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Academy of Dental CPAs | Converting Leads into Patients

Academy of Dental CPAs | Converting Leads into Patients

Marketing is an essential part of attracting new business. Strong print and internet marketing materials can help introduce your practice to potential new patients. Glowing reviews and testimonials tell people that you have a trustworthy team and offer quality care. However, even the best marketing efforts won’t contribute anything to your business if you fail to convert leads into patients. There are a variety of reasons outside of your control that might stop someone from scheduling an appointment at your practice, but it’s important to make sure you do all you can to help motivate people to seek treatment with you. Below are some tips to help your team more effectively sell the value of your service to potential new patients. 

Be responsive and available. As a dental professional, you know what it’s like to be busy. Often, your patients have busy lives of their own. Make sure your team is available to take calls as they come and try to offer flexible appointment times to help people work within their limited free time. 

Don’t be too pushy. While it’s helpful to be clear about all the treatments offered at your practice, patients are often turned off by overly “salesy” approaches. Take the time to get to know a patient and their needs, goals, and budget before trying to sell them on dental solutions. This will make them feel valued and understood, increasing the likelihood of treatment plan acceptance. 

Offer a friendly and welcoming environment. There are a number of people who absolutely dread going to the dentist. Because of that, some potential patients may already have a negative feeling towards you and your team despite no fault of your own. Work to overcome this discomfort quickly by offering a personable and kind environment. Make sure your team greets patients by name and gets to know a bit about them. A little can go a long way. 

Don’t lose track of people. Repetition is one of the easiest techniques for cementing something into memory. If a potential new patient contacts your office, be sure to follow up if you don’t hear from them again. You never know the reason they didn’t call back, so taking that step for them can offer a second chance to make a connection and help your practice stand out more in their mind. 

Many dentists find it difficult to think about their practice as a business. It is likely that you chose dentistry due to a passion for service and healing, not bookkeeping or sales. Yet nearly any successful retailer will say that the only way to gain business is to give customers what they want, when they want it. Contact our firm for more strategies on boosting new patient numbers and patient retention! 

Academy of Dental CPAs | Medicine for Your Business

The business world often goes hand in hand with stress. Pressures to attract new customers, meet quotas, or increase productivity can make working feel like an unpleasant chore. If you have begun to dread going into the office due to an oppressive atmosphere, chances are strong that you are not alone in your feelings. Turning things around for you and your team may be easier than you think. Consider adding fun back to your business with a daily dose of laughter. 

Academy of Dental CPAs | Medicine for Your Business

 While the addition of humor to the workplace does not move deadlines or reduce the expectations for performance, it can help create a more enjoyable environment for everyone there. When the office feels fun and engaging, the work feels lighter and more accessible. Scientific studies have shown that laughter relieves tension, boosts the immune system, and relaxes the muscles. Additionally, laughing can increase memory, energy, and creativity and elevate the mood. Every office can benefit from these effects. 

There are many ways to inject some humor into your workdays. Try sharing a joke with your team to start the huddle and invite them to bring their own. Post a board in a shared space and challenge everyone to bring a funny image or comic strip to hang. Have a silly shirt day once a week or once a month. Take silly photos or videos of you and your team to share on social media. 

Embracing a little more humor with your colleagues and team takes only a small investment of time and can yield large increases in mood, productivity, and worker morale. For more ideas on making your work more engaging, contact our office. 

Academy of Dental CPAs | Dental Practice Human Resources: FAQs

Academy of Dental CPAs | Dental Practice Human Resources: FAQs

Whether you manage human resource decisions and concerns yourself or simply oversee your practice manager, as the business owner, you are responsible for ensuring your policies are legal, appropriate, and applied fairly. You may find it useful to take a moment to review a few commonly asked questions regarding aspects of human resources for dental practice owners. 

What questions do I need to avoid during interviews? 

