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Data Security Best Practices

Though most of the attacks making headlines are those aimed at large organizations or political groups, roughly a third of all data security breaches in the last few years have occurred in the health care industry. Of these, employee error caused three times as many breaches as external attacks. In addition, more than half of the businesses who experience a security breach have fewer than 1,000 employees.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all health care providers to take steps to protect the private information of their patients from hackers, thieves, and staff. While no data security system is foolproof, there are some best practices that can help to decrease your risk of an information breach, especially from employee error. Here are some of the best practices you should be enforcing:

  • All computers should be placed where screens are not visible to patients or visitors.
  • Every computer should have an encrypted password for access.
  • All passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and/or symbols and should be changed regularly.
  • Passwords should never be written down in any place accessible by the public. It is preferable that they not be written down at all.
  • Every staff member must be fully educated about the importance of data security practices, their responsibility to follow these practices, and the potential repercussions for failing to comply.
  • Office computers and internet should not be used to check personal email or visit non-work-related websites.
  • Ensure all firewalls, software, and operating systems are kept up to date.
  • Wireless networks should be shielded from public view.
  • Every computer should have antivirus software installed and kept up to date.
  • Do not access office data remotely from a shared computer or unknown WiFi network.
  • Smartphones, tablets, laptops that have access to any work systems or emails should be password protected in case lost or stolen.
  • All hard copies of patient data should be shredded.
  • All transmitted data should be encrypted.
  • Sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial data, or other private information, should never be sent through email or instant messaging services.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance protection.
  • If a breach does occur, take appropriate action immediately. Contact your legal counsel for advice.

Your first and best defense against the theft of sensitive patient information is the integration of data security best practices into your practice policies. Meet with your team to discuss any changes you need to make and your expectations of compliance. Protect yourself, your team, and your patients by working to protect the integrity of your systems.

Dental CPA | Claim Financial Freedom

Dental Accounting

Whether you’re starting a new practice or have been an owner dentist for years, the financial stress that can come from being a business owner can sometimes overwhelm even the most seasoned professionals. Our goal is to help you achieve complete financial freedom so that financial worries don’t interfere with your ability to work well.

Below are some tips you can follow on your own to help build a rock-solid foundation for your practice. Staying organized and up-to-date with your financials allows you to focus on delivering quality care to your patients. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help!

Have a plan. As the popular saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” In order to see true success, you’ll need to have both short and long-term plans for your practice. How will you allocate new earnings? How is your practice prepared to deal with slow seasons? How are you budgeting for new purchases? If you don’t already have answers to these questions, they could be a great place to start. Planning for the unexpected can help safeguard your profitability from being derailed by unforeseen expenses.

Set goals. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Your practice will only be as successful as you make it. Setting goals allows you to have a clear yardstick to measure your success against and can help you make better financial choices in the present. By recognizing the simple truth that every small decision you make now can have a huge impact on the future, you’ll be able to start setting yourself up for success. Your future self with thank you.

Be Smart. When starting or growing your business, there can be benefits to taking on strategic debt. However, doing so in a manner that will benefit, rather than hinder your growth requires an understanding of the returns you can expect on your investment. Don’t jump into big purchases without a plan, rather weigh the potential benefits and risks of all your financial decisions.

Get Organized. Disorganization can be a killer for any business. In order to ensure you’re not letting anything important slip through the cracks, it’s important to have systems in place that will guarantee nothing is missed. In addition to protecting you from unforeseen troubles, efficient organization can also help bring opportunities for improvement to light. Whether it’s money that could be saved or resources that could be conserved, understanding the ins and outs of your financials can help you to understand exactly how your money is being used.

If you feel that you could improve in any of these areas, our firm is here to help! Our goal is to make the process of managing and running your practice as simple as possible, allowing you to focus on delivering quality work to your patients and growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.

