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

5 Ways to Save Before 2015 Ends

Dental Tax Deductions - Dental CPA

Put some extra cash in your piggy bank this tax season with these deductions.

Don’t Ignore These Tax Write-Offs for Your Dental Practice

As a small business owner of a dental practice, you can benefit from numerous tax deductions (some of which you may not even know exist) to ensure that you’re making the most of every dollar you earn. Even though we’re almost through 2015, there’s still  time to take advantage of these five often-overlooked tax write-offs:

  1. Ohio Small Business Deduction
    Many small business owners in Ohio are eligible to receive help from the state on their tax returns through the Ohio Small Business Deduction. Initiated by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and largely considered to be the biggest overall tax reduction in the country, the deduction allows eligible small businesses to take a 50 percent tax deduction on their first $250,000 of business income.
  2. Section 179 Deduction
    When Congress voted in favor of the Tax Extenders Act, among the many tax incentives that were extended included an action to retroactively reinstate the $500,000 depreciation limit on the Section 179 deduction, as well as the 50
    percent bonus depreciation expense. Together, these tax incentives have the
    potential to save you, and your company, hundreds of thousands of dollars
    on equipment purchases. Limits and restrictions do apply, however. Make sure
    to work with a CPA who can ensure your purchases actually qualify.
  3. Personal Vehicle Deduction
    If you drive your personal vehicle for business, then you may be able to deduct the expenses related to your car or truck as long as the vehicle was actually used for business purposes beyond your daily commute. Standard mileage rates of $0.56 per mile apply to business travel.
  4. Stock Gains Deduction
    Some qualified businesses may also be able to exclude the gains generated by qualified small business stock. This provision helps incentivize the importance of
    continued investment into our country’s small businesses. This incentive is a little more difficult than some others, but if you qualify, you could realize significant savings. Because of the complicated nature of this particular provision, it is essential
    that you work with a Bright Dental CPA tax advisor to find out if you qualify.
  5. Charitable Giving Deduction
    If you make a donation to a nonprofit organization during the year, it is almost guaranteed that you will be able to deduct at least a portion of your contribution from your income. The deduction will be limited to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Email a Bright Dental CPA to help you determine if you qualify to claim one or more of these deductions.

Want more tax tips for your dental practice? Check out these posts:

10 Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Dentists

What is the Ohio Small Business Tax Deduction?

Tax Provision’s Future Is Uncertain

Don’t Let Obamacare Take Down Your Dental Practice

Obamacare - Ohio CPA Firm

Learn more about ways to avoid Affordable Care Act penalties by listening to our podcast, “Unsuitable on Rea Radio.” Episode 5, “Don’t Get Burned By Obamacare.”

For business owners, keeping up with Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations has been about as much fun as receiving a root canal – and it’s not likely to get more pleasant any

time soon. However, after a close examination, you may be able to uncover areas of opportunity. (Or at least options that will help you avoid paying steep penalties. Here are three tips all dental professionals should know.

  1. Large dental practices (those with 50 or more full-time employees) have to worry about large employer reporting and potential pay or play penalties (which could add up to roughly $2,000 per employee annually).
  2. All employers need to avoid excise taxes for discrimination and violating the ACA’s “all or nothing” mandate. WARNING: These are business busters that could cost you $100 per employee, per day for noncompliance. This means that you could owe the government as much as $36,500 per employee, per year! Excise taxes can be triggered by continuing to do things you’ve always done, such as offering reimbursement arrangements to your employees.
  3. Dental practices also have the opportunity to review their insurance options and compensation structure. SHOP, drop, roll (“traditional” insurance), self-insure, private exchange and models like reference-based pricing are all options to explore. In some cases, dropping insurance can actually result in less expenses and improved benefits for the employers and employees alike.

Don’t wait any longer. Work with an ACA expert who can help you determine the best option for your practice while helping you identify areas of opportunity and risk. For more Obamacare insight, listen to Episode 5: Don’t Get Burned By Obamacare on Unsuitable on Rea Radio – a podcast for entrepreneurs who are ready to trade in the business suit culture for measurable results.

Want to talk to an ACA expert before the penalties start piling up? Email a Bright Dental CPA today.

By: Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Columbus office)

This article was published in the November 2015 issue of Columbus Business First – Ask The Expert.

Want to read more topics related to health care and your dental practice? Check these out:

How To Get a Tax Credit for Health Insurance Costs

Are Your Employees Aware of the Benefits?

10 Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Dentists

Attract Top Talent With These Tax-Free Tactics

Offering fringe benefits to your employees can set you apart from your competitors when looking to hire new dental assistants and staff.

Offering fringe benefits to your employees can set you apart from your competitors when looking to hire new dental assistants and staff.

Competition is fierce when it comes to attracting and retaining the top talent for your dental practice and it seems as though dental professionals have no choice by to get creative when it comes to providing their dental staff with a comprehensive benefit package. We’ve seen other companies successfully deploy the tactic of providing their teams with fringe benefits, especially those businesses within the technology sector; and maybe it’s time for practice owners throughout the dental industry to consider this approach.

Read Also: Ten Tips For Growing Your Dental Practice

Have you been considering new ways to increase the quality and quantity of your practice’s talent pool? Fringe benefits like free food, massages, fitness centers and game rooms not only help your practice stand out among other practices in the area, they can be implemented without increasing your tax liability. The following is an overview of Publication 15-B, the Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, which is a helpful tool for owners of dental practices who are looking to learn more about the treatment various kinds of fringe benefits will receive at tax time.

What Is A Fringe Benefit?

