Richmond Dental Consultant | Combat Burnout to Increase Production

Dental Consultant in Richmond

Dental Consultant Near MeHave you ever felt tired, stressed, and overwhelmed to the point where it impacts your production numbers? Burnout can happen to all dentists and their teams. Yes, this includes you. Before burnout starts to significantly impact your practice, you need to know how to recognize it and how to manage it.

Identify Signs of Burnout

If you start to feel unfocused, tired, or bored, you may be experiencing burnout. Does your team lack the enthusiasm they once possessed? When you start to notice these clues and behaviors, take action immediately. You and your team have invested countless hours in building a fulfilling career in dentistry. Don’t allow a temporary period of burnout to cause you to question your work. Instead, it’s time to reinvigorate your attitude.

Identify the Problem Areas

When production numbers begin to slip, look at where your numbers are starting to drag. A dental CPA can help you identify areas where your numbers a falling. When a department’s numbers begin to sink, your team members can start to feel low, impacting the office’s overall morale. Identifying the problem area allows you and your team to find and implement a solution before dissatisfaction spreads.

Identify New Areas to Explore

If you are experiencing burnout, the time may be right to learn a new skill. Sign up for a CE course or workshop on a subject that is new or intriguing. By expanding your skills, you can increase the number of services you provide, which can turn sagging appointment numbers around. Could your team benefit from additional courses? You may want to try selecting a course the entire team can participate in together. Not only will you all be learning new applicable skills, but you will be improving your relationships with each other which will lead to improved morale.

Burnout will happen to even the best dental team. When you start to notice the signs of burnout, don’t wait for things to improve on their own. Be proactive and identify the areas you or the team could improve. Whether it is improving the number of hygiene appointments, or taking a new CE course, take action immediately to combat signs of burnout.

A dental CPA team can help you evaluate areas of opportunity.

Contact our office today.

Richmond Dental Consultant | Planning for Retirement

Dental Consultant in Richmond, VA

Dental Consultant Near MeWhether you have been working for 3 years or 30, it is important to have a retirement plan in place. Unfortunately, many people have never taken the time to create a realistic estimate of what kind of savings they will need to enjoy the lifestyle they want during retirement years. Here are a few key factors that influence how much you should be saving to ensure that you can retire comfortably on schedule.

  1. How long will you be retired? Advances in modern medicine have increased life expectancy over the past decades. Depending on your health and family history, you may want to plan as though you will live to 100 and estimate your needs accordingly.
  2. What do you plan to do during retirement? If you are planning to travel more, visit family members more frequently, or embrace a hobby, you may have increased living expenses compared to your working years.
  3. What other expenses will change? Your commute, work clothes, and business lunches may stop, but you may have higher costs for medical care and prescriptions. Talk with our financial planner about the types of changes to your budget that are likely to occur during retirement.
  4. How much are you currently saving? When you meet with our financial planner, you will review the details of your current retirement savings plans and how your portfolio is performing. During retirement, it may be beneficial to continue some of your investments to help your savings outpace inflation.
  5. Do you have a withdrawal strategy? If you are an owner or partner in your business, is there a written agreement for buying you out when you retire? Do you plan to transition by working part time for a year or more or should you stop all at once? How are your retirement savings affected by taxes? All these and more should be part of your strategic plan for retirement. Our financial planning expert can guide you through the details of your withdrawal process.

For more information on planning for your comfortable retirement, contact our office and schedule a financial planning consultation.

Dental Practice Human Resources: FAQs

Dental CPA San DiegoWhether you manage human resource decisions and concerns yourself or simply oversee your practice manager, as the business owner, you are responsible for ensuring your policies are legal, appropriate, and applied fairly. You may find it useful to take a moment to review a few commonly asked questions regarding aspects of human resources for dental practice owners.

What questions do I need to avoid during interviews?

There are a few basic, even common questions we would not think twice about asking during conversation that are not appropriate for an interview setting. Some of these include:

 

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?
  • What is the origin of your (unusual) name?

While all these questions can be meant to break the ice, they can also lead to the sharing of information about protected class status, such as disability, family status, ethnic or religious heritage, and others. Even if the answers would have no bearing on your decision, these questions can leave you open to a complaint or suit if the position is not offered.

