The Weekend Read: Finance for Dentists – the essential handbook.

Near the top of the chart amongst “The 101 Things They Didn’t Teach You At Dental School”©  is “Finance”. Sadly a lot of dental businesses, particularly one man “bands”, are still run a bit like the owner ran their affairs as an undergraduate:

“the end of the month arrives before the end of the money? all’s well”

“managed to squirrel enough away for the January tax bill, or at least can pay it from February’s cashflow? everything is hunky dory”

“want new kit? (or as usually happens just bought new kit?) where’s that leasing guy’s ‘phone number?”

“save up to set up a new practice? the bank say they’ll lend me enough.”

Prior to 2006 anyone with an NHS contract was able (to quote one of my higher earning & spending clients) to: “get your backside in the air and dig harder”. Sadly, or otherwise, those days are gone.

Whether you like it or not just relying on your accountant to produce figures which can sometimes be nearly 2 years out of date isn’t good enough to run a business that will be competitive and provide  the rewards you deserve for the commitment you have shown.

There have been several books about finance for dentists produced over the years (and this writer has wrestled with most of them) but I can happily recommend Paul Kendall’s “Finance for Dentists”. Paul is a partner in the firm of Dodd & Co, based in Penrith but with clients throughout the UK, he was the founder and chairman of NASDA (National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants) and has been working successfully with the dental profession for more than 25 years.

I particularly like this book because it isn’t written in accountant-speak, the author understands the dental profession and, whilst accepting that neither one size will nor should fit all dentists or all practices, there are certain financial fundamentals that must be understood and implemented if success is going to follow.

It will repay the time spent in a thorough initial read so that you are able to understand the financial differences between dentists and their businesses as their career progresses. Later on because the chapters are concise it’s possible to dip into and out of it as you need.

It would be my wish that all new graduates could be given a copy of this book and to discuss it in groups the way that Foundation Dentists are encouraged to talk about clinical techniques.

One inevitable drawback with all books like this is that where figures and minutiae of legislation are quoted they can be out of date almost before the book goes to print however Paul covers the principles so well that one outcome for the reader is that they will be aware not only of what might be changing but also where they can find out about those changes.

You can get it from my Amazon Reading List


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