Many optometrists ignore or miss out on key administrative and financial elements that can make or break their business.
Most professionals outsource or hire others to handle these aspects of their optometry practice. This arrangement works well for many. However, if you are not monitoring your finances, you risk things such as embezzlement.
Let’s discuss financial monitoring and embezzlement protection for optometry to help avoid such issues at your practice.
Embezzlement Protection for Optometry
It is not too complicated to protect your optometry practice from embezzlement and does not require too much time or monitoring. Here are a few key things that can help you achieve embezzlement
Accurate Record keeping
The practice management software you use is the primary record keeping system for your optometry practice. Any tampering with its records invalidates all subsequent financial monitoring measures. You
must ensure accurate record keeping for effective financial monitoring.
Typically, payment information is added at the front desk, whereas patient treatment information is added in the operatory. Sometimes both are entered at the front desk. Inaccurate entries (intentional or
faulty) are more likely at the front desk, so you must minimize front staff entries as much as possible.
Most importantly, the day-end report produced by your practice management software needs to be reviewed thoroughly. It would help if you made time to do it on the same day. To reduce the burden,
you can add duties to your team to review and attest to their work before you review the report.
This report is crucial for productivity, finances, and accurate record keeping. As the optometry practice owners, you must sign this report to confirm you have reviewed it and save it in a safe place where only
you have access.
Once you have achieved accurate record keeping, the next step for embezzlement protection is verifying deposits. All deposits made to your practice must correlate with the collections. Most modern
optometry practices offer multiple payment gateways, which may complicate matters.
The timing differences of various payment methods, their record in your software, and deposits to your bank account can vary. For example, credit card payments are recorded in the software immediately but
deposited in your account several days later.
Similarly, automated deposits reach your account first and are recorded in your software later. The administrative staff is tasked to perform daily balancing to overcome these differences, but it is not practical or ideal for modern optometrists to review this thoroughly every day.
If you can do it, it is an excellent opportunity to catch any embezzlement or dishonesty at the earliest.
However, a more practical approach is comparing monthly collections and deposits. This tactic does not relieve the administrative staff from doing daily balancing tasks. Instead, it allows you only to review it
Using this tactic reduces the burden, and an entire month’s data also self-corrects most of the timing differences. The remaining differences are only the ones at the start or end of the month, leaving you considerably less work to follow up with.
Monthly reviews also make it possible and more practical to outsource the task to a third-party bookkeeper or someone you trust. The only drawback is that monthly reviews mean that any shortages in deposits will take a whole month before they come to light.
However, this is far less likely if you thoroughly review your day-end software reports and look for suspicious entries.
Malicious employees may counter your daily and monthly scrutiny by making after-hours or weekend
transactions. Here, articulation can help. It means adding up the total production, collections, and adjustments for all the working days of the month.
So, if your optometry practice was running 21 days last month, the total of 21 daily reports should equal the total from your month-end report. If not, you can be fairly certain about something being added to
your practice management software besides the 21 daily reports.
While articulation may seem like a tedious practice, it is simple and highly effective. You can easily outsource it to a bookkeeper.
Embezzlement Protection Is Simple
Break down these three key components, practice deposit verification once a month instead of once a day, and think about outsourcing some tasks. Most employee theft or embezzlement is a product of
poor financial oversight.
So, don’t let your optometry practice become a victim, and start protecting it and yourself today!