Dental Practice Lifecycle: Introduction

Over the next few weeks our dental team here at LBA Haynes Strand will be presenting a series of blog posts related to the lifecycle of a dental Practice. Items we will be highlighting include:

  • An overview and introduction to the stages within the dental Practice lifecycle
  • Key questions to ask when buying a dental Practice
  • Selling your dental Practice

As we move through these topics we will strive to provide up to date, informative and helpful information for today’s dental Practice owner whether you are in the first stages of starting your Practice or looking at retirement.

In the meantime, we would like to provide some additional information about a few members of our dental team here at LBA Haynes Strand:

Brad McKeiver, CPA, MBA, is a principal with our firm and leader of our Dental niche. He works extensively with dental professionals and Practices as a strategic business advisor to help our clients prosper. His name may sound familiar as Brad is active in the community through speaking and networking events. Through Brad’s leadership, our team has been able to lessen the tax and accounting burdens for our dental clients so that they can get back to focusing on their patients and their Practice.

Carrie Culpepper works as the lead dental accountant within our team. Using her extensive experience with QuickBooks Online she works alongside our clients to produce meaningful, reliable reporting to assist in business decisions and other areas of dental Practice ownership. Carrie relies on her background in theatre to help clients use their numbers and reporting to “tell the story” of their business and their success.

Katie Sabin is the newest member to our dental team. Katie focuses on ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the financial statements for all of our dental clients. She primarily concentrates on preparing monthly reports for clients in order to deliver them the most precise and up to date information for their business. Her enthusiasm and eagerness to expand her knowledge on the dental industry makes her a great addition to our team!

We look forward to sharing our knowledge with you as we work through the lifecycle of a dental Practice.

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Dental Practice Lifecycle: Growth & Maintenance

After the start-up and acquisition phase is complete and you have a regular patient base established, you’ll find yourself in the growth and maintenance phase.  At this point, you may be wondering how your Practice compares to others in the industry or maybe you’re ambitious and curious about growing into a two-Practice owner (three-Practice, four-Practice or more)!

As you progress through your Practice ownership lifecycle, benchmarking becomes increasingly important.  This helps to provide information on areas your practice may be able to improve upon.  For example, did you know the average dental Practice pays about 18.4% of their revenues in clinical wages?  This means if your Practice collects $50,000 in a single month, about $9,200 should be paid in wages to your hygienists and assistants that month.  How does your Practice compare?  Reviewing these industry averages monthly can help guide decision making within your practice.  We will go into more detail on these averages later in this blog series.

If owning one Practice is going smoothly, you may be curious about the possibility of purchasing/starting a second Practice.  Our team is able to work alongside you to review your current Practice’s financial standings and the different ways you can grow into a two-Practice owner.  We work to answer questions like ”How will hiring an associate at my first practice impact my bottom line while I’m working at the second practice?” and  “Can the cash flow of my first Practice help support the second Practice?” along with many others.

Our dental team has worked to develop various financial tools to help measure your practice against others and its potential for growth.  These tools include our monthly industry standards comparison to your practice and our Practice Scorecard which can be used to review options for the purchase of additional Practices.

Check back next week for the third and final phase of the Dental Practice Lifecycle: Sale of Practice & Retirement.

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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!

dental accounting mistakes

Dental Accounting Mistakes

Simple accounting mistakes can cause major financial problems for a growing dental Practice. In order to avoid these, Practices must have an accurate and well-maintained accounting system in place.

Understand the differences between cash flow and profit.

Many dentists and in-house accounting staff do not understand financial reports and may wrongly assume profit equals cash available. This mistake could result in a Practice owner making purchases and incurring penalty and overdraft fees. For this reason, it is important to know the different between the two.

Profit is the result of revenue less expenses for a certain period of time. Cash flow is money moving in and out of the business from the beginning to the end of a month. If a Practice owner wants to know how much money the Practice has available, they are looking for the cash flow number.

Do not accidentally record transactions in a previous period.

It is important to “close the books” on a monthly basis. A common mistake is to accidentally enter transactions from a previous period. This will result in balance adjustments that do not match the bank balance or financial reports. If this error goes unnoticed, all future reports, tax documents, and cash figures will be incorrect. The mistake can become a larger issue and result in misrepresentation of cash and penalties from the IRS.

Use an industry standard chart of accounts.

When building your accounting system, a dental accountant should set up and track accounts according to dental industry standards. Our dental team focuses on establishing a dental specific chart of accounts. This way, we can provide the insight necessary to streamline and grow your Practice.

Work with a dental specific CPA.

