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Dental CPAs | Follow the Trends!

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dental cpasWith technology and economic changes overhauling much of the dental industry, practices are requiring more innovation to stay ahead of the curve. Below are some trends to explore that can help you reach the top of the chart and stay there.

Onsite Amenities

Dental practices often run the mistake of being too clinical or severe in their appearance. Make your patients comfortable with modern, innovative amenities. Heated or massage chairs in examination rooms can calm anxious patients, while TVs installed on the ceilings (complimentary earphones optional) can offer a safe distraction while your team works.

Dental Insurance Coverage

Many patients are turned away at the thought of visiting a dentist who is out-of-network. Whether you decide to be in-network with more plans or use targeted marketing showing how affordable you are for out-of-network plans, you can open the door for many potential patients that otherwise may have gone elsewhere.

Payment Plans

Many potential patients do not have the option of a work-based dental benefits plan. Consider offering monthly payment plans, in-house financing, or working with a third-party to provide affordable options in these cases. When given the opportunity to have care within their budget, patients who lack insurance will have more ability to accept treatment.

New Technology

Upgraded equipment and modern technology can be a game-changer for many patients. Whether offering a quicker, more comfortable experience or ensuring a safe and effective treatment, using advanced technology on the market can help your dental practice target patients interested in quality.

Bolstered Online Presence

The internet has limitless potential to reach prospective patients in your area. Allow patients to learn more about you and your office, schedule a visit, and ask questions through your website, social media, and other online resources. In the modern economy, internet marketing is a must.

Don’t let your practice fall into the past – keep your practice relevant by following the trends that will keep you thriving. For more professional guidance, contact our office for a consultation.

ADCPA | Academy of Dental CPAs

 

Dental Accounting | Are You Getting All Your Tax Deductions?

Dental CPAs

dental cpasUnderpaying your taxes is a serious problem, but overpaying taxes by missing eligible deductions can be nearly as harmful to the growth of your dental practice. Tax deductions are powerful tools to reduce your taxable income, allowing you to save more of your revenue. Keep these important and easily-forgotten tax deductions in mind throughout the year so you’ll have your documentation ready for filing.

Marketing and Advertising
Is your dental practice engaged in marketing or advertising? In addition to being an important avenue to grow your patient base, marketing and advertising are also tax deductible. According to the IRS, as long as your expenses related to this are reasonable and are not aimed at promoting business activity outside of your industry, then you can write them off in their entirety.

Utilities and Overhead
Keep detailed records of your practice’s utilities so that you can write them off at the end of the year. Gas, electric, water, internet, phone – these are all deductible. Other overhead payments such as rent or mortgage can also be written off, so make sure to log them.

Lab Fees
A significant part of your annual budget, lab fees can make a substantial difference in your taxable income. Keep track of all expenditures for crowns, dentures, or other outside work that your business relies on to serve your patients. Save on your taxes by writing off these expenses.

Supplies and Equipment
From cotton swabs to top of the line equipment, track everything purchased for your dental practice. Save receipts and invoices, make a spreadsheet, or use software to log and categorize these costs. You will thank yourself at the end of the year for being meticulous.

Tax and Legal Fees
Services such as attorney consultations or tax professionals are also deductible, reducing your taxable income and offering you clarity while navigating tax laws.

Don’t overpay your taxes and stifle your practice’s growth potential. To be certain you are getting every possible deduction, contact our dental CPA office for a consultation.

 

ADCPA | Academy of Dental CPAs

Dental CPAs | Common Payroll Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Dental Accounting

Academy of Dental CPAsHandling payroll for a dental practice is often thought of as a simple task. The truth, however, is that there are many minor errors that can easily lead to major problems. Train your team to catch these small mistakes your practice might be making, so you can be sure to avoid them in the future.

Estimated Recordkeeping – Don’t wait until the day before payroll is due to log shifts worked for the pay period. Days can begin to blend together and it can be challenging to recall who worked which days and times after the fact. Looking through notes and emails to figure out past days’ activities can be stressful and even inaccurate, leading to incorrect pay.

Employee Misclassifications – There are many differences, at both federal and state levels, between an employee and a contractor. Make sure you classify your team members, temporary replacement workers, and anyone else in payroll correctly to ensure an accurate, streamlined process. Depending on the infraction and your area, heavy penalties can occur for misclassified worker pay.

