10 Tricks to help your bookkeeper streamline your dental practice accounting.
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
After recently speaking with a few clients about best practices working with Bookkeeping for Dentists, it occurred to me that these 'best practices' are also great ways to streamline your dental practice accounting when working with any accountant or bookkeeper.
Whether you work with us or not, you can help your bookkeeper with these 10 simple tips to make bookkeeping incredibly streamlined and better for everyone involved.
🤴 Duties of the owner/managing partner
The owner or managing partner is usually the person answering our transaction questions once per month. He/she monitors their benchmarks in our Practice Overhead application frequently as we update bookkeeping during the month, and he/she comes to us with questions as they arise. Owners can have their office manager answer our bookkeeping questions, but I think many of the owners prefer to do it since the accuracy of the accounting is a priority for them.
💼 Duties of the office manager
The office manager is often the person who pays the practice bills, runs payroll, supports HR tasks, and sends us relevant information for accounting like financing agreements and equipment invoices, often before we even ask. Sometimes they will answer our bookkeeping transaction questions too.
😍 Use the Gusto payroll platform
I've talked about Gusto in a recent blog post here, but I am going to talk about it again. If our large practices didn't use Gusto payroll, our bookkeeping reconciliations would take twice as long. Trust me; we've timed the difference! Gusto makes the small business world a better place. I ❤️ technology.
⏰ Quick response rate to questions
Our most streamlined practices respond to our bookkeeping questions in under a week, many of them, just a couple days. The faster you can get back to the questions your accountant has; the more accurate your numbers will be when you need them.
💳 Bill paying methods
With our streamlined practices, 99% of their bill-paying method is through credit card and specifically recurring payments on the credit card. These practice owners do minimal check writing (3 to 5/mo), which provides a consistent, accurate cash balance in their bank account and reduces time spent paying bills and bookkeeping.
✅ Keep accounts simple
The fewer bank and credit card accounts you have, the less you and your dental accountant have to manage and maintain, and the less you pay in accounting fees. Even our largest practices have 1 bank account, 1 savings account and 1-2 credit cards (with employee cards under it). They are also using well-known large banks, like Bank of America or Chase for both checking and credit cards. Popular national banks have better business features and are much easier to work with online regularly, saving time and reducing headaches.
✖️ Close old accounts
This point is one I think many dentists don't know. Do you have old bank accounts with small balances in them and no activity? Unfortunately, your bookkeeper will have to continue downloading monthly statements and formally reconciling the account in QuickBooks as long as the account has a balance. I think a big pet peeve for accountants and bookkeepers is having to track and reconcile old, unused accounts. It's a silly waste of time. Close your inactive bank and credit card accounts.
📩 Check copy images with PDF statements
If you don't take our advice to put everything on credit card, then you need to save your check images for tax records. To save all of those to PDF takes a long time. Instead, you can do what many of our clients do and get the check images added in the bank statement PDF; then you never have to think about keeping check copies for the IRS. Problem solved!
📁 Create an organized system for documents
Similar to my point above, I think it goes without saying that you need to be paperless in all things business these days (we suggest Dropbox). Besides being paperless, you also need a reliable system for organizing the things you know your dental practice accountant will ask for, such as loan documents and equipment invoices. If you always have these somewhere easy to find, you will make accounting smooth for everyone. Our clients often send new loan documents before we even ask because they know we will ask. If your accountant never asks for these things, its time for a new accountant!
🤬 No mixing personal and business transactions
I saved the best for last. Out of everything that I mentioned above, I believe this is the biggest and most important point of them all. Never mix personal and business transactions. Personal transactions belong in personal accounts, and business must always be in business accounts. If you're mixing them, you're creating chaos for your bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper will have no idea what is personal vs. business causing 100s of transaction questions she will have to ask which ends up wasting your time too.
When working with any bookkeeper or accounting firm, these tips and tricks above are going to make the accounting streamlined and more effective for everyone involved. Developing a system and including some ideas above is the first step I recommend to any dentist who is looking for a way to make accounting better.
Thank you for reading!
Sona Wegner, MBA