Atlanta CPA | Combat Burnout to Increase Production

Dental Consultant Atlanta

CPA in AtlantaHave 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 us today.

Atlanta CPA | How Team Morale can Make or Break Your Dental Practice

Dental Consultant Atlanta

Bay Area, CA CPATeam morale can make or break your dental practice. It’s a bold statement, but there are several reasons why it is true. The morale of every member of your team impacts other team members, your patients, and over time, even your bottom line. If you want your dental practice to be a success, team morale needs to be a priority.

Unhappy staff are less productive. When a member of your team is unhappy in their job, they work more slowly, are less efficient, and are less likely to “go the extra mile” to ensure a great patient experience. When an unhappy staff member isn’t giving a great patient experience, that patient is less likely to be a repeat patient and unlikely to refer anyone else to your practice. Over time, this could potentially cost you dozens of patients and thousands of dollars.

Unhappy staff make other staff unhappy. When one person is feeling unmotivated, unappreciated, or disgruntled, their attitude affects those around them. Other staff are forced to work harder to compensate for the lack of productivity. One person complaining about being unhappy can hurt the morale of every other person in your office. What starts as a seemingly small problem can quickly gain momentum if it isn’t addressed quickly and correctly.

Unhappy staff are more likely to quit. On the surface, this may seem like a good thing: take the poor attitude and low morale out of the equation. However, the cost of finding, hiring, and training a replacement can be high. Even more, the most common reason why an employee quits a job is that they feel unappreciated and/or unsupported by management. Chances are good that if one of your staff feels that way, others aren’t far behind.

Overcome team morale issues with good leadership. As the dentist and CEO of the practice, you are the primary person your team is looking to for leadership. Hold yourself accountable to your team for following through on your promises. Deal with conflicts as soon as they arise. Have an open door policy that makes your staff feel comfortable coming to you with problems so you can address them before they become unmanageable.

Hold regular effective team meetings to ensure every team member understands their place in your vision for the practice. Recognize individual and team successes. Show appreciation. Ensure that you are supportive of any staff empowered to make decisions. If you need to coach them on a change in policy, do so privately to avoid undermining their authority.

You are the leader of your team. The trust, support, recognition, appreciation, and respect you give to your team is the foundation of your team’s morale. When you create a great working environment, your team morale is high. High team morale creates a better patient experience and greater productivity, which benefits everyone. To ensure your practice thrives, make your team’s morale a priority.

Atlanta CPA | Planning for Retirement

Dental Consultant Atlanta

Atlanta, GA CPAWhether 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.

Roswell Dental CPA | Why Your Practice Needs Effective Team Meetings

Dental CPA in Roswell

Accounting in RoswellRegular effective team meetings can play a crucial role in the health of your dental practice. That one simple-sounding factor can impact every aspect of your business. Your people, your patients, and your practice all benefit from regular effective team meetings.

Your people need team meetings. The core of your practice is your vision, your goals, and your strategy for achieving your goals. Each member of your team needs to understand all of these things and, just as importantly, needs to understand their part in your plan. Without that understanding, your team is working blindly and is unable to actively contribute toward reaching your goals for your business.

A team meeting is an ideal format for open discussion about your vision, goals, and strategy. Not only can you use this discussion to ensure every member is clear on your expectations, but you may find that their unique perspective creates an exchange of ideas on more effective ways to reach your goals and how each person can best contribute.

While not every team meeting needs to include high-level discussion of vision, goals, and strategy, it is a good idea to include this at least once or twice a year and when bringing a new employee into the team. Additionally, many successful dentists find that it is highly useful to touch on how the strategies are being implemented and to discuss any measurable progress toward goals on at least a monthly basis. This helps to keep your team engaged and motivated toward achievement.