Not Tracking Bonuses or Gifts – Work trips or group outings are no problem, but any sort of bonus or gift that has monetary value needs to be tracked. Gift cards are a common example of this. Make sure to keep a running log of any exchanges like these for year-end purposes.

Paying Employees Wrong Rates – When employees are hired, given a raise, or have their pay otherwise adjusted, make sure this is correctly logged in the system or software you use. Using an hourly wage in a program to pay as salary can have rounding problems, so double-check your work. Manual error or forgetting to process a raise on the books right away can lead to owing back-pay or other issues in the future.

Holidays or Haphazard Payroll – Try to set a fixed schedule for your payroll. When holidays affect the normal cycle, have an established plan to deal with it appropriately. Depending on your area, missing or late payroll can create tax headaches or incur penalties, as well as causing hardship for your team.

Payroll can be a straightforward and mistake-free process at your practice, but it requires proper oversight and attention. Keep an airtight system, follow up on any mistakes, and think ahead. For more information on how to handle payroll or tax concerns, contact our office.

ADCPA | Academy of Dental CPAs

 

Dental CPAs | Smart Money – Filing Taxes with an Accountant

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Did you know that more than 65% of failed businesses blame financial mismanagement as their downfall? This is why forming a good relationship with a professional financial advisor is paramount to the longevity of your business.

When is the most important time to have this established relationship in place? That’s right – tax time. If you’re thinking about taking any shortcuts during this time (like using online software), you may want to reconsider. Why risk your entire business by cutting corners on something so crucial? Consider these reasons why you should work with a professional accountant.

Accountants understand tax code. Tax code is not only complicated – it changes frequently. It’s literally a full-time job interpreting and staying up to date. A financial professional will be able to guide you through this and take that stress off your plate. You’re already busy enough without having to keep up to date on tax law. Knowing you’re working with a professional can eliminate the stress of tax compliance. It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.

Accountants know how to get you more deductions. Everyone wants to maximize their deductions, but only a true professional financial expert can get you everything you deserve.  Don’t leave any money on the table and don’t overpay on your taxes. Working with an accountant throughout the year will ensure you have the documentation you need to get your deductions and not overpay your taxes. This is exceptionally important especially for small businesses, like most dental offices.

Accountants minimize your risk. Are taxes the place where you want to cut corners and take a risk with your business and your team’s financial future? One mistake can land you in a heap of trouble. No one wants to deal with any sort of issue with the IRS let alone an audit. If you run into one of these scenarios, you’ll wind up paying far more than you would have if you worked with a professional from the beginning.

Everyone is willing to take some risks, especially small business owners and entrepreneurs.  Being brave enough to start your own business or follow your dreams is a risk in itself.  Don’t jeopardize your dream by cutting corners on one of the most important tasks of every year.  Work with a financial professional and allow yourself the peace of mind to protect what you’ve built.

For more information, contact us today.

Dental Accounting | Data Security Best Practices

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Though most of the attacks making headlines are those aimed at large organizations or political groups, roughly a third of all data security breaches in the last few years have occurred in the health care industry. Of these, employee error caused three times as many breaches as external attacks. In addition, more than half of the businesses who experience a security breach have fewer than 1,000 employees.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all health care providers to take steps to protect the private information of their patients from hackers, thieves, and staff. While no data security system is foolproof, there are some best practices that can help to decrease your risk of an information breach, especially from employee error. Here are some of the best practices you should be enforcing:

  • All computers should be placed where screens are not visible to patients or visitors.
  • Every computer should have an encrypted password for access.
  • All passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and/or symbols and should be changed regularly.
  • Passwords should never be written down in any place accessible by the public. It is preferable that they not be written down at all.
  • Every staff member must be fully educated about the importance of data security practices, their responsibility to follow these practices, and the potential repercussions for failing to comply.
  • Office computers and internet should not be used to check personal email or visit non-work-related websites.
  • Ensure all firewalls, software, and operating systems are kept up to date.
  • Wireless networks should be shielded from public view.
  • Every computer should have antivirus software installed and kept up to date.
  • Do not access office data remotely from a shared computer or unknown WiFi network.
  • Smartphones, tablets, laptops that have access to any work systems or emails should be password protected in case lost or stolen.
  • All hard copies of patient data should be shredded.
  • All transmitted data should be encrypted.
  • Sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial data, or other private information, should never be sent through email or instant messaging services.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance protection.
  • If a breach does occur, take appropriate action immediately. Contact your legal counsel for advice.

