Dental CPA to Improve Your Practice: Trusted Business Advisors

Do you plan to open a Dental practice or acquire an existing one? In building your business plan, to ensure a successful launch, engage a professional business advisory team that specializes in the fundamentals of dental practice as the first step in your blueprint for success.

The primary role of a trusted business advisor is to allow dental practice owners to care for patients and focus on practice requirements in an efficient and productive manner 24/7/365. Many practices attempt to do it all on their own, and find it to be mission impossible. There are multiple different types of business advisors that you will need to enlist: Attorney, Banker, Insurance Agent, and a CPA. It is best to engage in advisors that specialize in your specialty to ensure all of your liabilities are covered, and specific purchasing needs are considered.

The dental CPA advisor is not just a resource for tax planning and filing; the right firm will be your resource for investment planning, CFO services in your business, provide daily bookkeeping services and handle payroll for your staffing needs. Investing time in qualifying a professional dental CPA firm with a proven track record in the field is like choosing a business partner and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You need professionals that work in your type of business on a daily basis; the dental CPA of your choice should have a team of experts that allow you to focus on operating your practice and caring for patients.

Many practices choose an internal staff member to handle the daily tasks, or a spouse, over a dental CPA. Problems then occur when the firm grows and scaling is not planned for, or you experience staff turnover, fraud, and most commonly the books are not done accurately so there is no forecasting which can lead to failure or tax penalties. What you need is an experienced advisor, who knows their way around the complex and demanding field of dental practices. A resource for financial questions associated with your dental practice, such as taxes, planning and compliance. Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s work with your internal staff to act as the liaison/key contact; Professionals with the expertise your Dental practice needs in combination with contributions from the internal team.

Ensuring the success and development of your dental practice can be an extremely complex and exhausting task. In order to move through the scary labyrinth of regulations and financial requirements with ease and budgeted costs, you need an expert. This is exactly what Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s – a specialized dental CPA firm provides. Contact us today for a free consultation and get your practice on track for success.

7 Steps to Catapult Your Team to the Top: Investing in Team Development

Veterinary Practice Management: Team Development

To invest or not to invest?

7 Steps to Catapult Your Team to the Top

Veterinary practice management is no easy task, and HR failures are a liability that can be minimized when planned for properly. One aspect of veterinary practice management is team development. Recruiting and on-boarding your ideal candidate is paramount to the success of your practice.  Establishing and following an engagement plan is vital as is investing in your team to ensure good employees stay for the long haul.  So where does team and employee development fit in?

CFO image

No investment in an individual or a team  will leave you fully staffed or completely dysfunctional.

How do you take your team to the next level?

  1. Mission, Vision, Core Values
  2. Face to Face professional development
  3. Practice Skills/Needs Assessment
  4. Action Planning
  5. Practical Application
  6. Measure
  7. Update/Repeat

Always look to your Mission, Vision and Core Values.  These are critical pieces of your Development Plan.

Conduct a face to face professional development interview with each team member.  Document the conversation and work with each team member to prepare a written and actionable professional development plan.  PDP’s are excellent tools to utilize during their scheduled evaluations.  Ideas of what to include in your interview and plan: self S.W.O.T. analysis.  S.M.A.R.T. goals, short term (1 year or less)and long term (>1 year to 5 years) professional goals, continuing education plan, veterinary practice S.W.O.T. analysis and team member’s ideas/suggestions to continue or improve.

Once you have your team’s professional development plans (PDPs), conduct a practice skills and needs assessment.  Where is your team?  Where do they need to be?  How is the practice going to support them to get there?  Utilizing your face to face interviews will provide a clearer direction, which will also allow you to focus on your mission statement, vision statement and core values.

With your team conduct an action planning session.  Have your team members bring their PDPs to the action planning meeting.  Have your Mission, Vision and Core Value statements posted.  Reveal your Skills and Needs assessment.  Invite your team to comment, and participate in the process.  With your team on board you can now prepare the practical application.