There are a few basic, even common questions we would not think twice about asking during conversation that are not appropriate for an interview setting. Some of these include: 

  • Are you married? 
  • Do you have children? 
  • What is the origin of your (unusual) name? 

While all these questions can be meant to break the ice, they can also lead to the sharing of information about protected class status, such as disability, family status, ethnic or religious heritage, and others. Even if the answers would have no bearing on your decision, these questions can leave you open to a complaint or suit if the position is not offered. 

What should I do if an employee refuses to sign their disciplinary action form? 

Bring a witness into the room, note the refusal to sign, and have the witness sign confirmation that the disciplinary action form was provided. Additionally, remind the employee that refusal to sign does not nullify the disciplinary action and further infractions can still lead to more serious consequences. 

We use software to track the hours our employees work. The program has a function to automatically deduct meal times so the employee does not need to manually clock in and out. Should we use that function? 

Before you decide to implement an automatic system of this type, consider the time saved by not manually entering hours. Then compare that to the time lost by entering corrections if a team member misses lunch, returns early, or runs late. If your office rarely deviates from schedule, this may be beneficial. However, if you find that you are making corrections more than once or twice a week, it may be costing more time than it saves. 

If you have other questions regarding staffing concerns, contact our office for a practice management consultation. 

Dental CPA | From Dreams to Reality: Effective Goal-Setting

No matter how impressive your vision for your practice may be, dreams require hard work, strategic planning, and a willingness to adapt to make them real. Highly successful practice owners learn to set goals realistically and effectively. Master the skills of effective goal-setting, strategic planning, and assessment to find greater success in your business. 

Dental CPA | From Dreams to Reality: Effective Goal-Setting

Set Incremental Goals 

Start small when setting goals. Establish daily and weekly goals. It can be easy to let ambition take over while you dream of long-term goals. However, you cannot reach your long-term goals without smaller victories along the way. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to be in constant control of your practice. You will know if you miss a weekly goal, and you can then adjust your strategy to make sure it never happens again. If you are only setting quarterly or yearly goals it can come as a surprise when you miss them, or your team might be left struggling to meet them at the last minute. 

Make Goals Visible 

You and your team need a visual reminder of what your goals are and when you plan to achieve them. Put them up on a bulletin board in the office, include them on your calendar. Write your goals in a place you look daily as a constant reminder. We all have those back-of-the-mind thoughts or ideas that might be good if implemented, but they are frequently forgotten. Make your goals visible to you and your entire team. 

Goals Need to be Measured 

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps your goal is to see 10 new patients by the end of each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50% before the end of the quarter. Pick specific numbers and concepts that can be defined in a concrete way. Abstract goals are harder to reach because they are too difficult to define. When goals are measurable, you will know exactly what you need to achieve your desired result.  

Rethink the way you are setting your goals for your practice. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. This is where effective goal setting comes in. Get into the habit of writing down your goals and measuring them. Effective goal-setting strategies take careful planning. Master these skills and you will be on your way to the practice success you have dreamed of achieving. 

For more tips on managing your practice, please contact us. 

Dental CPA | Finding Opportunity in Hygiene Appointments

What percentage of your total production consists of hygiene appointments? For many dentists, hygiene appointments make up a significant portion of total production numbers. According to a study last year, hygiene appointments comprise nearly one-third or greater of total production numbers for approximately 80% of all dentists. 

Dental CPA | Finding Opportunity in Hygiene Appointments

Hygiene is a significant source of overall production, but is there room for improvement? The same study uncovered a startling statistic – only 17% of dentists indicated that the majority of their active patients are receiving regular hygiene appointments every six months. This means there is a significant opportunity here. Hygiene numbers could increase as much as five times among current, active patients. 

What steps can you take to encourage patients to schedule, and attend, regular hygiene appointments? 

