The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun carrying out spot checks across the East Midlands to make sure employers are complying with their pension duties.
Inspection teams will visit dozens of businesses in the East Midlands this month to check employers are meeting their automatic enrolment (AE) duties correctly.
The move is part of a nationwide enforcement campaign that began in London last spring and has so far been carried out in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, South Wales, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
According to TPR, the checks help The Regulator to understand whether employers are facing unnecessary challenges they can be helped with. The campaign also reveals employers who have not taken the required steps to become or remain compliant, paving the way for enforcement action.
Minimum AE contributions are set to increased from 2% of qualifying earnings to 5% on 6 April 2018. The base level will rise again to 8% in 2019.
For more information view the full article here
After two years of the information security industry repeatedly warning businesses that there was a herculean amount to do in terms of GDPR preparedness, British businesses still stumbled across the line in various degrees of disarray. Many had started to put things in place, but as readers of GDPR report will have seen from a survey Shred-it conducted and released in mid-May, many businesses were still totally unaware of GDPR, even just weeks ahead of May 25th.
So, it’s a safe bet that very few were able to get their house completely in order and much work has still yet to be done.
One critical area where action had yet to be taken was on identifying the legal basis for holding data, with just 1 in 5 businesses having done that when asked back in April. To manage risk of regulatory fines and reputational damage, companies need to establish which data they’re allowed to keep, and which data has got to go. They then need to get rid of it effectively. Here are the top five tips when establishing and executing a successful data deletion and destruction policy:
1. Identify the data you cannot hold – GDPR is fairly clear on the legal bases for holding data. The chances are that if you do not have consent, a contractual agreement, a legal obligation or a legitimate interest, you probably need to delete some of that data. More information is available on the Information Commissioner’s Offices’ website. For much of the data you hold, it will probably be relatively easy to establish that legal basis, whereas some might require more discussion with legal teams.
2. Don’t be hasty – Yes, becoming compliant is important as soon as possible, but it is a journey. The worst thing a business can do is panic and then realise that they have deleted data that was critical to business operations and that they had a legal right to process. Complying with GDPR is imperative, but it should be done as part of a larger, strategic data management and destruction programme
3. Document your efforts to institutionalise GDPR best practice– The ICO, the body responsible for GDPR in the UK, has indicated that they are not on a witch-hunt and firms that can demonstrate good faith efforts to comply and protect the information of citizens need not fear. So, if for any reason your organisation does fall victim to a breach or is randomly audited, it is critical to showcase the policies and steps that you had put in place. For example, be prepared to show that employees were trained on how to use public WiFi, the need to report a lost device, how to dispose of sensitive paper documents, what data they are allowed to hold on to, etc.
4. Do not just send data to the recycling bin or chuck it in the waste bin – Binning sensitive documents in the regular recycling creates a vulnerability and even when deleted, data lives on and can be recovered from physical hard drives and mobile devices. If you do not currently have clear end-of-life procedures for sensitive documents or devices that store data, these need to be put in place now. Whatever the format of data, organisations need to assess the effectiveness of their destruction efforts – is there any chance this could come back from the dead?
5. Implement a Clean Desk policy – Data from Shred-it’s recent State of the Industry report suggests that employees are prone to leaving confidential information scrawled upon their desks and up on screen for prying eyes. A Clean Desk policy, where employees are encouraged to keep minimal documentation on their desks at all times, and to clear down at the end of each working day, can significantly mitigate risk. This means no documents left on display, laptops safely locked away or in the employee’s possession. Reduce your “physical” attack surface.
There are many ancillary benefits to some of the steps outlined above. Businesses that commit now to ensuring their data deletion policies are comprehensive across both digital and physical formats are significantly mitigating their risk of fines and admonishment from the regulator.
By Neil Percy, Vice President of Market Development EMEA, Shred-it.
For the full article click here
Pension savers auto enrolled into a workplace pension expect their money to be invested responsibly, research has found.
Research from the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) revealed 73 per cent of its savers said it was important their scheme considered the environment, society and corporate behaviour when investing their money. Almost half - 47 per cent - of Nest savers said responsible investment mattered a lot to then, while 12 per cent said that it was not a key concern.
The research found just 28 per cent of workers trust pension companies with their savings and 63 per cent said they wanted to learn more about how their money was being invested.