Your first and best defense against the theft of sensitive patient information is the integration of data security best practices into your practice policies. Meet with your team to discuss any changes you need to make and your expectations of compliance. Protect yourself, your team, and your patients by working to protect the integrity of your systems.

For more information, contact us today.

Dental CPAs | How to Prepare for an Audit

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The prospect for an audit can be daunting. The best way to combat the stress and anxiety induced with this process is to prepare yourself and your company before it happens. Below are a few tips to keep your stress levels low and your preparations high through the process.

Know what it will entail

If you are unaware of what an audit entails, it is a good idea to do your research and learn about the process. Knowing what questions the IRS examiner might ask or what documents they will want to see can help control your anxiety and show you are well prepared.

Document thoroughly

Get in the habit of keeping up with your primary and secondary tax records year-round to be better prepared for when an audit happens. Staying organized using a personal filing system will help you know where everything is. Be sure to have a digital and paper trail as well incase anything happens to either filing system.

Gather the Information

Before the audit happens, make sure you have all the necessary documentation that will be asked of you to present. If you believe something is missing, you can try to recreate the records as accurately as possible or contact the place where you submitted it to for their records. Since you will have all your documents in one place, lay out the information and label it for the auditor for an efficient process.

Pre-audit compliance report

If you feel overwhelmed or disorganized, get on track with a thorough examination of your financial data to prepare and compile your documents. Our experienced team will help you set up a system and provide you with confidence if facing an audit.

For more information on audits, or addition accounting advice, contact us today.

 

Tax and Retirement Planning for 2017, by J. Haden Werhan, CPA, PFS

The new year brings with it both good and bad news for dentists as they plan ahead for taxes and retirement. Each year, the IRS announces cost-of-living adjustments (for everything from tax brackets, to the standard deduction, to personal exemptions), various phaseouts, and retirement plan limits. There were few changes from 2015 to 2016, but 2017 is another story, with a significant increase in Social Security tax and a modest bump in certain income limits that may affect your retirement planning.

Click here to view or download the full article.

Retirement Plans for Dentists, by J. Haden Werhan, CPA, PFS

As practice owners, dentists should carefully consider the advantages of establishing an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Generally, you’re allowed a deduction for contributions you make to a retirement plan. In return, however, you’re required to include your employees in the plan, and to give a portion of the contributions you make to those employees who are eligible. Even so, a retirement plan can provide you with a tax-advantaged method to save for your own retirement while providing your employees with a powerful and appreciated benefit, especially in today’s competitive employment market.

Click here to view or download the full article.

Dental CPAs | Manage Your Calendar to Balance Your Life

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Appointments and continuing education consume most of your time. How do you manage to live a happy, well-adjusted, balanced life when you simply don’t have time? The key is in planning. Do you use a calendar to manage your time or do you simply make agreements and arrangements as they come up? Here is how you can balance your schedule by managing your calendar.

Set Clear Boundaries

The first step to achieving a work-life balance is to consider your basic responsibilities and obligations. Set aside blocks of time in your calendar to meet with patients, hold team meetings, and attend organizational group meetings. Your calendar should be your primary time-management tool.

Time Off Means Time Off

You need to set aside time for activities unrelated to work. When you decide to take a day off, make sure it’s in your calendar. If it’s not in there, your time off is likely to be consumed by an emergency patient appointment, unexpected meeting, or other business-related expense. Make your scheduling priorities clear with your office team so they are not left with the burden of how to handle unexpected situations while you are away.

It’s Not Just for Work

Your calendar doesn’t need to be exclusive to work. In fact, it may be beneficial for you to regularly include your other commitments. From your children’s school activities to anniversaries and birthdays, seeing these events alongside your work schedule can help you make better scheduling choices. You’ll be more reluctant to accept an invitation to a meeting or convention when you know it will conflict with another occasion. By including other events on your calendar, you minimize the risk of dealing with a stressful schedule conflict between your work life and your personal life.

Never let your calendar run your day. You have the ability to schedule your day by using your calendar as a tool for time management. Start by setting clear scheduling boundaries by blocking the time you need for your main responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to take time off, but always make sure it is a part of your schedule.  Also, consider including other life events and activities in your calendar to better manage your schedule.

For more tips on effectively managing your work schedule, contact one of our firms today. 

ADCPA | Academy of Dental CPAs