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What Could A Cybercriminal Do To Your Dental Practice

You’re probably familiar with the term Ransomware and the financial toll it’s been taking on companies world-wide. One lesson that we continue to learn time and time again is that nobody is immune to this cyber threat – not even your dental practice.

Instances of cybercrime have reached an all-time high and ensuring that your practice has the procedures in place to guard against an army of determined fraudsters is more important than ever. But before you can implement effective controls, you must have a clear understanding of what it is that threatens your practice.

Know Your Enemy

Ransomware is the infection of a computer which immediately encrypts all recognizable file types. Once your network is infected, a screen will appear on your monitor, conveying the hacker’s demand: pay a ransom in exchange for your practice’s data to be “decrypted” and released or lose it all. The hackers then set the clock, making it clear that if the ransom is not paid before the deadline, your practice’s data will be destroyed.

4 Tips To Help Prevent A Ransomware Attack

To protect your business against Ransomware and other similar threats, I recommend following these best practices:

  1. Train office staff to identify phishing emails.

Numerous vendors can provide your dental practice with phishing tests and video training to help educate your office’s staff about phishing emails and ways to identify possible scams. The goal is to change the mindset of those within your practice when it comes to opening attachments and clicking on hyperlinks.

  1. Set your staff’s Microsoft Active Directory rights.

It’s unlikely that all your employees will need full-access to your practice’s entire database to do their jobs effectively. One way to protect your data is to only grant access to the databases each employee needs to do perform their job duties. This way, if an attack does occur, the damage can be isolated.

  1. Consider implementing programs such as Microsoft “AppLocker.”

When you implement programs like AppLocker, you require users to be assigned access to the programs they need to utilize. Again, this helps to isolate the threat which can help minimize the impact of an attack on your dental practice.

  1. Implement a Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan.

Some research indicates that only about 35 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses have a working and comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Is your dental practice included in this statistic? Business owners like you are learning time and time again just how important it is to have a plan in place to protect your business when crisis strikes. A DR plan, complete with regular plan testing and offsite backup data, will help prepare you for unforeseen events which, under current circumstances, could prove to be catastrophic.

Want to learn more? Email the Bright Dental CPAs for more information about protecting your dental practice from cybercrime.

By Brian Garland (Dublin office) 

Check out these related posts to help keep your dental practice safe:

Is Your Dental Practice Prepared For An IT Disaster?

Is Your Dental Practice in “The Cloud”?

Fraudulent Credit Card Transactions Will Become Your Practice’s Problem On Oct. 1

How Are You Celebrating Your Dental Assistants This Week?

Celebrate Dental Assistants | HR Tips | Bright Dental CPAs

It’s Dental Assistants Recognition Week, which means that its your chance show your appreciation to the hard-working men and women who help your dental practice run so well!

We hope you are as excited as we are to celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week! This is your chance show your appreciation to the hard-working men and women who help your dental practice run so well! But just in case you need some help letting them know how grateful you are for all the work they do, we’ve provided you with a few suggestions to help point you in the right direction. After all, these men and women not only engage with your patients every day, the skills and experience they bring to your office has been critical to your success – and we think that’s cause for celebration!

  1. Attract Top Talent With These Tax-Free Tactics The first step in appreciating your dental assistants is finding top talent. Here are some tips on how your dental practice can attract top talent and keep them!
  2. Guide Your Dental Practice with an Employee Handbook An employee handbook is a central location for your dental practice’s rules, regulations and benefits. It is a great resource for all your employees to understand their expectations in your dental practice. Read to learn how an employee handbook could be the thing missing from your dental practice.
  3. Are Your Employees Aware of the Benefits? Working at your dental practice has a lot more benefits than a paycheck for your employees. Sometimes those additional benefits are forgotten or overlooked. Take the time to show or remind your team what they are getting besides a paycheck every other week.
  4. A 401(k) Plan and Your Dental Practice Do you offer your dental employees a 401(k) plan? This is a great “benefit” for employees, as many have retirement on their minds. Here are some of the rules with having a 401(k) plan at your dental practice.
  5. Should I Hire My Spouse To Work In My Dental Practice? As with most things, the answer with the question: “Should I hire my spouse to work in my dental practice,” isn’t an easy one to answer. Hopefully this list will provide you with some unbiased advice to help you come to a conclusion that makes sense for your unique situation.

So, how are you planning to recognize your dental assistants this week – and beyond?

Don’t forget, you can always email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates for management assistance throughout every phase of your dental practice lifecycle.

Does A Dentist’s Online Presence Really Matter?

Online Marketing | Dental Professionals | Ohio Dental CPAs

According to a recent study by Foxtail Marketing, a full-service agency that specializes in digital marketing campaigns for doctors and dentists, dentists without an online presence, or a minimal online presence, have seen a significant impact on their bottom lines. Read on to learn more.

Longtime dental professionals are embarking on new territory when it comes to marketing their practices and now, it seems, it’s the younger dentists who have the upper hand.