Parlade & Schaefer, CPAS, PA
5975 Sunset Drive, Ste 802
South Miami, FL 33143
(305) 670-0400

 

Accountant Near Me | Guide to Getting Your Finances in Order

Dental Accountant in South Miami

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. It can be a heart wrenching experience not being able to provide necessities for you loved ones. Americans are swinging in debt with many at no fault of their own. Financial hardships can pop up as fast as the next corner Starbucks. Or some people just overextend themselves. Our society is based upon consumption. Everyday we are blasted with advertisements for objects we are told we want. There’s a new smart phone every year, watches to go with that new phone, expensive sneakers, high-end headphones – these products boost our self-esteem. Make us feel high on the social latter. Buying even can just make us feel good.

Whether you are struck with a financial emergency or overextended yourself there are ways to get back on track. It takes sacrifice but the reward of not worrying about money is well worth it. Here’s a guide to getting back to financial freedom.

Know Your Debt

It easy to just no think about debt. Knowing what you owe and laying it all out is important. Look at it this way, this is the first step to financial freedom – and a lot less stress.

Time for a Budget

Once you know how much debt you have, compare it to what you bring in. After subtracting monthly bill payments how much is remaining? At this point think about how much you are spending on necessary and unnecessary items. Now, look at your bank and credit card statements to see what you are really spending. It may shock you!

Creating a budget spreadsheet is a great way to keep track of spending and keep on task. You will want to include the following items.

  • Net income – your final take home pay after deductions
  • Fixed expenses – these may include rent/mortgage, car payment, and utilities. Regular monthly bills fall into this category.
  • Variable expenses – expenditures which change month to month including but not limited to entertainment, groceries, gas, and clothing.

Reviewing your monthly spending will help you know which expenses can be cut. This will be a difficult process but humans are adaptable. This will not be forever. Don’t be discouraged!

Goals

What are your financial goals? Make a list of short and long-term goals. Reducing or eliminating credit card debt would be a good short-term goal. Saving for your child’s education or your own retirement would be a long-term goal. Remember, some goals may take years to accomplish – in the end it’s worth every penny!

Make a Plan

Review your budget, know your debt, set realistic goals, and then start planning. Your plan should reflect the goals you made and how you will achieve them. Sometimes planning is a task you can tackle on your own. However, depending on your debt to income ration you may need to reach out to a financial planner. There’s no shame in it. In fact, most people should. If you are unable to afford a planner, find yourself a mentor. A friend or relative you can talk to is a great idea.

Helpful Tips

  • Use a savings account – money just sitting in your checking accounting is not gaining interest.
  • Auto-pay your bills – this will help to keep you on track and not get charged late fees.
  • Contribute to your 401K – if you company has one you should do it as most companies match contributions up to a certain percentage. That’s free money.
  • Check your credit score – there are many ways to see your score for free and without hurting your credit. This is a good way to see how your debt is affecting your score and to check for any fraudulent activities.
  • Have emergency savings – once you are back on your feet it’s necessary to have a small amount of money set aside for the unexpected.
  • Adjust your habits – always think before you spend as this is the most helpful advice of all.

Following your plan and stay on target! Please contact us for advice!

Dental CPAs 33143 | Strategies to Boost Profitability

Dental CPAs in South Miami, FL

According to Dr. Charles Blair, DDS, most dental practices are losing between $30,000 and $50,000 in potential profits. How can dental practices maximize return on their services and start to recoup capital? Here are three strategies to boost profits in your practice:

Optimize your Practice

Taking a look at production reports to make sure procedures were coded correctly. This may seem fundamental, but it can save a lot of time and money in the long run. One incorrectly charged procedure can increase costs over the course of a year.

In addition, adding high-dollar procedures to your practice such as endodontics, bleaching, and other cosmetic services can greatly boost your profit. Training dental hygienists in more complex procedures, such as soft-tissue management and bleaching, will also maximize a dental practices’ profitability.

Staff your Practice Well

In order to recruit and hire the best possible candidates, it is worth paying above average wages to experienced people in the field. This avoids employee turnover, which can become costly. A friendly and knowledgeable team will also help with patient retention rates.

