The saying “hindsight is 20/20” has never rang truer than in 2020. It’s safe to say no one planned for a global pandemic. But now that we’ve been hit with one, we’ve seen firsthand how it’s impacted businesses across a number of industries, including those within the audiology industry.
Because PWB specializes in serving the audiology industry, we’ve had a front-row seat to the struggles audiology practice owners have faced. Many practices were forced to shut down or cut back as government stay-at-home orders went into effect, and some are still dealing with reduced staffing levels and capacity.
As of this writing, however, numerous practices are bouncing back thanks to pent-up demand and their ability to adapt to the pandemic business environment. That said, without an end to the pandemic in sight, the future remains uncertain.
So, how can audiology practice owners prepare for what’s next? Here are a few “lessons learned” from the dramatic changes the industry experienced earlier this year.
Get caught up on your financials—and keep them up to date.
Gone are the days when businesses relied on quarterly or annual financial reports. Today’s leading businesses are able to access financial information in real time. The benefits of this were crystal clear when life came to a screeching halt in March. Audiology practices owners who had immediate access to accurate, up-to-date financial information were able to quickly make critical business decisions and secure government funding ASAP.
The good news is, putting your practice’s financial information at your fingertips is easier to accomplish than you might think. In fact, it could be as simple as setting up the right software integrations, such as downloading information from your patient management system into your accounting platform.
So, whether you do your own accounting or outsource it, it’s critical to keep your financials current and easily accessible. If you outsource your accounting, make sure to communicate your expectations for real-time financial information with your CPA.
Understand your financials.
Accessing your practice’s financials when you need them is one thing. Understanding them is another. True, taking a long, hard look at your financials might not be pleasant during an economic downturn, but this is not the time to file them away for later. Instead, set aside time to decipher the stories your numbers are telling.
At a minimum, you should know how your patient management system works, the payment terms of your main vendors, the debts you have, your cash flow, and which patients owe you money. The more engaged you are in the issues facing the practice, the more quickly you’ll be able to confront—and solve—them.
Get your taxes done ASAP.
The 2020 tax season will likely be chaos as Congress still hasn’t determined how the various emergency programs will be taxed. This could lead to some surprises at tax time.
To avoid being shocked by your practice’s tax liability, start thinking about your taxes now. Schedule a meeting with your accountant to plan for what your 2020 tax liability might look like. Doing so can help you understand—and potentially lower—your tax liability and even speed up the tax preparation process. You’ll also avoid the stress of having your taxes hanging over your head. And we could all stand to lower our stress levels these days, right?
Work with a reputable payroll provider.
Payroll has been a significant headache for audiology practice owners this year, especially for those who applied for government relief programs. Owners who work with a major third-party payroll provider were able to access reports that helped them calculate loans and grants. Payroll tax relief programs also required numerous enhancements to tax calculations and payroll filings. Owners who weren’t using a reputable provider were left trying to navigate funding calculations and requirements on their own.
Not only can working with a reputable third-party payroll provider help your practice stay in compliance with relief programs, but it can also prevent you from having to worry about the ever-evolving payroll tax laws.
Start 2021 off on a high note.
Thankfully, the end of 2020 will be upon us before we know it. Now is the time to begin implementing these best practices, so you can prepare for a better start to 2021. If you’re wondering where to begin or go from here, we can help. From implementing technology that delivers real-time financial information to connecting you to a reputable payroll provider, the PWB team can support you in moving onward and upward.