The practical application should include details to align with each team member’s PDP and your prepared Skills/Needs Assessment and action plan.  A clear timeline and review process should be established and posted for team reference.  Now the work begins…

Regular planned measurements should take place during the practical application portion of your timeline.  Individual assessments are best during scheduled evaluations.  Team progress should be incorporated into scheduled whole team meetings.

As the timeline winds down, you will need to review, update and plan for your next Team Development plan.  Team Development plans are not set to any specific timeline, but your practice should be committed to continuous team development.  Each plan and timeline will vary based on your team’s current development. An excellent reference tool is   Tuckman’s Team Development model.

Are you ready to develop and prepare a Team Development Plan for your veterinary practice management? Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s provides customized Veterinary Practice Consulting, some of our popular services:

  • Leadership Mentoring Program
  • Train the Trainer Program
  • Practice Examination
  • Start Up Veterinary Practice Consulting
  • Full Service Accounting for your Veterinary Practice

Contact Us today for a free consultation!

Veterinary Practice Management: Employee Engagement

Mission Impossible – Employee Engagement

Plan your way to a highly engaged team!

Contrary to popular belief, employee engagement is not Mission Impossible for Veterinary Practice Management. It’s as simple as the Platinum Rule.  The Platinum rule you ask?  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Wow! What a concept.  How do we do that?

Consider what you need to know.  For example, if your practice is looking to restructure your benefits package, it would be wise to comprise a list of options your that your veterinary practice is willing to offer.  Have your team members rank the benefits in order of importance.  Don’t ask questions you are not prepared to act upon. Asking irrelevant questions or ones that you have no intention of pursuing will only damage your team morale and ultimately paralyze improved engagement.

How to ask?

Chances are, there are several personality types represented in your veterinary practice, each with communication preferences.  It’s important to communicate to all preferences.   We suggest providing a few options to allow team members the opportunity to clearly communicate their thoughts and ideas.  This is often done with an Engagement Survey.  We recommend an electronic survey which will allow for computer or written responses.  On rare occasions a verbal/interactive survey may be appropriate.  Generally anonymous surveys yield the most candid results.  Also, offering a comments section or an area to elaborate will provide those with more to say the opportunity to do so.  Survey Monkey provides an excellent survey tool and a great opportunity to offer each of the delivery options above

Time and Support

To ensure survey results are as accurate as possible, provide the time and support your team needs to seriously complete the survey.  Set a participation goal and a deadline.  An incentive, even small, can generate enough team interest to meet or exceed your expectations while generating realistic results.

Share/Action Plan

You must set a response deadline.   When sharing results you may choose a few key areas.  Key areas may be those with low or high scores, or those with the most written responses.    Now is the opportunity for your team to participate in the action planning process.  Provide a collaborative atmosphere, set communication ground rules so ideas are not limited.  Most importantly, you must act.  This does not mean you act upon everything.  Every question may not yield actionable items, but you must act upon something.  No action would be worse than not asking at all.


Your team has participated.  You have delivered the results.  The action plan has been determined.  How do you know if you are successful?  Measure.  Employee engagement is not “one and done.”  Engagement is a constant that evolves because it involves your real life team members.  Typically an Engagement survey occurs annually.  An action plan does not have overnight results just as the rest of the process does not happen instantly.  At times you may find shorter periods are acceptable, but overall a year should provide a realistic timeline.

Sample Cycle

Engagement Process

*TIP: Prior to developing and engagement plan, be certain there is a clear procedure.

Prepare an outline of key areas with a corresponding timeline.  Appoint a committed member of your leadership team to keep your plan on track.   Review carefully to ensure the entire leadership team (decision makers are key) are dedicated to the entire process.

Are you ready to develop and prepare an Engagement Plan for your practice? Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s provides customized Veterinary Practice Management Consulting. Some of our popular services include:

  • Leadership Mentoring Program
  • Train the Trainer Program
  • Practice Examination
  • Start Up Veterinary Practice Management Consulting
  • Full Service Accounting for your Veterinary Practice

Contact Us today for a free consultation!