Diandra Soobiah, head of responsible investment at Nest, said strong environmental and social credentials could help improve low levels of trust and engagement among pension savers. She said: "A potential £495bn will flow into workplace pensions over the next twelve years, making workers more powerful shareholders with a major stake in how companies and markets are run.
"They’re telling us that they want this money invested responsibly, which could improve the environment and society they’ll live and retire in as well as their future bank balances.
"Hearing savers on this issue is a win-win. A more responsible approach to investing can boost long term financial returns, build a better, more sustainable future, and has the added benefit of being something about pensions that might genuinely excite people.
"The green shoots of a strong pension saving culture are beginning to show in the UK, but people still mistrust the pensions industry. Investing thoughtfully and responsibly could clearly go a long way to building the trust and confidence still needed to help that culture flourish."
Support for automatic enrolment was at a high, the report found, with 83 per cent of workers saying it was a good idea and the number of people disagreeing with the workplace pension policy had halved since 2014 from 8 to 4 per cent.
Nearly twice as many people now considered their employer’s pension when deciding where to work, 37 per cent in 2018 compared to 15 per cent in 2014.
Following the research, Nest said it will continue to invest member savings while considering the wider impact of corporate behaviour on society and the environment. Nest’s global developed equities fund manager voted against company management 2,825 times over the year and supported 30 per cent more shareholder resolutions than the previous year.
FTAdviser reported recently advisers were at risk of losing customers to rival firms if they failed to offer ethically responsible investments to their clients.
Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: "Since 2010 the pensions industry has transformed. In the last six years almost 10 million people have automatically enrolled into a pension scheme, and the number of members of an occupational pension scheme has increased by almost 50 per cent, up to 41.1 million in 2017.
"And these savers, particularly new younger savers, are wanting a say in where they put their money. Technology, transparency and the new changes we have introduced make it easier to do that by accessing information about the nature and sustainability of investments.
"We are putting power back in the hands of individuals, giving them the ability to see where their money is going and choose what investments they want to back. Increasingly people are looking to support companies whose values align with theirs, environmentally and socially, giving them a say and a stake in a future world."
Article by Rosie Quigley, FT Adviser
Article can be viewed here
Historically, lenders have had very clear credit policies on how they were able to finance clients looking to purchase within the healthcare sector. This meant they were only able to support a particular type of client and/or practice resulting in red tape and obstacles that needed to be overcome in order to facilitate a loan. However, more recently, lenders have been given more freedom, allowing for greater financial support. It is our aim, alongside banks, to consequently assist with your business aspirations, making them a reality.
The evolving sector
As such, banks no longer have a specific ‘one size fits all’ credit policy, following guidelines rather than rigid policies, allowing lending representatives to exercise their initiative. Lenders will therefore look at each case on its own merit, really trying to push loan-to-values to 100% unsecured lending in some cases. This allows lenders to evolve alongside the expanding healthcare
sector. Such movements are incredibly exciting news, as it means that the market has really opened up, providing buyers with options that in the past would not have been possible.
How we can help
The scope on lending for a practice purchase has many considerations and variables. At Henry Schein Financial Services we will contact the banks and building societies on your behalf, in order to secure the best possible deal that fits with your individual requirements. We have built valuable relationships with the lenders through the years and using our expert knowledge, we are able to present your case to them in the most attractive way, which results in a more positive outcome. We will provide you with the market research, allowing us to source the very best deal available to you through our bespoke advice.
What can I expect?
Using the tailored service that we provide, you will benefit from our preferential rates, competitive loan-to-values and repayments terms. The rates that we are receiving at present are as low as 1.98% above base and to reiterate, the loan-tovalues that we have arranged reach 100% of the purchase price. This alone indicates that this is a great time to purchase as the low rates and high loan-to-values reflects the banks incredibly positive appetite to lend in this sector. It is often a daunting notion to purchase a practice, particularly if you are a firsttime buyer. We aim to provide you with the support needed in order to take that plunge. From the offset, you will be provided with one point of contact in the shape of a financial adviser that will continue with you on your journey of purchasing a practice through to completion and thereafter. The adviser will aim to make this experience as streamlined and stress free a possible as we understand how important your time is to you.
