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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.

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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. 

Smart Ways to Plan for Retirement | Dental CPA Near Me


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No matter how long you have been practicing dentistry, it’s important to put a retirement plan in place. Act now to create a realistic savings timeline for a comfortable senior lifestyle. Here are some questions to ponder as you consider your retirement strategy. 

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How much are you currently saving? When you meet with our dental accounting team, you will review the details of your P&L, taxes, and your long-term savings objective. During retirement, it may be beneficial to change some of your investments to help your savings outpace inflation.

Do you have an exit strategy? If you are a dental practice owner or partner, it would be helpful to create a written agreement about who will buy you out when you retire. Ask yourself whether you plan to retire outright or work part-time. Think about how your retirement savings will be affected by taxes. These issues and more should inform your strategic plan for retirement. Our dental accounting firm can guide you through details of the transition process.

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What do you plan to do during retirement? If you have your heart set on starting a new venture, traveling more, or embracing a hobby, you may have to plan for shifting priorities and greater living expenses. The economy continues to change, and it is worth your while to lean on experts to help future-proof your lifestyle. 

How long will you be retired? Advances in modern medicine have increased life expectancy dramatically. Depending on your health and family history, you may want to plan as though you will live to be 100 and estimate your needs accordingly. Have you considered long-term care insurance, for example?

What other expenses will change? Retirement may eliminate your commute, work wardrobe, and team lunches; however, for most people, the golden years is a time of higher costs for medical care and prescriptions. Talk with us about the types of budget changes that are likely to occur during retirement.

Don’t let decisions for the future creep up on you, even if you are young and healthy. For more information on tax planning and looking ahead to a comfortable retirement, contact our office and schedule a complimentary initial consultation. We are experts in helping dentists achieve their goals during their active working life and beyond; contact us today.

How Patient Complaints Can Help Your Business | Dental CPA

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No one likes to see a patient complaint. Unfortunately, you can be the most compassionate dentist with an exemplary team and follow procedures to a T, and still get a few complaints. Our advice: use them as opportunities.

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The complaint may have a kernel of truth or completely baseless; the important takeaway is this: handle with care: about 94 percent of people use online reviews to choose a business; you do not want a complaint to snowball into a bad review. That can quickly lead to a loss of revenue. That is why it is critical to respond to them.

When complaints are brought to your attention, you and your team may feel frustrated, discouraged or annoyed. That is normal. It can also be easy to feel cavalier about a complaint you see as minor. After all, some complaints are objective: the office décor, wait times, or insurance issues that are completely out of your hands.

Handle All Complaints with Respect

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Even concerns that feel trivial or unfair to you should be handled respectfully. That means making the patient feel heard; letting them know that you take the complaint seriously; and promising to look into it. Here are the steps you should take:

Acknowledge and thank your patient for bringing their concerns to you, without judgment: “I appreciate your taking the time to let me know what you experienced.”

Affirm by repeating the complaint back to the patient: “So you’re saying you had to wait 40 minutes for your appointment and no one checked on you. I’m sorry to hear that.”

Commit to taking action to correct the situation, if warranted. “Sometimes things get backed up. I’ll talk to the front desk team to make sure they are letting you know if there’s a delay.”

 Thank them again: “I do thank you for taking the time to let me know what happened. We appreciate that you put your trust in our practice and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you are satisfied.”

Follow through on your commitment, you will earn loyalty from that patient. A complaint is an opportunity for you to cement a patient’s trust.

Keep Building Patient Loyalty

Patient loyalty is a fragile thing, so it is essential to maintain it. Loyalty can translate into fewer rescheduled or cancelled appointments, increased case acceptance, and even referrals to friends, family, and social media connections. Over time, handing one complaint correctly can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue. It is also the right thing to do.

However, if patients leave your office feeling that their concerns were not heard, they are unlikely to refer others to you, or worse, complain on online reputation sites and social media.

Satisfied patients help keep your revenue flowing; our firm is there to keep it strong. Call us for all your dental accounting services.

Can One Toxic Employee Spoil Your Practice? | Dental Accountants

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Hiring new employees is time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes expensive. It’s no wonder, then, that many businesses find it more cost-effective and less emotionally taxing to retain employees, even if they turn out to be a negative influence. Enter the devastating effect of the toxic employee. 

Dental offices tend to be small and close-knit, which makes it even more difficult to confront someone about their behavior and let them go. While finding the right fit for your practice can be a challenge, holding onto a toxic team member can be far more costly.

What is a Toxic Employee?

