A BUYING DENTIST can’t ever be too paranoid
about the transition of the practice. It is
important to verify all the numbers from the
beginning to actually make sure the financial analysis holds true. In
order to protect yourself, you need to make sure you build a strong,
independent team to represent you and your transition. The team
usually consists of a lawyer, accountant, consultant, and a bank.
As far as the office manager is concerned, every transition is different, and it is necessary for the buying dentist to interview each
FIRST AND FOREMOST, if you have any concerns about the doctor’s
or spouse’s integrity, why entertain employing them at all after the sale?
I’m assuming there is an adequate supply of patients to accommodate
both you and the seller. Conversely, if that is not the case, there may
be a possibility that the seller might try to have the staff schedule more
complex and profitable procedures for him, which may be more difficult
to control, especially if his wife is the office manager and oversees
We ask two experts the same question
on a complex issue.
I want to buy a practice and the selling dentist employs his wife as the
office manager. I plan on keeping him employed for about a year after the
sale. They both seem quite nice, but I’m worried they might manipulate
the numbers to improve the doctor’s collections. Am I being paranoid?
TOM SNYDER, DMD,
MBA, is the director of
transition services for
Henry Schein Professional
Practice Transitions. He
can be reached at (800)
988-5674 or TomSnyder@
Professional Practice Group
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If this is a real concern on your part, simply place restrictions on
scheduling that will prohibit abuse. However, it’s a good idea to discuss
this scenario prior to the sale. Retaining spouses is not necessarily a bad
thing as long as the team understands that you are the boss and that
you sign their paychecks. To address your concerns about the seller’s
spouse manipulating collections or any systems in your practice, be
mindful that she is now your employee and as such is employed “at will,”
so there should be no long-term guarantee of her employment. So, if you
discover a problem, you can dismiss the spouse immediately.
As a business owner, you need to review essential practice management reports generated by your computer software. Collections can
be manipulated, so you need to invest adequate time to review certain
reports on a regular basis. You should generate an end-of-day report,
for example, that summarizes daily procedures as well as payments
made. This report can be compared against daily deposits to ensure
that there is consistency. Two other key reports are an end-of-month,
showing all services provided, as well as an accounts receivable report.
These will give you adequate information to track individual provider
production as well as the anticipated collections that the seller may receive. Staying on top
of your practice’s financial activities will help
you develop good practice management habits
that will serve you well for your entire career.