Experts estimate that more than 70 percent of veterinarians are embezzled with an average loss of $200,000. But, because the embezzlers often steal small amounts of money over many years, the thief is never noticed. The US chamber of commerce estimated that 75 percent of employees steal from their workplace and that most do so repeatedly.
A majority of people, if given an opportunity, will take advantage of a situation to steal from their employer on the following frequency:
-3 percent will steal daily
-7 percent will steal weekly
-20 percent will steal 4-12 times a year
-70 percent will steal 1-2 times a year
-4 in 10 doctors experience theft in some form from the practice. 1 in 3 veterinary practices experiences monetary theft from their practice.
The significant types of theft in veterinary practices are:
-Goods and services in Kind
All types of theft can hurt the bottom line of the practice. The Monetary thief, in most cases, has the most negative effect on the practice bottom line. Most veterinarians find it hard to believe that their handpicked, trusted, longer-term staff would steal from the practice.
Here is an unfortunate, and real-life, example. A veterinarian had a highly successful practice with five employees. One was a long-term office manager who came to work early and left late every day. She managed all the financial transactions daily along with the insurance and statement billing. The office manager took an extended vacation. While she was gone, the office sent out statements and received numerous calls from patients that their statement was incorrect and that either their insurance had paid the bill, or they paid on the day of service by check or credit card. The doctor had the staff investigate all the disputes and found out that the office manager had embezzled more than one hundred thousand dollars over the years. He was devasted and could not believe that the long-term, most trusted employee had done this to him.
Methods that have been used by staff to steal from the practice:
Zero Charge- Patient comes in for services, and the office staff member posts a zero-balance charge and pockets the money. At the end of the day, the computer collections balance to the deposit slip. No one notices.
Falsify Deposit Slip– Employee brings the doctor a deposit slip to sign for the day matching all the collections taken in for the day but then takes out all the cash from the deposit bag or envelope and changes the deposit slip when depositing the money.
Multiple Adjustments to Accounts- Courtesy discounts like cash discounts or senior discounts are used. Employee charges the full amount to the patients and keeps the cash discounts and pockets it.
Fictitious Vendor- Employee sets up a fake business with an account and has doctor sign supply order checks for supplies. The employee deposits these checks into an account and keeps the money.
Make sure that even your closest friend in the veterinary practice is being watched. Here are some suggested internal controls to help prevent thief and embezzlement:
Segregation of Duties– Make sure one person does not control all cash flow processes.
Daily Audit Trail– Review daily transactions to catch zero balance postings.
Rotate Duties– This will help to reduce the chance for embezzlement.
Verify the End-day Report to Deposit Slip– Ensure that you see the end-of-day report and it balances with cash deposits. The doctor should be responsible for depositing funds in the bank.
Review Bank Statement– Take time to review the statements monthly.
Require Vacations– All employees must take vacation days that they have earned.
Performance Plans– If the practice meets specific goals and the practice is increasing its revenue, give incentives to employees in monetary form.
Background Checks- Make sure you follow through on background checks before hiring new employees.
Verify References- Check all references.
Having internal controls will help protect the practice and staff that are honest and want to do a good job. It will also help everyone stay focused on their tasks and goals at hand and take away the opportunity for someone to embezzle. You don’t want to have good employees turn into liabilities.
Omni Practice Group has been helping veterinarians for over 15 years developing plans to transition their practice. Our goal is to help you find the right buyer and make a smooth transition of your practice when the time is right. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation with one of our Practice Transition Advisors.Read More
Common Reasons for Veterinary Practice Valuations
There are several reasons doctors need to know the value of their Veterinary practice. The most common reason is for Veterinary practice transitions or sales. Valuations help to determine if the asking price is reasonable, to figure out a reasonable asking price to begin with, and to ensure the practice is profitable enough to invest in; this is also important to know when considering a merger. Doctors should also get their practice valuated within ten years of retirement and every two years after for estate planning purposes. Therefore, it is important to make sure the valuation is not a cookie cutter process.
Rule of Thumb Should Not Apply
No two Veterinary practices are the same, so no two valuations should be the same. Often veterinary practice valuation are conducted using a rule of thumb method. The method does a major disservice to both the seller and the buyer, as it often does not highlight the practice’s uniqueness and how that influences the actual value of the practice in question. For a true valuation, many aspects of the practice must be taken into account and evaluated by experts with extensive formal training and resulting certifications, such as the experts at OMNI Veterinary Practice Group.
When looking into Veterinary practice valuations, it is important to make sure the professionals have extensive experience performing said valuations. The team at Omni Veterinary Practice Group; example, have helped hundreds of doctors buy and sell their practices using accurate valuations based on the practice itself and are considered Veterinary industry experts in practice valuations. As members of the Institute of Business Appraisers and the Practice Valuation Study Club, OMNI Veterinary Practice Group offers accurate and individualized valuations for Veterinary practices in Washington, Oregon, and California.
To learn more about why and how Veterinary practice valuations are conducted, or to request a free consultation in the Washington, Oregon, or California areas, please contact the expert staff at OMNI Veterinary Practice Group. OMNI’s team of experts are dedicated to ensuring each client’s success through transitions, valuations, consulting and other real estate services in the Veterinary field.
What is Veterinary Practice Consulting?
Running a successful Veterinary practice takes a lot of work, much of which may not be immediately apparent. Expert consultants, such as those at OMNI Veterinary Practice Group, will evaluate each practice to determine the best course of action necessary to take that practice and turn it into a profitable endeavor. A detailed analysis is performed and a plan is developed to increase practice production and collections, as well as developing prospectus, compiling management reports, helping with financing and lease assignments, and more. For those looking to sell their practice, or those who already have a buyer, OMNI Veterinary Practice Group can act as a transitions consultant as well.
How Can Veterinarians Benefit?
Through Veterinary practice consulting, a detailed analysis looks at all aspects of the practice in question, from which suppliers are used, to the management team, and everything in between. An expert team then evaluates the Veterinary practice’s needs and goals to find out where the practice may need assistance. The information is used to develop a plan of action that will ultimately improve the overall success of the practice. The coaching experts at OMNI Veterinary Practice Group have averaged a 20% increase in practice production and collections for their clients.
OMNI Veterinary Practice Group has helped hundreds of doctors not only buy and sell their Veterinary practices, but they have also helped to grow practices into profitable businesses through their Veterinary practice consulting services in Washington, Oregon, and California. OMNI Veterinary Practice Group are a leading provider of practice transitions and sales, valuations, consulting and real estate services, specializing in creative Veterinary practice Transitions and consulting.
For more information on how OMNI Veterinary Practice Group can help to grow your Veterinary practice through their consulting services, or to request a free consultation, please contact our team of highly trained and dedicated professionals. OMNI strives to ensure each clients’ success, through detailed formal training and certification.