Podcast (Dental)

Manage Your Dental Practice Using Solid Business Fundamentals

November 24, 2021

Dentists go to school to learn how to diagnose and treat patients. They often miss the important components needed to run a business, especially when it comes time to manage their own practice. It’s important to understand the fundamentals of operating a business, managing people and leading strategically to be successful.

In this episode of The Art of Dental Finance and Management podcast, Art discusses his philosophy and methodology of managing a dental practice. A well-run practice will lead to dentists being able to serve more patients and ultimately, enjoy greater financial freedom. Some business fundamentals that will increase both patient and practice health include:

  • Strategic planning
  • Team development
  • Open communication
  • Legal compliance
  • Ethical operation
  • Generous compensation
  • Cultivating culture

Reach out to Art if you have any questions regarding dental finance and management for your dental practice. More information about the Eide Bailly dental team can be found at www.eidebailly.com/dentist.

Being more strategic in all aspects of your dental practice will lead to increased profitability.

Show Notes and Resources:

The Transcript

Art Wiederman, CPA: Welcome to another edition of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. Welcome to my podcast! My name is Art Wiederman. I'm a dental division director for the wonderful CPA firm of Eide Bailly. We work with in our office in Tustin, California, about 300 dentists and dental practices and our firm, mostly in the western United States. And we have some clients, I think, probably east of the Mississippi. I don't know, but our offices are pretty much in the western United States. We work with about just under, I think, a thousand dentists.

And today's show is going to be just you and I. And I've wanted to do this one for a while. I might have done one like this couple of years ago, but everything always has to be updated. And I really want to talk to you about my feelings on how you should be working with and treating and interacting with your dental team. And what I'm going to do today, folks, is I'm going to share with you some of the things I did.

Now you gotta remember, I ran a CPA firm for 33 years. I'll give you a little bit of my history in a minute when we get going and I want to tell you how I treated the folks that worked with me and the folks who worked with me, worked with me for a long, long time. And.

There's a reason for that. I'm very proud of the way I treated my accounting team over the years, and I'm going to impart some of that on you, and I'm going to give you some really good what I think are really good tips on how you should work with your team, what you as the leader should be doing and what's going on today. So I'm really excited. I love doing these. Shall we say, just you and I episodes of the Art of Dental Finance and Management. So we'll get to that in a second.

Want to give you some updates and announcements as I always do. First of all, make sure that you go on to the website of our wonderful, wonderful partner Decisions in Dentistry magazine www.DecisionsinDentistry.com. Over 140 great continuing education courses, as well as unbelievable clinical content, articles, not only in their printed magazine but on their website. Again, go to www.DecisionsinDentistry.com.

And if you are looking for a dental specific CPA anywhere in the country, we got you covered with the Academy of Dental CPAs. Twenty four CPA firms that represent over 10,000 dentists. We can now say over 10,000 dentists. It might be over 11,000. Who knows. But go to www.ADCPA.org. We are one of the members. I am a founding member of it. We're celebrating our 20th anniversary this year. Unfortunately, we couldn't have a meeting. We're supposed to have our meeting about a month ago and because of the pandemic, we had to cancel that. So we hopefully will get to meet next May. I'm hoping, I'm hoping, I'm hoping, but do check out our website and if we can be of any help, if I could be of any help to you, feel free to email me at awiederman@EideBailly.com and my office number six five seven two seven nine three two four three.

OK, I want to give you some updates before I get into my topic today. First of all, if you folks have not, most of you have filed for your forgiveness for your round one PPP loans. Many of you have not filed for your forgiveness for your round two loans. So we have gotten close to 100 dental practices over $3 million in employee retention tax credits. If you file for forgiveness and you had a greater than 50 percent reduction in your gross receipts, not including net of patient refunds. You could qualify for twenty twenty for up to $5000 per employee for this credit.

So even if you have filed for your forgiveness and all of you will have filed for your forgiveness on your loans because if you haven't, you're going to start paying them back. What you want to do is, you know, let me know, we can do a complimentary analysis for you and we're still getting dentists calling literally every week and saying, Hey, can I do that? And it just depends on your circumstance.

The big news on the ERTC is that if you had a greater than 20 percent reduction either in the first, second or third quarter of 2021, also the fourth quarter, but they are contemplating pulling back the fourth quarter. That's not been done yet or for the first quarter they give you a look back that says if you had a greater than 20 percent reduction in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, or any of the first three quarters of twenty twenty one compared to the first, second or third quarter of 2019 of greater than 20 percent, you will qualify for the ERTC and if you do for any of those quarters, first, second or third of twenty twenty one, I implore you, that is a kind word. I implore you. I beg of you. I plead of you do not file for forgiveness yet because we have some opportunities to get you some really nice money. It's instead of 50 percent of ten thousand in wages per employee for the year of 2020, it's 70 percent per quarter.

So if you had 10 employees and you were down 20 percent for the first three quarters of 2021 versus 2019, 10 employees, that could be $70,000 a quarter. That's two hundred and ten thousand dollars of free government money. Let me say that again free government money. So let us know about that.

Next thing I want to talk to you about is the HHS Provider Relief Fund. I finally got to get on the portal of the HHS Provider Relief Fund last week. Eide Bailly works with hundreds, maybe thousands of not only dentists, but medical professionals, because remember, the HHS Provider Relief Fund was not only for dentists, but it was also for hospitals and critical care nursing units and all kinds of medical professionals. So I got to get on because the medical professionals had to file on the HHS portal before the end of this year.

So I got to see what it looks like. It's not terribly daunting. You just have to do some work. So we are going to be sending out a workbook, not only a workbook, it's the workbook that's on the website of the HHS website about the Provider Relief Fund. You will need to fill that workbook out, preferably before the end of this year. So we're sending out a letter saying this is what you need to do. Here's the links to the instructions and the workbook and what you need to do.

