As a dental practice owner, navigating legalities, insurance plans, funding, and more are all important aspects when setting up a smooth running dental practice. It helps to have a dental advisor team at the ready to assist you with the headaches that come with dealing with paperwork and the behind-the-scenes details that come with owning a dental practice. Keep in mind, that it is worth it up front to invest in a team with dental industry knowledge.
Below we’ve detailed some of the common professionals you should consider seeking out for your dental advisor team. An experienced CPA, lawyer, banker, insurance agent, dental broker, dental tech and IT advisor, will help you navigate the complexities of practice ownership. Take a look at some of the most common dental advisor team roles:
Dental CPA / Accountant
In short, your certified public accountant (CPA) handles all things financial for your business and they should always be consulted in financial decisions. A dental-specific CPA will help you answer critical questions around your practice’s health, pull insights from other dental clients or help you understand the right time to expand, or sell your practice. They also work to handle your practice’s taxes, making sure they are filed correctly. It’s important to understand the knowledge from professionals in your industry to avoid mistakes and make good financial decisions. Some of the common responsibilities associated with CPAs are as follows:
● Performing financial audits for dental practices (helping practices to keep their affairs in order)
● Preparing financial and tax documents
● Organizing and providing financial information to potential investors
You can find a dental CPA on the directory at ADCPA.org.
If you are in the Charlotte, NC metro area, we recommend contacting Stowe & Stowe Certified Public Accountants, who are specific to serving dentistry.
Financial Planning/Investment Manager
A good dental advisor for your practice will be well-versed in the common financial issues associated with dental practice owners. They will be able to anticipate opportunities and prepare for setbacks along the way, helping you keep your practice prospering while building a comfortable nest egg for your retirement. While a CPA generally has more of a tax and audit-focused role, the Financial Planner/Investment Manager finds ways to grow the profitability of the practice and helps you to achieve specific goals, such as retirement, college payoff, and more. Some of the financial planner’s responsibilities cover advisement in:
● Estate planning
Getting started with your financial planning and setting your investment management off on the right path will help you carve a clear path to a stress-free retirement when the time comes. Yes, the time to start planning for your retirement is now! A good, industry experienced financial advisor will help you plan the financial future of your practice and eventually your retirement by guiding you through financial decisions throughout your career.
Don’t delay on this decision, get started on building your financial future now, but don’t forget to do your due diligence and select a financial planner with a proven track record and your best interests in mind.
We recommend contacting Bryce Miller, an Advisor at Spaugh Dameron Tenny, a financial planning firm serving dentists and physicians.
Whether you are just starting out as a dental practice owner, or are looking to sell your practice, a dental attorney can work wonders in assisting with your transition. Your dental attorney can advise and handle legal matters surrounding the following:
● Purchase/sale of, or starting a dental practice
● Governmental agencies (investigations, inspections, citations)
● Contractual matters (drafting, review of, negotiations)
● And Others
Your legal team should approach the transition from the point of being a facilitator. They have an ethical duty to protect you, but if your goal is to sell, be sure to let your attorney know that, so that they may act accordingly.
Getting your practice started takes money. Finding a banker who is experienced in dental financing will help you get the funds you need to get started, and can help you save money on interest rates when making large and necessary purchases, like dental technology and equipment. Some things dental bankers can guide you through include:
● Acquisition Financing
● Equipment Financing
● Practice Buy-in Financing
● Practice-Dedicated Checking/Savings Account Setups
● Practice-Dedicated Credit/Debit Cards for everyday needs
● Practice Equity Financing
● Practice Expansion and Improvement Financing
● Practice Refinance of Existing Leases and Loans
● Practice Start-up financing
● Commercial Real Estate
A Dental Banker that has experience in the dental field is indispensable to your team. If you are looking for a dental broker that has your practice's best interest in mind, talk to Brian Cogan with Bank of America.
Owning a dental practice comes with many risks and challenges along the way, you are after all dealing with patient care and expensive technology on a daily basis. Getting coverage is a must, to protect your assets and personal income, due to inevitable bumps in the road. Some different coverage options to consider should include:
● Professional Liability Insurance/ Dental Malpractice Insurance
● Disability Insurance
● Life Insurance
● Business Insurance
An insurance agent you can trust that has extensive experience in the dental industry can potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run. We suggest contacting Jeff Arsenault with Venture Insurance Group to help you insure your practice.
Dental Tech Advisor & IT Professional
An incredibly important and often overlooked aspect of starting a dental practice, is understanding the dental tech needed, and making sure all patient communications are compliant with HIPAA regulations. There are dentists who try to take care of these aspects themselves, but when the fine for a data breach can cost you up to $1.3 million per file, it is worth it to find yourself a Tech Advisor and IT guru who can help you get set up and continuing to run.
IT Professionals/Consultants handle the following and more:
● Phone Systems and SMS Appointment Reminder Automation
● Dentrix, Eagle Soft, Open Dental,, and other Practice Management Software Secure installation
● Secure Wifi (guests should not be able to accidentally access patient records)
● Secure email server
● HIPAA-compliant Networking
HIPAA Fine Violation Breakdown
Understanding what could go wrong should you cut corners when setting up and maintaining any patient communications, EHRs, and networking solutions that house patient data is crucial to ensuring you run a HIPAA compliant business and avoid associated fines. Take a look at the fines associated with HIPAA data breaches and remember, it pays to contract a dental tech advisor and IT manager that you trust and who has dental-specific industry knowledge and experience.
The fines for HIPAA violation data breaches are broken down into two categories: Reasonable Cause and Willful Neglect. Reasonable Cause suggests the covered entity either knew or with diligence would have known that an omission or act violated one of these standards though it was not recklessness or indifference. Willful Neglect implies that there was conscious recklessness or indifferent disregard of the regulations. A fine for a HIPAA violation can range from $100 to 1.3 million dollars. Understanding these risks further emphasizes the importance of hiring an IT professional who knows what he/she is doing.
To put it simply, a dental broker is a professional who guides you through every step in the transition process of a dental practice. A broker has experience in the industry that makes them an expert in taking you through every moment of the transition—including valuing a dental practice, purchasing or selling, and the transition that takes place from one owner to another. In short, they’re your mentor through the transition (buying or selling) from start to finish. You’ll get a trained professional who can handle as much or as little as you want them to for your dental practice transition.
Remember, you will also need legal documents in place and generally your broker does not do that. For that you will need a lawyer. Look for a non-biased broker who will work only for you. Some brokerage companies may have conflicts. Does your broker have monetary interest in who buys your practice? They shouldn’t. You want an independent broker who will look out for your interests.
Our firm, JPA Dental Transitions, offers experienced dental brokerage for buyers and sellers. Contact us for complimentary consultation if you’re considering a transition.
Find Your Professional Consulting Team of Advisors
When you want to sell your dental practice, it’s important to have a team that is well-versed in the dental industry. Keep in mind that this team, if selected carefully, will likely be on your side for the length of your career. It pays to have a team that is invested in your practice from start to finish.
JPA Can Help You Build Your Dental Advisor Team
JPA is a dental brokerage services provider specializing in dental practice transitions, and we work with buyers and sellers of dental practices every day, including helping you vet DSOs. We will guide you through the process, so you make the best choice for you and your patients. Contact JPA Dental Transitions to schedule a discovery call to understand your options.