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PART 2 – How to Prevent Embezzlement

Have you read Part 1 yet?

HOW CAN I PREVENT EMBEZZLEMENT? 

Smart Hire. Embezzlement cannot be 100% prevented, but you can implement strict measures to minimize the risk that it will happen in your office. The strongest safeguard is to hire honest, reputable employees. Always check references and perform background checks before hiring an employee. Personal character references are generally worthless. Request and check references of former employers. Listen carefully for what is not said if the reference is less than glowing. A good source for online background checks is www.netdetective.com or www.castlebranch.com.

Software Safeguards. Hire a practice management consultant to maximize security controls on your practice-management and accounting software. A good software system will allow you to set up customized security and provide the reports you need to monitor your staff. Learn which specific reports you need to scrutinize daily, weekly, and monthly. “Getting the Most Out of Quickbooks in Your Practice” lists these reports and how to memorize them.

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Is your office embezzle-proof? – Part 1

PART 1 – Recognizing Embezzlement Red Flags

The Dental CFO

You practice dentistry because you enjoy helping patients. At the same time, you went into business to make a profit. What happens when you discover that a trusted employee is stealing your profits?

Think it cannot happen to you? Think again…no one is immune! In this article you will learn to recognize the profiles and modus operandi of embezzlers, safeguards you can implement to protect your practice from being an easy target, as well as what to do if you discover that you are a victim of embezzlement.

WHAT DOES EMBEZZLEMENT COST?

While the monetary cost speaks for itself, even more devastating are the emotional and physical costs. Destroyed trust, time spent in discovery and recovery, legal fees, bad press, shattered relationships, a damaged reputation, lost patients and revenue wreak havoc in the victim’s life. The stress of dealing with all aspects of embezzlement has been shown to create health and emotional issues, simply because the broken trust led to a broken heart. The experience is gut-wrenching and emotionally heart-breaking.

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Growing a dental practice in a rural small community – Dr. Bryant Birch

Are you living under the illusion that advanced dentistry is just a big-city thing? That your success is limited because you’re in a rural area? You’ll think again after hearing Dr. Bryant Birch’s story in today’s episode. The nation’s mentality is changing, and technology is being welcomed and expected. Listen to T-Bone’s conversation with Dr. Birch for the inside scoop on how to expand your dental practice in a small town.

Dr. Bryant Birch: Small town dentist attains big success

Dr. Bryant Birch grew up as the son of a dentist, in Green River, Wyoming, population just under 1300. He took over his father’s basic dental practice and has taken it to the next level. In this episode, Dr. Bryant talks about the process of developing and expanding the practice, and a life-changing event that changed his attitude and the way he thinks and looks toward the future, including investing in dental technology. Listen in to this compelling and inspiring conversation about overcoming the odds and growing a highly successful dental practice.

Why do dental implants in-house?

One of the advanced dentistry procedures that Dr. Bryant Birch added to his practice is dental implants. In this episode, he talks about his journey of learning the skills, educating his patients, and eventually growing his practice 30% per year through offering implants. Listen in to find out why people love getting general and advanced dentistry from one doctor, and to get the tips and resources you need to grow your own dental practice.

Sleep Apnea treatment and other great ways to expand your dental practice

An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. In this episode, find out how you can help your patients get a restful night’s sleep by offering a dental appliance for sleep apnea, and what you can do to incorporate this into your practice with a sleep apnea champion on your team. This is just one of the great ways you can grow your business. As you listen to Dr. Bryant Birch talk about the expansion of his dental practice, you will discover many great ideas and resources that will encourage and inspire you to move your own practice into the future.

T-Bone talks about training the team at your dental practice

How do you train your team to have the same direction? This is Dr. Bryant Birch’s question for T-Bone in this episode. T-Bone offers a number of valuable insights into the process of getting your team to share the vision, be empowered, and accomplish goals. These ideas and many more are part of this conversation. Listen in and find out what you can do to take your dental practice to the next level!