If you received more than $10,000 from the HHS Provider Relief Fund between July one of 2020 and December 31 of 2020, you will need to file on the portal. I can't do this for you. You have to go on to the portal and do it probably be helping a lot of people with it, but you are going to need to get on the portal similar to what you filed for, your PPP forgiveness. You had to get on a bank portal. You'll have to get on the HHS portal and you'll have to report. You have to report employee information from any quarters. You'll have to report collections that you received. You'll have to report general and administrative and also expenses that you incurred to fight COVID 19 to justify your receipt of this money.

You will have to do that and write this down, please. You'll have to do that between January 1st of 2022 and March 31st of 2022. If you don't do that, you will have to give the money back. So if you got, let's say you have a million dollar practice, you get two percent of your receipts in August, right? So $20,000 you have to report. But then you filed for the phase three payment, and in December you got one hundred and seventy thousand dollars and you're going, Wow, this is cool. Well, you got to do some work to keep it. And if you don't file by March 31, you're going to have to give it back.

I am not aware of, nor is our amazing HHS team at Eide Bailly aware of any extensions that are going to be offered. So anyway, please get a hold of us and let us know if we can help you on that.

Finally, I'm very, very excited to announce to all of you our 2022 Business of Dentistry webinar series. And we are going to be partnering for this series with Decisions in Dentistry magazine. Now I met Lorene Kent. Oh my gosh, it's probably been two years ago. She is the most wonderful, wonderful lady. She is the as my late mother used to say, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer of Decisions in Dentistry, she's the CEO and she is the head of the magazine, and we have decided to work together to get this great information out to all of you.

So let me tell you about the series. We have the dates for the series. We do not have the landing page as of the date of this recording. But if you send me an email at awiederman@EideBailly.com, and just say I want to be part of the webinar series. If you register for the webinar series, we are going to also have a special gift for you. We have a letter going out to all of our clients that is going to talk about the HHS Provider Relief Fund portal and what you need to do and how to navigate it and all that kind of stuff. And that is going to be one of the webinar series.

So let me tell you what we're doing. You might want to jot these down. We're going to be doing these live, but for anybody who registers, you will be able to get this on demand. So if you can't make it, we're going to do them on Friday mornings. And what we're finding is that we were doing our webinar series last year from six to eight p.m. on Wednesdays and you guys were tired. My goodness, a lot of you were working all day and then you got to get something to eat and maybe you want to go home to your family, but then, you know, Art's on there from six to eight.

So we're going to do these on Friday mornings for the most part. So let me give you the dates on December the 13th, and these are all going to be at 9:00 a.m. Pacific, which would be 10 a.m. Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Central and 12:00 noon Eastern Time. We're going to do on December 13th a webinar myself and Mel Schwarz, who is our congressional liaison from Eide Bailly, and we're going to talk about where we are with the new tax laws.

Now we do know that there are discussions and we're very deep into those discussions between the president and Congress about what is called his one point seventy five trillion dollar Build Back Better program. And that is, you know, creating all kinds of energy tax credits and climate change money and lots of other things that are President Biden has been it's been was part of what he campaigned on and this is what he wants to get done. And Congress is negotiating all of that, negotiating all of that as they do with everything that happens in Washington.

And as part of that, you're going to have a huge change in the tax laws and we don't know all of what they're going to do. But Mel and I are going to talk to you about that. We're going to talk to you about if we have a tax bill on December 13th. We'll tell you about it if we don't have a tax bill on December 13th. We'll tell you about it. But one way or another, we'll talk to you about year-end tax planning on December 13th.

Then it's going to be the third Friday of every month at 9:00 a.m. Pacific, like I said. And so the next one is going to be January 21st, and that's going to be myself and Ashley Brandt-Duda and Tyler Bernier, who are the two partners at Eide Bailly, who have lived and breathed this HHS Provider Relief nightmare. Now, all of you know, if you don't, now you will know that if you got more than $10,000 from the HHS Provider Relief Fund any time between July one and December 31 of 2020, you are required by law to report a bunch of information on the HHS portal between March. I'm sorry between January 1st and March 31st, and if you don't guess what you get to give the government the money back and nobody wants to do that.

So Tyler, Ashley and I are going to walk you through step by step, slide by slide, what this portal looks like, what you need to have, what you need to gather, it's going to be recorded. So what you can do if you register for the webinar and you come on and you listen to it, whether you do it live or you do it on demand, maybe you have a computer and an iPad. So maybe your iPad or even your phone, you could be listening to the recording of our webinar as you are going ahead and filling out the information on this portal. January 21st Friday morning.

February the 18th, we're going to have my very good friend, Ali Oromchian, who is the founder of HR for Health and an amazing labor law and contract attorney. He's going to talk about hiring employees, firing employees. My goodness, we all know that the number one challenge that all businesses have not just dental practices, but all business is our business. Restaurants, cruise ships, everybody is hiring people. So we're talking about what is it like to hire people at what I'd like to think is the tail end of a pandemic.

So Ali's going to talk about all the latest law updates. On March 18th myself, Curtis Marshall and Dr. Janette Kern, who is one of my dear dear friends in dentistry. She and I and Curtis are going to go through metrics for you. We have found hundreds of thousands of dollars of profits that are just sitting in your dental practice management software, and we're going to work with Curtis, who is one of the principles of Dental Intel, and we're going to talk all about that.

On April 15th, we are going to have Dr. Emily Stopper. Dr. Stopper is a practicing dentist from North Carolina. She is what we call what she's what she calls herself, and I call her that too. The Happy Dentist. She was on my podcast. If you want to listen to her, you can. She's going to talk about how to implement and integrate sleep dentistry procedures into your practice. I am a firm believer that every dentist who is listening to this podcast should be doing this. It takes a little time to figure it out. But folks, you will save lives. It's very profitable procedures for your practice, and it is just it's why you go to dental school to help people.

