Practice Health Insurance Options: Association Health Plans

A new rule issued by the Department of Labor in 2018 expanded the availability of association health plans (AHPs) for small businesses. AHPs allow small businesses to band together within industries, professions, or geographic regions to either purchase large-group coverage or self-insure.

In North Carolina, this is a popular option and it exists in many state for Dental Associations. The NC Dental Society offers an Association plan that allows a Practice owner to open up “group” insurance to his or her staff. More information about the plan specifics can be found here

Once the benefit is in place, it works much like a regular group policy or self-funded health insurance benefit would. However, AHPs aren’t subject to the ACA’s rating rule, which prevents insurers from varying costs in a specific region based on things like sex, age, or health status. They also don’t need to cover the essential health benefits that ACA-compliant policies do.

Administration is typically done by the association, rather than by the small business members.

AHPs can help cut costs, often by between $1,900 and $4,100 per employee per year. However, AHPs achieve these cost savings not only by widening the risk pool, but also by cutting out standard coverage items. The AHP may not cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, maternity care, or mental health services.

The NC Dental Society plans are competitive to group policies and offer a valid option for Practice owners. If you make the decision to offer the plan, you still need to understand your option on how you pay for the plan for employees and yourself – both of which have tax implications.

If you have questions or would like to connect with a health insurance partner in your area, contact us today!

Practice Health Insurance Options: Traditional Group

The traditional choice for most businesses is a group health insurance policy. This business chosen plan provides coverage to employees, and potentially, employees’ dependents. Depending on your Practice size, this traditional option may still be a good fit for you. However, for the majority of single doctor locations, this proves to be prohibitively expensive and is not the right solution. Practices that offer group health insurance pay a fixed premium for the policy, and then, pass on a portion of the premium cost to employees. For example, the employer may pay 50% of the premium and the employee is then responsible for paying 50%.

Where should you look for and acquire this type of insurance? There are 3 basic options:

Many Practices find that their staff likes the traditional option because it’s familiar to them. It is how many of us have had insurance for the majority of our lives. However, Practices also find the cost to be higher than one can afford. Your employee census and the benefits chosen will drive the cost. We suggest Practices at least consider this option and shop the pricing as a baseline to compare to other options discussed later.

If you have questions or would like to connect with a health insurance partner in your area, contact us today!

3 Ways Startups Benefit from Outsourced Accounting

The accounting function should be a main priority for startup businesses. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, about 80% of small businesses survive the first year. This seems like a high percentage considering the common belief is that most businesses fail within the first year. About half of those small businesses reach the five-year mark and only one in three makes it to 10 years. When starting a business, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to help you become successful. By outsourcing your accounting, the financial portion of your business will be headed in the right direction from day one.

Correct Set-Up

If you start outsourcing your accounting from the beginning, you can feel confident knowing your business financials will be set up correctly. When you start by doing your own accounting, it becomes difficult and expensive to migrate your data to a firm later.

Save Time & Energy

As a new business owner, your time is valuable. You should focus your time and energy on ideas, employees, products, and services instead of finances. Having an expert on your side will help you make important decisions on what accounting software should be used and ensure you are complying with tax and accounting standards. In addition, your outsourced accounting team will guarantee that your books are maintained properly and provide you with support in case of an audit.

Team of Professionals

Hiring an in-house finance team is both expensive and time consuming. There are many factors that go into choosing how many employees to hire and what qualifications they should have. As a business owner, you would also be responsible for training and managing these employees. When you outsource your accounting, you avoid these costs and time spent on the hiring and training process. Outsourcing allows you to work with professionals who have years of industry experience and are able to provide valuable insight to help you make the best business decisions.

Want to learn more about the benefits of outsourced startup accounting? Click here to start the conversation about the future of your business with LBA Haynes Strand.