For more information contact a member of our Financial Services team on 01332 321702 or email email@example.com
Careers in dentistry involve their own unique ups and downs, but along the way all dentists pass similar milestones. From first picking up a mirror and probe as a student, all the way through to retirement, Henry Schein has a Business Solutions partner to support you, every step of the way.
Starting out, the student years
Along with the excitement of the early years can come the most daunting of challenges and this is when young dentists often first realise they need a little help. Our Business Solutions partners offer training and development opportunities that provide dental professionals with a range of recognised, accredited and certified training schemes and qualifications. Our Special Markets division works closely with universities and dental schools, providing advice on the best equipment as well as materials for you to complete your training, giving you a head start when the time comes to embark on your dental career.
The Foundation Year
Entering the real world after five years at dental school is a huge transition. Business Solutions partners can ease the change from student to professional, avoiding anxiety and some of the potential pitfalls that might befall a newly qualified practitioner. Job seeking can be a daunting task for newly qualified dentists, but MediCruit, a Henry Schein Company and the UK’s largest dental job agency, are perfectly placed to help you secure your first job. With over 15 years of matching candidates with their ideal job, MediCruit can also help you write CVs, prepare for interviews and offer support where required. A high priority for dentists starting out is finding the right dental insurance and Henry Schein Business Solutions has insurers and cover to suit all individuals.
Growing and developing as a dentist
Now well established in clinical practice, you are ready to grow and progress your career. Education is a vital cog in your career wheel and all dental professionals need to update their skills, knowledge and behaviour throughout their working life. Henry Schein Business Solutions puts dentists and DCPs together with the best Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes to support and contribute to the delivery of high-quality care and service provision. Companies offering courses aimed at practice and personal development as well as clinical topics covering everything from core CPD, basic dental essentials, equipment, surgical, implant and digital dentistry are all available via Business Solutions. Plus the Henry Schein website makes ordering our wide range of consumables, small equipment and workwear easy.
Becoming a practice owner
As a well-established, experienced dental professional you may be looking to buy your first practice. MediEstates can guide you through this process from helping to secure a mortgage, to asset finance for capital equipment purchases.
With Henry Schein showrooms across the country, viewing equipment before purchase has never been easier and if you are set on building your own practice we have a team of project managers to assist you, along with a surgery design facility to help you see your new practice come to life in a 3D rendering. Once you are officially a practice owner you will need to consider a practice management system to help manage patients; with Software of Excellence from Henry Schein, you can fully automate a number of internal processes to enable your practice to run smoothly and track the health of your business.
Many practice owners also seek out expertise to help with practice tasks such as off and online marketing. By working with a Business Solutions partner in this area you know you are dealing with competent, reputable experts in these often complex fields.
Once your practice is up and running, we can also help you to reduce your overheads, including processing of card transactions, HR, clinical waste and much more. Plus we can take the stress out of juggling your clinical job with running a business with IT, HR, accounting, recruitment and pension scheme support. Another time-consuming challenge is meeting your compliance obligations. This is one of the biggest headaches and being able to relax, safe in the knowledge that your practice, patients and employees are protected by a trusted third party supplier that offers reliable solutions in all areas of regulation and data protection is very important. If you want to improve the performance of your business, our ‘best practice’ advice puts practices on the right track for sustainable, long-term growth and prosperity. Business health checks with your sales consultant make sure you are on the right track and maximising your treatment mix, appointment bookings, hygienists’ time and equipment.
Branching out as a multi-practice owner
Many dentists are increasingly progressing to ownership of multiple practices and we can help in developing mini-groups. The leap from being a single to multiple practice owner can seem somewhat daunting. You have gone from being an integral part of your own business with your finger on the pulse of everything that happens to suddenly looking after several practices that have different processes, use different materials, have different suppliers and systems in place and possibly a different work ethic. We can help your transition into a small corporate business by giving you the tools and data you’ll need to be able to manage your group in the most efficient way.
You can manage your practice group through Mypractice Cloud, which allows you to connect your practice management system across all your separate sites into one centralised location. By providing detailed feedback on dental businesses, accounts analysis, finding serviceability issues and giving insights into bank “stress testing”, selected Business Solutions partners can guide you through the whole process. Our partners help dentists to optimise their business performance, maximise revenue, attract new patients and increase conversion rates, helping patients to have the treatment they want, all with a dedicated sales consultant for our mid-market customers.