It is necessary to have an action plan in place. Create a consistent system that can be followed for confirmations. Some practices call or text one or two days prior to the appointment. This can help reduce the number of no-shows. Instill in your team the need to address the importance of hygiene examinations to patients. Most patients are not fully aware of all that goes on during the appointment and view it merely as a cleaning. Emphasize the need for regular oral cancer screenings as well.  

Opportunity exists within your practice. Harness the potential that each patient brings with regular hygiene visits.  

Boost hygiene production to improve your bottom line. Contact us for financial insight and assistance. 

Dental CPA | How Team Morale can Make or Break Your Dental Practice

Team morale can make or break your dental practice. It’s a bold statement, but there are several reasons why it is true. The morale of every member of your team impacts other team members, your patients, and over time, even your bottom line. If you want your dental practice to be a success, team morale needs to be a priority. 

Unhappy staff are less productive. When a member of your team is unhappy in their job, they work more slowly, are less efficient, and are less likely to “go the extra mile” to ensure a great patient experience. When an unhappy staff member isn’t giving a great patient experience, that patient is less likely to be a repeat patient and unlikely to refer anyone else to your practice. Over time, this could potentially cost you dozens of patients and thousands of dollars. 

Unhappy staff make other staff unhappy. When one person is feeling unmotivated, unappreciated, or disgruntled, their attitude affects those around them. Other staff are forced to work harder to compensate for the lack of productivity. One person complaining about being unhappy can hurt the morale of every other person in your office. What starts as a seemingly small problem can quickly gain momentum if it isn’t addressed quickly and correctly. 

Unhappy staff are more likely to quit. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing: take the poor attitude and low morale out of the equation. However, the cost of finding, hiring, and training a replacement can be high. Even more, the most common reason why an employee quits a job is that they feel unappreciated and/or unsupported by management. Chances are good that if one of your staff feels that way, others aren’t far behind. 

Overcome team morale issues with good leadership. As the dentist and CEO of the practice, you are the primary person your team is looking to for leadership. Hold yourself accountable to your team for following through on your promises. Deal with conflicts as soon as they arise. Have an open door policy that makes your staff feel comfortable coming to you with problems so you can address them before they become unmanageable. 

Hold regular effective team meetings to ensure every team member understands their place in your vision for the practice. Recognize individual and team successes. Show appreciation. Ensure that you are supportive of any staff empowered to make decisions. If you need to coach them on a change in policy, do so privately to avoid undermining their authority. 

You are the leader of your team. The trust, support, recognition, appreciation, and respect you give to your team is the foundation of your team’s morale. When you create a great working environment, your team morale is high. High team morale creates a better patient experience and greater productivity, which benefits everyone. To ensure your practice thrives, make your team’s morale a priority. 

Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you and your team.

Dental CPAs | How to Prepare for an Audit

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. 

Dental CPAs | Making Informed Acquisitions

Purchasing an existing practice can be an exciting prospect. Whether it’s your first practice or you’re an established owner, the process can be lengthy as you weigh all the pros and cons of the potential investment. Making sure you know everything you need to about a practice before seriously considering an acquisition will help protect you from making a poor choice that could end up costing you big in the long run. Below are some considerations to keep in mind when looking to purchase a practice. 

Acquisition is Just the Beginning 

Even the most aesthetically modern and technologically advanced practice will require some renovations or changes to make it match your branding and practice culture. This is even truer for older practices or ones that simply aren’t up to the standards you hold. It’s important to factor the costs of updating a practice will incur into your calculations. A great deal on a building might not seem so great if you’ll have to pay twice as much to get it patient-ready. 

Assess the Assets 

Before you commit to purchasing a practice, a professional appraisal of the tangible assets is highly recommended. This can include everything from the soundness of the construction to the usability of the existing furniture or the functionality of the existing equipment. It’s essential to know exactly what is included in your potential purchase and to make sure it’s worth the amount you’re about to pay for it. 

