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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!

practice sales and use tax

Sales and Use Tax for Practice Owners

Over the past few years we have seen an increased focus by the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) on dentists for the audit of sales and use tax compliance. With this in mind, we want to work with our Practice owners to educate and proactively prevent the massive impact these audits can cause.

Sales tax is what we all expect to pay when we purchase items in our day-to-day lives. As a Practice owner, it is necessary to charge sales tax on certain items like electric toothbrushes. As a general rule of thumb, we tell our dental clients: If it leaves in the patient’s mouth, the items and services are NOT subject to sales tax. With this being said, everything else that does not leave in the patient’s mouth may be subject to the tax. If you are unclear which items this applies to, our team will work with you to review your product offerings and determine which items sales tax should be added to.

When looking at use tax, this is what applies when you purchase items from a vendor and they do not charge you tax. If you receive invoices for supplies and equipment or office supplies, your Practice is responsible for reporting this information. In addition, you must pay the sales tax the vendor did not charge. For example, this could be when Practice owners purchase items from out of state suppliers, online vendors, or small retailers.

While it can be time consuming and difficult, compliance with both parts of the tax is necessary. For this reason, one of our main goals is to implement procedures to ease the compliance process for our clients.

Best Practices

Each month you should total the number of items sold by your Practice that were subject to sales tax and forward to your accountant. Remember, review your Practice Management software reports as this information may already be shown.

For use tax, we recommend you include your office manager or a trusted member of staff in this process. This staff member must review all invoices from your vendors to verify if sales tax was charged. If not, those invoices should be set aside for payment of Use Tax. This information needs to be shared with your accountant on a regular basis.

To learn more about how we can support your Practice in this process, contact us!

Dental Practice Lifecycle: Sale of Practice & Retirement

After the start-up and acquisition phase and years of hard work growing your own dental Practice, you may be ready to hang up the gloves and retire but are not sure where to start.

The answer is to build a plan that starts years before you actually plan to retire or sell.  Having this conversation with your Practice advisory team in advance allows us the opportunity to guide you to that point and help achieve the maximum results for you and your Practice.

During this pre-retirement/sale time we find and develop answers for the hard questions like “What’s my Practice really worth?” and “How much cash will I receive from the sale?”  Using the answers to these questions we review options and prepare a plan to guide you to your best outcome.

Our Capital Advisors team has the ability to provide sell side representation to Practice owners in order to focus on finding qualified buyers. Over the years we have developed a process that allows us to find our clients the “right buyer” that may otherwise not have been found. This “right buyer” is the one who sees the most value in your Practice and is able to provide you, the seller, with the right offer.

Remember – the end of your dental Practice lifecycle is the beginning of the next generation’s lifecycle!

Continue checking back for our continuing dental blog series. Over the next few months, we will address subjects such as buying a dental practice, profit & loss statement explanation, and how sales tax impacts dentists, along with many other informative topics.

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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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Dental Practice Lifecycle: Start Up & Acquisition

Every dental Practice follows its own unique lifecycle, however, there are a few main phases it will pass through as it continues to grow and evolve that we’d like to focus on:

  • Start Up & Acquisition
  • Growth & Maintenance
  • Sale of Practice & Retirement

Before you enter any phase, we highly encourage any future Practice owner to seek out professionals who specialize in the dental industry.  There are many pain points that can be avoided by working with a CPA, attorney, banker, etc. who specialize in the dental industry and can guide you in the right direction from step one.  Once you have your Practice advisory team in place, it’s time to look at the next big questions: Do I want to start from scratch or purchase an existing Practice? And where will my funding come from?

Our dental team works with doctors on both sides of the start-up. With future Practice owners looking to start from scratch we develop a business plan to help obtain bank financing for the next steps in the ownership process. This document gathers and presents information related to many aspects of your future Practice: demographics of your proposed location, expected revenues and expenses, and a breakdown of desired loan funding just to name a few. Your business plan is what provides information to banks to show your Practice is a worthy investment. More importantly, it gives you a guideline and stepping stone to launch your Practice with confidence.

If you’d prefer to purchase an established Practice, our dental team works with you to find purchase options and review these options through our Practice Scorecard Analysis and due diligence process. Much like the Due Diligence period of buying a house, this is where you have a chance to review various aspects of the Practice and determine if it’s right for you. Many items are looked at during this but we help our clients to focus on what the historical financial data of the Practice shows and how it will apply to you, your future ownership of the Practice and if this coincides with your ownership goals.

Do you have your specialized team in place? From start-up services to exiting your practice, our team serves as strategic business advisors that are there with you every step of the way.

Next week, we will be discussing Phase 2: Growth and Maintenance.

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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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