And then finally, on May the 20th is Dr. Anissa Holmes from, you know, Creating Wow Dentistry. She is from Florida. She is absolutely unbelievable. Amazing. And the topic is basically whatever Dr. Anissa Holmes wants to talk about, it's going to be a lot about numbers. She's a real numbers person. My podcast that came out early November with her was just absolutely amazing. So very excited about that.

We are also going to be doing a probably like a three part series on transitions again with my friends Pat Ward and Kathleen Johnson, and we're going to talk about what's going on in the transition field. You're going to be buying a practice, selling a practice, we'll be doing that we don't have those dates yet.

So again, folks are very, very excited about teaming up with Decisions in Dentistry magazine, hoping that all of you can listen to them. If you want to, you know you can attend the entire series or you can attend one series. The big one to me, the big one is, I mean, that's it. They're all important. But for those of you who want to navigate this HHS Provider Relief Fund portal, this is going to be really, really a helpful tool for you.

So again, email me at awiederman@EideBailly.com. We will have let me know that you're interested and we'll put you on a list. We will have the landing page out and hopefully I will be able to get you that landing page information on a future podcast. But we are very, very excited about this webinar series.

So with that, we'll move on. OK. With that said, I want to talk to you about dealing with your dental team, and I'm going to start off a little bit of history about myself. I don't talk about myself too much on this podcast. I got a little bit, but I started out in accounting. I graduated from Long Beach State University in December of 1980. So forty, oh gosh, almost 42 years ago, I guess. Forty one years ago and I went to work for the national CPA firm of Deloitte Haskins and Sales, which is now known as Deloitte. And I worked there until 1984, when Dr. Jim Pride and Dr. Phil Whitener and for those of you gray hairs listening to my podcast, you more than likely remember who they were. They hired me to run their financial services division of the, at the time it was the Pacific Institute of Management, we were in Newport Beach.

I had one and a half employees. I had a lady named Judy and a lady named Beverly. And they worked for me and we did accounting for dentists tax planning. And I took over that practice in September of 1984, and I've been a dental CPA since September of 1984.

Now, I was 24 years old at that time. I'm 62 now, so it's been almost 38 years that I've been doing this and nobody ever really teaches you in school how to run a business or how to deal with people or how to deal with employees. So everything I got was from my mom and my stepdad. And they taught me a lot about life and how to deal with people and how to be respectful and how to be truthful and all that kind of stuff. And I ran my CPA firm all the way through in 1989. I bought it from Jim Pride and Phil Whitener. It was kind of like the Remington commercial. I like the product so much, I bought the company.

And I tell you what the day you own a business, the switch flips and you know you're really committed and you want to go, go, go and build your business. And I did that like, like all of you did when you started or bought your dental practices. And I had employees and employees have issues and employees have lives and employees have problems and employees have crises and we have to live with them in a small business.

And because in a small business, everybody knows what everybody is doing and what's going on. And it's how you handle all of that that's going to determine your failure or your success.

So let me start off with kind of what I would do to plan out the business and kind of philosophy about how that works. So I was the leader. I owned the business and basically I set the vision, OK. I see too many dentists out there saying to their teams, All right, guys. So, you know, this is great and we're going to do well. So what are we going to do now? It's not the dental teams member, dental team members responsibility to set the vision. You need to set the vision.

Do you want a fee for service practice? Do you want an HMO practice? Do you want a PPO practice? What types of dentistry do you want to do? What types of procedures are you going to be more aggressive in your diagnosis? Are you going to be more caring and have your patients trust you, which we hope you all will? What procedures are you going to do? Are you going to do just traditional crown and bridge and refer everything out?

When I started in 1984, dentists, general dentists referred out everything to specialists. It is not that way anymore. We're not going to get into that discussion today, but that is not the way it is. So what type of a practice are you going to run? What are your fees going to be?

All these things, you have to set the vision. Now, that doesn't mean you don't get help from your team. You always get help from your team. In fact, I implore you to include your team into planning. So every single time I hired somebody in our CPA firm, I said, we need someone to do monthly bookkeeping or we need a CPA to do tax returns or we need an administrative person. So I had my three mainstays in our CPA firm, Raquel, Debbie and Pam. Pam Chamberlin is now a partner at Eide Bailly, and she takes care of many of the folks that listen to this podcast. She is my dear, dear friend. As are Raquel and Debbie. One of the, you know, these are three of the finest human beings I've ever met, and they all worked for me for 32 33 years before I merged our firm with each HMWC back in 2018.

And, you know, every major decision that we made in the business, we made together. Now that did not mean that they made the decision. Although one time, one time the three of them walked into my office and we had hired somebody. And I don't see everything that goes on because I'm not watching every conversation. But they walked in, shut the door and Raquel she's just wonderful wonderful wonderful. And I know that when she was serious about something, she would say, Arthur, she would use my name, Arthur, my mother was the only one called me Arthur.

She said, Arthur. We have to talk. So I knew it was serious. So the three of them walked in and said, This employee that you just hired. This is not going to work out. This is going to end badly. We need to make a change. And if you're smart and your team comes to you that way, you probably want to listen to that. But we've made decisions together. I would say this is what I'm thinking about.

Great example was when we put on the Academy of Dental CPA meeting in I think it was twenty seventeen or twenty sixteen. It was a four or five years ago and basically I wanted to do it at one particular hotel. And they kind of looked at me and said, Yeah, you know, this just isn't going to work Art, you know? And then they kind of got together. They went out, looked at a couple of places and we landed at the Hyatt Regency at Huntington Beach, which was amazing venue, it was wonderful.

So most every single time that they gave me input, it was really good input because they cared about my business and they cared about our clients. And that's what you're looking for. So we would make decisions whenever I would bring someone in, I would always have them talk to one or two of them that all three did need to do all three. And we were always on the same page as to what we're looking for. We are looking for people who care. We are looking for people who have a great attitude and we're going to talk about attitude and effort here in a little bit. We were looking for people who looked you in the eye.

