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Laughter in the Workplace is No Joke | Academy of Dental CPAs

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Healthcare is a serious business fraught with stress and experts are now touting the value of levity in breaking the tension found in the workplace. Books and courses about injecting humor into business are springing up, including a Stanford Business School course for executives called, “Humor: Serious Business.”  

Scientific studies have shown that joking and laughter relieve tension, boost the immune system, and relax the muscles. Laughing can increase memory, energy and creativity, as well as elevate mood. It can knit teams together and create a psychological safe haven.

While the addition of humor to the workplace does not remove deadlines or reduce performance expectations, it can help create a more enjoyable work life. Additionally, laughing can increase memory, energy, creativity, and elevate the mood.

Any office can benefit from these effects, so why not consider adding some lighthearted moments to your team’s day?

Here are a few suggestions from our dental accountants to help inject humor into your workdays. 

  • Try sharing a tasteful, work-appropriate joke with your team to start the morning huddle and invite them to bring their own. 
  • Post a board in a shared space and challenge everyone to bring a funny quote, image, or comic strip to hang. 
  • Put on a silly shirt day once a month, decorate the office for a holiday, and allow holiday dress-ups during Halloween or holidays like Valentine’s Day. 
  • Take funny photos or videos of you and your team and share them on social media. 

Keep your humor on-brand and non-offensive to all. 

If using outright humor doesn’t feel right to you, think about its cousin, levity. This is simply an elevation of mood that feels calming and light. Finding moments to share a laugh can invigorate the culture of your office.

There will always be pressure to attract new patients, increase productivity, and handle emergencies as they arise. Consider adding fun into your daily routing when the time is right. It should put everyone at ease and make the serious work of dentistry more enjoyable for both your team members and patients alike.

Far from making your practice look frivolous, experts say humor inspires confidence and loyalty. If you can make your patients smile, they will remember how you made them feel and will be more likely to stay with you.

A happy team leads to a successful practice. Let our accounting team help you along the way with guidance, insight, and our custom-tailored financial services. Contact our dental accounting firm today to see what we can do for you!

Dental Practices and Human Resources: Frequently Asked Questions | Dental Accountant Near Me

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Whether you manage your practice’s human resources or oversee a practice manager, you are responsible as a business owner for ensuring your policies are appropriate, legal, and fair. Few practice owners are trained in HR, but some level of knowledge is important for the viability of your practice.

Here are a few commonly asked questions from our dental accountants regarding aspects of human resources for dental practice owners.

What questions should I avoid during interviews?

There are a few basic, even common questions that are never appropriate for an interview setting. Some of these include:

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

While such questions seem like natural ice-breakers, they are illegal. They can lead to the sharing of information about protected class status such as disability, family status, ethnic or religious heritage, sexual orientation, and others.

Even if their answers would have no bearing on your decision, these questions can leave you open to a complaint if the position is not offered. You should always keep questions business-related.

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

If this happens, bring a witness into the room, and note the refusal to sign. Have the witness sign confirmation that the disciplinary action form was provided to the employee. Remind the employee that refusal to sign does not negate the disciplinary action and further infractions will lead to more serious consequences.

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

Before you decide to use an automatic system of this type, consider the time saved by not manually entering hours. Then compare it 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 might be beneficial. However, if you find that you are making corrections more than once or twice a week, this function could cost more time than it saves.

Understanding the nuances of human resources is an important part of building a strong practice. As bookkeepers, tax preparers, and valuable advisors to dental practices, we can also help you create a profitable operation. Contact our dental accounting firm today for a free initial consultation.

7 Goal-Setting Strategies for Your Dental Practice | Dental CPAs

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Have you defined goals for your practice? Planning and achieving milestones provides a sense of personal satisfaction, inspiration to others, and often, greater profitability. Whether you want to double your patient flow, open a second office, or become a key opinion leader (KOL), your goals can be attainable if you create a strategy and work towards them systematically.