We can also help you rationalise your supplier base so that you are not dealing with numerous companies for the same service, for instance clinical waste, card services or insurance. As a Henry Schein customer you can access these services through our business partners and benefit from preferential corporate rates and services that you couldn’t secure yourself.
Planning for your retirement
When the time finally arrives Business Solutions can help you to solidify your exit strategy. It is crucial to plan this years in advance as it allows you time to maximise your practice value when looking to sell. MediEstates will work with you to plan your exit strategy, along with guiding you through the complex selling process, there to help every step of the way. With extensive market knowledge our partners help practice owners to achieve the highest sales price possible when the time is right to sell their business.
Change…….to make or become different, to take or use another instead of, to give up or get rid of (something) in exchange for something else; an act or process through which something becomes different.
Change means many different things in different situations. In practical terms, in the context of running a business, it could mean something as simple as changing the supplier you buy your stationery from or it could be something altogether more complex such as changing your opening hours, launching a new brand, implementing a new organisational structure, making redundancies or even opening a new branch.
The simplest changes really don’t take much time or thought, however, the more complex changes require a more concerted effort if the change is to be implemented successfully. The core phases of a change project are:
1. Opportunity Definition: define the problem, set the vision and size the prize.
2. Design and Planning: Translate the vision into specific, actionable strategies and devise a plan.
3. Implementation: Adapt design to reality where necessary; measure, track and monitor. Engage the top people who will lead the change, cascade down through the organisation and create ownership, communicate and communicate again, address culture and consider employee’s attitudes and behaviours, prepare for the unexpected and talk to the individual as well as the group.
This all seems very straightforward……right? So why do so many change programmes fail? Here we look at 8 common reasons; thinking about these proactively will help ensure your change project doesn’t fall at the same hurdle:
#1: Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency: Opportunities are lost because the organisation fails to establish a sense of urgency as to why the change is needed.
#2: Not creating a powerful enough and guiding coalition: Organisations fail to assemble a group with enough power and prestige to lead the change effort and also may not have top management’s commitment and full support.
#3: Lacking a Vision: Organisations fail to create a compelling vision for the future to help direct the change effort – what will be different after the change? What will be preserved? What is the strategy and objectives for achieving the Vision? What are the benefits to each affected stakeholder group?
#4: Under-Communicating the Vision: Organisations fail to communicate a Vision for the future. What the organisation will look like as a result of the change? The Vision has to be presented as an opportunity, not a threat.
#5: Not removing obstacles to the new Vision: Systems, policies, or structures that seriously undermine the Vision are not dealt with and removed.
#6: Not systematically planning and creating short-term wins: Quick wins are not identified and celebrated. Individuals are not recognised or rewarded for performance improvement as a result of their change efforts.
#7: Declaring victory too soon: Organisations fail to monitor the progress of their change efforts and evaluate results. Often, victory is declared when the change has not been sustainably implemented.
#8: Not anchoring changes in the organisation’s culture: Organisations fail to have employees accept the change as the way things will be done from now on and as such, they revert to their old familiar ways of doing things.
Article by Adam Davey, Director – Petaurum Solutions
Article can be viewed here
Increases in Minimum Contributions
The minimum contributions that have to be paid into your Automatic Enrolment pension scheme are increasing again from 6th April 2019.
The amount that you and your staff pay into your pension scheme will vary depending on the type of scheme you have chosen and the rules of that scheme. Most employers use pension schemes that currently require a total minimum contribution of 5% to be paid.
By law a total minimum amount of contributions must be paid into the scheme. The employer must make a minimum contribution towards this amount and the employee (or worker) must make up the difference. If you decide to cover the total minimum contribution required, your employee won’t need to pay anything.
This table shows the minimum contributions you must pay and the date when they must increase:
|Employer minimum contribution||Employee contribution||Total minimum contribution|
|Until the 5th April 2019||2%||3%||5%|
|6th April 2019 onwards||3%||5%||8%|
You will need to budget for these increases and It is your responsibility to make sure they are implemented.
If you have any queries regarding the minimum contribution percentages or your auto enrolment obligations in general please contact us.
