• Sona Wegner, MBA, Founder

How to Calculate Dental Office Overhead

Updated: Mar 25

Too often, dentists are super focused on production, but they are not monitoring their dental overhead expenses, which is a huge factor in what you get to take home. That kind of mentality will force you to work harder. If you are increasing production, but not improving your practice systems to get better control on practice overhead expenses, you may be spinning wheels.

The first step in controlling your dental overhead expenses is to measure it. A very simple way to monitor how efficiently you and your team are running things would be to compare your practice overhead expenses to industry averages and get a good benchmark. You can't improve what you don't measure.

How to calculate your dental office overhead

Put your Profit & Loss report in front of you and take the following three steps to calculate your dental office overhead:

  1. Cross out all expense accounts related to owners and doctors.

  2. Add up the remaining expense accounts together.

  3. Divide the amount from step two against your total income then multiply by 100 for the percentage.

To get more in-depth help for the three steps above, use my instructions below.

Step One:

Exclude Owner and Associate expenses (Image Below)

The most important part (and often done wrong) of finding the correct overhead percentage of income would be to take out the compensation related to the owner and associates in the practice. Put your Profit & Loss report in front of you and put a line through the following expense accounts:

  • Gross Pay - Owner / Partners

  • Gross Pay - Associates

  • Gross Pay - Family members of owner

  • Employer Payroll Taxes - Owner / Partners

  • Employer Payroll Taxes - Associates

  • Employer Payroll Taxes - Family members of owner

  • Contractors - Doctors

  • Health Insurance - Owner / Partners

  • Health Insurance - Associates

  • Health Insurance - Family members of owner

  • Disability Insurance - Owner / Partners

  • Life Insurance - Owner / Partners

  • Pension Matching - Owner / Partners

  • Pension Matching - Associates

Note: If you don't have some of these expenses separate on your Profit & Loss report, you will need to find the costs of these expenses and pull them out of the expense accounts they are in. However, to consistently stay on top of your overhead averages, I recommend creating separate expense accounts for the items below in your Chart of Accounts.

Step Two:

Add up all of the remaining expense accounts on your Profit & Loss report without including owner's and associate doctors.

Step Three:

Divide the total overhead expenses you got from step two by your total collection income stated at the top of your Profit & Loss report.

Note: The example Profit & Loss report I used above is a single doctor general practice and he runs his practice like a well-oiled machine, with his amazing team constantly streamlining and improving the practice systems together.

What's Next:

The total overhead percentage will give you a great starting point for knowing where you stand against the industry average in your expenses. It will help you find your weaknesses and measure your progress as you and your team work towards improving your practice systems. Most practices run at about 60-65% overhead, but you can do better.

Going one step farther and narrowing down your overhead percentage into dental specific benchmark categories to compare to will allow you to see dental key performance indicators inside of the overhead percentage. Read our blog explaining how to find the six overhead expense benchmarks to live by in your practice.

Get dental specialty bookkeeping with us:

You can get automated practice overhead benchmarks through our dental bookkeeping service. With access to our online benchmark platform, you can compare your practice overhead to the live overhead average of our clients currently in the application.

You will also have total peace of mind as your dental bookkeeper on our team keeps your bookkeeping updated every few days like clock-work. You never have to stress about updating bookkeeping during the year again, and you can monitor your dental practice overhead percentages against industry averages for a "leaky bucket." You just pay your practice bills, and run your payroll as usual, then we do the rest.

We understand tight patient schedules make it hard to schedule a call with us. Instead, you can just fill out a simple online form, and we'll contact you by email with our pricing and next steps. Click here to get started.

Thank you for reading! Please remember to subscribe to our blog if you haven't already.

Sona Wegner, MBA ❤

Founder, Bookkeeping for Dentists™

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