Facilities and Equipment

If possible, purchase all your dental and office equipment, rather than leasing it. This avoids a number of issues, including higher retail costs, interest payments, hidden fees, and lease-breaking penalties.

Strive to maximize your office space. If your current patient volume doesn’t allow you to use all your offices, consider subletting either your primary or secondary office space. Also, merging your office with another dentist can help you in fully utilizing your space and also reduces overhead costs.

There are a variety of ways to boost profits and cut costs while owning a practice. To start, think about your services, staff, and office space. Opening a practice can be costly and leave many dentists in debt, especially after finishing school. Contact us today for help on managing your budget and ways to maximize your return on investment.

5975 Sunset Drive, Ste 802
South Miami, FL 33143
(305) 670-0400

South Miami Accountants | 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Retiring

Dental CPA South Miami

Whether you have been working for a few years or a few decades, it is important to plan for your retirement. However, many people have never created a plan for retirement based on income and lifestyle. Here are four questions to ask yourself while thinking about whether or not you can comfortably retire on time:

  1.     What do you plan to do during retirement?

If you are planning to travel and visit family members more frequently, this will increase your expenses. Embracing a new hobby may also raise expenses compared to your working years.

  1.     What expenses will change?

Your commute, work clothes, and business lunches may stop, but you may have higher costs for medical care and prescriptions. Speak with us about the type of changes your budget will face during retirement.

  1.     How much are you currently saving?

When you meet with our financial planner, you will review the details of your current retirement savings plans and how your portfolio is performing. During retirement, it may be beneficial to continue some of your investments to help your savings outpace inflation.

  1.     Do you have a withdrawal strategy?

If you are an owner or partner in your business, is there a written agreement for buying you out when you retire? Do you plan to transition by working part time for a while or should you stop all at once? How are your retirement savings affected by taxes? All these questions should be a part of your strategic plan for retirement.

Don’t wait to plan ahead. What you do with your money now can significantly impact your life in the future. Our financial planning expert can guide you through the details of your retirement process.

For more information on planning for your retirement, contact our office and schedule a consultation.

Dental CPA South Miami | What to Look for in a Dental CPA

South Miami Accountant

Hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) to your dental practice grants you not only greater financial transparency, but also provides you with an excellent guide in making informed business decisions. You can also gain an increased ability to focus on your patients rather than being glued to QuickBooks between appointments.

If you’re considering hiring a CPA, it’s vital to know what you’re looking for in candidates. Below are the most important steps when looking for an ideal dental CPA.

Determine Your Need

Before you even start looking for an accountant, determine why you need a dental CPA. Are you looking for a CPA to fine-tune your financial business strategy? Do your bookkeeping? Or maybe you just need help filing your taxes? Once you pin down your specific needs, you can determine which skills you should look for in candidates.

Ask Around

Colleagues experienced in running their own practices can be a helpful resource. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Find out the traits they look for in a CPA. With their knowledge in mind, begin conducting your own research – guided by your particular needs.

Here are some general questions to ask yourself when looking for a dental CPA:

  • Do they meet my specific needs?
  • Are they up-to-date with their knowledge? Do they use modern software?
  • Are they established and reputable?
  • What dental practices do they currently represent?

Look for Dental Industry Experience

Many general accountants spend a majority of their time working with clients in a vast number of industries and don’t necessarily have specific experience with dentistry. If you are looking for an accountant with industry knowledge, contact us today.

It can take time finding the right team to work beside you. Skip this step and contact us to get to know our team. We offer a variety of services to fit everyone’s needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dental CPA | Converting Leads into Patients

Dental CPA Near Me

Marketing is an essential part of attracting new business. Strong print and internet marketing materials can help introduce your practice to potential new patients. Glowing reviews and testimonials tell people that you have a trustworthy team and offer quality care. However, even the best marketing efforts won’t contribute anything to your business if you fail to convert leads into patients. There are a variety of reasons outside of your control that might stop someone from scheduling an appointment at your practice, but it’s important to make sure you do all you can to help motivate people to seek treatment with you. Below are some tips to help your team more effectively sell the value of your service to potential new patients.