Every three years you must put certain staff back into a pension scheme. This is called “re-enrolment”.
Your duties will vary depending on whether you identify that you have staff to re-enrol, or whether you have no staff to re-enrol. Either way, you will need to complete a Re-declaration of Compliance to inform The Pensions Regulator how you have met your duties.
What you need to do and by when:
1. Now you should:
Choose your re-enrolment date from within a six-month window, which starts three months before the third anniversary of your automatic enrolment duties start date and ends three months after it.
2. On your re-enrolment date:
You’ll need to assess certain staff to work out if you need to put them back into your pension scheme.
3. Within 6 weeks of your re-enrolment date:
You need to write to staff to tell them that you’ve put them back into a pension scheme.
4. Within 5 months of the third anniversary of your duties start date:
You need to tell The Pensions Regulator how you’ve met your legal duties for re-enrolment by completing your Re-declaration of Compliance.
Remember, re-enrolment and re-declaration are your legal duties and if you don’t act you could be fined.
This information is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal, HR or benefits advice in any specific situation. Petaurum Solutions is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on Petaurum Solutions' website.
Discovering how satisfied patients are about their experience when visiting their chosen practice is an increasingly important indicator and capturing patient feedback is an ever-growing focus for dental practices. Measuring quality of care, clinical outcomes and how the practice environment is perceived by patients gives practices insightful information that can help improve performance.
In a competitive world, patients are increasingly discerning about where to go for their dental care. And it follows that patients are far more likely to keep returning if they feel their needs are
being met. Patient feedback can reveal what patients like about a practice, what improvements could be made and how the patient journey is working.
When’s a good time to ask?
Patients are more likely to give feedback, especially positive, if they are asked immediately following their appointment with the experience still fresh in their mind. Reception staff should always try to capture testimonials or recommendations at this point.
The longer the gap between the patient’s experience and the request for feedback, the more difficult it is to get patients to comply. Often, practices send an email to patients shortly after their appointment asking for feedback, but with the number of emails and messages people receive on a daily basis, and the busy nature of modern life, many patients simply forget to respond.
People are more likely to provide feedback if the purpose of it has been appropriately communicated to them and this level of transparency is increasingly important.
Going on instinct
Many dental practices still do not track patient satisfaction, despite it being an important performance metric. By their very nature, practices are busy places and asking for feedback can seem like just another administrative burden for hardpressed staff. As a result, practice owners often fail to monitor patient satisfaction, preferring to rely on ‘gut feeling’, rather than systematically measuring how patients really feel about the care they are receiving. If patients are satisfied, loyalty will increase and they are more likely to refer family and friends, so gaining feedback has definite benefits. Positive feedback also increases staff confidence and helps to boost individuals’ performance. Increasingly, practices – with patients’ consent – post compliments or positive
reviews on social media to enhance the practice’s profile.
A simple automated solution
Real-time feedback can be easily collected via a patient feedback questionnaire or review template set up on a tablet at reception. Patients can be asked to complete the review following treatment, whilst they are making their next appointment.
Capturing data in this way allows practice owners and managers to control their practice’s online image, build up a portfolio of positive reviews and achieve better results. Integrated with EXACT dental software, Online Reputation Manager is just such an automated system. A ‘kiosk’ in reception enables patients to leave a review, and then automatically emails positive reviewers at the end of each day, encouraging them to replicate their review via their Google+ account or any other chosen review site.
Patient reviews, especially positive ones, also have a major impact on a practice’s Google ranking. Research from Harvard Business School shows that a difference of just one star on a business’s online profile can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue (Luca, 2011).
Controlling reviews using Online Reputation Manager enables a practice to manage its online reputation and climb search engine rankings, dominating the results page for local searches and
optimising the use of patient feedback in the best way possible.
Software of Excellence is a Business Solutions partner. To talk to an expert about improving your online visibility, call 0845 345 5767, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.softwareofexcellence.com
The role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in ensuring high-quality health and social care is, of course, an essential role; but managing to satisfy the regulator, particularly when buying or selling a practice, can be challenging.
The CQC measures dental practices on five key areas; whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. These key areas are broken down into a set of questions which are referred to as key lines of enquiry (KLOE). These are used during inspections and also when practice owners apply to the CQC to provide regulated services.