I remember that the first accountant that I ever worked for, Larry Shipley in San Pedro, California, taught me two things you know, number one, and I'm sorry, not Larry, but I'm thinking about my stepdad. Larry taught me about to be an accountant. Always write everything down that you don't know what you don't know. But my stepdad taught me two great things. Number one, always look someone in the eye. OK, when you're talking to them, don't look away.

Number two, a firm handshake. And you know, we haven't been able to shake hands with people for about a year and a half. Now that's coming back. In many cases. And that's what I teach young people. I like to mentor young people. Firm handshake. Look me in the eye. If you're not looking me in the eye, something isn't right. OK, so that's what I learned from my stepdad. So when I would interview people, I would always see that that's what I was looking for. Is someone who looked me in the eye and someone who basically gave me a firm handshake. So engage your team and we're going to talk a little more about that.

So every January, what I would do is I would sit down in a quiet room by myself and I would sit down and I would say, What do I want to accomplish for this year? How much do I want to grow? If you say you want to grow 50 percent, that's not realistic, folks, unless you're a brand new practice and you have no patients. If you get one patient, you grow 100 percent. That's a math problem.

But for me, did I want to grow five percent or grow 10 percent? Did I want to add new things like consulting into our CPA practice? What kind of team members were we going to add? What were we going to do with our fees, things like that? So I would have a meeting and a PowerPoint. I would say this is the vision that I have. This is where I want to go.

Now let's talk about vision. You set the vision, you set the tone. You decide as the dentist where you want to go. OK, now the dental team can't really argue with you. Well, doctor, we can't do that. If you have a dental team member who says we can't do that, that dental team member probably needs to leave, they need to respect that you want to add these procedures to our practice, you want to add another operatory, you want to expand your office, you want to build a new office, you want to hire an associate. All these things are major decisions that you, the leader are going to make. What you do with your team is you empower them.

Let me say that again, you empower your team. So let's say that we're going to go ahead and we're going to do a social media marketing campaign. You could empower your dental assistant who is the social media leader of your office. They know how Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and all this works. And you could say I'd like you to work with this company and I'd like to kind of put together this and they will get excited about it. So you say these are the initiatives, now I'd like to talk about who is going to work with whomever we're going to hire or not hire to do this. All right.

If we want to bring in a hygiene consultant, then we talk to the hygiene team and we say, these are the things we want to do and we're going to improve on this and this and this. And we are not getting hardly any patients into non surgical periodontal maintenance. So we need to do that. It's a liability issue and we're going to have a consultant. And that's what's going to happen. And I want to let you know and I want to talk about some of the things we'd like to change and we all work together about that.

So again, you know, you always ask your employees, your team members for their input and you let them know, folks. I'm going to ask you for my input, for your input. And you know, I'm probably going to listen to you 90 percent of the time because most of you are pretty smart, get what we're trying to do. And it's all about the culture that you set. But they need to understand that not every suggestion that they're going to make, you're going to adopt and you need to let them know, say, team, I want to let you know how this is how we're going to run this office. I need your input. I need your opinions. I need your ideas. I need your vision of what you think should happen. I am ultimately the final decision maker, and I would hope that you, team member, understand that if you make a suggestion and I don't follow it, that you don't stop making suggestions that you understand that ultimately it's my practice.

And if you have a team member who you know, they make a suggestion and you just say, Well, I'm not going to go that direction and this is why. And then they just shut down. Well, you didn't follow my ideas. I'm not giving my ideas. We don't want that. We want a team that understands who the leader is and how the process works. That's really, really important. Your vision is the vision and you make the final decision.

The other thing about your team, they have lives too. They're human beings and doctors I want you to remember that you went to dental school. You worked very, very hard. You went eight years to school, post high school. You went four years to college, four years to dental school. If you are a specialist, you did more than that. You might have gone 10, 11, 12 years before you were done. You worked very, very hard. You deserve to be making the money that you're making.

Your dental team members do not make the money that you're making. Many of them live paycheck to paycheck. They have personal issues. They have husbands, they have wives, they have children. They have problems, they have crises. They have all kinds of things going on in their lives. So I'll share a story that we had for one of my team members, one of my team members, who has been with me, gosh, 16 years. And I'm going to leave the name out of it right now because I just am.

And this team member, she's the most wonderful, warm, caring, loving human being. I mean, just incredible. And she came to us in the middle of tax season like March 1st, and she came to me in tears and she said Art, her family lived overseas and my dad is dying and I need to be there and I have to go. And I know it's tax season. Can I go? She asked me. Could she go? And I got together with our group and I said, Here's the issue. And of course, they know before I do buy the way folks. If there's stuff going on in the office, you're going to be the last one to know. That's just how it works in this life, right?

And they came to me and I said, OK. How are we going to get this done? How are we going to allow this team member to go back for two weeks to be with her family and they all said the same thing, Art we'll get it done. And that included me that included me rolling up my sleeves and preparing some tax returns that she would have prepared. But we did it and that gained respect from me, from my team that I cared about them. We have a business to run, no doubt. But folks, we also have a life to live here because if you don't do that, then what happens the next time and the next time. People have lives and as long as you feel they're not taking advantage and this was definitely not taking advantage, this was something that had to be done.

And to this day, she reminds me that I did that and that feels really good. So you have to be willing to help people. OK. And again, I'm saying, I'm not saying, well, if every single day somebody comes in with new drama, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about if there's a life crisis, somebody is sick, somebody is dying. I used to have a lady that worked for me. She was my accounting supervisor before Raquel. Again, I won't mention names and everything was a crisis. I finally said to her, Hey, listen, here's the deal. There are two things that you can come to me now that are a crisis. Someone is dying or has died or the building is on fire. We have to get out. Other than that, it's a situation and we'll deal with it.