Be responsive and available. As a dental professional, you know what it’s like to be busy. Often, your patients have busy lives of their own. Make sure your team is available to take calls as they come and try to offer flexible appointment times to help people work within their limited free time.

Don’t be too pushy. While it’s helpful to be clear about all the treatments offered at your practice, patients are often turned off by overly “salesy” approaches. Take the time to get to know a patient and their needs, goals, and budget before trying to sell them on dental solutions. This will make them feel valued and understood, increasing the likelihood of treatment plan acceptance.

Offer a friendly and welcoming environment. There are a number of people who absolutely dread going to the dentist. Because of that, some potential patients may already have a negative feeling towards you and your team despite no fault of your own. Work to overcome this discomfort quickly by offering a personable and kind environment. Make sure your team greets patients by name and gets to know a bit about them. A little can go a long way.

Don’t lose track of people. Repetition is one of the easiest techniques for cementing something into memory. If a potential new patient contacts your office, be sure to follow up if you don’t hear from them again. You never know the reason they didn’t call back, so taking that step for them can offer a second chance to make a connection and help your practice stand out more in their mind.

Many dentists find it difficult to think about their practice as a business. It is likely that you chose dentistry due to a passion for service and healing, not bookkeeping or sales. Yet nearly any successful retailer will say that the only way to gain business is to give customers what they want, when they want it. Contact our firm for more strategies on boosting new patient numbers and patient retention!

Miami CPA | Claim Financial Freedom

Dental CPA Near Me

Whether you’re starting a new practice or have been an owner dentist for years, the financial stress that can come from being a business owner can sometimes overwhelm even the most seasoned professionals. Our goal is to help you achieve complete financial freedom so that financial worries don’t interfere with your ability to work well.

Below are some tips you can follow on your own to help build a rock-solid foundation for your practice. Staying organized and up-to-date with your financials allows you to focus on delivering quality care to your patients. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help!

  1. Have a plan. As the popular saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” In order to see true success, you’ll need to have both short and long-term plans for your practice. How will you allocate new earnings? How is your practice prepared to deal with slow seasons? How are you budgeting for new purchases? If you don’t already have answers to these questions, they could be a great place to start. Planning for the unexpected can help safeguard your profitability from being derailed by unforeseen expenses.
  2. Set goals. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Your practice will only be as successful as you make it. Setting goals allows you to have a clear yardstick to measure your success against and can help you make better financial choices in the present. By recognizing the simple truth that every small decision you make now can have a huge impact on the future, you’ll be able to start setting yourself up for success. Your future self with thank you.
  3. Be Smart. When starting or growing your business, there can be benefits to taking on strategic debt. However, doing so in a manner that will benefit, rather than hinder your growth requires an understanding of the returns you can expect on your investment. Don’t jump into big purchases without a plan, rather weigh the potential benefits and risks of all your financial decisions.
  4. Get Organized. Disorganization can be a killer for any business. In order to ensure you’re not letting anything important slip through the cracks, it’s important to have systems in place that will guarantee nothing is missed. In addition to protecting you from unforeseen troubles, efficient organization can also help bring opportunities for improvement to light. Whether it’s money that could be saved or resources that could be conserved, understanding the ins and outs of your financials can help you to understand exactly how your money is being used.

If you feel that you could improve in any of these areas, our firm is here to help! Our goal is to make the process of managing and running your practice as simple as possible, allowing you to focus on delivering quality work to your patients and growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.

CPA in Miami | Building a Better Team

CPA Miami, FL

Recruiting can be a time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes costly endeavor. When you’re looking to build an optimal team, it can be tempting to hold onto old employees for too long and hesitate to hire new ones until you’re confident you’ve found the “perfect” fit. However, both can be damaging to the efficiency and culture of your business in the long term. Building an ideal team can take time, but keeping the following tips in mind can help ensure your business is able to thrive.