Here are seven strategies for goal-setting for our dental CPA organization:

Define your objectives: If you only have a big-picture idea of what your goal looks like and a fuzzy vision of how to achieve it, stop and reassess. Start with the “why,” and progress to the “how.”

Sketch or write it out, measure it, and break it down into steps. Ambitious plans are only successful if you create a detailed map to reach them.

Take it one step at a time: It can be easy to focus on all the effort required to reach a goal and quickly become overwhelmed. Break it down into milestones that are weekly, quarterly, and even yearly. Creating these incremental steps allows you to celebrate minor achievements and pivot quickly if a plan is not working.

Create visual reminders: Set up a vision board or a private Pinterest page for visual inspiration. A Kanban-type board or thermometer poster can help you measure progress.

Choose what works best for you and your type of goal. The more tangible you make your vision, the more inspired you will be to turn it into reality.

Talk about it: Talk to your personal advisors, friends, loved ones and, if appropriate, your team about your goals. It will keep you accountable and allow others to share your inspiration.

Map out benchmarks: Define the steps needed to achieve your dream, such as creating a new marketing plan, adding an additional team member, or a setting out on a real estate hunt. Work your plan by breaking the large steps into smaller ones. 

Don’t let setbacks defeat you: Remember the old saying, “Quitters never win and winners never quit?” The road to reaching dreams can be bumpy; expect setbacks and roll with them. Don’t allow yourself to feel discouraged or defeated. 

Show yourself kindness: Don’t work to the point of burnout. Take breaks and be as gracious to yourself as you would to a friend who is on a mission to achieve a goal.  

Through gradual and measurable goal-setting, you will likely gain the clarity needed to reach your objective. Our dental accounting team can help you create a roadmap based on our many years of experience and put the financial pieces into perspective.


Contact our dental accounting firm today to make an appointment for a free consultation and set your goals in motion!

How to Get More Out of Hygiene Appointments | Dental CPA Near Me

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Academy of Dental CPAs

Dental hygiene appointments are a major revenue driver for most dental practices. They are responsible for about one-third of total production numbers for most practices. Making the most of these appointments can help to improve profitability.

A recent study shows that there is room for improvement. Just 17 percent of dentists say most of their active patients keep hygiene appointments every six months, and at least one in ten appointments are no-shows.

The department can train to increase case acceptance and promote elective services. In fact, hygiene numbers could increase as much as five times among current, active patients with some diligent planning.

How Much Does a Hygiene Department Contribute to a Dental Practice? 

Numbers vary, but one industry benchmark suggests that each hygienist should produce around three times their wages, or about 33 to 35 percent of the practice total. If you want to improve your margin, your department could benefit from systemization.

Start with a hard look at the numbers. Each month, analyze the hygiene department’s finances. Look at the collection to production ratio, no-shows, and the time spent with each patient. Studying these numbers will help to identify ways to maximize the department’s productivity. 

It can be a challenge to keep prophylaxis appointments moving while giving each patient maximum attention. The average time spent on scaling – 20 to 30 minutes – can present an optimal time to educate patients on oral health, focus on case acceptance, and discuss elective procedures.

Make sure your team educates patients on the importance of dental hygiene exams and the consequences of skipping them. Some patients view these appointments as mere teeth cleanings; they likely don’t have a grasp on all of the benefits of cleanings and examinations. 

Emphasize the need for regular oral cancer screenings as well: how one person dies every hour of an oral cancer and how simple, painless exams can detect a problem early enough to treat it successfully.  

Improve Case Acceptance and No-Shows

After analyzing your hygiene department, scrutinize and revamp your appointment confirmation system. Some practices set up their hygienists to schedule next appointments chairside or escort patients to the front desk.

Another way to decrease no-shows is by sending multiple reminders through a variety of mediums such as phone calls, texts, emails, and physical postcards. Some practices call or text a day or two before the appointment. 

While some of your patients might balk at multiple messages, they are less likely to ignore them. Make sure patients understand that a missed appointment robs another patient of an opportunity to receive care and treatment.  

