Who is Managing the Money in Your Practice?
Panic mode sets in when the Office Manager walks out, leaving the practice with many concerns such as patient accounts and how to post insurance checks, calculate write-offs and balance the day sheet – to name a few. Having only one person accountable and knowledgeable of these important systems is asking for big trouble. Far too many dentists admit sheepishly that they don’t know how the accounting part of the software works, have never read the software financial reports and usually steer clear of handling money and insurance filing. They take the deposit and the day sheet at the end of the day and seldom ask any questions.
The desire to trust that everything is okay at the desk without controls in place is like inviting the fox into the henhouse. The person you blindly trust may not have your best interest at heart, and that is where the temptation to take from you secretly comes into play. The purpose of this article is not to cast suspicion on any member of your staff; it is to make you aware of your responsibility to the practice and your duties as CEO of the business.
An electronic security system for your business or home can give you the feeling that you are protected – until you forget to set the alarm. It is understood that if someone really wants something you have, they will figure out a way to try and get it. You must be vigilant, aware and informed of what is going on around you at any given moment. You have to be able to recognize when the alarm goes off.
How do you protect yourself? Hire slowly and check references carefully. Have the applicant sign a release to obtain a criminal background check. Make sure to check the laws in your state regarding the background check terms. This is not foolproof because many embezzlers were not prosecuted by their former employers, and there may not be a record of criminal activity on file. Embezzlers often move from state to state and getting a sense of community history is difficult to acquire for these applicants.
Handling money or having important financial responsibilities on the job may make an employer want to look at the credit score or credit report of the applicant. An applicant deep in debt may be more tempted to steal, but the issue is whether this is legal or fair in the hiring process.
Mike Goldstein of Credit Karma answers some questions in regards to a potential employer’s right to check your credit score.
“The short answer is no, credit bureaus do not share your credit score with employers. Subject to restrictions in state law, employers may, however, ask to see your credit report. When your information is requested, credit bureaus will send over a variation of your credit report meant specifically for employers. This means that they won't see quite everything that a lender can see, for instance, with the biggest difference being the absence of your credit score.
Access to your credit report is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which sets the limitations on when and by whom your credit information can be accessed. The FCRA sets a few restrictions specifically on employers who are using credit reports to screen new job applicants.
Before anyone can check your credit report you must give consent with limited exceptions. If you don’t give consent there is a possible negative implication like denying an employment opportunity. If the potential employer decides not to hire you based upon the report, they must provide a copy of the report for you. This is meant to protect consumers and to give the applicant a chance to address and correct those errors.”
Beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act, some state governments have also increased regulations on credit background checks by employers. Currently, eleven states have taken action to ban or limit employer access to credit reports, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The eleven states are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
Keep in mind that employer credit checks are limited to credit reports; a potential employer can’t request an applicant’s credit scores. The best line of defense is to follow the comprehensive advice of the American Dental Association’s publication “Protecting your Dental Office from Fraud and Embezzlement”.
It is never too late to get business training to ensure you are aware of your practice numbers and can spot any potential problems before they affect the life and health of you and your practice. Call McKenzie Management today for customized business training.
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