What should I do if an employee refuses to sign their disciplinary action form?

Bring a witness into the room, note the refusal to sign, and have the witness sign confirmation that the disciplinary action form was provided. Additionally, remind the employee that refusal to sign does not nullify the disciplinary action and further infractions can still lead to more serious consequences.

We use software to track the hours our employees work. The program has a function to automatically deduct meal times so the employee does not need to manually clock in and out. Should we use that function?

Before you decide to implement an automatic system of this type, consider the time saved by not manually entering hours. Then compare that to the time lost by entering corrections if a team member misses lunch, returns early, or runs late. If your office rarely deviates from schedule, this may be beneficial. However, if you find that you are making corrections more than once or twice a week, it may be costing more time than it saves.

If you have other questions regarding staffing concerns, contact our office for a practice management consultation.

4 Simple Ways to Reduce No-Shows

Dental CPA in San Diego

Dental CPA San DiegoWhether your patient is scheduled for a cosmetic consultation, restoration placement, or routine hygiene and screening visit, you want to be certain they will come. When your patient cancels with little or no notice, they delay important treatment and wreak havoc with your schedule. Even one missed appointment per day can lead to thousands in lost revenue in a single year.

Reports indicate that about one in ten patients cancels or skips scheduled dental visits. Consider these 4 easily implemented strategies for reducing your practice no-show rate:

  1. During a patient’s visit, clearly communicate the state of their oral health. Explain what treatment they need, why they need it, and when it needs to happen. Emphasize the benefits of receiving the treatment in a timely manner. Patients who understand the value of their treatment are more likely to remember and return as scheduled.
  1. Ask your patient to choose how their appointments are confirmed. Offer to use text, email, mail, or phone calls, if possible, so they are more likely to receive their reminder. Consider offering your patient the ability to authorize you to contact a spouse, parent, or partner who most often handles scheduling or reminding them of commitments.
  1. Whatever their method of choice, follow through with appointment reminders at least 24-48 hours prior to their scheduled window. If you speak to someone directly during a reminder, choose words that prompt the patient to agree to call if they cannot keep the appointment. Cancellations are less frequent when the patient feels they have made a commitment.
  1. Set aside time at least once a month for your team to reach out to patients who are not yet scheduled for their next visit. Use the preferred contact method on file and offer same day or next day appointments, if possible. This has the benefit of both bringing back inactive patients and filling openings left by cancellations or reschedules.

Communication is key in reducing no-shows and reactivating patients. Before implementing new strategies for scheduling, hold a team meeting and discuss your new policies in detail. Be certain that every member on your team is ready and willing to explain the value of treatment, follow up with patients, and support the changes to your systems.

For more ideas that can help your business thrive, contact our office for a consultation.

San Diego Dental CPA | The Costs of a Toxic Employee

Dental CPA San Diego, CA

San Diego Dental CPA

Hiring is time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes costly. In some cases, this causes business owners to avoid firing an employee long after it has become clear that the person is damaging the overall work environment. Finding the right person for your office can be challenging. However, continuing to retain a toxic employee can be far more costly for you and your business.

What is a “toxic employee?”

A toxic employee is easily recognized for exhibiting several, if not all, of the following behaviors:

Bad attitude: This includes eye-rolling, muttering, snide comments, complaints, confrontational tone, and passive-aggressive speech or actions.
Lack of engagement: This can include work-avoidance, lack of enthusiasm, unwillingness to accept responsibilities, and being inattentive in meetings and huddles.
Dishonesty: Whether this involves refusal to accept accountability, blaming others for mistakes, or outright lies and thefts, dishonesty is harmful to your business and your team.
Poor work performance: While a new team member may experience a learning curve at first, the toxic employee never rises above the bare minimum of what has been explicitly listed as expected. In many cases, they may not even be fully or properly completing work. They are uninterested in feedback or training and unwilling to work to improve.

Do you recognize anyone in your office from these descriptions? If so, it’s time to pull the plug.

When you continue to keep a toxic employee on your staff, you may avoid the headaches of the hiring process in the short term. However, you are creating a host of other problems for yourself that will cost you a great deal more time, money, and energy to solve in the long term.

