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How employing a good accountant will benefit your medical practice

If you are involved in the health industry, you are no doubt very busy. As the population of the UK ages, demand for doctors is growing at an amazing rate. It does not matter whether you are a GP, a physiotherapist or a private practitioner; you are no doubt in high demand.

The only way for doctors to keep up with this increasing workload and still deliver a good level of care is for them to be supported by a strong team. Without good back room staff, it is impossible for a doctor to do his or her job. One important member of the team that is often forgotten is the accountant. Employing the right accounting team is critical if you want your practice to be a success.

Take care of your taxes

Most doctors have quite complex tax affairs. Often, they work for multiple organisations, so have multiple streams of income.

For example, in the UK, it is normal for a doctor to take on private patients as well as work for the NHS. The fact that they have several income sources means that filling out their annual tax return correctly is tricky. It is all too easy to inadvertently make mistakes, and find yourself the subject of a stressful and time consuming HMRC inspection.

A good accountant will make sure that you submit an accurate tax return, and do so on time. They will also make sure that you claim for all permitted expenses and will advise you about other ways to keep your income tax bill down.

Pension and contract advice

Naturally, you want to secure a good pension to see you into your retirement. Your accountant can help you with this by pointing you in the right direction. They will be able to help you to calculate what your pension will be, and armed with this knowledge, you can decide whether you need to seek further advice from a pension specialist.

If you work for the NHS or for private medical care providers, your contract can be subject to change. A good accountant will go through contract changes with you to help you to understand the impact they will have on your salary and pension.

Help you to spot moneymaking opportunities

The world of healthcare is always evolving. As the needs of the general population changes, gaps in the market open up, which wait for you to fill them.

Your accountant will help you to spot these opportunities and work out whether you should be offering new services. They will do the necessary financial modelling to help you to determine which new services will be profitable, and which could potentially lose you money.

Help to source funding

All doctors want to do the best for their patients. They are driven to offer the best possible treatments, but doing so can be expensive. New equipment and training both cost money, so it can be difficult for a doctor’s surgery or clinic, to expand, or improve the range of services it offers. Often, it is possible to raise some of the money you need to buy new equipment or train your staff using grants that are available from the government and other organisations.

A good medical accountant will help you to identify these funding sources, and narrow down the ones you are likely to qualify for. They will then work with you to come up with the financial information needed to fill out the application.

Awareness of the financial impact of policy changes

An accountant will help you to stay up to date with an ever-changing tax landscape, and help you to understand the impact of policy changes that could affect the profitability of your practice. When the government or other official body changes the standards or rules, they will put together financial models to help you to do this. Armed with this data you can start to identify the best way for you to implement these changes without having a negative impact on your business.

You will be able to work out which policy changes will cost you money, and which open up opportunities to generate more income for your business, allowing you to invest in ways to serve your patients better.

Make your medical practice more profitable

Most doctors enter the profession because are driven to help people. They want to make a difference, but in order to be able to continue to do that you need to stay in business, which means running a profitable practice or clinic. An experienced accountancy team can help you to do just that.

Every business needs to review its profitability and cash flow on a regular basis. Those practice or clinic owners that do not do this quickly go out of business. Going bankrupt can just as easily happen to a medical practice as it can to a widget-making factory.
Your accountant will put in place robust accounting processes and make sure that all of your staff know what is required of them. The more up to date your accounts are, the better it is for your business.

It means that when you pull off profit and loss reports, you will be working with the latest information. This enables you to make better decisions about which direction to take your business in. It will also help you to spot areas where money is being wasted and do so at an early stage. This gives you the chance to change the way your practice operates when necessary and do so before you lose too much money.

Help you to retain staff

At the moment, many GP surgeries and other types of medical practices are struggling to attract and retain qualified staff. This is something your accountant can potentially help you with.

For example, the right accountant will demonstrate to your locums how to arrange their tax affairs. They will explain how to draw up the right type of contract to be able to employ them as contractors, should you want to. In some practices, there is also the potential for a similar approach with some of your other key employees.

You greatly improve your chances of attracting the right type of people and keeping them by running an organised and profitable clinic or practice. Good staff are attracted to reputable businesses, and are more likely to feel secure enough to stay with you. In addition, being more profitable will enable you to pay better wages, which helps with both recruitment and retention of staff.

As you can see, finding the right accountant is important, so it really is worth investing a little time and money in hiring one.

Posted by Peter
June 1, 2016
Accounts

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