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Developing Proper Guidelines for Pro Bono Dental Work

Dental CPAAs we all know, charitable giving is important…you should give back in any way you can, and that may include pro bono dental work.

Providing Pro Bono Dental Assistance

Recently, a friend told me about a member of his church who needed some dental work. He just couldn’t turn his back on this little girl, so he did the work free of charge. She sent him a card that would melt your heart. Her gratitude made him feel so good that he wanted to help more and more people.

But there’s a fine line between helping someone and extending ourselves too much. Another friend of mine has many patients from the same, large family. One day, his office manager researched how much dental work he was giving away and the number shocked him. The front desk assumed that anyone with this particular family name should receive free or discounted dental work…which was not the case. This dentist didn’t have proper guidelines for pro bono work at his practice, so he let profits literally walk right out the door.

Protecting Your Dental Practice

How can you avoid this problem in your dental practice? Or how do you turn your practice around if you’re already giving away the farm? Develop guidelines for when you’ll offer free or discounted work. When you do, consider the following:

  • Only you (the dentist) should approve free or discounted work. Your staff should not make decisions or assumptions about who will pay what. The charges should be put into the billing system like normal, with your approval required to write off the balance. This helps for tracking and makes it easier to see how much work is being given away or discounted.
  • Finally, tell your patient that he or she is receiving a discount, but ask them to be tight-lipped about it (with a wink). This information doesn’t need shared with everyone…even family.

Helping your patients when in need is a great way to give back, but don’t sacrifice your practice to do it. Each year, it gets more and more expensive to run a practice, so be careful with who you are helping and make sure you communicate your pro bono guidelines with your staff.

Contact Our Dental Practice Professionals

Need help evaluating or developing your guidelines? Contact Rea & Associates. Our team of bright Dental CPAs can work with on how you can give back by doing pro bono work without financially hurting your dental practice.

Related Articles:

Giving to Charity Isn’t Just for the Rich

Developing a Courtesy Account

Ten Tips for Growing Your Dental Practice

Are You Backing Up Your Data?

Data ManagementWhat would happen if you lost all your data?  All your patient information… gone. All you financial information… gone. Everything… gone!

It’s a scary thought, but it’s something every dental practice must be prepared for. As more and more dental offices are becoming totally paperless, this becomes a bigger issue. If your dental practice is currently paperless or if you’re thinking about making the switch, you need to prepare now for a potential loss of data.

Moving to a Paperless Dental Practice

Contract with an IT company before you go paperless. They will be instrumental in both your hardware and software setup. While your IT company will be a great resource, you should keep in mind the following items that will need to be addressed when working with them to set up your paperless office:

  • Network Evaluation. Verify that your network is adequate for the number of computers in your office.
  • Software Integration. Ensure your IT company is aware of all the software you use and how it works together.
  • Real-Time Troubleshooting. Confirm that your IT company can monitor your computers in real-time so problems can be identified before they become too costly.
  • System Security. Develop a process that ensures your anti-virus software is always up to date and your firewall is protecting all the computers on your network.
  • Email Encryption. Educate yourself and your office staff on proper encryption of e-mails or files. Put a process in place and make sure everyone follows proper procedures.
  • Back-up. Implement a process to ensure that you back-up data and store it off-site. Without a back-up procedure, your data will probably be lost for good.
  • Disaster Recovery.  Create a procedure for disaster recovery with your IT company so you can recover the information you need to continue your operation with as little disruption as possible.

Selecting an IT Company

Most important is finding an IT company that you know you can rely on for support. Most IT company’s charge a monthly fee for support. Make sure you understand what you are getting for that fee and if it properly reflects the support you need for your dental practice. During the selection process, be sure to read their contracts, talk to your representatives about the safety of your data and, above all else, make sure  that you will be able to continue your business operations in a timely manner if disaster strikes.


Whether you have questions about becoming a paperless dental practice or have made the switch and not sure how secure your data is, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of bright Dental CPAs can work with on what you need to make the switch or make sure your data is being stored securely.

Related Articles

Your Dental Practice May Need a Computer Upgrade

Ten Tips for Growing Your Dental Practice

What To Consider When Purchasing A Dental Practice


Why Your Dental Practice Needs A Dental CPA

Dental Accounting ExpertiseWould you let your family doctor operate on your knee? Would you let a general dentist put on your child’s braces? Probably not. You would prefer a specialist in those areas. So wouldn’t you also prefer to work with a CPA firm that specializes in dental practices?

A potential client recently asked me why a dental CPA would be better to work with. This person had first met with a generalist, but then found the Bright Dental CPAs website.

A dental CPA has his or her fingers on the pulse of the dental industry – which adds value to your relationship with them. They read publications like Dental Economics and Dentaltown Magazine. Simply put, they understand your practice and how it runs better than a CPA without a dental specialty.