One toxic employee in your office can cause:

Loss of new customers: If a toxic employee is interacting with potential customers, they are creating a negative image of your business, which can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue.
Loss of existing customers: If your clients are treated poorly even once, they may choose to take their business elsewhere – and they may tell others.
Loss of your best team members: Your best people want to work in a positive environment where they feel supported and appreciated. By tolerating the complaints or shoddy work of one toxic person, you risk losing team players to a company that maintains a better atmosphere.

Don’t compromise your business or your best team members by refusing to fire toxic employees. For more strategies to improve your business, contact our office.

Making the Right Impression

San Diego Dental CPA

Dental CPA San DiegoWhen clients visit your office, they observe. Your clients are going to make decisions and judgements based on what they see. If you don’t already, you need to think in the same manner your clients do. If you were a new client to your office, would you schedule a second appointment? Here are a few elements to consider.

Your Office’s Appearance

Look at your office. Is it clean and hygienic? Is it cluttered, dusty, or musty? Your clients will pick up on elements such as these. Make your office spotless. You risk your professional credibility if your office appears to be dirty. Clients are visiting you for professional treatment, so the environment must be clean. Décor matters too. Consider repainting your walls to be a soothing light blue or green. What artwork do you have hanging on your walls? Project a modern atmosphere to create confidence in your methods.

Your Team’s Appearance

Both you and your team should always be presentable. Is a team member coming to work wearing wrinkled clothing or covered with pet hair? Are phone calls left unanswered? An observant client will notice and it could cost you repeat business. You are in the business of retaining and serving your clients, so your team needs to smile often and set a confident, professional tone.

Keeping your office clean is a key element to client retention. Create an environment that makes your clients feel comfortable. Visitors will interpret your office and the appearance of your team as a reflection of your professional capabilities. It is imperative in today’s age of social media and online reviews that you present a positive impression of your business. A misstep on your part may be read by other prospective clients online.

Make the right impression with your clients if you hope to gain repeat business.

To get started with a professional consultation, please contact us.

Ken Rubin Publishes Article in Dental Economics on Attitude & Motivation

San Diego CA Dental CPA

Ken Rubin, Dental CPA in San Diego, published an article in the October, 2016 edition of Dental Economics magazine, entitled, “Any Dentist Can.”

In his article, Rubin describes how attitude affects the ability to connect on a personal level with current and potential patients, and how these connections play a vital role in achieving greater success in the challenging and competitive world of modern dentistry.

Read more.

Be a Leader, Not a Manager

Dental CPA in San Diego

San Diego Dental CPAPractice leaders set the standard and pace of your work. Managers hover and maintain status quo. Which definition sounds like you? Changing the way your practice is structured or operates can be a vast undertaking. Use these tips to get started on a path for developing an innovative practice that you lead, not manage.

Leaders Innovate

Leaders develop ideas that further practices. Managers use the framework that is already in place. Don’t hover over your hygienists or office staff. Let their work speak for itself and step in where necessary. Demonstrate to your team the qualities you want through your own actions.

Do What You Do Best

The majority of your time should be spent with patients, that is the best use of your abilities. This means you must delegate tasks to other team members. Leaders delegate tasks. Let your office staff handle the clerical side of the practice. Utilize a hands-off strategy where appropriate to free your time for patients.

Track Team Tasks

Rather than micromanaging your team, have them write or email their daily tasks to you. This will allow you to track the team’s progress and use of time. It will also save you from constantly asking, “What did you do today?” Hold your team accountable for their tasks. Request that your team define their tasks in quantitative terms. Spot-check as you feel necessary.

Know When to Hire and Train

When your practice feels swamped, hire and train. Leaders can recognize if their team is unable to handle the current workload. Pushing your team beyond their limits is not going to produce the results you are striving to achieve. Your team will work best when they have the necessary time and resources to do their tasks.

Leaders don’t have the time to micromanage. Leaders know when to back off and let the practice run on its own. This doesn’t mean you should let your entire operation always run on auto-pilot, but focus on letting each team member contribute their abilities in the best capacity. The only way to break through the status-quo is to allow for new ideas and strategies to take hold. This cannot be achieved if you are spending your time hovering over your team. Transform the way you manage your practice and your practice will transform itself.