Practice Health Insurance Options

You don’t have to look far to know that health insurance costs are on the rise. It’s becoming a hot topic for Practice owners and their employees. If you haven’t already been asked by your staff to add health insurance, or why the cost keeps going up, you likely will soon! As a Practice owner, you are faced with trying to juggle employee satisfaction and retention in addition to managing profit margins and cash flow. If you are considering adding health insurance, changing plans, or looking for ways to manage the cost, you can count yourself in a growing group of concerned Practice owners. Health insurance is a valued benefit for your staff and you need to make sure you can offer it at a sustainable cost to your overall margins.

You may ask yourself… why even offer it? It’s a hassle. It’s costly. Does my staff even really appreciate it? These questions have caused many Practice owners to procrastinate on offering it and others to drop it altogether. In 2019 and into the future, your Practice will face an increasingly competitive marketplace for talented staff. Health benefits can be a vital part of attracting and maintaining high quality talent.

Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are more options today for your Practice than ever before. Below, we’ve listed and will subsequently review some of the most popular health insurance options for Practices in 2019.

  • Traditional Group Health Insurance
  • Association Health Plans
  • Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRAs)
  • The “Bonus” Plan
  • PEO’s
Honorable Mentions:
  • Group-integrated HRAs
  • Self-funded Health Insurance

In full disclosure, the above are options for health coverage, just not common for the dental industry. Know they exist, but these should be viewed as an outlier solution for your Practice.

As each of the options above are considered for your Practice, our dental team can help you find the right partners in your market to help determine the best option for you, analyze the cost to your bottom line and industry standards, and project the cash flow impact to you as the owner (considering tax implications, including review of potential tax credits). Analyzing each of these options is a lot to tackle on your own so bringing in a qualified professional will be key.

In our following posts, we’ll review the basics of how these options work, the corresponding pros and cons, roadblocks to certain options, and highlight the right Practice profiles.

If you have questions or would like to be connected with a health insurance partner in your area, contact us today!

The Advantages of a Cloud-Based Accounting Firm

In this recent article by Journal of Accountancy, CEO John Bly explains how LBA Haynes Strand successfully transitioned to cloud-based technology. In today’s world it is necessary to be able to work remotely and have the same access as you would if you were in the office. Are you considering making the switch to the cloud? John shares three advantages our firm noticed after the transition.

Cost Savings – Switching to the cloud provided cost savings for our firm in 2009 because we were previously buying new servers every three to five years. Once on the cloud, we didn’t have to replace the servers any longer and were able to eliminate the outsourced IT department expense.

Increased Security – Cloud computing is actually more secure than having servers in-house. When we had servers in-house, someone could have broken into our office, taken our servers, and caused a lot of damage. With the cloud, our IT department can see any unusual logins and handle any issues immediately. We also don’t have to worry about the security of our laptops, since none of our employees have client data stored on laptops.

Reliability – We’ve lost power about 15 to 20 times and a couple of times it was out for two to three days. If our servers were in-house, no one would have been able to work. However, for 10 years we’ve been cloud-based and in secure underground facilities that rarely lose power. We have 99% uptime. If we lose our power at the office, it’s no big deal, as everyone has the ability to work from home. The data centers are facilities specifically designed to keep servers up and running and able to recover quickly from any problems.

You should no longer receive delayed responses or hear that your auditor or accountant is unable to properly do the work you need until they return to the office. Accounting firms that operate in the cloud offer you streamlined responses to all your accounting questions. LBA Haynes Strand is proud to be a cloud based firm and offers the best service possible to our clients.

To learn more about how we can support you and share in the benefits of cloud-based technology, contact us!

Why Should You Hire a Dental Specific CPA?

Whether you are a new dentist entering the market, an established dentist, or considering transitioning out of your Practice, having a dental specific CPA in your corner is the key to success. We live in a world of specialization. While a general accountant may be easy to find and work with, having a CPA with deep industry expertise on your side is vital to the success of your Practice. Our dental team is uniquely qualified and ready to support your Practice regardless of what stage you are in.

A few key solutions we provide are:

Specialized Tax Planning

As you become successful and grow your Practice, your tax situation becomes more complex. Dental specific CPAs are able to share techniques to lower your tax rate while increasing your tax savings.

