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CPAs can make a positive impact on dental practices

Written on Oct 26, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

The guidance from CPAs as trusted business advisors could make or break a dental practice, said one expert. 

“As a dentist, you're never trained on how to run a business,” said Laurie Morgan, healthcare and dental services consultant at Whalen CPAs. “ 

Years ago, people were able to set up a practice and were well thought of in the community. The thought of advertising and marketing themselves was foreign.”  

Now, the dental market is a different space from decades before, Morgan said, and new grads need to come out of dental school with a business mentality. 

Whalen CPAs work with dental providers to set up compliance with OSHAA, accounts receivable, data automation and more, Morgan said, with a wide range of clients from solo practitioners to those with multiple offices. 

For dentists who are ready to sell their practice and haven’t updated their systems in years, Morgan said oftentimes they are left with few options. Either no one wants to buy their practice because everything is outdated or a large conglomerate offers unfavorable terms on a deal, such as penalizing the owner for any patients that leave the practice after the buyout.  

That’s why working with a CPA can be so impactful, Morgan said, as they can offer the guidance the practice needs to be successful in the short and long term.  

The rate of change in the industry has increased exponentially, she said, especially when it comes to the services and materials offered. The type of equipment and materials used now is incredibly expensive and advanced, and it can be difficult for dentists to keep up.  

For CPAs who might be interested in getting into the dental industry niche, Morgan said to first understand more about the daily operations.  

“Great conversation starters are asking about accounts receivable and supply spend,” she said. “Consider what they’re spending at the lab and if salaries are too low. There are national benchmarks for all these areas.”   

CPAs can be an integral part of ensuring a dental practice’s success as they can bridge the gap between practicing good healthcare and good business sense.  

“Everybody wants clear policies and procedures,” Morgan said. “Simple operational aspects can make a huge difference in the way you're perceived.” 

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