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.

Should I Hire My Spouse To Work In My Dental Practice?

Hiring Spouses - Dental CPA

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 and everybody’s situation is different. What may be an optimal decision for one couple may bring about nightmarish consequences for another. Contact your Bright Dental CPA to learn more.

The dynamics that make up the different facets of your life are unique. The time you spend with family and friends is different than the time you spend with your clients and coworkers and the majority of people are quite happy to keep these two lives separate. But there are others who see the prospect of working together with their spouse as a personal and professional benefit – dental practice owners are no exception. In fact, I frequently field such questions from dental practice owners, all seeking more insight into the financial benefits (and drawbacks) of hiring their spouse.

Read: Debunking Common Personal Finance Myths For Dentists

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.

The Pros

  • Ohio Small Business Tax Deduction – As long as you own at least 20 percent of the dental practice and the practice is located in Ohio, you can deduct your spouse’s wages as part of the Ohio Small Business Tax Deduction. Depending on how much they make, this could mean significant tax savings for you.
  • Retirement Savings – Your spouse’s wages will likely qualify them for your practice’s retirement plan, which will help grow your combined retirement nest egg.
  • Child Care Tax Credit – If you have children who are currently enrolled in day care or an eligible school program, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit. This credit is only available if both parents are working; and since you and your spouse are working under the same roof, the credit is up for grabs.
  • Social Security Savings – In addition to saving for retirement, your spouse will also be able to make payments into Social Security. In the short term they will see a reduction in their regular take-home pay, but as soon as they start claiming the benefit during retirement they will receive increased payments, which are based on the duration of their work history.
  • Travel Expense Ease – It is easier to deduct travel expenses if you are attending a seminar, as the IRS more readily allows deductible travel expenses of your spouse if they are an employee of the practice.
  • Peace of Mind – With your spouse working for your practice, you can avoid hiring an extra employee to do the same work. Any savings would benefit your personal bank account.

The Cons

  • Dramatic Dynamic – Just because your spouse is now a part of your practice’s team, doesn’t mean that drama will ensue – but it could. At least on a small scale, the addition of your spouse will cause the overall office dynamic to change. Whether that change is good, bad or just plain ugly depends a lot on your management style. If you hire your spouse to work for your practice, be sensitive to the feelings of the other team members while being mindful of any changes in office dynamics.
  • Separate But Equal – In order for this arrangement to work, you must be able to separate work issues from personal issues. We all have a bad day now and then, but if that bad day originated at home, you can’t carry it with you into the office. If you have any doubt whether you can effectively separate your home life from your work life, maybe hiring your spouse isn’t the right decision.
  • Soaring Social Security – Even though your spouse will be paying into Social Security, a good thing in the long term, you may not be happy to get the bill, a drawback in the short term. For example, if your wages as a dentist exceed the Social Security limit of $118,500 for 2015, paying your spouse instead of yourself will result in 6.2 percent extra taxes – or the Social Security portion of payroll taxes.

Everybody’s situation is different and what may be an optimal decision for one couple may bring about nightmarish consequences for another. Do not take this decision lightly. Email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates to learn more.

By Dan Bialek, CPA (Mentor office)

 

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Dentistry: It’s Not All White Coats and Drills

Dental Career - Dental CPA

When was the first time you said to yourself: “When I grow up, I want to be a dentist?” Some people say they knew at an early age while others become inspired to pursue a career in dentistry in college; most, however, are not prepared for the difficulty of owning their own dental practice. The Free e-book, The Business Side of Dentistry: Tips and Tools for Dentists, is a great resource for those who what to know what they should expect.

When did you start thinking about a career in dentistry? Was it that time you spent hours reading scholarly articles about teeth for a research paper in middle school? Was it after you volunteered to help run the registration table during a community dental clinic as a sophomore? Or maybe the thought didn’t cross your mind until you were about to walk down the aisle at graduation and was suddenly faced with the urgency of answering that BIG question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Every professional in the field has a unique story about the moment they made the decision to become a dentist, but few will tell you that the reality of their career choice aligned perfectly with their expectations.

It turns out that most dentists don’t know what to expect when it comes to opening and managing their own dental practice.

Download: The Business Side of Dentistry: Tips and Tools for Dentists

You’re a trained, disciplined and compassionate professional who has likely invested an impressive amount of time and resources to get where you are today. From completing your bachelor’s degree and studying for the Dental Admission Test (DAT) to achieving high marks in class and excelling in your clinicals as a dental school student, you’re now ready to go out into the world and make a difference one tooth at a time.

Or are you?

Many dentists dream of starting their own dental practices. And while they may have the experience and expertise to care for their patients, they soon learn that they are ill equipped to manage the responsibilities that come along with being a small business owner. We have spoken with many dental practice owners who have said that while their educational career provided them with the knowledge and experience needed to become exceptional dentists, courses on taxes, financial planning, employee relations, finance, marketing, patient retention, business valuation, and real estate were simply not part of their dental school curriculum.