Trends & Benchmarking

Our expertise extends beyond traditional tax planning and compliance. Our team is fully immersed in the dental industry which provides us with tangible insight on current trends and common issues to help you make educated business decisions.

Complete Lifecycle Support

From start-up to exiting your Practice, our team serves as strategic business advisors who are there with you every step of the way. For future Practice owners, we develop a business plan to help obtain business financing needed to take the next steps and launching your Practice confidently. When purchasing an established Practice, our team works with you to find and review purchase options through our Practice Scorecard Analysis and due diligence process. When it comes time to sell your Practice and retire, our team is able to provide sell side representation and focus on finding the right buyer who is able to provide you with the right offer.

Owning and managing a dental Practice can be quite challenging. Allow us take the dental accounting and tax preparation tasks off your hands so you can focus on providing high quality service to your patients. To learn more about how a dental specific CPA can support your Practice, contact us!

If you are interested in starting or acquiring a dental practice, check out our dental lifecycle blog series!

LBAHS Partners with Ceterus for Dental Practice Accounting

In an effort to serve our dental Practice accounting clients well, we are expanding our service offerings through a new partnership. We are proud to announce our partnership with accounting technology company, Ceterus. Through this strategic partnership, our firm will be better positioned to provide client accounting services, particularly for our growing client base in the dental industry.

Client accounting services (CAS) is a fast-growing and profitable business segment for CPAs. Building upon their highly successful automated accounting and benchmarked reporting solution, financial technology company Ceterus has designed a platform to automate the CAS practice for CPA firms.

“Our philosophy at LBA Haynes Strand is ‘accounting ahead of the curve,’ and we’re always looking for the best partners and tools to bring that idea to fruition,” says LBA Haynes Strand Principal, Brad McKeiver. “We needed a way to scale-up our services in the dental sector as we have grown. We want to continue allowing our team to spend time with clients, specifically in the advisory capacity and this helps us accomplish that goal. By leveraging Ceterus, we’re able to grow more efficiently while providing added value to our dental clients, which in turn helps them grow, too.”

In addition to automated bookkeeping, Ceterus provides LBA Haynes Strand with customized, industry-specific reporting, and benchmarking tailored to the needs of their dental clients. This technology empowers our CPAs to provide dentistry clients with industry best practices and strategic advisory services to increase Practice profitability and growth.

“As the industry landscape continues to change, client accounting services has become an increasingly important way for CPA firms to grow,” says Ceterus CEO Levi Morehouse. “We’re proud to provide the technology that enables firms like LBA Haynes Strand to focus on this value-add, while helping their SMB clients grow strategically.”

To learn more about how we can support you through our personalized dental Practice accounting solutions, contact us! If you would like to read more about our partnership with Ceterus, check out this article on Accounting Today!

Julie Ayers: Enterprising Women of the Year Award Honoree

Enterprising Women magazine has announced the winners for the 2019 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards. LBA Haynes Strand is excited to announce that Julie Ayers, Principal Member of LBA Haynes Strand, has been named an award honoree! The Enterprising Women of the Year Awards is an annual tribute to the world’s top women entrepreneurs. It is widely considered one of the most prestigious recognition programs for women business owners.

“The recipients of the 2019 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards represent an amazing group of women entrepreneurs from across the United States and as far away as India and South Africa,” said Monica Smiley, publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women. “We are so proud to recognize their accomplishments as CEOs of fast-growth companies, community leaders, and role models and mentors to other women and girls. We look forward to shining the spotlight on them at our 17th annual awards event in March.”

There are seven categories of award winners, based on annual sales. To see the complete list, click here.

In addition, Julie Ayers and LBA Haynes Strand want to congratulate the other women across the globe who were recognized for the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards. You can find more information or register to attend the awards celebration by clicking here.

Tax Deductible Expenses for Dental Associates

Are you a 1099 dental associate at one or more Practices and not sure what you can deduct? We have compiled a list of common business expenses you should keep record of in order to offset your contract income. This is not an all encompassing list and we encourage you to ask us about additional expenses if you are unsure.