4 Simple Ways to Make Stress Work for You

San Diego Dental CPA

San Diego CA Dental CPAStress is an inescapable part of life. Whether you’ve just opened your practice or have begun planning for retirement, you have experienced some amount of stress along the way. Doctors, scientists, and media outlets have spent many years warning about the dangers of stress. Too much stress too often can cause negative effects on our physical and mental health. However, before giving in to chronic tension and depression, consider a few ways you can make stress work for you.

  1. Focus on the positive side of stress. In small, sporadic doses, stress can increase brain function for gains in creativity and problem solving ability. It can boost your immune response and provide the motivation you need to engage your issue. Over time, small amounts of stress will even enhance your resiliency for managing future difficulties.
  2. Change your self-talk. Instead of stumbling and dwelling on the negatives of your current predicament, start incorporating the idea of “yet.” The phrase “I can’t…” has an entirely different tone than “I can’t…yet.” Once you have reset your self-talk to allow for the possibility of change, you will find yourself ready to brainstorm creative strategies for moving forward.
  3. Tackle problems one at a time. Select one specific aspect of your life that is causing you too much stress. Focus on the root cause of your stress and decide on a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to delegate tasks to a member of your team. New habits take time and training, but can create real change to improve your life. Continue working your plan, refining as needed, until the overstress is no longer a factor. Choose another challenge and start again.
  4. Embrace levity every day. Celebrate birthdays, small victories, and changes in the weather. Add laughter to your workday. These will cut tension in the office and refresh you and your team. Your patients, your team, and you will enjoy the more cheerful and relaxed atmosphere this creates.

By embracing the motivating influence of stress without allowing it to drive you down into anxiety, you can generate positivity, creativity, and effective change. However, if you have chronic stress that is substantially affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. To best help others, you must first care for yourself.

52 YEAR-END TAX & BUSINESS PLANNING TIPS FOR 2016

By Ken Rubin, CPA, PFS

Dear Clients,

There are many important tax changes taking effect in 2016!

Our tips highlight the key tax changes that may affect your business and individual tax returns, and action you should consider taking before the end of the year.

Here are our top 52 year-end tax and business tips for the remainder of 2016!

FOR YOUR BUSINESS

· 1. Reimburse yourself by 12/31/16 for all business expenses you paid using personal money or personal credit card.

· 2. Fully deduct all Staff Meetings/Lunches. Do not categorize these costs as “Meals & Entertainment”. You can take a 100% tax deduction (rather than only 50%) for them if categorized in your accounting as “Staff Meetings”.

· 3. Home office (No longer a red flag!) reimbursement or deduction. If you operate as a corporation, you may reimburse yourself for the use of your home office. The office space must be used regularly and exclusively for business activities even if just for administrative activities.

· 4. Prepay expenses this year. This strategy works best if you are in a higher tax bracket this year than you expect to be in next year.

· 5. Delay receiving income. If tax rates drop under the new president’s tax plan, you will pay less taxes on the income in 2017.

· 6. Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit. If you pay at least 50% of your employee’s qualified premiums, you can qualify for a tax credit up to 50% of the amount you pay. To qualify you must purchase your insurance through the State Exchange program.

· 7. Reimburse yourself for actual car expenses. We can help you determine if the tax savings would be greater than simply using the government 54 cents per mile. Personal use of the corporate vehicle must be on your W-2, and remember to keep a detailed driving log.

· 8. Purchase your car through the business. If the car is used more than 50% for business, use of the vehicle for Section 179 rapid depreciation can be used. Get the largest depreciation deduction by buying a heavy vehicle that is over 6,000 pounds GVW (but consider the higher fuel expense that you will be having).

· 9. Maximize contribution to retirement plan. Make catch up contributions if over 50 years old, consider adding a Defined Benefit Plan if want to contribute more than $53,000 for yourself.

· 10. If your practice is renting the building from you, time your payments. Talk to us about increasing self-rent payment to shift some corporate profit to rental income. Make sure you have a separate bank account for your building LLC and that all mortgage payments are paid from the LLC bank account!

· 11. Maximize donations. You often get the largest tax deduction if your donation can be classified as advertising, especially if you are incorporated.

