By Christopher Kane and Jeff Johnston
When a patient visits your office, you and your back office – while remaining out of view – take action. While the delivery of care is the most important function of a great eye care professional’s practice, there are functions and people behind the scenes who are also critical to your success.
An astute practitioner will quickly learn that no one can do it alone, and a key part of the profession is developing partnerships with trusted advisors who specialize in areas you do not.
This relationship building allows you to concentrate on providing first rate care while allowing professionals you trust to concentrate on what they do best.
What follows is a bulleted list of teammates an eye care professional might consider when assembling their winning team:
Certified Public Accountant:
CPAs can assist with a lot more than tax preparation. A CPA who is proficient in working with eye care clients can help with expense efficiencies and identifying areas in which you can improve cash flow. They have access to financial statistics that allow you to compare your practice with peers. A well-skilled CPA understands the nuances of the various specialties, whether you are a optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Using an attorney is wise for matters such as lease negotiations, employment contracts and buy/sell agreements. Finding an attorney who specializes in working with eye care pros can speed up the process and also identify potential problems or concerns that are specific to the industry. It can also make a practice purchase or sale run more smoothly as these attorneys know the specific issues to address. Attorneys can help with HR compliance and guidelines in order to avoid issues in these areas as well.
An insurance agent can help identify and offer suggestions that best fit the needs of an eye care pro both personally and for their practice(s). Insurance needs can be complex, and finding an agent who can provide insight in all areas is beneficial.
A good banker can offer financing solutions to buy or expand a practice, as well as provide ongoing operational assistance. In addition, they may have programs to assist with the purchase of equipment, lines of credit and the real estate that houses your business. A banker with a key understanding of your professions should offer insight on how financial decisions you make today will impact your practice in the future.
What is key in developing any relationship with these teammates is a very simple test eye care professionasl should apply to every member of the team: Is this business relationship an investment or just an expense? In other words, do you have a consultative relationship with the members of your outside advisors? Are they providing you sound advice and ways to improve your practice and maximize revenue?
A quality advisor is an investment. If you are not seeing the value, you should strongly consider making a change.
The good news is that more often than not, a relationship with one core teammate can lead to others. If you already have a good CPA, ask her about attorneys, insurance agents and bankers she might recommend. Have a good attorney? Ask him about insurance agents. Also, take advantage of referrals and networking opportunities from dental trade associations and professional groups.
The key is to realize that no matter how large or small your practice is, there is always a need for quality advisors to help propel you toward your goals.
Christopher Kane is Vice President and Commercial Banking Officer at Pacific Continental Bank. Jeff Johnston is Healthcare Portfolio Administrator for Pacific Continental Bank. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com