Securing Your Practice’s Finances: 10 Accounting Systems & Controls for Dentists

In a dental practice, like any other business, accounting systems and controls are crucial for maintaining financial stability, accuracy, and compliance. Think about it: accurate financial records are not only crucial for making informed decisions but are also imperative for tax reporting and audits. With proper systems in place, a practice can easily generate financial statements like income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these financial mechanisms and explore how they contribute not only to the practice’s fiscal well-being but also to the overall quality of your dental services. Check now 10 main accounting systems and controls commonly used in modern dental practice management:

1. Bookkeeping System:

A well-organized bookkeeping system is the foundation of dental practice accounting. It involves recording all financial transactions, including income (from patients, insurance companies, etc.) and expenses (supplies, staff salaries, rent, utilities, etc.). The system can be manual or computerized using accounting software.

In a manual system, financial transactions are recorded by hand in physical ledgers or journals. While this approach offers a tangible sense of control and simplicity, it can become increasingly labor-intensive and prone to human error as the practice grows. On the other hand, a computerized bookkeeping system employs specialized accounting software to automate and streamline the process. This approach reduces the risk of errors and offers real-time insights into the practice’s financial landscape.

2. Chart of Accounts:

A chart of accounts is a structured list of all accounts used in the dental practice’s financial record-keeping. By segregating various income streams and categorizing the transactions, the system provides an efficient means of identifying and assessing the practice’s financial health. For instance, patient payments, insurance reimbursements, and other sources of income are allocated to distinct accounts, while expenses such as dental supplies, salaries, rent, and utilities are equally assigned to dedicated categories.

3. Invoicing and Billing:

The invoicing and billing system ensures the accurate and punctual recording of all financial interactions. Patient charges are meticulously documented, whether for consultations, treatments, or procedures. This systematic recording guarantees financial transparency, reducing potential errors and disputes and fostering patient trust through clear and precise communication.

The invoicing and billing system acts as a conduit for seamless interactions with insurance providers. It involves generating accurate claims, attaching necessary documentation, and submitting claims within specified timelines. By optimizing this process, the system minimizes delays, contributing to the practice’s financial stability.

4. Expense Management Systems:

This system facilitates real-time monitoring, comparison of actual expenses against established budgets, and identifying areas where cost-saving measures can be taken. By vigilantly tracking the financial outflows within each category, the system provides a tangible guideline to measure against predetermined limits. This vigilance not only reduces overspending but also promotes financial accountability.

5. Cash Management:

Managing cash flow is a process that many dentists struggle with. It encompasses a strategic approach to overseeing the practice’s cash flow — both inflows and outflows — ensuring liquidity, optimizing resource allocation, and safeguarding financial stability. Maintaining sufficient cash reserves, monitoring patterns, and managing receivables and payables efficiently are essential aspects of cash management.

Luckily, a range of cost-effective yet potent technologies can help you predict incoming receivables and cash flow, such as accounting software like Freshbooks or Xero, financial institution apps, scheduling apps, expense monitoring platforms, and others. Before choosing your ideal one, you should consider talking to an expert accountant.

6. Financial Reporting:

Generating regular and comprehensive financial reports is essential for maintaining a dental practice’s financial health. These reports, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, offer a detailed and structured view of the practice’s financial performance. Moreover, financial reports serve as a valuable tool for assessing the practice’s growth trajectory and identifying potential areas for improvement.

Nowadays, you can find systems that offer types of financial reporting methods based on your practice’s type and size. Customized reporting systems are also a good strategy. These solutions can be developed by software developers or data analysts to generate reports that align precisely with the practice’s financial goals and performance indicators.

7. Inventory Control:

For practices that sell dental products or supplies, implementing an inventory control system helps track inventory levels, prevent stockouts, and minimize unnecessary expenses. These systems help ensure dental clinics have the right items in the right quantities at the right time.

When selecting an inventory control system for your practice, consider factors such as the size of your clinic, the types of materials you use, your budget, and the specific features you need to streamline your inventory management processes. A well-implemented inventory control system can save costs, reduce waste, and improve patient care.

8. Tax Planning and Compliance:

Tax planning involves strategizing to minimize tax liabilities while remaining within the boundaries of the law. For dental practices, effective tax planning includes identifying deductions, credits, and exemptions that can reduce the overall tax burden. A robust tax planning system ensures that the practice meets all tax requirements, takes advantage of available deductions, and avoids penalties.