It can take a while for owners to notice mistakes made by inexperienced accounting employees. For example, they may not realize a mistake has been made until they receive high tax bills, notice incorrect cash account reconciliations, or theft occurs. For this reason, it is crucial for Practice owners to work with an experienced dental specific CPA.

Our team of professionals wants to help you save time, money, and implement an effective accounting system. To learn how we can support your Practice, contact us!

Criminals Stole Data From 330,000 Taxpayers Off IRS Website

This week, the IRS reported that the initial data breach on taxpayer data was much worse than initially stated… 3 times worse. Back in May, we reported that the breach had compromised 100,000 accounts, based on initial reports from the IRS. After conducting an extensive review covering the 2015 filing season, the IRS realized that the number of accounts that had been breached was actually more like 330,000. However, we are sure this number will rise in the coming months.

The cyber group that remains unnamed, attacked the IRS through the “Get Transcript” tool. This group then duped “Get Transcript” by using previously acquired stolen information and downloading millions of people’s tax documents. “Get Transcript” has since been disabled to prevent any more fraud.

How Do You Know If You Are A Victim?

The IRS will be sending letters to each taxpayer whose information has been breached that warns them of potential identity theft. It is very important that if you receive this letter, you contact your CPA or you follow the steps that the IRS recommends to protect you from future issues. This includes an extra PIN number to protect your future tax filings and free credit protection.

Are You Safe Now?

The answer unfortunately is no. Off of tax forms, these criminals had access to salary, family information, property and investment values. In addition to identity theft, these criminals are able to claim bogus tax refunds and are also able to open lines of credit in your name. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure anyones information in the digital age.

Remember: The IRS will not call, email or send you letters for your personal information in response. Scammers and thieves see this as an open opportunity. These thieves will try emailing malicious links to alleged receipt of funds or calling taxpayers and posing as the IRS to receive funds. If you have a situation occur and you receive an email or a phone call from the IRS, contact your CPA. Your CPA will be able to tell you if it is a scam or not. Contact LBA Haynes Strand regarding a scam attempt – click here – and our team will get back to you ASAP!

Creating A Strategic Plan For 2016

As the year end approaches, now is the perfect time to think about your strategic plans and growth strategies for 2016.  Your growth strategies and strategic plan should be focused on the upcoming year as well as three to five years down the road.  You have to understand exactly where your business is and have a vision of where you want your company to be in the future.  If you don’t have a plan that looks toward the future, you risk not ever growing your business.

One of the most important places to start is to build a budget.  As you are building your budget for 2016, and for your long term (3-5 year) strategy – think about the following questions:

  • Where do you want to be?
  • What size do you want to be?
  • Do you want to sell your company?

All of these questions should be asked on a yearly basis as you look three to five years into the future.  The answers to these questions will determine the day to day operational decisions you make.  If you are going to sell your company in two years, then maximizing current profitability is key – in order to show potential of the business.  If you are going to sell in 5 years and you need to grow significantly, then you may consider doing an acquisition.

Another item to think about is if you have the resources who can help you effectively sell your business or help you complete an acquisition?  Do you know how to set your company up to maximize the value you receive through a sale?  Teaming with a certified public accountant can help you with this. CPAs are notorious for having a wealth of resources and contacts that can help you build a network of advisors.  Whether it be an attorney, a wealth management advisor, a capital advisor, a bank, or SBA lender – CPAs can put you in touch with the right people.

Creating a strategic plan is essential to your business.  It is something that can help you identify the best opportunities for growth, understand potential financial results, and provide you with a detailed and focused plan that you can communicate to your team.

If you would like to learn more about how LBA Haynes Strand can help you achieve your long term goals, click the button below for a no-cost consultation!

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.

Condominium Association Audit Guide

We understand that condominium association board members are volunteers who often do not have time to devote to a lengthy audit engagement process. In addition, they do not want to be constantly concerned about the “meter-running” or the resulting financial surprise of billable hours beyond their initial quote. LBA Haynes Strand offers a streamlined process to reduce time and create efficiencies for board members and their respective management company.

Condo Association By-Laws often require an annual Audit, Review or Compilation by an independent Certified Public Accountant. When complying with these by-laws, Board members fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to the Association.

What is the difference between an Audit, a Review, and a Compilation?
Audit

A Condo Association audit provides the highest level of assurance from an independent certified public accountant. Selecting an independent CPA that specializes in Condo Associations allows the Board and management to work with a professional that is in tune with the intricacies of their Association. An audit is much more in-depth in terms of scope than a compilation or a review type of engagement. The independent CPA is going to opine on the financials, that are the responsibility of the Association, provided to the independent auditor by either the Board or the management company.

