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Where Has All The Money Gone?
By Marianne Harper

Does your staff consult you or your office manager prior to placing dental and office supply orders? Is there a system in place in your office that monitors all expenditures? Have you developed a practice budget and then followed it? In many practices the answer to these questions is a resounding "NO". You may be asking yourself "where has the money gone?" and with good reason.

Practice profitability is directly tied to the establishment of accounting systems relating to the control of practice expenditures. The first step involves setting up a budget. Looking back at expenditures from prior years is essential to determining the areas in your practice that need improvement. Dental consultants and CPA's can be of assistance in this area. The major guideline areas for budgeting are as follows:

· Dental and office supplies

· Laboratory fees

· Facility and equipment costs

· Staff

· Marketing

· Administration, Accounting, Continuing Education, etc. . .

7%

9%

6%

27%

2%

2%

The second step involves following the budget. Your bookkeeper must be trained to spot the areas which exceed your guidelines and alert you so that adjustments can be made. Staff must have all supply orders authorized prior to placing them. Major facility and equipment expenditures should be discussed with a CPA prior to purchasing to determine the profitability of the expenditure.

Budgeting is one of the most effective ways to grow your practice into a financially healthy one, to reduce your stress, and to never have to ask again "Where has the money gone?".


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