Reputation Matters 

When looking to purchase a practice, figure out what reputation the current owners have built in the community. If it has particularly poor reviews or has a hard time retaining patients, those are important potential hurdles to keep in mind. While it’s not impossible to build a new reputation for your new practice, it will require a more proactive effort on your part to establish your separation from the previous ownership.  

These tips may help you think more comprehensively about practice acquisition. If you need advice on a potential acquisition you’re considering or are simply looking for additional guidance in running your practice well, contact our firm today!

Dental CPAs | Making the Right Impression

When clients visit your office, they observe. Your clients are going to make decisions and judgements based on what they see. If you don’t already, you need to think in the same manner your clients do. If you were a new client to your office, would you schedule a second appointment? Here are a few elements to consider. 

Your Office’s Appearance 

Look at your office. Is it clean and hygienic? Is it cluttered, dusty, or musty? Your clients will pick up on elements such as these. Make your office spotless. You risk your professional credibility if your office appears to be dirty. Clients are visiting you for professional treatment, so the environment must be clean. Décor matters too. Consider repainting your walls to be a soothing light blue or green. What artwork do you have hanging on your walls? Project a modern atmosphere to create confidence in your methods. 

Your Team’s Appearance 

Both you and your team should always be presentable. Is a team member coming to work wearing wrinkled clothing or covered with pet hair? Are phone calls left unanswered? An observant client will notice and it could cost you repeat business. You are in the business of retaining and serving your clients, so your team needs to smile often and set a confident, professional tone.  

Keeping your office clean is a key element to client retention. Create an environment that makes your clients feel comfortable. Visitors will interpret your office and the appearance of your team as a reflection of your professional capabilities. It is imperative in today’s age of social media and online reviews that you present a positive impression of your business. A misstep on your part may be read by other prospective clients online. 

Make the right impression with your clients if you hope to gain repeat business. 

To get started with a professional consultation, please contact us

Dental CPA | Opportunity Called – Did You Answer?

The first step to growing your practice is attracting new patients. Your website, social media, and marketing are all geared toward the idea of getting people to call your office. To help convert this interest into new patient appointments, you have probably spent time selecting and training the team members who answer the phones during office hours. But have you considered what happens when a prospective patient calls when the practice is closed? 

If a person calls your office for information about a service or comparison shopping, they may decide to call back within your business hours. Chances are, they were not ready to schedule an appointment at the time of the call, so they may accept the delay and still call back. However, a new or current patient who is experiencing a dental emergency is far more likely to hang up and try calling another dentist who has someone answering the phones and ready to help. 

Many dental practices do not have any coverage for phone calls outside their hours of operation or during lunch hour. Others have an impersonal answering machine advising callers of the practice hours and perhaps offering to record a message. This can be extremely frustrating for your patients, both current and prospective. 

If your patient discovers on Friday afternoon or evening that they will need to reschedule an appointment set for Monday morning, chances are that message will not be heard until it is too late to move another patient into the opening. If your phones are being answered outside working hours, this can be addressed much more promptly, leading to better scheduling and happier patients. 

You may be wondering how to arrange to have 24/7 phone coverage. There are a few options available, but one of the most economical and most personal for your practice is to train some of your team members to share the responsibility. No one has better knowledge of your practice, your patients, and your schedule than your own team. You will want to decide on the best way to compensate them for the added time, such as paying them a set amount per weekend or evening day or an amount per call answered. 

Once this is determined, arrange a rotation for the team members who will participate. Your main phone line can be forwarded to a practice-owned mobile phone during off-hours, which can be held by the team member on call. Be sure that each person has your after-hours contact information in case of an emergency, especially when you are first launching this system. 

After a few months, hold a meeting with all the involved team members to review the number of after-hours calls you receive, what times are most common, and how many are converted into new appointments for your practice. This can help you value the ROI for this new plan of action and to determine whether your office benefits from full 24/7 coverage or if a more limited extension of hours is more cost-effective. For more information contact our team today.