Engaging with certified public accountants (CPAs) or tax consultants who specialize in healthcare or dental industry taxation can provide personalized tax planning advice. These professionals can help identify specific deductions, credits, and strategies that align with the dental practice’s financial situation. Some of them utilize tax preparation software to guide businesses through the process of filing taxes accurately. These tools provide step-by-step instructions, help identify potential deductions, and offer electronic filing options for federal and state tax returns.

9. Data Security and HIPAA Compliance:

Data security involves implementing strategies and tools to safeguard sensitive patient information from unauthorized access, breaches, and cyberattacks. Key data security measures for dental practices include access controls, encryption, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, secure Wi-Fi networks, and others.

By implementing comprehensive data security and HIPAA compliance systems, dental practices can protect patient privacy, maintain legal compliance, and establish a reputation for responsible data handling. It’s essential to stay informed about changes in regulations and emerging cybersecurity threats to adapt your systems and practices accordingly.

10. Internal Controls:

Internal controls are procedures to safeguard assets, prevent fraud, and maintain accuracy in financial reporting. For example, segregation of duties and regular reconciliation of accounts are common internal control practices. You can also establish clear protocols for authorizing and approving financial transactions and protect physical assets, such as equipment and sensitive documents.

In conclusion, the significance of accounting systems and controls in a dental practice cannot be overstated. By establishing efficient accounting procedures, maintaining accurate financial records, and implementing stringent financial rules, the practice ensures financial stability, transparency, and adherence to regulations. This, in turn, creates a foundation for informed decision-making, strategic planning, and sustained growth in the dynamic landscape of the dental industry.

If you need help establishing accounting controls in your practice, you can always contact one of our experts. Click here to set up a consultation.

 

About Our Experts

Fazel Mostashari is a dental practice expert whose specialty is financial accounting, tax planning, and practice purchase and set up for the dental industry. For over 10 years, Fazel has been the driving force behind the success of many dental practices.

As a proud husband to a dentist, he understands the unique challenges of running a dental practice. Together, they run a thriving, multi-specialty practice in the sunny city of Woodland Hills, CA.

If you’re looking for expert advice, set up a consultation with Fazel.
Fazel Mostashari: Dental Practice Financial Expert

Other Posts

Dentist thinking to startup or buy dental practice

Build vs. Buy: A Dentist’s Guide to Owning a Practice

For many dentists, opening their own practice represents the ultimate achievement in their career. But this path comes with a significant decision: should you build a practice from the ground up or buy an existing one? As a dental CPA, my primary responsibility is to be transparent with my clients. That’s why I always present

Read More »
Dentist at her new startup office

Financial Planning for Dental Startups: Insights from a Dental CPA

You’ve earned your dental degree and improved your skills, and now you’re brimming with the ambition to launch your own practice. This is an exciting time, but it also requires careful planning. Transitioning from clinician to entrepreneur introduces a whole new set of financial considerations. As a dental CPA who has seen countless startups navigate

Read More »

10 Growth Strategies for Dental Practices

As a seasoned Dental CPA, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with various dental practices, helping them scale their productivity through diverse growth strategies. By leveraging my expertise and experience, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that proper financial management, streamlined operations, and investment in marketing can have on a dental practice’s success.

Read More »
Dentist thinking to startup or buy dental practice

Build vs. Buy: A Dentist’s Guide to Owning a Practice

For many dentists, opening their own practice represents the ultimate achievement in their career. But this path comes with a significant decision: should you build a practice from the ground up or buy an existing one? As a dental CPA, my primary responsibility is to be transparent with my clients. That’s why I always present

Read More »
Dentist at her new startup office

Financial Planning for Dental Startups: Insights from a Dental CPA

You’ve earned your dental degree and improved your skills, and now you’re brimming with the ambition to launch your own practice. This is an exciting time, but it also requires careful planning. Transitioning from clinician to entrepreneur introduces a whole new set of financial considerations. As a dental CPA who has seen countless startups navigate

Read More »

10 Growth Strategies for Dental Practices

As a seasoned Dental CPA, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with various dental practices, helping them scale their productivity through diverse growth strategies. By leveraging my expertise and experience, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that proper financial management, streamlined operations, and investment in marketing can have on a dental practice’s success.

Read More »
Skip to content