Each time a practice changes hands, both buyer and seller have to satisfy the CQC in a number of ways, and the complexity of the application process, which can take up to 14 weeks, can cause delays to the process if not approached methodically and in a timely manner.
Channel your inner scout – be prepared!
Satisfying the CQC can be much easier if you ensure you are prepared for all the questions that will be asked, whether you are a buyer or a seller.
The buyer normally has more to do than the seller, particularly if it’s the first time they have bought a practice. The ‘new provider’ application form is long and detailed, and requires a lot of information, including the last 15 years of job history, explanations of any gaps in employment and most importantly, Section 5 which is entitled “How”. This section requires details of how the new owner will provide the regulated activities and satisfy the KLOE, which confirm whether the service is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
The new provider applicant will also be required to attend an interview, at which point their suitability to be registered for the provision of regulated activities is assessed, including being able to prove you are a fit and appropriate person to perform duties to a high standard.
It’s all in the timing (and detail)
It’s important to start the CQC process as soon as a sale is agreed, by applying for a countersigned DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check. Both the buyer and the seller must apply for their own DBS check and it must be countersigned by the CQC in order to be valid. The application can be completed online and the process can take between three and 10 weeks. It is then valid for 12 months.
Whilst waiting for your DBS check to be confirmed, the new provider application form on the CQC portal should be completed. Often, a new buyer will need to apply to go into partnership with the vendor for a period of time during the handover, and in that case, both sides must apply for a partnership, whilst the vendor simultaneously cancels their existing provider registration.
It’s important to check the application form meticulously, as the CQC is very strict on what is acceptable and can reject an application for the most minor of errors, including grammatical mistakes. It’s also important for CQC compliance that – if the practice holds an NHS contract – the registration mirrors what is on the NHS contract.
A helping hand
As part of our service as a broker, MediEstates provides a complimentary CQC Consultancy Service that is available to guide buyers and sellers through the CQC application process. It involves explaining the requirements of the CQC and taking on much of the time-consuming work that is involved.
We guide customers through the process and prompt them regarding what action that is required at each stage; we provide templates and examples to follow for different sections of the application form; and we perform a final check before submission. We also help our clients prepare for the interview by providing a list of questions that should be considered and hints as to how responses might be formulated.
Being able to satisfy the CQC is a crucial aspect of buying or selling a dental practice and ensures that when the sale eventually does complete, the new practice owner can open on time and begin their new venture with everything in place.
Charlie Murphy - Practice Transition Manager at MediEstates
Investing in a dental practice is, in its purest form, the same as investing in anything else, be that a hedge fund, an ISA or a simple bank account.
Whatever the investment, it's unlikely that you would leave it unmonitored for several years without even thinking to see if its value had increased.
Most practice owners only think about valuing their business for a specific and particular reason – for example when considering selling – but a realistic, professional valuation can have many more applications than simply the desire for an immediate sale.
An annual valuation for example can assist with exit planning, even if that exit is some way in the future. It can also provide an understanding of what changes are required to increase profits in the latter stages of your career, giving time for any such changes to be made. It will also give comfort and confidence that the ultimate value of a practice will meet your needs and wants in retirement and also helps small groups to transition and acquire other practices which protects the whole business.
There are also many more insurance related reasons why an annual valuation can prove valuable. For instance, have you ever considered the impact on your practice should you suffer the loss of a key employee due to illness, accident or death? In the worst case scenario, this can turn a successful practice into a failing one and cause untold damage to the lives of the family and fellow employees left to pick up the pieces.
Take, for example, a practice that holds an NHS contract and relies solely on that income to keep the business running. If anything untoward should happen to the contract provider and the practice can no longer fulfil its obligations, the contract will be rescinded and the income will cease. However, the staff and the multitude of overheads to which the business is committed still remain and need to be paid.
And of course, the loss of a key person in a business applies equally to the private sector. A business that has been many years, even decades in the making, can suffer badly in such circumstances, with profits falling and increased workloads for the remaining staff.
Insurance providers have long understood the importance of protecting businesses from the loss of key personnel by offering insurance policies that provide an immediate lump sum to protect next of kin and the business itself from financial turmoil. Key man insurance is one such policy, designed to provide financial security when owners or key employees are unable to work due to illness (terminal or critical), accident or death.
