|Invoices are easy to make on a computer and important documents to save. Courtesy of Will Holder.|
As a cattle rancher, you probably already have a bookkeeping system. It might be a simple manual system or a sophisticated computer program. Whatever it is, separate the books for your beef marketing company from your personal and ranch books. This will enable you to clearly define the performance of your new endeavor. I know that most ranchers just lump all their personal finances in with their ranch finances. Yet, it is important to at least separate your beef company on paper, or you will never be able to tell exactly how much money you generate.
These simple forms keep us organized:
• Master log-in form: Orders are numbered and logged in. Other forms and invoices pertaining to these orders share the same reference number. This keeps us from mixing up orders.
• Job order form: Contains all ordering information. After the order is paid, we file them by client so that we can refer to them later (left).
• A delivery receipt: We use this when we deliver to stores. It is signed and dated by the recipient in a space provided. With small stores, different people may log in deliveries on different days, so getting a signature is crucial.
• Invoice: The original job order form becomes an invoice after the order is delivered. We generate these on the computer and keep them in a separate file until the invoice is paid. We file them by client (right).
We also have started keeping records of sales by product and by month. We have found that there is a great deal of variance in sales over the year. For instance, sales tend to plummet during late December and early January. Sales tend to be the highest, especially for steaks, in the summer months. Keeping the numbers and charting them has helped us schedule our cattle more effectively.