Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 10 Accounting 1

Brush up the bookkeeping for your dental practice

Oct. 2, 2017
You're a dentist, not an accountant. Is it really in the best interest of your practice's financial health to handle your own bookkeeping? Hiring a professional bookkeeper has many advantages.
You're a dentist, not an accountant. Is it really in the best interest of your practice's financial health to handle your own bookkeeping? Hiring a professional bookkeeper has many advantages.

You didn’t attend dental school so you could worry about bookkeeping and tax preparation. But no matter how skilled you are with a drill, YOUR PRACTICE NEEDS SOUND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TO SURVIVE.

While your focus is on your patients, your practice isultimately a business. Ignoring or underserving the financial aspect of that business is a surefire way to compromise patient care. So, while discussing things such as revenue, margins, and reconciliation might leave a bad taste in your mouth, doing so is absolutely necessary to keep your patients’ mouths healthy.

How so, you may ask. Let’s look at both why andhowyou can go about brushing up your books, all without sacrificing too much time, energy, or expense.

Hire a professional

You’re a smart person, and may be fully capable of handling your own bookkeeping. But the more important question is whether you shouldbe handling it. Just because you’re capable of doing something doesn’t mean that you’re the best person for the job. As intelligent as you are, you most likely cannot manage your books as effectively, efficiently, and accurately as a skilled professional bookkeeper. Just as bookkeepers do not perform their own dental care, you should not be handling your own bookkeeping.

Depending on your particular financial needs and resources, it might be wise to hire more than one professional. Dividing your practice’s financial management between two or more professionals will help prevent fraud, embezzlement, and costly errors. You don’t need to take on a whole team of accountants, but oversight is always valuable, no matter what the industry or application.

Contract first

With that being said, most dental practices do not require a full-time, in-house bookkeeper to keep their finances in order. Yet, many dental practices still have someone tucked in a back office, twirling pencils for six hours a day and actually working for two. For these practices, the benefits of contracting becomes obvious. Rather than pay eight hours of wages for two hours of work, these practices will now pay for precisely the amount of work they need and receive.

For those who currently have zero bookkeeping support, contracting has the benefit of allowing them to slowly assess their needs. A practice can begin by contracting a bookkeeper for only a handful of hours per week. If the work is adequate, and the practice sees there’s more slack to be picked up, it can expand the contract to more hours. This way, costly overestimations of time can be avoided, and the practice can test the bookkeeping professional before wholly committing.

If a practice ultimately determines that it does require a full-time bookkeeper, then it can make that step. But by contracting first, the practice can avoid taking on far more help (and therefore risk and expense) than needed.

Go virtual

The digital age has made it so that services such as bookkeeping can be done remotely. But that flexibility doesn’t benefit only the virtual professionals. Going virtual gives employers the added benefit of a tremendously widened talent pool.

Rather than scouring the local classifieds for a competent bookkeeper in your area, going virtual allows you to take your pick of the best financial professionals in the country. This broadened demographic increases your odds of finding bookkeeping professionals who specialize in dental administration.

Companies such asBELAY, for example, help businesses of all kinds keep their finances under control by connecting them with the best bookkeeping talent in the country. Through phone, text, video-chat, and email, these top-tier professionals cano serve clients all over the United States, as much or as little as they are needed.

To conclude

Just like other small businesses, your dental practice cannot afford a costly audit, undetected embezzlement, or just plain old inefficiency. Rather than consider it a matter of your bottom line, consider your bottom line to be the dental health of your patients. A shuttered office can’t fill a cavity, set a crown, or perform a root canal. Consider the state of your books to be just as important as the state of your probing. Blunt instruments lead to bad dental health outcomes, and so do unkempt books. Investing in a virtual bookkeeper will help both you and your patients smile.

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Bryan Miles is CEO and cofounder of BELAY. Bryan cofounded the company with his wife, Shannon, and together they lead the US-based virtual solutions company and its 550 people, who all work virtually. Prior to starting BELAY, Bryan worked in the tech and construction industries. He obtained his B.A. in business from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio.