By Susan Gunn
At almost every dental meeting’s QuickBooks® course I give, someone asks why he/she should use QuickBooks® instead of Quicken®. I’m always surprised at the number of times I’m asked this question.
Let’s clear up some of the confusion!
Quicken® is personal financial software and QuickBooks® is business financial software.
Is that really a big deal? Yes, for reasons that are – or should be – near and dear to your heart:
There is a bewildering number of small business accounting software available, such as Peachtree®, MYOB® and Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting®. In addition to whichever software you choose, it must then be customized to complement your practice management software, as neither one is designed to do both accounts payable and accounts receivable.
For instance, ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE (patients’ information, treatment plans, payments, etc), is contained within your practice software, while ACCOUNTS PAYABLE (vendors, staff payroll, etc) is contained within your accounting software.
The reason I recommend QuickBooks® over any other accounting software is its ease of use. The tasks are logical and the layout makes it visually easy to understand, especially in comparison to other software.
When set up and used correctly by your practice, QuickBooks® provides the critical information you need not only to manage your practice more effectively, but to give your accountant the information they need to prepare your taxes.
There are two distinct ways to customize your accounting software: for tax accounting or practice financial analysis.
Most accountants create QuickBooks® for the purpose of tax accounting. After all, this makes it easier to do the practice’s taxes. However, if the accounting software is designed for practice financial analysis, the accountant can then take the same information and generate your taxes and you can understand your financial reports more clearly.
The key is in the practice’s “chart of accounts.” Simply put, this list is how you analyze the money coming in and the money going out. The new Practice Management Chart of Accounts, in the Getting The Most Out Of QuickBooks In Your Practice books, was designed with practice financial analysis in mind.
The layout of the expense account listing determines the Profit & Loss report layout. When account lists are designed for tax accounting, grouping the expense types is most often overlooked. When account lists are designed for financial analysis, the expenses are grouped logically together for easier overhead analysis of these expenses.
Good relationship with the IRS
Practices need to keep a six-lane highway between business and personal finances. Why? Consider these common scenarios:
In all three instances, and many others, you need to answer any questions regarding your practice’s finances without your personal finances being involved. How can you determine what your true practice overhead is when your personal finances are included in your accounting software?
When personal finance software is used, the tendency is to include personal transactions. Quicken can be customized to track your business finances but why bother when a business software is available? What reports must be customized in Quicken to do, are readily available in QuickBooks®. When reports can be easily exported into Excel® from QuickBooks® you must cut/copy/paste into Excel® from Quicken®.
Professional business finances do not include personal expenditures, regardless of your actual legal business type. Dental practices are such professional businesses. These expenditures kept separate will help form good relationships with the IRS.
No more excuses!
Getting The Most Out Of QuickBooks In Your Practice is a complete reference guide for a dental practice’s use of QuickBooks. Every practice using QuickBooks needs this book and not because I wrote it. To understand the day to day practice’s use of QuickBooks, to use it not only correctly but to maximize its use of QuickBooks, to learn how to organize the practice’s financial data, these can all be easily understood.
Using QuickBooks should not be frustrating. Using Getting The Most Out Of QuickBooks In Your Practice as your guide can make the most difficult tasks, easy to understand.
Why use accounting software at all?
A dental practice is a business. All businesses need to know how they make money and where it is spent. Successful businesses know exactly where it goes, for what, and to whom!
Are you one of them?
Susan Gunn has been a QuickBooks® consultant for over 13 years, written 14 books and has been an Advanced Certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisor since Intuit established the program. She provides a variety of means to accomplish QuickBooks® competency through books, courses, online and onsite consulting. A nationally recognized speaker, Susan lives in Arlington, TX.
To order Susan’s book, Getting The Most Out of Quickbooks In Your Practice…go here
Dr. Nancy Haller
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The most successful leaders are aware of their impact. After all, leadership is about influencing people. To be effective you need to know how you are perceived by others.
In the leadership training I do, it’s common to use a 360-degree survey. This is a popular on-the-job appraisal tool that involves gathering performance ratings from a circle of people who work closely with the leader….peers, subordinates and superiors. In some cases external sources such as patients or customers as well as vendors might be included. The results from 360-degree feedback are used by the person receiving the feedback to plan their development. A coach is often involved to help interpret the findings - strengths and weaknesses - and to identify necessary changes.
The exercise of receiving formal feedback is invaluable. Most Fortune 500 companies use 360 reviews to enhance leadership development and organizational success. However, you don’t need a formal survey to become a better leader in your practice.
In my last article I talked about the importance of doing your own “performance review” through a process called feedforward.This is focused on sharing constructive, future oriented suggestions. Because the goal is to solicit positive suggestions, employees are more likely to give you ideas on how you can be a “better boss”.
So let’s say you’ve started the process -you’ve gathered information from your staff. You’ve thanked them without debating, arguing, defending yourself. You’ve taken notes.
If you’re an exceptional leader, you’ve also acknowledged any wrongdoings. The most powerful words a leader can ever learn to say might simply be “I'm sorry”...to accept responsibility and promise to do better.
Caution: What you do from this point on will make-or-break the process.
Having been in the business of helping people to change behavior for the past 25 years, I know that the process may be simple, but it is far from easy. And unfortunately, the fact that you’ve been successful will be one of your biggest obstacles. Research shows that you will tend to reject or deny feedback from others that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself. It’s hard to admit that you need to modify your behavior. How can you achieve positive change?
Let’s say your feedforward theme clearly identified your need to become a better listener. You’ve heard this before. Perhaps you have a life-long ‘bad habit’ of interrupting. Once you’ve decided on ‘listening’ as a goal, go back to your staff and say,
“I am working on becoming a better listener. Can you give me two positive suggestions on how I can do this?”
Another way to solicit specific ideas is to ask your employees: “What are two positive things you have noticed that good listeners do?” Choose one action that you will take…one thing you will do differently. And as the Nike slogan said, ‘Just do it!’.
Involve your employees consistently. After a week or two, ask them again, ‘What are some ways I can be a better listener?’ Be aware that when they provide suggestions your first reaction may be to think they are ‘wrong’ or ‘confused’. We all want to hear what we want to hear. Our belief in ourselves helps us become successful. It can also make it very hard for us to change.
Recruit your employees to help you to become a better leader. Be consistent in asking them for ideas and suggestions. Remind them that you are trying really hard. Remember that they are likely to be suspicious at first, doubting your efforts as just one more ‘new thing’ that will fall by the wayside in a couple of weeks. Don’t backslide on your promise to improve yourself. By following up on the suggestions you receive, you demonstrate your commitment to grow. You also set the standard for your office – that growth and self-improvement are important for everyone. By using the feedforward process, you shape your office culture into one of trust and accountability. And those are the very cornerstones of a successful, profitable dental practice.
Dr. Haller is available to help you solicit feedback from your staff. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in becoming a better leader? Contact Nancy at email@example.com.
Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here