Why Doctors Need Accountants

Doctors have a lot on their plate—even more so when they own and operate their own medical practice. After a long day of work, the last thing that most physicians want to do is spend time sorting out the financial books for their business. Of course, proper bookkeeping and accounting is absolutely essential to the success of any medical practice. 

The good news is that there is a cost effective solution available. An accountant can help ensure that a medical practice’s financial needs are taken care of. In this article, our medical industry business accounting professionals highlight four key reasons why doctors and other medical practitioners can benefit from retaining an outside accountant. 

1. Improve Efficiency: Save Time and Money

Doctors undergo extensive training. To become a fully licensed physician in the United States, a doctor typically must complete four years of undergraduate study, four years in medical school, and seven years in a residency program in their area of specialization. After all the years of hard work, a doctor may be in a position to open up their own medical practice. It is probably not surprising that many physicians report feeling “burned out” by all of their obligations. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) reported that 42 percent of U.S. doctors are dealing with burnout. 

One of the advantages of working with an outside accountant is that you can improve the efficiency of your business, thereby saving yourself time and even money. Setting up a finance and accounting system for a business is complicated—and medical practices have some unique bookkeeping needs that must be addressed. An experienced accounting professional can handle all of the bookkeeping, tax, and financial issues for your business so that you can rest easier knowing that things are being handled the right way.

2. Access Specialized Professional Expertise

The reason that people go to see a doctor when they are injured or ill is because they know that a licensed physician has skills, knowledge, and specialized training that they can rely on. The same principle applies to business and bookkeeping. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), payroll specialists, and other accounting professionals have expertise that medical practitioners can trust to help with their financial issues. Among other things, an accounting professional can help with: 

  • Accounting Method: If you own a medical practice, you must select an accounting method for your business. Most doctors are best suited with cash basis accounting. An accountant can help you put a cash basis accounting system in place. 
  • Payroll: If you have employees, you will have to complete payroll. There are state and federal regulations that must be followed when doing payroll. A payroll accounting specialist can help doctors with payroll. 
  • Tax Matters: Taxes are part of owning and operating a business. The last thing any doctor wants to deal with is problems with the IRS. An accountant will handle your taxes properly—including maximizing your business dedication. 

3. More Freedom to Focus on Patient Care

Many doctors in the United States complain that they do not have enough time to focus on patient care. This has become a significant problem, as the administrative burden in the medical industry continues to rise. In 2014, a peer-reviewed study was published in the International Journal of Health Service, finding that American doctors spend nearly 1 in 6 working hours dealing with purely administrative matters. Notably, the researchers hypothesized that the overall administrative and paperwork burden reduces doctor time spent with patients and “may decrease their career satisfaction.”

To be sure, many of the administrative burdens that doctors deal with are a consequence of regulatory and insurance issues. They cannot be eliminated completely. That being said, an experienced accountant can take a lot of the overall load off of your plate by handling many of the financial and bookkeeping matters for your business. Among other things, this will free you up to spend more time working directly with patients who need support and attention from a doctor.  

4. Avoid Potentially Costly Mistakes

Finally, an accountant will help you and your partners avoid potentially costly mistakes. Doing the bookkeeping for a business can be a tedious task, especially if you already have a lot of other personal and professional responsibilities. At the same time, bookkeeping and accounting are complicated. Even seemingly minor errors can lead to serious problems—and these problems have the potential to be expensive. A professional business accountant will ensure that you are able to avoid costly mistakes. Among other things, an accountant will ensure the following: 

  • Accuracy: You need accurate bookkeeping and accounting. An accountant will ensure that there are no financial discrepancies. There should be a well-developed accounting system in place to confirm that every dollar is tracked. 
  • Comprehensive Reports: Doctors who operate their own medical practice are business owners. They need accurate, up-to-date information to make the right decisions. An accountant can compile comprehensive, easy-to-understand financial reports. 
  • Payroll and Tax Compliance: Medical practitioners that make payroll errors or violate state/federal tax regulations may face serious sanctions, potentially including financial penalties and even criminal liability. An accountant will make sure that payroll and taxes are handled the right way. 
  • Better Business Outcomes: Failing to take advantage of a business opportunity is a type of mistake—and it can be a costly one. An accountant will make sure that you have all of the tools, knowledge, and financial information you need to do what is best for your medical practice. 

Get Help From a Business Accountant for Physicians Today

At Williams Accounting & Consulting, we are committed to providing clients with high quality professional service. With deep experience working with clients in the medical industry, we have the skills and expertise to help doctors with the full range of business accounting matters. Call us now or contact us online for your fully private consultation. We are more than happy to sit down with you to learn more about the needs of your medical practice. With office locations in Atlanta and New Orleans, we provide medical industry accounting services throughout the Southeast. 

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