Common dental associate expenses to keep record of include:

  • Continuing dental education, including travel and meals
  • Dues and subscriptions – state society, study clubs, publications, etc.
  • Cellular telephone
  • Meals that occurred for a business purposes
  • Uniforms (potentially including shoes)
  • Small dental equipment and supplies
  • Licensing and other fees
  • Legal and professional services
  • Advertising expenses
  • Business insurance (not life insurance) – most commonly malpractice insurance
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Mileage between offices, to purchase supplies, to the post office, etc. – not commuting mileage (from home to office)
  • Home office expense for the area of your home used exclusively for business purposes
  • Any non-reimbursed business expenses from the host practice

Tax season is right around the corner. Don’t wait until the last minute and miss deductions, start today! To learn more about how we can support you this tax season, contact us!

Winston-Salem Expansion

LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC is excited to announce that we are expanding our firm’s presence into the Winston-Salem market.

Winston-Salem is a continually developing city in the heart of the Piedmont-Triad and is currently experiencing the largest renovations and development the city has seen in over 15 years. According to Journal Now, recent estimates show the growth in Winston will continue to rise over the next few years and is expected to hit a population of 250,000 by the next census in 2020. We are excited about this expansion and believe our firm will fit in well with the Winston-Salem community.

If you are an individual or business owner in the Winston-Salem region and would like to schedule a no-cost consultation with an established certified public accounting firm, contact us. Our team is ready to work with you.

Courtney Ageon

Courtney Ageon: Promoted To Principal

LBA Haynes Strand is pleased to announce that effective January 1st, 2019, Courtney Ageon has been promoted to Principal. As a result, Courtney joins the principal leadership team. Courtney will remain focused on serving the tax, accounting, and audit needs of our clients across the southeast.

Dave Recchion, Greensboro Office Managing Partner, states, “Courtney is a natural leader and doesn’t need permission to lead. She has broken an extremely male dominated leadership barrier and proven that a woman is able to successfully achieve a healthy work-life balance. Consistently doing the right thing for the Firm and our clients, she effortlessly leads our team to success. LBA Haynes Strand would not be the same without her talent.”

After 20 years of service, this promotion is a result of Courtney’s hard work, loyalty to the Firm, commitment to our team, and dedication to providing quality tax services to her clients. She transitioned from an intern to a full-time staff member while attending graduate school and studying for the CPA exam. This was a true test of her time management skills. When LBAHS made the transition to paperless, Courtney lead the team with the development of internal best practices and training procedures.

Please join us in congratulating Courtney Ageon on this exciting promotion! Connect with Courtney on LinkedIn.

NCACPA Day of Service 2018

LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC participated in the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) Annual CPA Day of Service on September 21, 2018. Our employees volunteered their time with various organizations throughout North Carolina and focused on giving back to our local communities.

Our Mount Airy office focused on collecting canned food in order to support Yokefellow Ministry. Yokefellow assists others in need during times of crisis. One way they provide assistance is with food. There were collection boxes set up in the Mount Airy office for collections throughout the week and our team collected additional donations at Lowes Foods on Friday, September 21st.

The Matthews office of LBA Haynes Strand held a collection drive for pet food and supplies to donate to the Humane Society of Charlotte. Our team set up a table at Lucky Dog Bark & Brew on September 21st to collect remaining donations from those who were not able to stop by our office during the week. We had great participation from both our internal staff, clients, and members of the local community.

Our Greensboro office volunteered their time at BackPack Beginnings on September 21st by packing bookbags. BackPack Beginnings’ mission is to deliver child-centric services to feed, comfort, and clothe children in need.

Not only did some of our Greensboro team volunteer at Backpack Beginnings on Friday September 21st. We also had a few of our employees give back at the Out of the Garden Project the day before. You can read more about their efforts on the NCACPA blog!

The NCACPA Day of Service is one of the many ways our team gives back throughout the year. We have an annual LBAHS Day of Service and are always looking for new ways to become more involved in the community.