While dental practices typically don’t share a lot of similarities with companies such as Coca-Cola®, McDonalds®, Nike®, or Starbucks®, today’s competition for marketplace dominance is changing the way businesses approach their customers and compete with competition. Dental professionals are also realizing that the way they engage with their patients is changing.

Read Also: The Business Side Of Dentistry

These days, your patients are looking for more than just a dentist to fix a tooth or make their mouth pain go away, they want to establish a relationship with you and your office even before they step through the door of your office. Then, they expect you to work to maintain this relationship.

Brand Matters

Every time you or someone from your office engages with an existing or potential patient is an opportunity to shape the perception of your practice – and online engagement is just as powerful as meeting one-on-one with somebody. In fact, if somebody can’t find information about your practice online, there’s a pretty good chance they will take their business to the practice on the other side of town with excellent Yelp reviews and active Facebook account.

According to a recent study by Foxtail Marketing, a full-service agency that specializes in digital marketing campaigns for doctors and dentists, dentists without an online presence, or a minimal online presence, have seen a significant impact on their bottom lines.

Reviews Matter

“With the rise of ratings sites like Yelp and HealthGrades, [dental professionals] were noticing that not managing their dental presence was causing them to lose patients to higher ranked practices,” the agency stated in a press release. “[The] study highlighted that physicians and dentists that took control of their digital marketing and actively worked on it saw ‘significant increases’ in their patient numbers. They also noticed that referrals spiked by being active on social media and engaging with their patients through email.”

The study, which surveyed more than 500 doctors and dentists, found professionals older than 45 were more likely to ignore social media. Furthermore, clinics that had no online presence and weren’t involved in a physician’s network realized a 30 percent drop in patient numbers over the course of two years.

“While the idea that social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are important to small businesses isn’t a new theory, it is interesting to note how much it is now impacting both the dental and medical industries,” the release continued. “And it does appear, based on this study, that the younger generations of physicians and dentists have already jumped out to a lead when it comes to their digital presence.”

Remember, the best marketing for your dental practice is always going to be word-of-mouth, so make sure to make it a priority to always deliver top-notch service while working to establish and sustain an excellent brand identity. When your existing patients are happy, they will be more apt to tell their friends and family, engage with your practice on social media platforms and even leave a positive online review, and those actions can be just as valuable as an expensive media buy.

Expertise Matters

For more tips to help you secure a successful future in dentistry, email Rea & Associate’s Bright Dental CPAs.

By Dan Bialek, CPA (Mentor office)

Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Make sure your dental practice isn’t left behind.

Is Your Dental Practice In ‘The Cloud’?
The Important Role IT Security Plays Within Your Dental Practice
Are You Backing Up Your Data?

Office Relocation Made Easy – And Affordable

Dentist Office Relocation | Negotiation | Bright Dental CPAs

A common mistake many dental professionals make when they decide to relocate to a new office is that they can do it by themselves. And while it’s quite possible to serve your patients full time, manage your practice and facilitate property negotiations, you may be cheating yourself out of the best deal. Read on to learn why you should put a team together to manage your office relocation.

There are many reasons why you may want to move your dental practice to a new location, but if you want to be sure you are moving to the right location at the right price, consider looking to your business advisory team for guidance.

Want a better deal on a great office location? Call in the experts.

Your financial advisor is one of your best resources when it comes to painting a clear picture of your practice’s overall financial wellness. Their expertise will help you arrive at an accurate cash flow projection, make sense of any tax implications that are associated with the move and will help you determine if the space you are eyeing is financially realistic. But your financial advisor isn’t the only professional who should have a seat at the table during your relocation discussions. For even better results, consider working with somebody who makes it their job to know the various nuances of your local real estate market.

Read Also: Nine Questions To Ask When Purchasing A Dental Practice

A common mistake many dental professionals make when they decide to relocate to a new office is that they can do it by themselves. And while it’s quite possible to serve your patients full time, manage your practice and facilitate property negotiations, you may be cheating yourself out of the best deal. Rather than spend more on your relocation than necessary or letting your other daily responsibilities slip, a real estate broker will not  only manage the legwork associated with choosing your office’s future, they will make sure you get exactly what you are paying for and then some.

I recently spoke with Justin Fodor of Carr Healthcare Realty, a real estate brokerage firm that works exclusively with professionals in the healthcare industry, to find out about the benefits a dental professional might be missing out on when they choose not to work with an expert real estate broker.

Best Deal For The Dollar

Your real estate broker understands the art of negotiation and will work to secure terms that are favorable to you and your practice, regardless of whether you will be buying or leasing the property. For example, while you may be concerned about “ruffling feathers” where pricing is concerned, your real estate broker will be ready to negotiate. They have been through the song-and-dance many times, and they know that the “sticker price” is only the starting price.

Justin said sometimes the healthcare professionals he works with are unsure about bringing in a third party to negotiate. This, he said, should never be a concern.