So being calm and, you know, I meditate, I think it's one of the best things you can do when you're a business owner. I meditate every day. It is helpful to me. It has calmed me down. And it's really, really good. So let's talk about communicating with your team. OK. Number one, never yell. I raised my voice once in 33 years, and it was warranted because I'm a human being, too. But you never yell at people. If you want someone to get something done for you, if you want to deal with I don't know somebody at Nordstrom's that you had an issue with. If you yell at them what's going to happen, they're going to shut down. They're going to go into defense mode and you're probably not going to get what you want. You never yell at your employees. Never, ever, ever yell.

If you need to make a point, you look them straight in the eye. You're in a very stern, quiet tone and you let them know how you feel. I would strongly urge you to never, ever yell at anybody. You don't get what you want in this life by yelling at people. I've learned that through watching other people. OK. Never make anything you're talking about personal, well, you're just a terrible employee. You just don't know how to talk to people. You don't make it personal, or you have all these problems. And I've heard this happen.

  1. And never disrespect your team. Everybody must be treated with the 100 percent utmost respect. OK, now if people don't treat you with respect back, they may not be part of your team for very long and that's the leverage you have. OK? You don't have to employ people if they are not working out. Obviously, you need to talk to labor attorneys before you start terminating anybody. Make sure you do everything legally, but do not disrespect them. Do not curse at them. Do not talk about what you did this and you did that and blah blah blah. No, no, no, no. We are always respectful. Susie, we have a problem. OK, there's something I need to talk to you about.

All right. And I have also learned that I asked permission in many cases. Susie, I'd like your permission to discuss a matter that's come to my attention that we need to discuss. I've always learned when you ask someone's permission, it kind of opens the door for some open conversation. So don't make it personal. Don't disrespect your team. Ask for their opinions and their input. I used to say sometimes to my team. Debbie Raquel Pam. On a situation, if this were your CPA practice, how would you handle this and they would tell me and they know that I listened to them and they know that 98 percent of the time, they're usually right and I usually followed their advice.

You know, there are some things I didn't agree with them on. And you know, we did pretty well, but ask for their opinions and input, but again, remind them that you are the final decision maker and that you are absolutely going to take their opinions to heart. And if you don't take their advice, you're going to tell them why. And they must respect that. OK, that's very important. They must respect that.

This is so important, if there is a labor issue, if there is a law issue with how you pay somebody or what your, you know, do they get overtime or do they get vacation or whatever? I cannot tell you how many doctors have done things that are against the law. Oh, I don't know. Paying people under the table. You're not supposed to do that. Bad things will happen to you. Not paying overtime, you know, things like that. So whenever we had a labor issue with an employee, well, paying under the table, there is no labor if you don't do it. It's not something that you should ever, ever, ever do.

But when we had a labor issue, here's what we did. Number one, we would bring the employee into my office with Debbie, my office manager. So by the way, folks, one other thing. Be very, very careful when you're interviewing or when you are talking to an employee, either the door needs to be open or you need to have somebody in there because again, you get all kinds of issues. I had one situation where one of my clients called me up and told me this story. I might have told this on a podcast and the story was they were interviewing somebody and it was at six o'clock at night and nobody was there but the doctor and the young woman who was the prospective employee. And here's how the conversation started. Oh, hi, nice to meet you. And she goes, I'd like you to write me a check for $20,000. And the doctor just said, what? And she said, My word against yours. That was the conversation. So this is obviously a very conniving woman who had done this before, and my client called his labor attorney and the labor attorney said, Write the check, I'll drop the indemnification and the release.

So be really careful. Please, please talk to labor law professionals, labor law attorneys, any time that you're going to do anything, you know, hiring, firing things like that. So with the labor issue, the law controls, so you either get the employee in there with your office manager and you either get the labor lawyer on the phone or the labor attorney or whoever you choose to work with. But you let your team know that you will run your dental practice in accordance with federal and state law to a tee. Never mess with it because you know, folks, you'll lose. If you don't do that, you really, really need to make sure that everybody understands that we will follow the law. The law may not benefit you, Mr. or Mrs. employee, but we're going to follow the law. And that's and if you let everybody know that you're doing things legally, than nobody is going to worry that they're going to get treated unfairly. OK?

Oh, yeah. Don't behave in a way that gives a team member an opportunity for retribution. It amazes me, you know, you read things on the internet about young people who post stuff on social media and they think nobody's going to see it. So, you know, everybody sees everything these days. So never behave in a manner that gives your team members opportunity for retribution, which will lead in to my your truth, the truth will set you free. Always be honest. Always be truthful.

Types of innuendos that could get you in trouble. I will be blunt on this. I had a client who used to send photos on email to the team members of his girlfriends. Well, what do you think of her or what do you think of this one? I'm not kidding. And I just got on the phone. I said, You are playing Russian roulette here because you just don't do that. So I'm not saying that that is the norm because it certainly isn't. But you need to make sure that whatever you do in your life, that your employees.

I mean, if you are, here's one that I see all the time, not all the time, but I see a lot if there are doctors, unfortunately, who take cash and don't report it. OK. We see that. But if you do that, your employees are going to know that. And if down the road push comes to shove, they have the goods on you. Don't act in a way that is down the road going to get you in trouble.

Really, please, please, please promise me that you're going to do that, that you're going to act, you know, legally, respectfully and just don't give anybody an opportunity to have the goods on you. Act as a role model. And I have a saying my dear, dear friend Dr. Phil Potter, who is my partner in my dental practice transition business, who's been my client for 30 years, I helped him sell his practice. I mean, he is the closest thing to a dad that I have. He taught me this wonderful saying, he says Arthur, the truth will set you free and I live my life that way.

