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  • Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE

The Art of Reconciliation

Updated: May 6


We feel it every day! A continual rise in expenses for every area of our budget. Is this something that is affecting you? It probably is in one way or another. The question is, how can you minimize your expenses and what needs to be reviewed for this to happen? You not only need to watch where your money is coming in, but also how much is going out and if those expenses are reasonable and necessary.

There is no time like the present to start examining and taking charge of your financial situation. 


Let’s talk about some of the areas that you can review to minimize your expenses as much as possible:

  • Reconciling Bank Statements:  This is one of the most important tasks to complete on a monthly basis yet one that we have find an alarming number of practices are not doing. What does that entail exactly? 

  • Always balance the amount of money deposited in the bank account to the total collection amount in your practice management system (PMS). 

  • Checks and cash should match deposits taken to the bank - daily.

  • Credit Card Merchant statements should equal your credit card totals in your PMS- daily. This includes Care Credit, Lending Club or any of the patient financing systems you utilize. 

If these numbers are not matching, you may need to investigate further to ensure that everything entered in your PMS is in the bank. Errors can always occur, and we want to be sure that patient balances are accurate.


True Story: 

We recently had a client that found Aetna was depositing their practice’s EFTs to another practice’s account.  That can be a big loss for a practice if the insurance company is a large payor for them. The problem was two-fold, this was occurring in small amounts over several years and the admin team was entering the payments since they were receiving the EOBs, however, there was not a system for verifying that the monies on those EOBs were deposited in the bank before posting. Aetna did end up paying the money that was owed, but what if it was never found. This practice would have been out over $80,000.

  • Vendor and Credit Card Statements: Not only do you need to reconcile what is being deposited into the bank, you also need to review what is going out of your account. Match your statements from vendors to your credit card statements and match the payments to credit cards to your statements from them.


True Story: 

Another one of our clients made a double payment to their credit card because the credit card company posted the first payment to the wrong account. Luckily, they review their statements on a monthly basis, otherwise they may have never caught the double payment. It took a couple of months and many on the phone for this client to finally get that money back. 

  • Platforms and Streaming Services: We find many offices have a couple of platforms that are doing the same thing. Take a look at what services you need and where you might be doubling up.  For instance, you have a platform that sends text messages to your patients, and you have another that you use for electronic forms but can also send text messages. 

    • Are both platforms necessary? 

    • These platforms that are being utilized can be expensive. 

    • Is there any that can be trimmed down here?

    • Is there one service that can provide all the services you need?


True Story: 

Streaming services - Do you have Netflix, Disney + and Direct TV for your patients to watch? Or maybe you have Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music. Determine what is being played or watched the most and discontinue the others.I reviewed the streaming services we utilize at my home and found that we were paying for way more than we use. I was able to trim those down quickly.

  • Supplies: How about the ordering process in your practice? I know it gets comfortable to order everything from the same vendor, and honestly, it is just easier. Unfortunately, this is probably not the most cost-effective way to handle the supplies in your practice. With prices going up consistently, this is a good time to do some bargain shopping and see if there are some cost savings available to you.

    • Shop around - just as you do to find the best deal on supplies in your home.

    • Ask your supply reps for the best deals on the products you typically get from them.

    • Set a schedule for ordering - bi weekly or monthly, to save on the shipping costs. Those can add up when you are placing an order sporadically. 

    • Look ahead - are there big procedures coming up that require extra material(s)?

    • Set the budget based on production from the previous months.

True Story: 

Shake up the process a bit. We had a client that took over ordering for a couple of months, only to find he saved the office a significant amount on the products the office ordered.  Fresh eyes are always a great way to see if there is a more economical way to order those products that you use every day.


As our economy continues to squeeze our bottom line, it is time to put a miser’s eye on every penny that flies out of our bank account. This does not have to be a painful, time-consuming process, if you maintain a consistent approach to watching the areas mentioned on a monthly basis. Waiting for the end of the year, makes this a laborious and dreadful task. Such so that you will probably skip it altogether. 


One mistake that we find many practice owners do is pass any or all of these tasks to someone else and never look at for themselves. It’s your practice. It’s your business. I recommend that you pull out that magnifying glass at least periodically. 


If you find this all too daunting and do not know where to begin, contact me janice@GTSgurus.com. I can help you get on track.

 

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: janice@gtsgurus.com

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