and call it a day - oh no! We dug into the data that you and thousands of other LiteFarm users created over the last few years - with a special eye to what folks lumped in the “Other” category - and re-organised the default expense types that you’ll now see when creating an expense. We also introduced descriptions for each expense type to help everyone on your farm to use them consistently.
You may note some changes to the expense types you knew before the release. Here’s how things have changed:
Seeds and plants
Renamed from “Seeds”
Renamed from “Pesticide”
Renamed from “Other”
As you can see in the table above, there is no longer an “Other” expense type. We hope one of the 12 default expense types or your own custom expense types will serve that purpose, but if you have a truly one-off, won’t need it again expense you can now file it under “Miscellaneous”.
We’ve also added the ability to create “Contract labour” expenses. These expenses aren’t associated with a completed or abandoned task. Your completed and abandoned tasks will still automatically pull the wage of the assignee and be included in your labour expenses, but you’ll now also be able to create labour expenses without them too. For folks that pay workers according to any scheme other than hourly, this should be welcome news.
Moving forward, we like the idea of being able to set a revenue or expense as repeating. If you like this idea - add your vote and thoughts here.
Other new features
You’ll now be able to upload an image of your farm to serve as your LiteFarm homepage background. Doing so will stop the progression of seasonal images of Canadian farms and replace it with your own.
For documents where you’ve attached multiple images, you’ll now be able to download them all at once in a zip file rather than one by one.
A look ahead
Looking ahead, our next release will take place a few months into 2024 and introduce livestock into LiteFarm. This will likely be the first of two to three primarily livestock and integrated crop and livestock focused releases. We’ve got early prototypes built and welcome your feedback now if you're interested in making sure we build livestock right. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can review everything else we’ve got planned and vote for your priorities on our public roadmap here. If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.
In closing, thank you so much for being part of the LiteFarm Community. We're proud to support you and more than 5,000 farmers from 154 countries! We hope this newest release makes cents to you (sorry, we couldn’t resist!) and helps your farming endeavours profit!
As always, happy farming!
The LiteFarm Team