Generally speaking, a fringe benefit is a form of payment given to a person in exchange for the performance of services. This benefit can be provided by you (the practice owner) to any person (not necessarily a member of your staff) who is performing services for your office, which means independent contractors and partners, for example, are also eligible to receive fringe benefits.    

Are Fringe Benefits Taxable?

All fringe benefits provided by your business are taxable and must be included in your recipients pay unless the law specifically excludes it. Further guidance on how to determine the taxable inclusion amounts is found in Publication 15-B. That being said, cash, cash equivalents and gift cards are generally considered taxable and are not included on the exclusion list below.

What Types Of Fringe Benefits Are Specifically Excluded And Non-Taxable?

(This is not an extensive list.) 

  • Achievement Awards – Your staff likes being recognized for their length of service or safety achievements. While recognition/awards that take the form cash, cash equivalents and gift certificates are taxable, practice owners can reward the dental practice’s team with tangible personal property under this exclusion. Note: Depending on the type of the award, dollar limits may apply.
  • Athletic Facilities – If you maintain an on-site athletic facility that is exclusively used by your office’s staff, your staff’s spouses and their dependent children, the value of this benefit is not required to be included in your staff’s wages.
  • De Minimis Fringe Benefits – A de Minimis fringe benefits are “perks” that are considered to have very little value – so much so that accounting for a benefit of this size would be considered unreasonable or administratively impractical. Common examples of de Minimis fringe benefits include:
    • Occasional personal use of company copying machine
    • Holiday gifts, with a low market value
    • Occasional tickets to the theater or a sporting event
    • Occasional parties and picnics for your practice’s staff and their guests
  • Employee Discounts – This fringe benefit, while subject to limitations, implies that an employer can offer employees a discount for property or services, as long as it is provided to patients as well.
  • Employer-Provided Cell Phones – Many dental professionals provide cell phones for non-compensatory business reasons. Personal use of an employer provided cell phone is excludable from an staff member’s income.
  • Meals
    • De Minimis meals – Coffee, donuts, soft drinks and meals that help to enable your staff to work for longer periods of time are not taxable. Just remember to know your audience – too much sugar is bad for the teeth!
    • Meals on your business premises – Meals that are provided to you team on your practice’s property, which are made available for convenience (facts and circumstances), are excludable. 

NOTE: Expect to see more IRS guidance forthcoming regarding meals as they fine tune the “employer’s convenience” guidance. With all the attention Google and Facebook have garnered for their employee meals the IRS has made meal fringe benefits a priority initiative.

Email a Bright Dental CPA to learn more about what tactics are available to help you attract the talent you need while helping you keep your tax bill down. 

Check out these articles for more tips and tax strategies to help you save extra money at tax time! 

How To Determine When To Call A Dental Retirement Plan Administrator

What Is The Ohio Small Business Tax Deduction?

Could A Crown Be A Tax Deduction?

Unlock Your Dental Practice’s Potential With QuickBooks

QuickBooks For Dentists - Dental CPA

Are you using QuickBooks at your dental office? Learn more about the tools available to you.

You’ve worked hard to become the owner and manager of your own dental practice, and even though you couldn’t be happier to get to this point in your career, you are quickly realizing that some aspects just aren’t as fun and exciting as others. Take bookkeeping, for example. To you, it’s a necessary evil. You understand that it’s an essential component to running a successful business, but in reality, you’d rather be … pulling teeth.

Bookkeeping doesn’t have to be painful – QuickBooks has been helping dental practice owners, like yourself, make sense of their finances easily and efficiently, which gives you more time to fix smiles and grow your practice. Keep reading to learn about the many ways QuickBooks can help you.

Get Control Of Your Cash Flow

  • Manage Bills and Accounts Payable – When you use the “enter bills” and “pay bills” functions in QuickBooks, you have the tools you need to keep your vendors paid on time and happy. Paying your bills directly through QuickBooks via the online bill pay option or by printing checks helps to reduce unnecessary data entry and increase productivity.
  • Reconcile Accounts – Using QuickBooks to reconcile your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, lines of credit and payroll liabilities on a consistent basis will empower you with the knowledge of exactly how much cash you have on hand.
  • Customized Chart of Accounts – Your practice’s chart of accounts is all about your specific needs. Therefore, you should take a little time to customize it. And remember to resist the urge to make it overly complicated. This chart should provide you with the information you consider to be the most valuable to you can make educated decisions based on the actual financial health of your practice. You can create customized industry benchmarking charts to see how you compare to other dental offices.
  • Class Tracking – Classes are a way to track your data in a way that is meaningful. You, for example, might find value using location as a basis for tracking data; other dentists may choose to focus on departments or vendors. Your QuickBooks preferences are personal and unique to you so make sure you set them up in ways that make sense to you and your managing style. And following benchmarking
  • Owner-Memorized Reports – Develop a custom set of reports you find particularly useful to run your practice. You can create a list called “owner reports” and memorize important reports to that list to make them easily accessible.

Master The Skill Of Financial Reporting

Oftentimes dentists consider QuickBooks to be a one-stop-shop and the software’s ability to generate accurate financial reports quickly helps facilitate that view. When you fail to run and analyze your financial reports along with your production reports, you simply are not getting the best use of everything QuickBooks has to offer for your dental office. Simply put, if used correctly, QuickBooks can be the tool that helps you make key business decisions quickly and efficiently.

Want to find out more about QuickBooks and ways in which it can help you and your bustling practice? Email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates to learn more.

By Chris Roush, CPA (Millersburg office)

Read the articles below for more tips on how grow your dental practice.

Put Together An Amazing Dental Advisory Team

Dentistry: It’s No All White Coats and Drills

The Business Side of Dentistry: Tips and tools for Dentists