Are you spread too thin to run your practice effectively?
In working with veterinary practice owners, this is an issue we see all the time. In any business, it’s possible for the owner to take on tasks that need to be delegated and in the process, reduce their own effectiveness. This is even more of a danger in a professional practice like a veterinary office. Why?
As a medical professional, your focus areas in the practice are things that CAN’T be done by anyone else. Serving more patients and serving them better is the best way to drive revenue growth. Every hour you spend (or even a few minutes at a time) handling other parts of the practice takes you away from those revenue producing tasks only you can do.
For many of the veterinary practice owners we talk to, these administrative tasks either fall on them or fall through the cracks. They haven’t taken the time to hire and delegate or they’ve hired someone without the needed skill set and key areas of their practice continue to be managed ineffectively. ended up taking back most of the tasks anyway.
Below, we’ll briefly lay out the skills you need to look for when hiring a manager or administrator for your practice. The right person can handle the day to day business operations even more effectively than you can and set you free to focus on your patients so you can generate revenue.
Who do you need to hire?
Depending on the size of your practice and how many people are on your team, you may be looking for different kinds of help.
At one end of the spectrum, an office manager overseas reception and customer interaction. He or she can take care of billing issues and collection, and accounts payable/receivable. They will also likely be the one making daily bank deposits and generating statements from your accounting software.
If your practice is very small, an office manager may be all you need and the only person on staff who isn’t clinical.
For a larger practice, a full-time administrator may be needed. According to the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, a veterinary hospital administrator’s role includes:
- Personnel management such as recruiting and hiring support and professional staff and maintaining HR policies.
- Evaluating and analyzing practice performance, educating and motivating staff to obtain maximal outcomes.
- Maintaining – or supervising those who maintain – fee structures, budgets, financial statements, tax documents, and debt/asset records.
- Short and long-term business planning and goal setting.
What skill sets are needed for the best results?
In some cases, these roles can be filled by someone already on staff. For instance, some of the office management tasks can be handled by the receptionist. However, as your practice grows you need more specialized skills and a lack of that skill will become a bottleneck to growth.
Human resource skills are a must in a growing practice. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining the right people is crucial to your success and harder than it sounds, especially considering the current employment environment in veterinary medicine. A human resources expert will save you time, money, and headaches by reducing turnover and finding the right people for your staff.
Accounting skills – including day to day accounts, budgeting, and long-term financial planning – are critical for the financial health of the practice. Many veterinary practices focus on the compliance aspect of accounting but have no one on staff who truly understands and can analyze the numbers. This is one of the major ways we help our clients move from being reactive to proactive when it comes to their finances.
Management skills round out the necessary skill sets to keep your practice on track. This includes both the hard skills of market analysis, price structuring, and quality control, to the soft skills of leadership, motivation, and team communication.
The end result
Whether your practice is small enough to delegate these tasks to existing staff or large enough that you need a full time administrator, getting them off your plate will create more time to generate revenue with work only you can do. You might accomplish this by finding team members with each of the skill sets mentioned above, one manager with several of the skills, or a gifted administrator to coordinate and oversee specialists in each area as the need arises.
Whichever solution you find to fit your practice’s needs, feel free to reach out to us with any questions about business management in your practice, including tax, accounting, and financial management.