If you only use your CPA for simply preparing a tax return once a year, then a dental CPA probably isn’t able to add much value. Instead, a dental CPA will help develop and grow your dental practice. They will develop a relationship with you so they can better understand your wants and needs.

Benefits of a Dental CPA

  • You need help understanding an article you just read about accounting or taxes. . Your dental CPA can help…in fact, they have probably just read the same article. They understand your practice and can help you understand and interpret the article.
  • You need to know what issues you may face in the coming months or years. Your dental CPA talks to many other practices. He or she can pick out trends and common issues that many practices face. You’ll also receive guidance on how to combat the issue.
  • You need to evaluate your retirement plan – or create a new one. Your dental CPA understands retirement plans and knows what kind of designs work best given your employee demographics. The most favorable design for a 75 employee company is significantly different than a design for your office of five to 10 employees.
  • You’re trying to analyze whether or not to purchase equipment (such as a CEREC). A dental CPA knows what a CEREC is and what’s important in analyzing whether or not it’s a financially prudent investment.
  • You have a partner in your practice and you need to implement or adjust the compensation model. Your dental CPA has seen and done this type of project.
  • You’re thinking about adding an associate. Your dental CPA understands the issues surrounding this decision and how to structure the compensation.
  • You are buying or building an office. Your dental CPA knows loan officers and banks  that specialize with the dental industry, and is able to immediately contact them to get estimated loan terms. In most cases, a loan from that type of bank can be better than a bank that doesn’t have a dental-specific lending department.
  • You want to compare your practice to other practices like it. Your dental CPA knows industry stats and benchmarks for you to compare against. They consult with you on how to manage and improve your practice.

Dental CPA for your Dental Practice

These are just a few examples of the benefits of working with a Dental CPA. A dental CPA specializes in the dental industry, just like a surgeon specializes in surgery. When looking for more than just tax compliance/filing help, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of specialized and knowledgeable dental CPAs can help you develop ways to  improve your dental practice, reduce taxes, and save for retirement.

Related Articles:

Ten Tips for Growing Your Dental Practice

Schedule a Check-Up with Your Tax Accountant

Checking the Year-End Numbers for Your Practice

Understanding Ohio Local Tax Obligations

Local Tax PuzzleYou may feel like your dental practice has to pay taxes left and right, up and down and inside and out. Whether it’s federal, state, payroll, real estate, unemployment, commercial activity, sales, use or any other tax out there – your tax liability can really add up. And local taxes make up a nice piece of your tax pie.

If you own a dental practice in Ohio, your practice is responsible for paying your local taxing agencies, which may include multiple taxing authorities. Ohio is one of the few states in the country that assesses local taxes.

Here’s a look at the various local taxes you and your practice will owe local Ohio municipalities. 

Individual Local Taxes

Not only do your employees remit taxes to the city in which your dental practice is located, so do you if you receive a paycheck. But local tax payments can be rather complex. You see, if you or your employees work at multiple locations, wages need to be allocated based on the time spent in each office. If one of the locations is in a township or another non-taxable location, this allocation becomes even more important so you don’t pay more taxes than you have to.

After you and your employees have paid all of your city taxes based on where you work, you will then reconcile this on your local tax return and possibly pay additional taxes to the city in which you live. Most, but not all, local taxing agencies give you credit for taxes paid where you work. This is good because you don’t have to pay 100 percent taxes to both the city where you live the one where you work. Each residence city tax credit is different based on their own tax rules, so be sure you are getting the credit that you deserve. 

Local Taxes for Your Practice

City taxes are also paid on your dental practice’s profit. If you have profit at the end of the year, the city in which your practice is located may assess taxes. And for those dentists with more than one location, profit will need to be allocated based on four factors:

  • Sales
  • Property
  • Rent
  • Payroll

In order to properly allocate taxes, it is important that you are able to track each of these categories by location.

Any net loss will be allocated based on these same factors and will likely be carried forward. Most cities allow losses to be carried forward for five years, but this also varies by local taxing agency.

Local Tax Enforcement on the Rise

Most cities in Ohio are handled by the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) or the Central Collection Agency (CCA), but some cities and villages assess and collect the taxes themselves. In the past five years, the local taxing agencies have become very aggressive with sending tax notices at any chance they get. 

Contact Our Dental Practice Professionals

If you receive a tax notice, be sure to contact Rea & Associates before paying the balance. Our team of bright dental CPAs will review your taxes to ensure payment is actually due. Oftentimes it may just require additional documentation in lieu of payment. You pay enough taxes as it is, so don’t get stuck paying more than you need to our local taxing agencies.

Related Articles:

Estate Tax Increases Could Decay Your Future Plans

Schedule a Check-Up with Your Tax Accountant

Tax Planning – Not A Once-A-Year Event

Rea & Associates, Inc. | Bright Dental CPAs | 7201 Center St, Mentor, Ohio 44060-4858
phone + 440-266-0077