Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Do you have internal control protocols in your practice? Every dental practice should, however many do not…or they may have some, but they are not always adhered to by the team or practice owner. Internal controls are in place to protect the financial stability of the practice. A financially stable practice makes for a better workplace and provides the ability for optimum growth.
What do we mean by “internal controls”? They are the procedures and protocols put in place to help the office reach their monetary and operational goals. There are several areas to review for internal controls in a dental office. Here are a few to look at as you start the internal control journey in your practice:
Employee Manual – this is a set of expectations between the practice owner and each team member. It should be available for each team member to read, review and ask any questions. The manual should then be signed by each employee in the office.
Reference checks – should be performed before any new person is hired. The call should be made doctor to doctor to confirm the information is accurate.
Cross training and segregation of duties – it is wise to have team members trained on various practice positions so that one person does not control all aspects of a function in the practice. For instance, maybe you have one person that opens the mail, another that enters the checks and then have the practice owner taking the deposit to the bank.
End of Day Protocols – there should be a balancing system for the end of each day.
A team member will balance the deposit going to the bank with the practice’s software to ensure that all checks have been entered and included in the bank deposit.
The end of day protocol should also verify that all patients for the day were charged correctly for their services. We have seen many times where services were either not charged at all or charged incorrectly. It can result from a simple error but is money that is left on the table if not caught in a timely fashion.
Computer security – all computers should require a password to access Windows but another to access the practice management software. This is required by HIPAA and keeps your patients’ information secure. We like to see another layer of security by requiring users to enter their password again to delete or edit procedures, payments and adjustments.
Balancing your bank and merchant statements - do the deposits in the practice bank account match what was entered in the practice management software? If not, where is it off? We also need to ensure the credit card payments entered match the merchant statement. Sometimes this is done by an accountant or bookkeeper. It is an important procedure for each practice owner to complete.
If you do not have some of these protocols in place in your practice, now is a great time to implement them. If you need help or have any questions about how to go about that, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to help you!
Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant
At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting. Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.
Janice can be reached at: email@example.com