Review

A financial review is less in scope than an independent audit, but more involved than a compilation. It provides you with limited assurances from the independent CPA over the financial statements as a whole. Review procedures involve inquiry and analytical procedures to determine if there is a material modification.

Compilation

In comparison, a compilation is far less in scope than a review. It provides no assurance or opinion on the financial statements.

Which of the three levels of service is right for my Condo Association?

Some Condo Associations require an audit while others require a review or a compilation, and in most cases, this is spelled out in the by-laws.

How much do these services cost?

The fees of each engagement are dependent on the controls and the processes of each management company. To receive an accurate and fair quote from LBA Haynes Strand, contact us for a no-cost consultation. Our team is happy to discuss your condominium association audit needs.

10 Common Internal Control Deficiencies Found in Small Businesses

The following 10 common internal control deficiencies found in small businesses can cause the loss or damage of assets, loss of resources, and a decline in revenue. These deficiencies can easily be rectified by slightly changing or modifying existing processes or introducing basic internal controls:

1. Inadequate documentation / records
Documentation provides evidence of the underlying transactions. It is the input to establishing proper financial records. Financial documents should be pre-numbered to ensure all transactions are recorded and accounted for. This will help to prevent recording of the same transaction twice, as there should not be any duplicate numbers in your system. With proper numbering of documentation, tracing documents that relate to follow up queries/claims and questions from customers or owners of prior transactions will be easy.Proper documentation would most probably provide satisfactory answers to most, if not all, financial transaction related questions. Furthermore, adequate documentation will ease the process of compiling financial records and completing tax returns.

2. Key business cycles not properly defined 
Managers and owners don’t see the need to create written policies and procedures or just even basic flowcharts defining the key business processes, as some small business processes appear to be uncomplicated. However, this is probably one of the most unused control tools where the most value can be added with little effort. An effective procedure can align business objectives and help establish best practice operating procedures. As businesses have different focus areas, different cycles will be important to your business but for most businesses the following processes will be critical. Sales and Accounts Receivable, Cash Management, Banking Procedures, Purchases, and Accounts Payable. For a business selling goods, inventory controls will be an important cycle. Documenting key controls in each of these cycles will provide transparency and consistency. Specific roles and responsibilities in each of these cycles can easily be assigned to specific individuals. When improvements and changes are made to your processes, employees can quickly be informed, trained, and brought up to speed.

3. Lack of control with authorization of transactions 
Authorization of purchases should occur before the commitment of resources. Depending on the size of the business, levels of authority can be introduced to better eliminate the risk of inappropriate spending. For example, with orders above a certain dollar value, say $1,000, more than one quotation should be obtained which could ultimately reduce your overall expenditure. Authorizing of transactions before placing orders provides the owners/managers the opportunity to evaluate different purchasing options, and make sure items or services obtained will support the business objectives.

4. No oversight and review  
Small business owners many times get so involved in the day to day operations of the business that they tend to neglect performing basic review procedures. Business owners should take some time and interest in the financial records. This is an important aspect of fraud prevention. Not a lot of time is required to review monthly revenues, expenditure reports, inventory reports, budget vs. actual amounts, and variance reports. Having a more hands on approach will give the owner invaluable feedback on how the business is performing and where any potential problem areas or poor performance areas may exist. Review of the financial records is a critical component and input for better decision making. The frequency of the review of financial data depends on the volume of transactions and type of business, however, the review of financial data should generally be conducted on a monthly basis.  

5. Dated or ineffective information systems  
Small businesses run on lean resources and very little time is often spent evaluating information systems. Investing time in this area could add a lot of efficiencies in the long run.  List the systems in your business and the key performance measures you need from each. Working systematically though these will help you stay competitive and efficient. Many user-friendly software systems are out there which could shorten processing and operating cycles – and are not that expensive to operate. 

6. Lack of physical & logical security  
Lack of physical security of business assets and resources could result in the loss or damage to assets and resources. Access to equipment, petty cash, and check stock should be restricted to appropriate individuals and stored or locked in an appropriate secure location. Computer equipment and networks should be password protected and computer passwords should be changed regularly. Having firewalls and protective devices or software on computer systems is an important component to help prevent security breaches.  Protection of personal information and banking information are becoming increasingly important with the increase in risk of identity/credit card theft. Personal and employee data should be encrypted and stored in secure folders.

7. No formal ethical policies and procedures 
This control may not seem to be crucial for the success of a business, but without clear guidelines on the use of the business assets and expectations, in terms of integrity and ethics from employees, businesses can expose themselves to inefficiencies and misappropriation of assets.  A code of ethics is an open disclosure of the way an organization operates.  A well written and thoughtful ethics policy can serve as a communication vehicle that reflects important values and goals of the business.  It can provide guidelines of how employees should deal with potential misbehavior and/or misappropriation of assets and can provide alignment with regard to company values and commitments.