5 Frightening Veterinary HR Failures: Dotting the i’s and Crossing the t’s – Personnel Files

Veterinary HR failures happen every day. Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s support Veterinary Practices in every function of business management including Accounting, Operational Efficiency, HR consulting and financial planning. To assist our clients in limiting liability of Veterinary HR issues, we have compiled a best practices reference so that your practice is dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s when it comes to personnel files.

Managing personnel files like a BOSS

An organized and compliant Personnel File system is possible.  To start, have a pre-determined maintenance plan:

  1. Determine if your personnel files will be maintained as paper or electronic files, we recommend you choose one; a hybrid system can be difficult to track.
  2. Ensure the files are secure – this will mean paper files are stored in a locked cabinet(s).  Electronic files will require password protection and an offsite backup system at minimum.

Next, plan your file organizational structure:

  1. Employment
  2. Payroll
  3. Performance
  4. Training
  5. Medical
  6. Confidential
  7. Investigation
  8. I-9
  9. EEO
  10. Terminated

Employment Files: Job postings, interview notes, reference checks, applications, resumes, handbook acknowledgement.  Be sure to exclude information that is not relevant to the hiring decision such as protected information: EEO data, SSN, arrest records etc.

Payroll Files: Federal and State withholding forms, time keeping records, wage records, garnishments and wage deduction forms.

Performance Files: Evaluations, Client/Team acknowledgements, performance improvement plans and disciplinary action records.

Training Files: Training program records, training certificates and safety training records.

Medical: Worker’s compensation records, medical leave records, health insurance information and records concerning visits or payments to any healthcare professional.

Confidential Files: Background checks, drug testing, credit checks etc.

Investigation Files: Maintained as one practice file as they generally include more than one team member.  Only information that is found to be relevant and results in individual documentation should be filed in a team member’s performance file.

EEO Records: EEO data collection is generally completed by private employers with 100 or more employees. Data collection related to EEO should never be included in a team member’s personnel file.

I-9 Files: Maintained as practice file, we recommend one for current employee and one for terminated employees.  Access should be HIGHLY restricted.  It is important to have a comprehensive audit process to ensure compliance.

Terminated Employee Files: Each file relating to a terminated employee should be relocated to a central secure location (excluding I-9, see above).  Your practice should have a written policy specifically addressing:

  1. Location/Access
  2. File Maintenance
  3. Retention Guidelines
  4. Destruction Guidelines
  5. Extended Maintenance Plans – worker’s compensation claims/lawsuits
  6. Rehire records Policy

It is important to consider your veterinary practice’s size and location to determine applicable Federal and State laws when developing your Personnel File Policy.

Your organizational structure will need to consider appropriate access and storage locations.  A written policy will address the levels of your leadership structure. Document clearly who has access to what files and when.  This will help you determine what files may be appropriate to store in the same location and which files must be located in another location. Be sure to include employee access procedures to ensure your practice applies and follows a consistent policy regarding employee access.

Organization is imperative.  We recommend a file master form and chronological order filing for ease of locating documents quickly.

Are you ready to develop a Personnel File Policy for your practice?  Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s provides customized Veterinary Practice Consulting. Some of our more popular services include:

  • Leadership Mentoring Program
  • Train the Trainer Program
  • Practice Examination
  • Start Up Veterinary Practice Consulting
  • Full Service Accounting for your Veterinary Practice

Contact Us for a free consultation on how we can help your veterinary practice today!

Veterinary HR: Recruitment Interview, 10 Steps to the Best Employee

The Heat Seeking Missile of Veterinary HR can be avoided with the Recruitment Interview. Finding the best employee to fit your practice will help limit your Veterinary HR issues later. Here are 10 steps to finding the best employee:

1. Know your Candidate
A well prepared candidate checklist will provide clear direction during the often laborious process of sifting through an application and resume mound. The checklist will also provide consistency especially if more than one team member is involved in the process. The candidate’s resume generally provides the greatest opportunity to prepare behavioral based interview questions. Why behavioral based interview questions? It is said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Incorporation of these interview questions are reserved for candidates who are invited back for a face to face interview. For example: “Ms. Smith tell me about your most difficult patient care experience with ABC Animal Hospital.”

2. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Create a Recruitment Tool: A finely tuned set of “go to” documents will be your greatest resource. We recommend incorporating a digital file for ease of access and maintenance. Be sure to include:

  • Master Candidate Tracking form
  • Practice Employment Application
  • Candidate Checklist
  • Behavior based question form
  • Phone Interview template
  • Interview template
  • Candidate Interview form
  • Observation Interview agenda
  • Candidate Evaluation form
  • Reference Check document
  • Background Check process
  • Job offer template
  • Job decline template
  • Onboarding packet (for each practice position)
    o Job Description
    o Training Program Overview
    o Top Benefits
    o Background Check forms
    *additional tip* Engage you team; encourage them to contribute to the interview process by creating a collaborative “Top 10 Best Things” or “A Day in the Life” in your candidate packet. Related Article: The Heat Seeking Missile of Recruitment 

3. Strike up a conversation

The phone interview has great potential to save your practice significant time and resources on non-qualified candidates. It is important to have an established practice phone interview questionnaire. Prepared documents ensure consistency between interviewers and provide the opportunity to later evaluate potential candidates prior to moving on to the face to face interview.

4. Your Time to Shine
The face to face interview. Be prepared. Be on time. You, the interviewer, are responsible for the candidate’s impression as to your practice culture and your professional image. Now is the time to get the candidate as comfortable as possible so you have the best image of who you are considering.

5. Down to the Details
Once your candidate is as relaxed as possible, continue with your prepared interview questions. Make sure to ask open ended questions and be careful to not lead or take over the interview. Follow your prepared behavioral based interview questions and be sure to take notes.

6. Document, Document, Document
Keep the facts at the forefront. Complete a candidate interview evaluation form. This will help you determine if this particular candidate should move on in the interview process, or if there are other more qualified candidates who should move on to meeting your team.

7. Walk the Walk
The observation interview is a valuable opportunity for your potential team member to meet the current team and directly observe them at work. Your now potential employee has made it through a serious evaluation of their knowledge and two interviews, so clearly they can talk the talk. What is most important now, they must walk the walk. Your candidate should be armed with an agenda and your team should be prepared to complete an evaluation form post observation interview.

8. Due Diligence
The grueling process of bringing on a new team member is not over with the overwhelming signs that point in the direction to HIRE. Now is the time to be on your game and consider risk. Reference checks are a must. Contact all past employers. Utilize your formal reference form. Follow up, some employers need more than one call to respond. Now is also the time to complete background checks.

9. To Hire or Not to Hire? That is the Question
When faced with several excellent candidates, always make the offer to your number one candidate first generally in person or by phone. There is a real possibility the position is declined due to wage/benefits/culture or another offer. Allow your offer to be considered for a determined period of time. Once you have confirmation of acceptance, move on to your other candidates and inform them of their status and the positon being filled, this can be done via phone/email/mail. If they are still a great candidate make sure to address with them your intent to keep their information on hand for any future openings.

10. Onward and Upward
Congratulations! Your practice has successfully brought on a new and incredible member of your practice team. Onboarding is critical and you and your team will play a large role in your new team member’s success.

Next week will begin Part 2 of our 5 part series. Dotting the I’s & Crossing the T’s – Personnel files in Veterinary HR.

Are you interested in creating a Recruitment Tool for your practice? Our firm provides customized Veterinary Practice Consulting. Some of our more popular services include:

  • Leadership Mentoring Program
  • Train the Trainer Program
  • Practice Examination
  • Start Up Veterinary Practice Consulting
  • Full Service Accounting for your Veterinary Practice
  • Veterinary HR Consulting

Contact Us today for a free consultation on how Holdsworth & Co., CPA’s can help take your Veterinary Practice to the next level!