A toxic employee may be a competent worker, or started out that way, and they may be decent people at heart. For whatever reason, however, their actions and attitude become a drag on the workplace culture. See if you recognize these red flags in your practice:

  • Poor attitude: This type of person will exhibit passive-aggressive characteristics. They may agree with a directive on the surface, but accompany it with eye-rolling, exaggerated sighs, sarcastic comments, muttering, complaints, or a confrontational tone.
  •  Dishonesty: Whether blaming others for their own mistakes, refusing to accept responsibility, or outright lies and thefts, this type of toxic employee can harm your bottom line as well as morale – especially if you don’t confront it. 
  • Lack of engagement: This type of employee avoids work, lacks enthusiasm and is lackadaisical toward responsibilities. They are often inattentive at meetings and huddles. 
  • Falling work performance: The toxic employee will not do any more than the bare minimum of what is expected. They appear disinterested in feedback or training and are otherwise unwilling to improve.
  • Bullying behavior: Anyone who intimidates other team members, is disruptive, or otherwise makes others feel uncomfortable, could be a toxic employee. 

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If you recognize any of these indicators, you have two choices. You can give them another chance or let them go. There is almost always an underlying reason for someone’s toxic attitude: The employee may be going through personal turmoil or carrying forth maladaptive behaviors from childhood. Some toxic employees don’t even realize they are behaving in a negative way until someone points it out. 

While practices are often family-like, keep any discussion strictly work-related. Outline your findings in a factual manner and document, if possible. Create an improvement plan and a timeline. Consult labor laws in your state for additional guidance. 

Your second choice is to outright fire the toxic employee. You may have no choice if you have found an issue that puts patients at risk or involves financial malfeasance.   

If you are still on the fence about letting a negative team member go, consider these consequences of keeping a toxic employee.

  • Loss of new patients: If a toxic employee is interacting with potential patients, they are creating a negative image of your business, which can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Loss of existing patients: If they are treated poorly even once, they may choose to take their oral care elsewhere – and they may tell other people.
  • Loss of your best team members: Your best people want to work in a positive environment where they feel supported and appreciated. By tolerating the complaints, bullying, or shoddy work of one toxic person, you risk losing valuable team members.

Don’t compromise your business or your best team members by refusing to fire toxic employees. For more strategies to improve your practice, contact our office.

Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews | Academy of Dental CPAs

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Finding a bad review of your practice is a slap in the face and it happens even to the most conscientious practitioners. Someone might be having a bad day and take it out of you. Sometimes the review is deserved and presents a growth opportunity. While we all act differently to criticism, the one thing you should not do is ignore a bad review. When ignored, negative feedback can have a detrimental impact on your practice. 

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Can You Afford to Lose Patients to Bad Reviews? 

Potential patients who are considering using your dental services will invariably look at your reviews. If any bad reviews are ignored, they may not give you a second glance. They might make the assumption that you don’t care about your patients or care to address deficits. That is a sure way to lose out on new business and any referrals they might make in the future. This applies not only to potential patients but current ones who keep track of reviews. 

Reviews are (Usually) Forever

Negative feedback on review sites is usually there, out in public, for all time. It is difficult if not impossible to remove bad reviews. This creates a lasting list of negative impressions on your practice that can be referenced by others. That is why it is important for dentists to address poor reviews whenever possible. Show the client or customer that you care about their thoughts. Do not attack; stick to facts and apologize if warranted. While it may not win a patient back, it may be appealing to future patients, especially if you also have many positive reviews.  

Show You Respect Your Patients

No one wants to be treated disrespectfully; we all want our voices heard and to be valued as individuals. If you ignore negative reviews, you are essentially telling both the reviewer and prospective patients that you don’t care what they have to say. While some reviewers just want to be nasty (or may be competitors trying to sabotage you), legitimate patients who do complain feel passionately enough about your business to voice their concerns. If you don’t validate those concerns, expect them to take their business elsewhere. 

Missing a Chance to Learn

You are not perfect; no one is. Mistakes present an opportunity for leaders to learn. It is even better when a patient presents those mistakes clearly. This will allow you to learn why the mistake happened and how to fix it so it doesn’t happen in the future. If you ignore feedback, you open the door to a mistake happening again. Negative reviews offer a chance to learn and grow your business; if you ignore them you miss that opportunity.

Great reviews are not the only ones that can help improve your practice. Bad reviews present an opportunity to learn from them and grow. If you choose to ignore poor reviews, the consequences could be disastrous. Not only could you lose current patients, but prospects, too. 

When you see a negative review, take a step back and see what you can learn from the experience. Address their concerns, by telephone if possible, and make every effort to create positive experiences in the future.

Contact our Academy of Dental CPAs team for a consultation today on other ways to grow your business.