8. Job roles and responsibilities not clearly defined 
Employees are your most important assets and as a small business you are very reliant on your employees.  They are representatives with customers, suppliers, and competitors. For this valuable resource to be effective in your business you will need to provide clear direction and define appropriate roles and responsibilities for each employee.  Job roles and responsibilities should be clear and preferably be in writing.  This will ease the process of separating duties discussed in the next section.  New employees will quickly be able to reference back to their responsibilities and understand their roles better.   

9. Lack of separation of duties 
Small businesses are susceptible to fraud by their own employees as they may have a few employees with multiple roles. Each employee should have specific job responsibilities, preferably in writing to ensure there is no confusion in assigned job roles and responsibilities.  Generally, assigning different people the responsibilities of authorizing transactions, recording transactions, and maintaining custody of related assets such as cash and credit cards provides for more effective internal control and less opportunities for misappropriation of assets. 

10. Inadequate disaster recovery, backups and business continuity plans   
The importance of backups and business continuity are many times under-emphasized.  Systems can be designed so that back-ups are performed automatically and on a regular basis.  Backups should be made based on transaction volume and stored off-site.  To re-create data can be painful, time consuming, or not practical at all.  Business Continuity plans outline how recovery will be accomplished in case of a disaster.  Long term power outages or disruptions, offices not available for long periods of time, and loss of staff on a large scale are not that uncommon and can happen. Planning ahead for disasters before they strike is important to the survival of your business.  A disaster recovery plan typically consists of an emergency plan, disaster recovery plan, and a continuity plan.  

Changing your approach towards internal controls in your business in these 10 key areas, can make your business grow! Implementing control tools in these areas can be accomplished in a fairly easy manner and in a short amount of time. Consult your local accountant or auditor for advice with some of the technical financial processes and controls. Changing your focus in these 10 areas, will add a lot of value to your business over the long run!

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!

Charlotte Business Journal Fast 50 List Revealed

The Charlotte Business Journal has released their Fast 50 list for 2015. This list honors the 50 fastest growing private companies in the Charlotte region. LBA Haynes Strand is honored to have made the list for the second year in a row and continues to make firm growth a priority.

We are excited to once again join this exceptional list of Charlotte companies. Our approach to being a growth-oriented CPA Firm has led us to opportunities to grow through mergers and acquisitions as well as organically. In 2004, the LBA Haynes Strand’s Matthews office was started by John Bly and his wife Darci. The firm was known as Bly & Bly at the time. Over the next eleven years, the firm grew through a series of eleven mergers and acquisitions, including our most recent merger in 2014. These mergers have allowed the firm to grow from $0 to $8 million in revenue in a relatively short period of time and has provided the opportunity to grow our footprint in Charlotte and across North Carolina. With offices now in Matthews, Mount Airy, and Greensboro – we have become a regional CPA Firm.

Our geographical footprint isn’t the only thing that has been changed as a result of our growth strategy. We have also seen growth in our suite of service offerings that we are able to offer to clients. In the Triad we now have a large employee benefit plan audit practice, in Matthews we have a Capital Advisory arm of the firm, and overall we have grown our Sarbanes Oxley, Construction, Manufacturing, and Non-Profit Niches with the experience of key employees and the leadership of our Partner Group.

Thank you to the Charlotte Business Journal for including LBA Haynes Strand on this list and congratulations to the other 49 companies that have been honored as well.

To learn more about LBA Haynes Strand, set up a time to meet with one of our team members in Matthews, Greensboro, or Mount Airy!

Charitable Contributions from Your IRA: What You Need To Know

Taxpayers that are age 70 and a half may direct their IRA to make a direct contribution to a qualified charity of up to $100,000.  This contribution counts toward the required minimum distribution.  The advantage to this is that the distribution to the charity is not included in the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI).  This could further reduce their tax since certain taxes, income and deduction items are directly affected by AGI.  Only an IRA is eligible to make this contribution.  SEP IRA’s and other qualified retirement plans are not eligible.

Congress is currently considering significant changes to the tax code.  One of these changes is to significantly increase the standard deduction amount so that fewer taxpayers will be able to itemize their deduction.  At least one of the proposals also eliminates the state tax deduction from itemized deductions.  If these changes are passed, then the ability to make charitable contributions from IRA’s will be much more valuable for taxpayers aged 70 and a half if Congress does not also make changes to the contribution rules.

Stay tuned to the news and to our blog for updates as Congress works through the proposed tax changes.  If you have any questions, please click the button below to speak with one of our Certified Public Accountants.