“Landlords work with brokers all the time,” explained Justin. “In fact, they hire their own brokers. They expect you to bring one to the table as well.”

Your Ideal Location

Oftentimes, if a real estate brokerage firm doesn’t specialize in demographics itself, they will work with professionals who do. This information helps you identify the best office location for your unique needs. Whether you want to find out how many general dentists are in a certain area or whether an area has access to a specialty practice, utilizing demographic information helps optimize your office’s geography.

“We’ve worked with a lot of practices that are coming from larger office buildings. They aren’t really sure what type of space they should be looking for,” explained Justin. “We can help them decide the type of environment that’s right for them by taking into consideration foot traffic, visibility, population, and other demographics.”

A Head Start

“We work with dental professionals to maximize their deal as much as possible,” said Justin. “It takes time to move into an office, remodel and then get patients back through your doors.”

A broker, especially if they specialize in serving healthcare clients, can help you negotiate the time you need to stabilize your practice’s cash flow. Justin said it’s not uncommon for him to secure a 5-month build-out period and 3-4 months of rent-free office space. By that time, everything should be up and running again.

Work With A Team That Knows Your Business

If a new office location is in your practice’s future, email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates. We can help you identify your options from a financial perspective and will work with your real estate broker to make sure you are able to secure the best deal for your dental practice.

By Ryan Dumermuth, CPA, CFP (Mentor office)

Are you looking for more great advice to help you plan your career in dentistry? Check out these articles:

What To Expect From Your Career In Dentistry
Dentistry: It’s Not All White Coats And Drills
What To Consider When Purchasing A Dental Practice

To Outsource Or Not To Outsource

Outsourced Accounting Dentists - Dental CPA

Heather McNichols, Rea’s director of accounting services, joins Mark Van Benschoten, CPA, CGMA on an episode of unsuitable on Rea Radio to talk about outsourced accounting. Listen to the podcast now.

Your dental practice exists to provide a specific service – to make people feel more confident about their smiles. And your patients expect you to be able to deliver. But, in addition to practicing dentistry, you are expected to be a business owner who sends your small business’s invoices out on time, pays your vendors, meets IRS filing requirements successfully tackles range of other duties you never knew you were expected to know are completed on time and on budget.

But before you throw your hands up and declare the task to be impossible, take a minute to learn how you can make the impossible possible with a little outsourcing magic.

When it comes to outsourcing, particularly outsourced accounting, your service options are virtually endless. You could be looking for a team to take on your entire bookkeeping, payroll or receivables responsibilities on a semi-permanent basis or you could break down a project and have only a few parts of it temporarily outsourced – it’s really up to you.

For example, if you are a new dentist who is just beginning a career in dentistry outsourcing can be incredibly helpful. Why? Because at this stage, you are likely focusing on purchasing equipment, hiring a team of assistants, and marketing your new practice. That means there’s not a whole lot left in the budget to hire an accountant; and even if you could afford it, you probably couldn’t guarantee more than a few hours of work each week. In this scenario, outsourcing your accounting tasks is an ideal solution. Read on for six more reasons why you might want to consider outsourcing for your dental practice.

6 Reasons Dentists Choose To Outsource Accounting Work

  • Temporary Absence: A member of your accounting team has to take a temporary leave of absence; outsourcing can help you fill the gap on a temporary basis.
  • Fraud Protection: Your team can handle your dental practice’s invoicing, but for internal control purposes outsourcing your accounts payable responsibilities may provide an added layer of protection.
  • Ensure Confidentiality: Payroll can be a touchy subject, which is why it may be best for all parties to have your payroll managed outside the practice.
  • Eliminate Turnover: Hiring a person requires an investment of time and money. So when they move on after having only worked for you a few months, the thought of doing it all again can be discouraging. You won’t have this problem when you outsource. In fact, you will gain the certainty of knowing that the work will always be done and that the person preparing it is a highly trained professional in the field.
  • Avoid Software Costs: Outsourcing your accounting services also allows you to avoid the costs associated with purchasing and upgrading computer software such as QuickBooks, Peachtree and the Sage products. That’s more savings that can be invested elsewhere in your office.
  • Guaranteed Compliance: Government regulations change frequently, especially in the payroll sphere; and having outdated information can be costly. Outsourcing gives you access to people who make it their business to know if and when changes occur.

The staffing challenge your dental practice is facing is unique. But customizable solutions are available regardless of whether you are a new dentist or a seasoned dental professional. Email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates to find out how outsourcing can help your practice thrive.

By Heather McNichols (New Philadelphia office)

Unsuitable IconWant to learn more about outsourced accounting services? Check out EPISODE 16 of the podcast UNSUITABLE on Rea Radio. On this quick 19-minute episode, OUTSOURCING: QUITE POSSIBLY YOUR MOST POWERFUL RESOURCE, Heather discusses some of the common misconceptions business owners have about outsourcing, among other topics.

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