· 12. Buy equipment, furniture and install it in before Dec. 31. The maximum Section 179 deduction remains at $500,000 ($25,000 for Calif) for 2016 and Bonus depreciation (federal only) remains at 50% on new property. Consult with us about this!

· 13. Disabled tax credit. If you have installed ADA compliant bathrooms, expanded hallways, repaved parking areas, etc. for patients who are disabled, you may qualify for a $7,500 tax credit.

· 14. Give your kids responsibility. Keep a time sheet, job description, and pay regularly through a W-2. Kids can only be paid as employees if they do work for the office. They can be paid whatever the going rate is to pay a non-family member for the same job. Also have them participate in your company retirement plan and establish their own ROTH or Traditional IRA account.

· 15. Include your spouse in the business. Pay your spouse and maximize their retirement plan contribution for the year. There are several other tax advantages that make it worthwhile to pay your spouse.

· 16. If using a medical reimbursement plan, reimburse by Dec 31. You can no longer reimburse for over the counter items (unless you have a Section 105 plan). You also cannot reimburse an employee for insurance paid through a spouse’s employment pre-tax. Consider setting up a formal medical reimbursement plan if you do not have one in place.

· 17. S Corp health insurance. To secure the best deduction for your premiums, you must comply with reporting rules. Your health insurance premiums must be reported on your W-2 as S-Corp owner health insurance premiums

· 18. Cost segregation study. If we have not done one for you yet and you spent over $500,000 on an office build-out or construction after 1986, we could reclassify the asset allocation and write off the assets much faster, thereby reducing your taxes.

· 19. Consider an S Corporation conversion. If your business is a C Corporation. You could save thousands of dollars in taxes each year by avoiding part of the Social Security and Medicare tax on distributions.

· 20. If you have a C Corporation, remember to bonus out all profit by Dec. 31 to avoid double tax.

FOR YOUR PERSONAL TAX RETURN

· 21. Prepay expenses. Pay your January home mortgage payment in December and the April property tax installment in December to get the tax deductions in 2016. If you are making estimated tax payments, consider making your state payment in December to get the state tax deduction on your federal return in 2016 (unless you are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax.

· 22. Rent your home or vacation home to your practice, a colleague, friend, or anyone for up to 14 days per year. You do not have to pay taxes on this rental income, and the payer can deduct the payment if they have a business purpose.

· 23. Consider having a trust own your home and/or gift the home to your heirs over a period of time. Value is determined when the home is added to the trust. This helps you avoid estate taxes. Make sure to gift it within the gift exclusion tax limits ($14,000 per person; $28,000 per couple 2016). Because your heirs do not get a future “step up in tax basis” careful analysis must be done to make the best decision. This type of trust is called a “QPRT”.

· 24. Offset capital gains with capital losses. Dump some losing stocks if you have a capital gain to offset it with this year. Or sell stocks with gains if you are carrying over capital losses.

· 25. Own a business building? If you own it personally, consider converting ownership to an LLC.

· 26. Install geothermal heat pumps or solar energy systems for a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost. The credit also applies to small wind turbines and all of these credits may be claimed for principal residences as well as second homes. There are also credits available for energy saving costs such as insulation and energy efficient appliances.

· 27. Using a HSA for first time this year? You can make the full year’s HSA contribution by December 1st and deduct a full year’s worth of contributions. Also remember if HSA contributions are made through payroll reduction under a cafeteria plan, they are not subject to employee or employer payroll taxes.

· 28. Give appreciated stock or property to charity. You avoid the tax on the increase in asset value and get a tax deduction for the donation if you do not sell the asset first. If over $5,000 must have a qualified appraisal (unless the donated item is a publicly traded stock or other security.) Donate clothes and housewares that you no longer use. You need a receipt to claim the deduction. Donations must be physically made before 12/31/16.

· 29. Do not gift a car or boat to charity – sell it first! You can now only take the tax deduction for the amount the charity sells your car or boat for, not for the actual value. Charities often sell your asset for parts only, which drastically reduces the value and your tax deduction.

· 30. College savings. Consider increasing your 529 plan and ROTH IRA contributions; encourage grandparents to gift money to a 529 plan for your child – it helps them reduce their estate and avoid gift tax exclusion issues.