When you boost hygiene production, you are likely to improve your bottom line. If you’d like to gain greater financial insight into your practice’s profitability, contact our dental CPA firm today.

How Team Morale Impacts Your Practice | Academy of Dental CPAs

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The days seem to fly by in a dental practice, barely leaving time for you to check in with your team. Do you really know how they are feeling about work? Dental practices, like any healthcare organization, can be stressful and busy environments, but as a leader, you need to ensure patients receive positive, professional care. 

Team morale is vital to patient satisfaction and retention – and it makes good financial sense to invest in. According to a recent Gallup poll, there are roughly 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the economy up to $350 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. Key factors cited in the report included illness, absenteeism, and attitude. 

When you are working inside a person’s mouth – a most intimate act – you can imagine how quickly they will pick up on a poor attitude.

Servant Leadership

Morale can be improved through a concept known as servant leadership. It is centered around getting to know each team member on a personal level, recognizing their contributions, and thus creating a feeling of pride within the team. A harmonious work environment flows from the top and engenders trust in the organization.

In 1970, the late pundit Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase servant leadership saying, “the great leader is seen as servant first, and that simple fact is the key to his greatness.”

Get to Know Your Team

Learn what motivates each team member and plan rewards accordingly. Some might enjoy a photo and thank-you post on social media, others a private, hand-written note, and almost everyone would enjoy a paid day off. Think about what makes sense for your team and budget. Your efforts, no matter how small, will serve to energize your employees and make them feel good about serving patients.  

Recognize Contributions

Group recognition is also important. Plan a catered employee luncheon or hand out gift certificates. Create an employee recognition week and include it in your patient newsletter. 

Practice self-awareness

Check in with your own state of mind each day and be mindful of spreading sour vibes. Hold yourself accountable for following through on promises; handle conflicts quickly; adopt an open-door policy that makes your team feel comfortable. 

Meet

Holding morning huddles and team meetings keeps everyone on the same page and fosters easy communication. It also makes you aware of potential job satisfaction roadblocks, such as an overwhelming caseload or uneven work distribution.   

Pitch in

Finally, employees always appreciate a leader who rolls up their sleeves and helps when the going gets tough. 

The trust, appreciation, and support you give your team can make a tremendous difference in office harmony, patient experience, and your bottom line. To ensure a thriving practice, make morale a priority.

If you’d like to learn more about creating a harmonious work environment, get in touch with our dental accounting team today! 

Are You Ready for an Audit? | Dental CPA Near Me

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The prospect of an IRS audit can be a daunting experience, especially now that the government is expecting greater levels of accountability. An effective way to beat the stress associated with that dreaded envelope in the mail is to be proactive. While a dental accountant can help to buffer you against an audit, there are a few steps you can take to be proactive.

Document Everything

Get in the habit of keeping up with your tax records year-round to be better prepared if you are targeted. Staying organized is critical. Use whatever personal filing system works for you so you always know where your files and documents are located. Be sure to make both a digital and paper trail for redundancy.

Learn How Audits Work

If you are unaware of what an audit entails, take time to learn about the process. Knowing what questions an IRS examiner might ask or what documents they will want to see goes a long way toward being prepared. A dental accountant can also explain the process and arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to feel confident.

Gather All Necessary Information

Before the audit takes place, ensure you have gathered all documentation that you will need to make available to the auditor. If you believe something is missing, be proactive and contact they vendor for the missing records. When you have all your documents in one place, lay out the information and label it for the auditor. This will help to make the process more efficient.

Beware of Red Flags

If you are a practice owner, you will need to be scrupulous in reporting income down to the penny. Be aware of red flags such as travel, entertainment, and vehicle expenses. Ensure you are substantiating all deductions so that they align with your reported income. 

Hire a Dental Accountant

While the tax laws are always changing, our dental accounting firm keeps up with the latest updates. We understand the nuances of deductions in your field and can answer questions in a way that DIY tax software can’t. 

