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Whether you like it or not just relying on your accountant to produce figures which can sometimes be nearly 2 years out of date isn’t good enough to run a business that will be competitive and provide  the rewards you deserve for the commitment you have shown.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


aka the saturday rant #1 – Stop following me! It’s my journey and mine alone.

Another day, another new Twitter follower. Why would an estate agent in Shmucksville, Wyoming want to follow the warblings of a dental business consultant in the UK?

For what purpose does someone whose true aim in life seems to be to reduce the weight of the world by selling them flatulence inducing powder & low fat snake oil want to hear that I “got up, had breakfast, tidied my sock drawer and didn’t do much the rest of the day”

So unless you are genuinely interested in what I’m doing or have to say – stop concentrating on my life & get one of your own (and if you need help with that call me!).

& as for the Social Media “Specialists” – Lord spare me. Thanks to the supreme deity (whoever she may be) for Hugh MacLeod and a thrice weekly antidote.

From Hugh’s gapingvoid blog September 18th 2010

Considering the fact that “Social Media” didn’t really exist five years ago, there are an awful lot of “Specialists” floating around. Seriously, sushi chefs traditionally study for 8 years, so who’s really an expert? I’ve been doing it as long as anybody, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert. Clearly, knowing how to use the gadgets, and growing your groups, coherent Tweeting, etc., are just part of it.

The real key, as we all know, is having a Smarter Conversation.
Shhh, let’s keep it our secret.

Gerry Rafferty – another good man gone

Away from the wall to wall tributes of Baker Street & Stuck in The Middle here’s something that I first heard a very long time ago indeed from his days with Billy Connolly in The Humblebums

A man who gave pleasure to many – RIP Gerry.

An inspiring tale from “The Dental Nurse Network”

One of the joys before, during and since my decades as a practice owner has been helping Dental Nurses to grow and achieve their full potential. Sometimes it was a challenge to the business when a nurse needed to move on to expand their skills such as training as a hygienist or therapist.  On other occasions I “lost” nurses who are now working in Mental Health and the Probation Services amongst others. My philosophy was always to part as friends and encourage their growth. Obviously other team members stayed on board and were able to find fulfilment within the business, whatever happened  I felt it was my duty to see that the nurse made the most of their natural talents.

The Dental Nurse Network is a fairly new organisation with the wonderful strapline of “Empowering Dental Nurses”. They produce a regular attractive newsletter full of tips & hints which are both useful and interesting. The website is here and I recommend you investigate for the dental nurses in your life.

This came from the newsletter edition dated just before Christmas and the writer, Joanne Chambers, won a hamper for the piece; I add my congratulations to your persistence and dedication, you’re an inspiration to your colleagues.

From dental nurse to NVQ assessor..

It was 1989 and I didn’t want to stay on at school for another 2+ years. I wanted a career…but what career was right for me??? The day of my 16th Birthday a letter arrived through the post, it was a letter inviting me for an interview at our local Dental Practice…How odd, I hadn’t applied for the post! My mother and I figure out that the school had informed the job centre of all the pupils that wanted a career instead of further education….this was meant to be!!!

I went for the interview and I got the job…I would be assisting the dentist in the surgery while studying for my national qualification…I was so excited!!

I quickly picked up everything I was taught and I studied hard, I was the first nurse in the practice to be entered in for a qualification in dental nursing and I began to know more than the older staff knew, therefore I progressed in the practice very quickly. I finally passed my exam after 3 tries, due to my dyslexia…but I did it and I was very very proud!!!!

From 1989 to 2002 I moved from job to job, collecting knowledge and experience along the way. Then in 2003 I moved to Cornwall and that’s when every started to fit into place. My new employer could see that I loved training up new staff and they could see how enthusiastic I was. They had two members of staff that needed an NVQ assessor; therefore they suggested I contacted Cornwall college and find what to do next.

I went for an interview at the college and got the job as trainee assessor, I trained and assessed the two new nurses and after 6 months, I became a qualified NVQ assessor, gaining my A1 award. I continued to work as a dental nurse while part time assessing. My two candidates became qualified after 18 months…You couldn’t imagine how pleased I was, I had been involved in two lovely girls qualifying as dental nurses!

After 2 years I moved to a private practice that was a referral practice for implants and cosmetic dentistry. I was going to be an implant nurse, that included sedation, this was very exciting and I began studying again. I now needed to know about implant equipment and a whole new range of instruments that was used in surgical procedures…wow, it was like starting at the beginning again haha!

As time passed, I became the senior nurse at the practice and I needed a new challenge. I asked if they would enter me in for my Oral Health Educator post graduate qualification, they agreed. This course was so intense and I did struggle, but I knew if I passed, that the struggle would be worth it. I applied for extra time for the examination, due to my dyslexia, I didn’t want to have the same problem as I had with my National…I wanted to complete this exam first time.

In March this year, I passed my OHE first time, this is the proudest moment in my career…I am a qualified Oral Health Educator, I have so much knowledge about dentistry…I love it! I have more patient management and I am helping patients every day.

So where next…I am doing a smoking cessation course in Februrary and I start a new job in April as a clinical manager for an orthodontic practice. I am being entered in for an impression course, radiography post graduate qualification and I aim to have my orthodontic nursing post graduate qualification by 2013…watch this space!

Nice – from MedGadget

If I was still a practice owner then this sort of stuff would really excite me.

Edge EHR corp. has announced the launch of its edgeDMS dental EHR. The iPad application, which is available through the iTunes App Store, allows doctors to search through and view patient records. When viewing an individual patient’s history, edgeDMS displays patient summaries, detailed periodontal charts, and X-rays.

From the press release:
Exam details including observations, etiology, diagnosis and patient recommendations are also quickly recorded on each patient visit using the iPad with or without a bluetooth keyboard. In addition, edgeDMS for iPad also features an integrated picture and digital X-ray browser allowing providers to add, review and share intra-oral images, photos and digital x-rays with their patients at chair-side. edgeDMS running on a Mac desktop makes it simple to view any patient record in the office or on the go through a secure VPN tunnel for providers seeking mobile empowerment where no patient data resides on the iPad device.

Happy New Year or not….

One of my clients has returned to work after the Christmas & New Year holiday to discover that his computers appear to have decided to change their passwords. I am writing this at 11.35am and his receptionist is still in a queue waiting for an initial response (that means someone to answer the phone) from Software of Excellence.

Great salesmen do not make a great company.

The Monday Morning Quote

” Working hard is important, but there’s something else that’s even more important: believing in yourself.

Look at it this way: every great wizard in history started out as nothing more than we are now – students.

If they can do it, why not us…? “

(Harry Potter)

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