· 31. Student in college? If your income is too high to take advantage of education credits, consider paying your student enough wages so they can take full advantage of education credits on their return. If income is lower, plan on using the American Opportunity Credit, or Lifetime Learning Credit, or a tuition deduction.

· 32. Did you or a spouse go back to college, even if online? You may also qualify for either American Opportunity Education Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit. Qualified expenses must have been paid by 12/31/16.

REGARDING RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

· 33. Consider an annual ROTH IRA conversion. You can contribute $5,500 (or $6,500 if over age 50) to a ROTH each year by making a nondeductible contribution to your traditional IRA and then converting it to a ROTH. Until the law is changed, you can do this every year. Limitations exist if you have an existing IRA – check with us first!

· 34. IRA owners who turned 70 ½ in 2016. Although you may take first required distribution before end of 2016, you are allowed to wait as late as 4/01/17. Consider taking first payment in 2016 however, because if you wait until 2017 you will be required to take two payments in 2017, which could cost more in taxes if it bumps you into a higher bracket. If you don’t withdrawal enough, the penalty is 50% of the amount that you were supposed to take out.

· 35. Consider converting an existing traditional IRA into a ROTH IRA. This can be an excellent way to build wealth for your children or grandchildren because a ROTH does not require mandatory distributions and the assets will grow tax free. Note: taxes on the conversion must be paid out of non-IRA account funds.

· 36. Consider making your 401K deferrals ROTH deferrals. You can set up your company 401K plan to allow these deferrals for you and your employees, on an ongoing basis, with no income limitations!

· 37. Individuals not carrying health insurance could face a penalty. For tax years beginning after Dec.31, 2013, non-exempt U.S. citizens and legal residents must pay a penalty if they do not maintain minimum essential coverage.

IF BUYING A CAR

· 38. Try to make it qualify for business ownership. Must use the vehicle for business purposes, over 50% of the miles that are put on the car (for section 179); commuting miles excluded.

· 39. Consider converting a personal vehicle to business use. Document odometer reading at beginning of each year, and keep a good mileage log for at least three months – preferably more.

ITEMS TO GET IN THE HABIT OF REVIEWING ONCE A YEAR

· 40. Update your Will and your Asset Protection & Estate Planning strategy. This is becoming more and more important to have planned out well in advance of a lawsuit or tragedy! Call us for a recommendation.

· 41. Review bank accounts you may have outside the U.S. Tell us if any exist – you are required to report these to the IRS as well as interest income received worldwide. There are HEAVY penalties for non- compliance.

· 42. Make sure your family knows where all your important papers are. This includes life insurance policies, will, investment accounts, and practice transition sales directive.

· 43. Consider mortgage refinance. Rates are still at relatively low rates.

· 44. Consider consolidating. Credit card debt and practice loans if no prepayment penalty.

· 45. Review your business insurance. Do you need to increase the value of the policy to cover new equipment, or furniture you have bought?

· 46. Examine your liability insurance if you have an employee driving to do office tasks. Are you covered if he or she gets in an accident?

· 47. If incorporated, make sure your Corporate Minutes are up to date.

· 48. If incorporated in California, remember to pay your annual $25 annual fee to the California Secretary of State to avoid the $250 penalty and suspension of your corporation. California LLC entities must file their Statement of Information every two years with a $20 fee.

MANAGE COLLEGE PLANNING

Consider these tax-favored ways to pay for college costs:

· 49. A Coverdell education savings account. You may make a maximum contribution of $2,000 per year per child, subject to income limitations.

· 50. A 529 college savings plan. Although there’s no limit to how much you can contribute each year, each state’s plan has its own lifetime limit – typically more than $200,000 per designated beneficiary. You can also treat a 529 contribution as being made over five years for gift tax purposes.

· 51. Tax credits. The American Opportunity Credit is a modification of the Hope Credit and makes the credit available to broader range of taxpayers. Through 2017, you may claim a credit up to $2,500 on eligible college expenses paid from a non-529 account, subject to income limitations. You will need the 1098-T form to claim the credit in 2016.

· 52. Tax deductions. You may be able to deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest, subject to income limitations.

Don’t try this at home! Be sure to call us with any questions before trying to implement tax strategies on your own.

Ken