Get a Pre-audit Compliance Report

If you have let your bookkeeping become disorganized, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, get on track with a thorough examination of your financial data. Our experienced dental CPA team will help you establish a system and provide the documentation if you are ever faced with an IRS audit.

For more information on audits, or additional accounting advice, contact our dental accounting firm today today.

Are You Making an Informed Acquisition? | ADCPA

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Whether you are creating a startup or purchasing an existing practice, the acquisition process comes with tax challenges. Make sure you are prepared and have all the information needed to complete your forms. Our dental accounting firm can help you run the numbers and determine your costs.

Here are other factors to consider when purchasing a dental practice.

Determine Practice Value

Before you commit to purchasing a particular practice, get a professional appraisal of all tangible assets. This can include everything from the soundness of construction, to the useful life of the equipment. The location, cash flow, salaries, number of active patients, and goodwill should all be factored in. As dental accountants, we offer solid estimates of your acquisition costs and their tax implications

Verify Seller Information

To make an informed acquisition of a dental practice, research your prospect with care. Visit the location at different times of the day. When talks get serious, verify patient counts through practice management software, or viewing a sample of charts. If you are not buying the building, review the lease terms to see if you can get out of a disadvantageous situation.

Consider the Cost of Build-outs and Renovations

Factor in the costs of updating your new practice. Even the most aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced office might require some renovations or changes to fit your vision. This is especially true for an older office that will need modernization. A great deal on a building might not be a bargain after all when you factor in renovation costs.

Reputation is More Important Than You Think

If you are seeking to purchase a practice, determine its standing in the community. If the seller has poor reviews or has difficulty retaining patients, consider those important potential hurdles to overcome. It is possible to build a better reputation for your new practice, but it will require a proactive approach. You might want to increase your marketing budget, host open houses to show off your new team and renovations, and build goodwill through community outreach and charity efforts.

If you need advice on the hidden costs of acquiring a dental practice, require tax preparation services, or could use financial guidance on running your practice, please contact our dental accounting firm and request a complimentary consultation today.

Does Your Dental Office Make the Right Impression? | Academy of Dental CPAS

When patients walk through your office door, they form an immediate impression about your practice. No matter how competent you are, and no matter how friendly your team is, your practice will be judged by what people see up front. Increasingly, they want more than just a clean office.

Make the Waiting Room Look Like a Living Room

Research, led by physician and author Esther Sternberg, shows that patients are putting a premium on healthcare design. They want practices that pay attention to aesthetics and sensory wellbeing. Baby Boomers respond to an upscale, hotel-like atmosphere, while Millennials and Generation Z value artwork and digital connectivity. All groups value a waiting area that feels more like a comfortable, but uncluttered living room than a sterile space.

How does your office stack up? Walk into your waiting room from the point of view of a new patient. How are the furnishings? Are the walls painted in a soothing color or a hue that is harmonious with your brand? Is the floor spotless? Does the waiting room smell clean and fresh?

If you and your staff just don’t have time to deep clean, consider a janitorial service. Your accountant can help you build this into your budget.

Focus on Decor

Place a premium on making patients feel comfortable with decor. It doesn’t need to be expensive. A rustic or oriental-style rug on a hardwood or laminate floor adds warmth. Lighting can add dimension and a modern touch.

As for the walls and furnishings, healthcare decorators favor a mix of warm and cool colors, perhaps with an aquarium or a Zen-like fountain.

Amenities count, too. Some dental offices are adding massage chairs, aromatherapy, paraffin hand-wax stations, and noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones. Check out Pinterest for ideas and ask your patients what would add to their experience. Be sure to showcase your decor in your social media marketing to attract new patients.

Look at Your Team

Ultimately, team interaction with patients is more important than decor. Make sure your office etiquette is up to par, that each team member greets visitors in a polite manner, and answers phone calls promptly and professionally. 

Keeping your dental office clean and inviting is more important than you might think for attracting and retaining patients. To learn how you can afford upgrades to your office, call our dental accounting firm. 

