Embezzlement is real - it happens to way too many doctors. You put someone you trust in charge of your practice finances and suddenly things just aren't adding up. It’s often those we “couldn’t operate without” that are damaging our practice the most. Take your eyes off the cookie jar and what do you think happens? A practice billing $100,000 per month could have $75,000 embezzled a year and not notice the difference. How can you prevent this? Consistently pay attention to your finances and the behaviors of your employees. Don’t leave one person in charge of all the financial aspects of your practice. When you see signs of embezzlement, respond quickly and thoroughly. Reach out for expert help in dealing with embezzlement problems. Here are some common signs of embezzlement.
- • An employee is having financial difficulty.
- • An employee’s personality changes.
- • An employee flaunts newfound wealth.
- • An employee is always first to arrive and last to leave.
- • An employee is very controlling.
- • An employee is taking work home.
- • An employee is resistant to change.
- • An employee is constantly working overtime without sufficient reason.
- • An employee never takes vacation, sick, or personal days.
Am I doing this right? Do you know where your money is going? What are my peers doing? Can I do this better? Benchmarking allows you to compare your practice with the “benchmarks” of the rest of your industry. Meaning you’ll get a side by side comparison of what it should look like if you are in fact “doing this right.” How can you properly benchmark? Where do you get these standards from? Well, generally speaking they come from experience. Many professionals involved in the daily operations of dental practices such as Dental CPAs, Dental Attorneys or others working exclusively within your industry are familiar with what the “majority” are accomplishing, giving you an understanding of what your practice is capable of and what kind of profits you can expect if you can achieve those numbers.
Where are all my profits? You work so hard both clinically and as an entrepreneur, surely there should be more profits than this? Why don’t I just associate somewhere and avoid all the headaches? True, if you associate at another practice you will avoid the headaches of dealing with payroll, benefits, overhead, taxes (some), etc… However the benefits of owning your practice far outweigh the drawbacks. But how do you ensure that you’re not going to fall victim to “disappearing profits?” Watch them. Keep track of the cash flow of your practice and you will never be caught by surprise. You’re a busy person, how can you watch your finances constantly? Thankfully there are professionals out there that specialize in this exact thing. You’re amazing at what you do, stick to it, leave the boring stuff to “boring stuff experts.”
Where am I going? It feels like I am on a treadmill and watching the years tick by with no real progress. The years go by so fast and I wonder if I am trading days for dollars. You are! You started this practice to build something. You’re an entrepreneur, a builder of your business. Would you build a house without a blueprint? Of course not. So why would you build a dental practice without a plan? You may have a goal, an end result in mind for how you’d like to culminate your dental career, but is it in writing? If you get sidetracked, do you have a plan to help you back on course? Every day spent off course means you ARE trading days for dollars. Darren Hardy, in his book The Compound Effect states that we’re only on course 20% of the time, the rest of the time we must be constantly correcting our path in order to reach our goal. Otherwise who knows where you could end up. In the immortal words of Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Big Tax Surprise – “Congratulations, last year was great! You now owe Uncle Sam $50k and of course you have been saving for this, right?” Tax time and CPAs go hand-in-hand, the problem lies in the frequency you talk to them. Once a year you discuss your finances with the one person that knows your practice better than you (financially speaking) and could help you make beneficial decisions year-round. There are consultants, Dental CPAs and many other professionals that can help with these matters, just make sure they are specific to the dental industry, it makes a HUGE difference. Avoid getting blindsided by a heavy tax burden come tax time by utilizing the services of an expert all year long.