Geoff Long on the ways a specialist dental accountant can help your practice
This month, Geoff Long looks at just a few of the different ways that a dental accountant can help your practice.
For most professionals, an accountant plays an important but limited role in their business. For many small business owners, the only interaction they might have with their accountant will come around year end, when they’re looking for help with their tax return. When it comes to dental professionals, for much of the year, the accountant can be an underused resource.
But specialist dental accountancy is a very valuable service for a practice to have. At my dental accountancy firm, Long & Co (Dentax), we have many years of experience looking after our clients, in ways that some people might be surprised by.
Specialist knowledge to help you grow your dental business
Importantly, specialist dental accountancy, rather than generic chartered accountancy, is essential. I’ve worked with dental practices for a long time and understand the particular accountancy requirements and unique challenges of the profession. This means that, rather than just being able to help with returns once a year, specialist dental accountants are in a position to also draw on deep knowledge and experience of the industry to help clients.
So, for example, a specialist dental accountant will offer advice on the current state of the market for a particular size of practice, or answer specific questions about the technicalities of NHS pensions that a standard chartered accountant might not. By focusing solely on the sector, a specialist offers advice against a backdrop of practical, legal and technical knowledge.
A chance to add strategic value
Much of the way that a specialist dental accountant can help, I believe, comes down to understanding where to add value to a client’s business. This goes well beyond the simple administration of a yearly tax return – and for me, one of the biggest benefits to practices is being able to offer a strategic perspective on a business.
I see dental accountancy as an opportunity to help business people with questions, not just about their short-term regulatory and financial requirements, but also about their longer term aims. For example, I’ll ask them about their motivations for running the business in the first place. And look at how the financial advice I can offer can help them to achieve their strategic goals in the longer-term.
We help practices to prepare business plans and financial forecasts to aid with expansion and help to prepare bids for NHS Dental and related tenders.
Buying a practice and keeping it on track
I know that for many dentists, buying their own practice is the ultimate goal. Specialist dental accountants completely get what drives this goal and also the decisions needed to achieve and maintain it. Buying a dental practice needs to be approached carefully and with professional support on issues such as recruiting or keeping staff, investing in new equipment and reducing the practice tax bill.
It’s also just as important to ensure that you have someone by your side helping you to keep on track, in terms of your future plans for the practice. Over the years, I’ve found that there really is only one way to do this – through maintaining regular, consistent contact with my clients who I know appreciate the counsel.
I stay close to my client’s practices because my clients value the real value that’s added. I can help them to spot, and fix, any problems that can and will crop up throughout the year, before they grow into a much bigger challenge. In this way, I see the role of the dental accountant as very much a proactive one – a professional partner who is fully engaged, regularly, in the interests of their clients.
Geoff Long is a specialist dental accountant based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He advises on a wide range of dental tax issues and regularly writes for the dental press. Geoff has over 20 years’ experience with dentist’s accounts and is recognised for his proactive approach to dental taxation and business problems.
Geoff can be contacted on 01438 722224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org