Your patients need team meetings. One of the most common components of an effective team meeting is education. Your team needs to know what the policies are, what is on the agenda for the day, if there are any specials being offered, if anyone is sick or on vacation. Any new ideas, training, or techniques that can be shared should be. Your patients need to know they will be given correct and consistent information from any member of your team. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Your practice needs team meetings. Teach your team how to ask patients for referrals. Word of mouth can have a huge impact on your new customer base. Even happy, satisfied patients rarely refer anyone unless asked to do so, according to a recent study.  Your team members should be engaging your patients in every interaction to ensure a positive experience and should be able to ask for referrals when patients are pleased.

Only you can review your practice, your time, and your schedules to determine when and how frequently you should hold team meetings. Whether you meet daily, weekly, or on some other timeline, make your meetings regular and effective. You will see benefits to your team, your patient experience, and your practice.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact our office. 

Dental Practice Human Resources: FAQs

Bay Area Dental CPAWhether 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.

Why You Should Join (or Start) a Dental Study Club

Dental CPA

Science is a field where the only true constant is change. Dentistry is no different. With advances in techniques and new technologies every year, it can be challenging to stay current, especially without breaking your budget.

Study clubs can be an ideal solution to this inevitable problem. There are many reasons why you should be gaining the benefits of membership in a dental study club. Here are some of the most valuable advantages you stand to gain:

Continuing Education

By pooling the resources of a group of dental professionals, you can attend continuing education lectures and clinical hands-on training in your local area, without all the time and expense of travel. This added source of training and education can be invaluable for staying current with new techniques and new technological advances. If you have a desire to focus your practice on one or more specific areas of dentistry, such as implants or sleep apnea treatment, a targeted study group can help you find and attend the courses you need to develop the skills and qualifications to reach your goal.

Peer Support

With a dental study club, you are interacting with other dentists and specialists in your area. Group discussions have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to share experiences, techniques, challenges, and new ideas with like-minded individuals for the benefit of everyone involved. This informal venue can allow you to explore new ways of approaching a problem or a treatment and allows you to benefit from what another has already tried.

Networking

While it is not the primary reason to join a study club, you should not overlook the importance of networking. Making other dental contacts in your area can be highly beneficial. Specialists, in particular, depend on referrals from other dentists. It can be much easier to refer a patient or gain a referral when you have developed a relationship with other professionals and know how they treat their patients, what technologies they use, and other such information.

Whether you join a local study club or decide to create one of your own, the benefits of membership far outweigh the costs. For more information, contact a local study club or view this article from Inside Dentistry: https://www.dentalaegis.com/id/2011/11/dental-study-clubs.

4 Simple Ways to Reduce No-Shows

Whether 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.

The Bright Side of Patient Complaints

No matter how fantastic you and your team are, you will occasionally have a customer complain about something. When this happens, you and your team may feel discouraged, frustrated, or even annoyed, depending on the specific complaint and how it was shared. It can be easy to brush the complaint aside and tell yourself that the client was just having a bad day. However, changing the way you think about customer complaints can be highly beneficial to your business.

Client complaints may involve anything from office décor or other customers to the time, cost, or outcome of a business transaction. Even concerns that feel trivial or unfair to you should be handled with respect and appreciation. Like any consumer, your client wants to feel like you care about their experience and their feelings. A complaint is an opportunity for you to win back a customer’s trust.

If you thank your customer for bringing their concerns to you, commit to taking action to correct the situation, and follow through on your commitment, you will earn loyalty from that client. This loyalty can translate into additional business from the client, and even referrals to friends, family, and social media connections. Over time, handing one complaint as an opportunity to improve can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue.

However, if customers leave your office feeling that their concerns are unimportant to you, they will likely look elsewhere for business in the future. Unhappy clients do not stay with your business. They do not refer others to you. They may even tell others about their unpleasant experience with your office, which can cost you potential customers and revenue.

Every customer complaint you receive is a gift. Your team or business may have a weakness that you were unaware was an issue. If one client voices a complaint, it is likely that others have noticed the problem as well. Consider asking customers for feedback after a visit. Let them know proactively that you appreciate their input and are ready and willing to provide the best experience possible. When your customers feel valued, they will be more loyal to you, your team, and your company.

For more tips on providing a better customer experience, contact our office.

The Costs of a Toxic Employee

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.