Monday, February 25, 2008

Calgon, take me away.

We have quarterly meetings with our financial consultant. We go over everything that happended in the last quarter.

Let me preface this by saying my father and I don't know crap about money. We are pretty good at making it and really good at spending it but all the stuff in between we have always relied on other people to do it.
The first 10 years I have worked here we had an office manager that did everything.
So I became less and less interested in that part of the practice. We sat down once a week and she told us all the line items. In the same weekly meeting she told us what was in the bank. We asked her questions about the pulse of the front desk, i.e. accounts receivables, is hygeine schedule staying busy...things like this.
Our office manager retired and this all went away. Now we were in trouble because neither my father or I knew how to write a check.
So we had two choices... hire someone else or we had to learn the system (learn the system, I laugh out loud just thinking about it).
So we hired someone. He has an accounting mind and he runs a couple of small business like ours. I think in a week he goes to three offices. He has a box in an office and one day a week he pays the bills, payroll, takes care of our complicated health insurance plan, 401k plan and other financial issues that might come up.
So now we are back to the present.
We are having a sit down with our financial consultant. In the meeting is our accountant dude, me and my father and two people from our advisors.
Before the meeting our guy sends over all the things that are pertanant information
to the meeting. Where has our money has gone. How much we have, account receivables, new purchases, things we have thrown away (for depriating assest), anything you can think off.
Now between the 5 of us we hash out or business for about 2 hours.
Mostly I listen. But lately I have been getting more and more of the questions. Now it has become apparent that this might be a passing of the torch kind of thing. At the office the torch has definitely been passed. I make the bulk of the decisions and my father will step in when he sees me flouder like a fish out the water. Or when I have a breakdown in our office (usually involving a lot of F-Bombs) I plead with him to help me. And he does.
Now back to the financial decisions....Let me say one more thing...
Decisions... is it me or do we dentists have to make 10000 decisions a day.
Can I buy new instruments? The sterilizer is not working should I call the tech? Distilled water is so expensive should be buy a distiller? Yes, then what distiller should we buy the $399 one or the $599 one? Do you want the green microbrushes or the red? Do you like these cotton rolls or these? Ms. Jones just lost her job do you still want to charge her full price? The curing light in room three is losing power what do you want to do? Do you like the Colgate toothbrushes because the Crest rep was in today?
Should I try to save #31 with a crown lengthing and post and core and crown or should he just get an implant? And so on and so.

Now with the advent of me taking on the financial decisions it becomes, "Should we change to Bank of America because you can earn a half of a percentage point more in interest? Do you want to go with a high deductible medical insurance plan (a health saving plan) because it will save you on premiums? Yes, well then what plan do you want to go with, the $1100, $1700, the $2100, or the $2500? Yes, then do you want to fund your employees accounts? Yes, then how much.
Do you want the employees to be paid every week or every other week? Yes then do you....
Are you fricking kidding me?
What do I pay all you people for? Someone else make a decision.
We are at a meeting with 3 financial people and two dentists and all the financial people keep asking the dentist what they want to do with their money.
If I wanted to make all the financial decisions I would be paying you three.
Did I tell you I don't know CRAP about money?
So after the meeting the head financial dude and I are left in the room. He starts getting on me (he really does care about me and my office and I really love him and he likes me, I think) about being a poor manager. I told him I am not a micro manager. (I am not a detail person and I understand my limitations. I put people in charge of something I trust it is going to be done.)
He says, "I am not asking you to mirco manage, I am asking you to manage". Ouch.
He looks at the office and sees the money part. I look at it and I see about 15 parts that I am in charge of.
Now I can see how easy it is for dentist to sell their offices to a mangement company. Look I will pay you a million dollars and all you have to do is the dentistry. SOLD.
I will never do this but I am understanding how difficult it is to running all aspects of this machine.
But he says, "just manage".
I took this to heart. I am trying to see up things here that are not micromanaging but checking the systems.
I am having monthly meeting with the front desk people. I am having monthly staff meetings. I am asking for more details in the sheet of account receivables.
But then we go to the financial meetings and he says, "How is it going? Did you find out about X?" I have had 6 meetings since our last meeting and I forgot to ask about X.
It is a process, I am growing. I might be growing intolerant but I am growing none the less.

See you Wednesday,


Anonymous said...

And that is the exact same reason I'm just now getting home (1:25 am) from the office on a Monday. I might have been home earlier but I spent all afternoon helping some dude with his computer questions..... :-) I just re-did my entire benefits package for the guys (now covering 100% of both employee and dependants...can you top that??) but it was a lot of work to figure out all the plans, etc. Glad to hear someone else is going through it!!

gatordmd said...

I see your medical insurance and raise you Profit Sharing.

Anonymous said...

I can't say we have profit sharing yet....but we do have company funded lunch outings every Friday and we give four weeks vacation.

Anonymous said...

Finally another dental blog that actually creates audience/reader participation instead of just product and reviews. Yeah!

I have tremendous empathy for your trying to learn the various things your previous office manager handled. I can also bet you have a profound respect for all she did for your practice before retiring.

Why not find another qualified office manager/practice management administrator to handle these, and then have regular meetings with him/her to keep updated?

I'm an R.D.A. and Office Manager at our office, and can't even imagine how my boss would be able to manage the office and care for patients all at the same time. He can't even figure out the dental software program we use here, and doesn't care to really learn it.

I've suggested several times the need for him to learn at least the basics, so when the rare occurrence I'm ill or can't be at work, he won't have to continue shutting the entire office down because I'm not there.

gatordmd said...

This was a very special woman. She had personality to be one of the staff and one with them. She was able to handle people and problems that came with people.
Profound respect would be an understatement about how I feel about her. Actually when I think it is fun and try to make an appointment... lets not even go there.
Hiring someone else is definitely in the realm of possibility or training someone from our staff.
I am trying to hire an associate right now so this is taking all of my energy.
Thanks for writing.
I will try to blog on more things create participation.
You can also give me ideas, anytime @


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