Letting Go of Current Employees

It can be hard to let go of any employee. Ideally, everyone you bring to your business will become a valuable member of the team. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If an employee is displaying any of the following signs, it might be time to consider letting them go:

  • Bad Attitude: This includes eye-rolling, snide comments, complaints, confrontational tone, and passive-aggressive speech or actions. An employee that disrespects their co-workers won’t have the best interests of the whole team at heart.
  • Lack of Engagement: Whether unfocused at work or unresponsive during meetings, an employee that’s not mentally present can’t give their best to their work.
  • Dishonesty: Whether this involves refusal to accept accountability, blaming others for mistakes, or outright lies, dishonesty is harmful to your business and your team.
  • Poor Performance: While it’s expected that an employee in a new role may need an adjustment period, if that employee shows an ongoing inability to grow professionally and exceed the expectations of their position, it might be a harbinger of problems down the road.

Hiring New Employees

Whether you’re looking to replace current employees or meet the demands of a growing business, you want to do everything you can to make sure you’re hiring the right people for your team. Here are some tips that can help streamline the hiring process:

  • There’s No Such Thing as Perfect: When looking to bring in new employees, it can be tempting to wait until you’ve found the “perfect” fit. However, that can unnecessarily slow down the process and cause you to skip over individuals who might become great assets for your team in time. Keep in mind that a good employee is one that grows and performs well, and look for individuals that possess the qualities needed to thrive long-term.
  • Follow Your Gut: Instincts exist for a reason. If something about a prospective employee isn’t sitting right with you, it could be a sign that there’s a deeper problem you’ll have to address in the future. While you shouldn’t necessarily make quick decisions on feelings alone, it’s worthwhile to take them into account.
  • Listen to Your Team: The members of your staff will often be able to offer good insights into how the company can grow. Whether a trusted employee is revealing the poor performance of a co-worker or a team is asking for another member to help manage their growing responsibilities, it’s worth seeking their input when making decisions.

Though there’s no exact science to building a successful team, there are proven strategies you can use to help the process be as painless as possible. By holding current employees to a clearer standard and exercising discernment with new and prospective employees, you can make the hiring process operate more smoothly and increase the overall productivity and happiness of your team.

For more advice on building a better team and managing your practice well, contact our firm today!

Choosing the Right Business Entity

When you decide to start a business, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the right business entity. It’s a decision that impacts many things–from the amount of taxes you pay to how much paperwork you have to deal with and what type of personal liability you face.

Forms of Business

The most common forms of business are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and Corporations (C-Corporations). Federal tax law also recognizes another business form called the S-Corporation. While state law controls the formation of your business, federal tax law controls how your business is taxed.

What to Consider

Businesses fall under one of two federal tax systems:

  1. Taxation of both the entity itself on the income it earns and the owners on dividends or other profit participation the owners receive from the business. C-Corporations fall under this system of federal taxation.
  2. “Pass through” taxation. This type of entity (also called a “flow-through” entity) is not taxed, but its owners are each taxed (more or less) on their proportionate shares of the entity’s income. Pass-through entities include:
    1. Sole Proprietorships
    2. Partnerships, of various types
    3. Limited liability companies (LLCs)
    4. “S-Corporations” (S-Corps), as distinguished from C-corporations (C-Corps)

The first major consideration when choosing a business entity is whether to choose one that has two levels of tax on income or one that is a pass-through entity with only one level directly on the owners.

The second consideration, which has more to do with business considerations rather than tax considerations, is the limitation of liability (protecting your assets from claims of business creditors).

Let’s take a general look at each of the options more closely:

Types of Business Entities

Sole Proprietorships
The most common (and easiest) form of business organization is the sole proprietorship. Defined as any unincorporated business owned entirely by one individual, a sole proprietor can operate any kind of business (full or part-time) as long as it is not a hobby or an investment. In general, the owner is also personally liable for all financial obligations and debts of the business.