If you are always truthful with people, if you, you know, if you make a mistake, own up to it and move on. Too many people, in my opinion, in this life, they make a mistake and they want to cover it up. They make a mistake and they want to make it somebody else's fault. OK? When I make a mistake, if I don't think it's my fault, if it's somebody else's fault, I will stand up for myself 150 percent. But if it's not my fault, if it is my fault and I screwed up, I will say that.

Now it's funny. I have a very good friend who's a clinical psychologist, and I pose this to him and I said, You know, my biggest pet peeve in life is people who make an error, make a mistake and they don't own up to it. And you know what he said to me and hit me right between the eyes, he said. Get over it. That's what happens. So if you are truthful with people and if you make a mistake and you own up to it, people will move on.

They will, in my opinion, they will respect you for it. So if you did something that was an error, you said something disrespectful to somebody. You did something with a patient. You know, you got mad at a patient. You own up to it and apologize. There's nothing wrong with apologizing, and you should expect the same from your team members. Now they may or may not do that. But the truth will set you free always.

When you're looking at a situation that can go one way or another, you know, say you had a patient that you know, it could have gone both ways, but your office probably did something wrong. There was something wrong with the restoration or whatever it is. Instead of trying to defend yourself, you say, Mrs. Smith, I am very sorry. We're human and I believe we need to take responsibility. And this is how we're going to make it good and people will respect you for that like you will never, ever know. If you have an attitude of I'm always right and everybody else is always wrong. Boy, I tell you what, it's going to hurt you. It's going to hurt you in your life. It's going to hurt you and your dental practice with your patients and everything like that.

I like bonus programs for team members, but what I used to do is I used to make part of the bonus program based on our financial results, and the other part was a completely arbitrary situation where I would say, OK, we're going to be basically, here's the bonus pool. If we hit these numbers, here's the bonus pool. Half the bonus pool is going to be based on this. It's going to be based on, you know, the numbers. And we're going to split it this and this way, and everybody knew what it was going to be.

The other half of the bonus pool was Art's discretion. In other words, if the employee team member A was the best employee, great attitude. Great, you know, on time to work every day, did what they needed to do. Probably, they probably got more of the discretionary amount than the other person who showed up. Maybe we got lucky if they worked eight hours a day. I had a few of those, mostly did not. Most all of my employees were wonderful, wonderful people when I ran my CPA practice. And I say that with great pride.

And basically, you know, I decided who was going to get what. I like that. We're not going to get into the details of what can be in a bonus program. We'll do that in another podcast. When I used to hire people, I used to look for attitude and efforts. I'll tell you a story. I might have told the story on the podcast once or twice before. So my son Forrest is he's twenty seven. He and my son, Nathan are just the two most wonderful children you could ever ask for. And Forrest, when he was in high school, he was trying to get recruited to play college baseball. He was a very good baseball player. And we went to recruiting camps, and one of the recruiting camps we went to was at San Diego State University. And it was Mr. Trotsky who ran that camp, and there were about 30 boys at that camp and there were about 20 scouts from different universities and mostly in the West Coast.

And Mr. Trotsky got up there. And he said to the boys and the parents sitting there at the scouts, he said, Oh, he said, Boys, I want you to think about this. I don't want you to worry about what the scouts are looking for and what your arm angle is when you're pitching or how you swing the bat or how you keep your hands back when you swing the bat or how you catch a baseball. Says you don't know what they're looking for and you never will. He says you control two things in your life, your attitude and your effort. And boy, that stuck with me for let's see, that's been about 10 years now, and that has stuck with me. I love that saying - two things you control in your life or your attitude and your effort.

What I hired people for my CPA firm and I would advise for you when you hire people for your dental practices, you can teach skills, OK? You can teach someone how to use Dentrix or Eagle Soft. You can teach someone how to schedule, how to make sure that you have, you know, a couple of blocks in the morning that are an hour and a half each of production and then one in the afternoon and leaving blocks for new patients and how to schedule hygiene and verbal skills. You can teach skills, you can't teach attitude, you can't teach effort. You can't teach someone how when they come into your office every single day of their professional lives, they are doing what's best for the patients and what's best for your business. You can't teach that.

I used to the first question, and I've probably said this too on the podcast. The first question that I ever answered when I interviewed with I had mentioned Larry Shipley earlier he had was the first accountant I ever worked for in San Pedro, California, and he was a tough guy, really ornery guy. And the first question he asked me in the interview was, Are you bright? And I fortunately, I immediately answered, yes, I was 16 years old. I didn't know whether. Maybe I didn't know if I was bright or not. And I said, Yes, I am a very bright. I'm very proud of the fact that I'm very bright. And then he gave me an assignment to look up the definition of the word depreciation. And I did that. He hired me, and he's the one that taught me. You don't know what you don't know and write it down, which is probably not bad advice for dentists. Also, you know, don't do things you don't know. And if there's something that is that you need to keep track of, write it down.

So you know, when you're hiring attitude and effort, if you see someone that's got that gleam in their eye, that just seems, you know, ask them, you know what kind of an attitude you have towards work. You know what kind of effort you put out and see what they say. I had one lady who interviewed with me for a receptionist position and every other word out of her mouth was, Well, I need to make as much money as I can. I need to make the highest salary I can. What are you paying? What does that tell you? OK. As opposed to someone who says, You know, if you hire me, you get somebody who cares about people, you get somebody who has a passion for helping people. That's what you want to hear. Now, they may not all say that, but that's what you want to be looking for.

I hire for attitude and effort, and I can teach skills. And, you know, I've taught for years some of the best people that you can hire to work at a front desk would be somebody who maybe worked in a restaurant or somebody who worked at a bank. Somebody who's used to dealing with the public, who's used to handling money, who's used to having to be friendly and caring to people because they want to get a tip.

Those people are, in my opinion, more likely to be the type of employee who are going to really care about people because your business doctors is all about caring and trust. OK, next thing, I want to talk to you about invest in CE for your team. Invest in your team. Take them to a conference. Some of my most successful doctors are the ones now. Again, the last year and a half going to conferences is not something that's happened. It's starting to happen again.

