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Who's Handling Your Dental Practice Finances?

If you’re not certain who’s handling your dental practice finances, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean it’s a comfortable position to be in. Making certain that your dental practice finances are in the right hands is critical to your practice’s financial success.
Ed Rabinowitz
PUBLISHED: Monday, March 13, 2017


Who’s minding the store? Sounds like a silly question, yes? But if your answer is, “I don’t know,” or “I just have my office manager handle all finances,” then it might not be such a silly question.
 
Having your practice finances in reliable hands is imperative, says Jason Champagne, D.D.S., principal of Sparks, Nevada-based Champagne Dental. And he speaks from experience.
 
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In 16 years of practice, Champagne has run the gamut as far as how practice finances have been handled. In the beginning, he paid all the bills and balanced the checkbook. Eventually he brought in a bookkeeper whom “I tried to keep a close watch on.” Now the organization has grown to where he has a dedicated account team.
 
“But I do believe that (handling practice finances) is an area that a lot of smaller solo practices tend to overlook because of the busyness of the day and the focus on clinical dentistry,” he says.
 
A WATCHFUL EYE
Champagne recalls the time when practice revenues weren’t at their current level, and he had to employ an individual who perhaps wasn’t as skilled in handling finances and pay them a lower dollar-per-hour figure. He also had to watch them more closely. That’s a precautionary tactic that smaller or solo practitioners must follow.
 
They should also request regular updates.
 
“If you’re going to have somebody paying your bills — kind of doing the bookkeeping, accounts payable and maybe even payroll — you should be getting updates at least monthly and understand the processes they’re going through,” Champagne says. “And then their CPA should be doing various audits to make sure the person handling the money is handling it appropriately.”
 
There is a direct correlation, Champagne says, between having the right people handling practice finances and the financial health of the practice. That correlation comes from the ability of the dentist to focus less on the actual task of managing the finances. He or she now is able to spend more time promoting their treatment plans, and delivering the dentistry that they were trained so well to do.
 
“A lot of times dentists get distracted in the day-to-day,” he says. “If we’re caught up in, ‘Did this bill get paid?’ those things are distractions from the product line.”
 


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