Do you want to know with whom you should align yourself to get your dental practice off the ground and soaring? Download The Business Side of Dentistry: Tips and Tools for Dentists for powerful insight into the real-world business challenges of dental practice owners. Whether you’re a recent dental school graduate, a seasoned dentist looking to take your career to the next level or a current dental practice owner looking for help maintaining a sustainable business model, this FREE e-book serves as an informative introduction into the business world of dentistry and offers readers a variety of helpful tips and tools to help dental professionals throughout their career.

Download your free copy of The Business Side of Dentistry: Tips and Tools for Dentists to discover what they never taught you in dental school or email Rea & Associates for more information.

By Ryan Dumermuth, CPA, CFP (Mentor office)

 

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Dental Practices Should Beware Of Wire Transfer Scam

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a wire transfer scam alert for all small businesses in the United States. According to the FBI alert, between October 2013 and December 2014, 1,198 complaints from U.S.-based companies were received dealing with wire transfer scams. Losses from these incidents totaled more than $179 million. The FBI also reports that the scams can follow a Ransomware incident, and may involve a fraudster contacting a vendor and requesting a change of payment to an alternate fraudster-controlled bank account.

Though this particular alert was intended for small business owners, dental practice owners should also consider the impact of this scam and determine if their practice is safe from such a scam.

How To Mitigate This Type of Scam

The FBI recommends the following mitigation steps for these types of scams:

  • Keep all of your anti-virus software up-to-date.
  • Educate your practice employees about security best practices.
  • Be sure that any changes to payments via electronic transfer are verified with an employee of the bank and at a phone number that you utilize for assistance.
  • Don’t use alternate phone numbers provided via email or by a bank representative contacting you.
  • Always call the institution back and verify that you are communicating with your bank.
  • Monitor all of your practice’s financial transactions on a daily basis. Suspected electronic fraud must be reported in a single business work day.
  • Use two-party authorization access to complete all wire transfer transactions.
  • Utilize biometric authentication to verify the identity of authorized users.
  • Use online bank portals that require strong fraud controls to complete all wire transfer transactions.

You can find more information about the FBI’s scam alert here. This site also provides detailed samples of how the scams will be run against unsuspecting businesses.

If you have any specific questions about how this scam might impact you or if would like more information on IT security best practices, contact our Bright Dental CPAs.

By: Ryan Dumermuth, CPA, CFP (Mentor office)

 

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Five Ways To Put Your Dental Patients At Ease

According to WebMD.com, 9 to 20 percent of adults are afraid of going to the dentist. The cause of these fears varies from patient to patient, but it’s important that your practice is performing fundamental tasks that will limit patient fears. Here are five tips that will help you calm patient fears so they will come back and see you again:

  1. Make a good first impression. You and your staff should greet everyone with a smile and welcome them to your office. A first impression goes a long way when someone is afraid to be there.
  2. Have a welcoming waiting room. Your waiting room should be well lit, have updated magazines, children’s toys and books and complimentary drinks. If you want to go above and beyond, consider adding free Wi-Fi access. This will not only keep your patients pre-occupied while waiting to see you, but it will also be a way to advertise your website by making this your homepage when they first log on.
  3. Communicate. Reassure the patient that his or her procedure is routine and you have handled many times before. Explain what you are going to do, what the patient can expect, how you are going to relieve the pain, and how long it will take for full recovery. If your patients have a mapped out plan of how everything will happen, it will ease their fear. Also, show confidence in what you are doing and be sure to listen to what they have to say.
  4. Limit delays. There is nothing worse than feeling terrified to see the dentist and having to wait a long time thinking about it. If you are more than 20 minutes behind schedule, call your patients in advance and let them know. Even for your patients who aren’t scared to see you, this will go a long way. We all know some delays are inevitable, but when this happens, communicate it in advance. If, for some reason, you’re unable to let your patient know about a delay prior to their arrival, offer to pay for their parking or transportation cost. Sometimes part of the fear of the dentist is the cost of it all, and a simple $5 or $10 reimbursement will go a long way in a patient’s eyes.
  5. Under promise and over deliver. It’s easy to tell a patient that this won’t hurt at all when you know you are about to inflict some serious pain. This only hurts you in the long run, by breaking patient trust. You need to be honest, up front, and sometimes even too honest. When you tell a patient they should expect pain, and it only hurts a little bit, they may leave thinking it wasn’t as bad as they thought. Your receptionist should also follow this mindset. When your patient arrives, tell them it will be a 20-minute wait when you know it will only take 5 or 10 minutes. When their name gets called, your patient’s mindset will already be a positive one before he or she has even seen the dentist. They will feel important and cared for, which is what successful dental practices do.

Some of these tips may seem a bit basic and common sense, but adhering to them can help you preserve patient confidence and help them be at ease during their visit. Contact our Bright Dental CPAs for more tips on how to enhance your patient experience.

By Dan Bialek, CPA (Mentor office)

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