I was told the other day that I believe that the California Dental Association Convention will be back live in May, and I'm very excited about that. I am going to be speaking if any of you are going. In July, I've been invited to speak at the National Academy of General Dentistry meeting in Orlando, Florida. That's very exciting to me. So live meetings have started to reappear.

So invest in your team, invest in education, learning, learning, learning. OK, here's what you invest in. Verbal skills. I have said this for years doctors. OK? When you hang your shingle as a dentist, when I hang my shingle as a CPA, people presume that we have gone through the necessary educational and training and learning process to be a dentist, to be a CPA, to be an attorney, to be an architect. OK, because if you don't, you know, that's just kind of dumb.

So your dentist, your license, you've gone through school, all this stuff. What they don't know is they don't know how good of a crown prep you make. They don't know how your margins are. They don't know what, how much you know about occlusion or TMJ or periodontal disease. They don't know all of this, OK? It's all about verbal skills. Your team needs to trust you, needs to believe in you as a dentist. Every once in a while, I'll talk to my client's office manager. I say, So is your boss a good dentist? And every once in a while, not often. Every once in a while I get, well, he's OK. Oh, my gosh, that is just an absolute prescription for disaster. So you must, as a doctor, you must get your team to trust that you're a good dentist, but the best, there is no better in this area because when the patients are presented a treatment plan and the doctor leaves the room and the assistant is the only one left there and the patient says, so Jane, is he really good? If you go well, he's OK. What do you think the patient's going to do? They're going to walk out.

But if you say, you know, Jane, let me tell you something. Dr. Jones is the best. Plain and simple. He's done my dentistry. He's done my family's dentistry. There is no better on this planet that Dr. Jones and he is the only dentist that I would ever let work on my mouth or my family's mouth.

You have team members that believe in you. OK, so it's all about verbal skills and how to get the patients to say yes to the dentistry that they really need. Caring and trust. You can't teach caring and trust. You know, you know, when you walk into a store or you walk into a business, whether it is basically just a transactional situation or whether these people really care about you and they want you to be healthy, that kind of verbal skills, the value of the dentistry they need to understand, they need to understand, you know, they don't need to understand all the technical issues that go into prepping a crown.

Many of them will, but they need to understand how the process works. They need to believe in you. Like I was talking about earlier, in my opinion, they need to believe in non-surgical periodontal therapy. They need to believe that gum disease has links to all kinds of bad things. The science shows it right. So they need to believe. I had one doctor who bought a practice and the hygienist, the only hygienist who had great relationships with the patients, did not believe in doing quadrants of root planning. And I said, not at all. Not that at all, doesn't diagnose it, doesn't treat, doesn't probe. I said, you must. I said, you must look at changing that. And fortunately, that particular hygienist was about ready to retire and they got one that did so. But those are the types of things.

You know, relationships about, you know, and training on schedule. And we talked about that a little earlier. You know, how do you schedule. The more your team is trained, the more that they believe that you are investing in them for their learning possibilities and that you're investing in them to help the practice to be better. The better your practice is going to do. Have your team embrace metrics and how to improve your productivity. Look at the numbers, go over the numbers. You don't have to show them how much your W-2 is. You don't have to show them how much you put into your pension plan or what kind of car you're buying. They don't need to know that, that's none of their business.

But what we do want to do is we want to look at metrics. There are wonderful metrics programs out there dental intel, dental metrics, other metrics programs that you can use in your practice. For example. And I've mentioned this before. Hygiene reappointment, by the way, one of the things that we're going to be doing in our six month webinar series in 2022 is we're going to be doing a program on what the metrics are and what the overhead of the business looks like. So, for example, hygiene reappointment, what does that mean? That means what percentage of the patients. Let's say you have one hygienist who sees seven patients in a day. What percentage of those seven patients walk out of the office after their hygiene appointment with the next hygiene appointment? All right now, the front office will tell you that it's 98 percent. Well, no, it's not. The national average is about 55 percent.

Front office people get busy, they get distracted. They don't want to ask for the next hygiene appointment. And we see that and the metrics prove it out because it all goes into the dental software. Cancelations and no shows what percentage of your patients are canceling. What do you do about that chronic canceler? I don't know if that's a correct term, but I'm going to use because it's my podcast Chronic Canceler, the person who makes an appointment and then at the last minute, either just doesn't show or calls a half hour before and cancels the appointment, and you've got an hour and a half a block of time to see that patient.

So after a couple of times, you finally have to just kind of give up on that patient and say, You know, this can't continue. So you put the onus on them to call you and say, I could come in at this time. You don't allow that behavior to continue. So we can see we don't want cancelations and no shows more than, you know, five percent if we can help it five to 10 percent, because that is one way to blow up your day. Uncompleted treatment plans. I get this. I mean, we were talking about this the other day with one of my consultant friends about how, you know, doctors say, I need new patients. I have to get new patients. I need new patients. Well, what if you've got a million and a half dollars in your uncompleted treatment plans?

What if you are not properly diagnosing and presenting treatment properly and people are not buying? Your treatment acceptance percentage should be, gosh, at least 65 70 percent. Not everybody's going to buy, but if you're and these metrics programs will tell you what they are. If your treatment acceptance is 20 or 30 percent or you don't know how to present the case, you don't need new patients. You need to get your patients to be able to understand why this dentistry is necessary and talk to them about their health and talk to them about their well-being.

I will say this again, and I am a broken record. Doctors, you are not in the business of repairing and fixing people's teeth. You are in the business of helping people to have a better life, a better self-esteem, a better job, a better relationship. You are about making people's lives better. And if you translate that. How do I say if you translate that attitude to your team and you let them know that that is why we are here, we are not here to make as much money as we can. We would like to make a good living at dentistry. And if you do it right, you can make a very good living. You can put your kids through college. You can fund retirement, pay off your house. All the things that we've talked about on this podcast for almost three years now.