This is just one example of an insurance product that will benefit from having up-to-date information when policies are renewed and an accurate valuation of the business, in this case, will ensure you have the precise level of insurance needed to protect your business.
For busy practice owners, having the time to undertake a valuation for insurance purposes can seem a lot like hard work, so having a broker do this for you makes good sense. Firstly, because it will be done in a timely manner, but also because it will be thorough and accurate and will ensure that should the worst happen you won’t be left short at a critical moment. At MediEstates we conduct a large number of practice valuations every year – of course many of these are for dentists looking to sell, but an increasing number are being produced for other reasons including insurance.
Ultimately, the right insurance cover is one that covers what matters to you most. But you also want peace of mind that your business can continue to operate both financially and culturally should the unexpected ever happen. An accurate, up-to-date valuation will help you keep on track when agreeing insurance premiums and help you plan the future of your business with confidence.
Anne Barker - CEO of MediHoldings
Dean Barker discusses ways to build an effective exit strategy by maximising untapped practice potential
Life working as a dentist can be very demanding, especially for those who own and manage a busy NHS practice.
With so much uncertainty around the NHS contract reforms, combined with the unknown outcomes of Brexit, it’s no wonder that many principals and practice owners are considering their options and looking to make the transition to a new career path, or even into retirement.
Despite the uncertainties of the wider economic environment, an NHS practice that is comfortably fulfilling its contract with a proven income stream remains an attractive proposition to potential buyers. This is good news for practice owners, who are in the driving seat when it comes to determining their future.
Whatever stage you find yourself at – be it wanting to get away from the stresses of business ownership or deciding to give it all up and head for pastures new – it makes sound business sense to plan an exit strategy at the earliest stage possible.
Planning your exit
An ‘exit strategy’ is a term often used in business and financial circles and although it has a suggestion of finality about it, it does not necessarily refer to the time when an individual leaves the profession for good. An exit strategy is just as applicable to an individual selling a practice, brokering an associate buy-out or simply choosing to do something completely different.
The value of your practice is likely to form a significant part of your total assets and ultimately fund your future chosen lifestyle. So just as many of us make improvements to our homes to increase their value when the time comes to sell, it makes sense to maximise the value of your business to increase the profit from the sale of your practice.
Untapped potential in the practice
As well as continuing to meet UDA targets and controlling costs, in order to maximise turnover and profits it pays dividends to look at the untapped potential in your practice.
Fully maximise all chair time
An empty chair is a lost opportunity to generate revenue and actually costs the practice money as overheads and staff still need to be paid whether the chair is in use or not. If your surgeries are already working at full capacity, consider extending opening hours to create additional chair time.
It makes sound business sense to plan an exit strategy at the earliest stage possible continued growth throughout this year and on into the foreseeable future
Utilise your hygienists and therapists
This can generate far more profit than the use of associates alone. By concentrating on the most cost-effective treatment options profitability can also be increased.
Focus your efforts on high-grossing treatments
Maintaining or increasing the level of turnover in the practice can be achieved by reviewing those lucrative treatments and finding ways to further promote them to your patients.
Try to keep referrals in-house
If you refer just one dental implant a month at £2,500, this has a value of £30,000 per year, which often is revenue that can be ’lost’ to another practice. Consider bringing in an implant dentist, maybe one Saturday per month when the practice is normally closed, or more often if needed. For even better income opportunities, consider asking them to become an associate.
Don’t sit back
It can be tempting for dentists heading into retirement to reduce their time spent in practice, but this could be a mistake. A practice needs to be functioning at its peak to prove that it is a viable investment. Any signs of underperformance will be a red flag to a buyer, who may be concerned that you’re struggling to hit targets or hiding underlying inefficiencies.
Today’s dentists are fortunate in that they are able to plan and execute an exit strategy much earlier than their predecessors.
Mediestates’ extensive and comprehensive understanding of the dental market and how it relates to individual circumstances allows the team to help plan and execute exit strategies at the earliest opportunity.
So, whether you want to sell outright or stay in the practice for years to come, using a specialist broker, such as Mediestates, can provide you with the knowledge and practical guidance to help you plan the exit strategy that is right for you, both now and in the future.
Dean Barker - Director - MediEstates