Note: If you are the sole member of a domestic limited liability company (LLC), you are not a sole proprietor if you elect to treat the LLC as a corporation.
Types of businesses that operate as sole proprietorships include retail shops, farmers, large companies with employees, home-based businesses and one-person consulting firms.

As a sole proprietor, your net business income or loss is combined with your other income and deductions and taxed at individual rates on your personal tax return. Because sole proprietors do not have taxes withheld from their business income, you may need to make quarterly estimated tax payments if you expect to make a profit. Also, as a sole proprietor, you must also pay self-employment tax on the net income reported.

Partnerships
A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill, and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business.

There are two types of partnerships: Ordinary partnerships, called “general partnerships,” and limited partnerships that limit liability for some partners but not others. Both general and limited partnerships are treated as pass-through entities under federal tax law, but there are some relatively minor differences in tax treatment between general and limited partners.

For example, general partners must pay self-employment tax on their net earnings from self-employment assigned to them from the partnership. Net earnings from self-employment include an individual’s share, distributed or not, of income or loss from any trade or business carried on by a partnership. Limited partners are subject to self-employment tax only on guaranteed payments, such as professional fees for services rendered.

Partners are not employees of the partnership and do not pay any income tax at the partnership level. Partnerships report income and expenses from its operation and pass the information to the individual partners (hence the pass-through designation).

Because taxes are not withheld from any distributions partners generally need to make quarterly estimated tax payments if they expect to make a profit. Partners must report their share of partnership income even if a distribution is not made. Each partner reports his share of the partnership net profit or loss on his or her personal tax return.

Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Each state is different, so it’s important to check the regulations in the state you plan to do business in. Owners of an LLC are called members, which may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. Most states also permit “single member” LLCs, i.e. those having only one owner.

Depending on elections made by the LLC and the number of members, the IRS treats an LLC as either a corporation, partnership, or as part of the LLC’s owner’s tax return. A domestic LLC with at least two members is classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes unless it elects to be treated as a corporation.

An LLC with only one member is treated as an entity disregarded as separate from its owner for income tax purposes (but as a separate entity for purposes of employment tax and certain excise taxes), unless it elects to be treated as a corporation.

C-Corporations
In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders exchange money, property, or both, for the corporation’s capital stock. A corporation conducts business, realizes net income or loss, pays taxes and distributes profits to shareholders.

A corporate structure is more complex than other business structures. When you form a corporation, you create a separate tax-paying entity. The profit of a corporation is taxed to the corporation when earned and then is taxed to the shareholders when distributed as dividends. This creates a double tax.

The corporation does not get a tax deduction when it distributes dividends to shareholders. Earnings distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends are taxed at individual tax rates on their personal tax returns. Shareholders cannot deduct any loss of the corporation.

If you organize your business as a corporation, generally are not personally liable for the debts of the corporation, although there may be exceptions under state law.

S-Corporations
An S-corporation has the same corporate structure as a standard corporation; however, its owners have elected to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes. Shareholders of S-corporations generally have limited liability.

Generally, an S-Corporation is exempt from federal income tax other than tax on certain capital gains and passive income. It is treated in the same way as a partnership, in that generally taxes are not paid at the corporate level. S-Corporations may be taxed under state tax law as regular corporations, or in some other way.

Shareholders must pay tax on their share of corporate income, regardless of whether it is actually distributed. Flow-through of income and losses is reported on their personal tax returns and they are assessed tax at their individual income tax rates, allowing S-Corporations to avoid double taxation on the corporate income.

To qualify for S-Corporation status, the corporation must meet a number of requirements. Please call if you would like more information about which requirements must be met to form an S-Corporation.

Professional Guidance

When making a decision about which type of business entity to choose each business owner must decide which one best meets his or her needs. One form of business entity is not necessarily better than any other and obtaining the advice of a tax professional is critical. If you need assistance figuring out which business entity is best for your business, don’t hesitate to call.