The Financial Rewards of Work-Life Balance in Your Dental Practice | Dental Accountants

Work-life balance is essential for productivity and long-term financial success. Here are tips on how to balance personal time with business needs for both you and your team. 

Motivating Your Team

Work-life balance needs to be built into your practice values. If your employees are well-rested and feel their family life is manageable, they are likely to put more energy into their work and be happier overall. Those who feel stressed might request more sick days, which puts a financial strain on your practice. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control Foundation says lost productivity from absenteeism costs U.S. employers nearly $226 billion each year, or $1,685 per employee.

As a practice owner or manager, you likely can’t give your team the perks of a large corporation, such as subsidized daycare, FMLA, or an employee-assistance program; however, you can be sensitive to your team members’ needs, such as child or eldercare responsibilities, and schedule accordingly. Creating a strong team culture in this way also motivates employees to help one another.

Consider implementing an employee incentive program for milestones met. A day off is ideal, but if that is unworkable, you can implement other meaningful perks, such as commissions, raises, and bonuses. However you choose to compensate your employees, it is important to remember that happy team members tend to be loyal, productive, and motivated to deliver excellent patient care.  

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance as a Dental Practice Owner

When you are responsible for teams as well as patients, you have double the workload. Add to that continuing education and paperwork, and it can be difficult to carve out time for reflection, organizing, and personal errands. The answer lies in planning.

Use a calendar or scheduling app to plan your day. Set aside blocks of time to work with patients, arrange team meetings, and attend organizational group functions. Your calendar should be your primary time-management tool. It can also include your outside commitments, such as children’s school activities, birthdays, and anniversaries.

By including nonwork events on your calendar, you minimize the risk of schedule conflicts between your work and personal lives.

Honor Your Own Time Off

When you decide to take a day off, make sure you put it on your calendar and honor it. Make your scheduling priorities clear with your team members and make instructions clear so they are not left wondering how to handle unexpected situations while you are away.

The key to achieving work-life balance is creating clear boundaries for you and your team members and truly learning how to unplug. It can help your practice become a more productive place that in turn boosts profitability.

For more tips on creating a more harmonious, financially savvy dental practice, contact our team for a consultation.

How Do You Handle After-Hours Phone Calls? | Dental Accountant Near Me

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Time is money, and if you are not taking advantage of after-hours phone calls at your dental practice, you could be missing out on new opportunities to connect with patients and grow your practice. 

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You may have created an effective marketing strategy that is getting the phone to ring, and you have probably trained your team in proper phone etiquette; but have you considered what happens if a prospective patient calls on nights and weekends?

If someone phones you after hours seeking information or to reschedule an appointment, they will likely leave a message or call back during regular business hours. However, a potential new patient who needs emergency dental treatment is more likely to hang up and call around until they get a person to answer. 

Many dental practices do not have phone coverage outside standard hours of operation or during lunch; others have an answering machine. Both can feel impersonal and frustrating to patients and prospects. 

If your patient discovers late one night or on a Sunday that they need to reschedule an appointment the next business day, chances are your team won’t hear the voicemail until it’s too late to make changes. If your phones are being answered outside working hours, issues like this can be addressed more promptly, leading to better scheduling and happier patients.

Meet ADCPA

If you are interested in 24/7 phone coverage, you can either hire an answering service or train your team to share the responsibility. If a professional answering service makes sense for you, talk to a dental accountant about the cost of building it into your budget and the possible return on investment it could yield. 

The other option, sharing the responsibility among team members, may cost you less and offer a more personal interaction. No one has better knowledge of your practice, your patients, and your schedule than your own team. Discuss with your accountant the most effective way to compensate team members for this time, such as paying them a set amount per shift or per call answered.

If you believe lack of 24-hour phone availability is detrimental to your business, talk to our team about adding this service into your fixed costs and exploring the tax ramifications. Arrange a free initial consultation today by contact one of our dental CPAs.