By the way, December 3rd will be three years that we're doing this podcast, it's shocking to me. Time flies when you're having fun and every single hour I'm sitting behind this microphone I love talking to you. It's just my passion. So, you know, this is what we need to communicate. And to put a bow on all of this. When we were at Pride, we used to say dentist leads team, dentist manages team, team manages office.

You, as the doctor, must set the vision. I know you've heard it over and over again. You may not want to hear it again. You set the vision, you set the tone. You set how we're going to deal with everybody. You set how we're going to deal with the employees. You set how we're going to deal with the patients. You said how we're going to deal with vendors. You said how we're going to deal with this business. But the number one thing doctors, if any of you were out here listening and you're in escrow to buy a dental practice and you get to meet your dental team for the first time. Once the practice sale closes or close to the it closes. In my opinion, the first thing that needs to come out of your mouth is the following folks, I cannot tell you how excited and humbled and honored I am to meet you. I want to let you know that the number one priority that I'm going to have in being a dentist and running and operating this dental practice, my number one priority is the total health of our patients. That is the number one most important thing that I am concerned with.

If you start off with that and if you set that tone with your team and you say that's the tone, the tone is, everything we do in this practice is for the betterment and the improvement of our patients' health and lives. You will have, as my friend Gary Takacs says, a thriving practice. You will have a wonderful team. You will enjoy every single day that you come in. And here's the last thing I'm going to share with you and then we'll take this out, boy, an hour goes by really fast.

Have fun. Joke. I'll share with you something that, you know, I did. And again, when you joke, you have to be very careful how you joke, you don't want to joke in a way that's going to be held against you in a court of law. But, you know, we have fun. And by the way, share your, you know, do fun things with your team. Have fun. Laugh a lot. Again, be careful what you say, but laugh a lot.

So one of the things we had a couple of really, really good years in the CPA practice. So what I did was we were having a meeting. It was a team meeting I set up. It was it was my only fake team meeting. I put some goals up for the next quarter or something. I just said we have a meeting and of course they came and I had my phone on the table right in front of me and I was waiting for a text. And I told them, I said, Guys, I'm refinancing my house and I'm going to close the documents, so I need to have my phone. I might have to step out for a minute.

But what I was really doing was I was waiting for a text from a limo driver who is he and his friend were bringing two limos and we were going to go and take the team out. So I get the text. I said, All right, guys. And in my team, I had all ladies working for me and one man, I said, Ladies, get your purses were leaving. And they looked at me like, I'm crazy, right?

And I said, I just do that. We're gonna lock up the office, put on the recording that we're going to be gone for the rest of the day. And we walked outside and there's two limos and Mary Power who's just one of this absolute most wonderful, sweetest ladies. You talk about an attitude and caring about people that she's second to none. So she says, Art. What are we doing? I said, We're going bowling. Well, what we were doing was I had got gift cards for each of the folks, and I said, here's and I made out the rules. And the rules are, you have to spend each of these gift cards. We went to South Coast Plaza and you have to spend each of these gift cards. You have four hours from one to five at five o'clock we have a dinner reservation at this and this restaurant in South Coast Plaza, we're going to go to dinner and then you're going to show me what you bought. They were just like almost in tears and the attitude that they came back with. This was on a Friday. I think we did it on a Friday. Maybe it was a Thursday. I don't remember.

The next day? Oh my God, you could see it in their eyes. Do nice things. You guys make a lot of money. You have fund your retirement pledge. You live in nice houses, you have nice cars, you have a wonderful life because you've earned it. But share some of it. It doesn't have to be hundreds of thousands of dollars, but just do nice things for your team and do it for all of them. Not just one of them. OK. So anyway, at the end of the day, you know attitude and effort. Be respectful to your team. Include them in your decision making. Let them know what the vision is, who the leader is and, you know, have fun because that's about, you know, it's about laughing.

It's about, you know, I mean, I have people in my life. Sometimes we all have them who it's all about drama and it's all about controversy. And I just don't want that. I want to have fun because we only get so many, you know, so many sands of the hourglass, right? These are the days of our lives. Oh, that's a soap opera. Sorry. Well, anyway, I hope this has been helpful to you again.

A podcast is a call for action, folks. And I hope this information has been really helpful to you. I will also be, you know, say I do not give legal advice. None of this is legal advice. Do not take any of this legal advice. Anything that has to do with legal issues. You need to be consulting a licensed attorney. I am not a licensed attorney. These are my opinions. I think they're good ones. If I didn't think they were good ones, I wouldn't share them with the thousands of people that listen to me.

So I wanna just go out and remind you again to take a look at Decisions in Dentistry magazine. Take a look at our partner. Look at their website www.DecisionsinDentistry.com, look at their wonderful clinical content and their articles and their continuing education courses. One hundred and forty courses for a very reasonable price that you have access to being updated on a regular basis. Go check them out if you're not a member.

If you're not working with a dental specific CPA, shame on you. Shame on you. We bring so much to the table, folks. It's unbelievable the things that our group does. www.ADCPA.org is the Academy of Dental CPAs. If you want to talk to me, email me. You're not happy with your CPA relationship. Give me a call. We're in Tustin in Southern California. Six five seven two seven nine three two four three awiederman@EideBailly.com.

Well, again, I hope this information has been helpful to you. I really, really do. I have a passion for helping my clients. My life has been the dental profession. It's my legacy, and this podcast is really my legacy. And I hope that this information today will empower you. If your practice is not working for you, if it's just not happening, you're not doing some of the things we talked about. I hope you'll take some of this information and advice into consideration and maybe think about making changes because as we all know, the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

With that. That is it for this episode of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. Thank you so much. Please tell all your friends about our podcast. Please write reviews. Please subscribe on Apple or your Android or wherever podcasts are available, and we'll see you next time.