Outline of This Episode

[0:17] Intro of this episode with Dr. Bryant Birch.
[0:43] Bryant’s story of taking over his dad’s dental practice in Green River, Wyoming.
[6:27] How Dr. Birch chose to make changes to the practice.
[8:39] How Bryant Birch went from simple general dentistry to high-tech.
[14:09] Bryant’s journey to doing dental implants in-house.
[20:29] Dr. Birch’s plans for building a new facility.
[22:26] The changing mentality toward technology in dentistry.
[24:19] Dr. Birch’s thoughts about taking insurance.
[27:16] T-Bone and Dr. Bryant on trying new things.
[29:28] Sleep apnea in the medical practice
[32:22] Dr. Bryant’s story of a life-changing experience that altered his attitude and the way he looks at the future.
[40:06] How do you train a team to have the same direction?
[45:35] Using community events to educate.
[46:32] The pre-requisites to taking it to the next level.

Listen to the entire interview

Resources

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Want to get T-Bone Speaks sent directly to your smart device when a new episode comes out? T-Bone would love that! You can do so by subscribing via iTunes or searching for “T-Bone Speaks” on your podcast player (don’t forget the hyphen).

t-bone-podcast

T-Bone Speaks is a podcast dedicated to helping you achieve clinical, financial, and personal balance. You’ll love the entertaining demeanor and down to earth approach to dentistry.

 

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Practice Technologist

Times are changing fast and technology is the primary driver of change.

You will Lose Your job to Technology, Unless…

For years I skated around the worry that technology would take jobs away from dentists and dental staff. I can no longer make that claim. Your job in dentistry will go away or at least be severely limited by technology in the future. There is one sure fire way to ensure that you will still have a job in the high tech revolution. Become the

“Practice Technologist”.

If you believe your job is to poke teeth with an explorer and take impressions you are fast becoming out of date. If you believe your job is to understand and use digital diagnostics and digital impressions then you are ahead of the pack.

If you believe your job is to pull charts and answer phones your job is in jeopardy. If on the other hand you believe your job is to maintain paperless charts and set up an online system to answer questions and take payments then you are secure.

The person who believes that their job is to understand and use technology effectively, can easily add new systems to the mix and embraces change will become indispensable; They will be an MVP the most valuable person in the office.

Here are three simple examples:

Practice Staff Person Practice Technologist
Pulls charts every day, spends time hunting for the lost chart then puts them all back again at the end of the day. Knows the management software well enough to create and maintain completely paperless records.
Hands a clipboard to patients to fill out forms then re-enters all the information in the computer. Sets up and uses online forms that synch with the electronic records. No paper and no dual entry.
Spends considerable time every day phoning and mostly leaving messages with patients to confirm (remind) them of an upcoming appointment. Sets up and maintains an online e-service that sends daily reminders with no additional input from office staff.

It is vitally important that the dentist understand the technology available to the office. As the practice leader the dentist needs to know what is possible in order to create a vision and lead the team.


Three days of Adventure C.E. that will change your practice, your Team, and your life!
Technology on the Rocks – May 18-20, 2017

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When Does Empowerment Become Entitlement?

Do you sometimes feel that some of your employees exhibit a sense of entitlement? Have you questioned whether it’s you or them? Did you do something to cause it, or are they just inherently that way? Or do you just chalk it up to the nature of the current generation? All of these generalizations might be missing the point – I’d like to posit that it might be your fault!

Let’s start with a simple analogy. Imagine a sausage factory with two kinds of jobs – sausage-stuffing jobs and sausage-counting jobs. Sausage stuffers come to work every day and are told to stuff sausages working on this machine or the other for eight hours. They take breaks when they are allowed to and stop for lunch during their lunch hour. At the end of the day, they go home and don’t think about stuffing sausages. When they take their allotted vacation time, they expect that somebody else would’ve stuffed those sausages when they were gone. They really don’t care who was stuffing them. It isn’t their job. They expect to come back and stuff new sausages for the new week.In contrast, sausage counters have to count the sausages, make sure they are making enough to meet the demand, ensure that the stuffers are stuffing enough sausage to meet the specifications (but not too much to drive down the margins), and the like. Sometimes they have no time for lunch, and sometimes they have plenty of time to discuss the previous night’s ballgame. When they go home at night, they take their job home with them, worrying whether they had ordered enough casings for next week’s sausages, whether they have too much capacity for the slowing demand and what they should do about it, etc. When sausage counters return from a vacation, all of their sausages are piled on the floor to be counted. Nobody counted them when they were gone. They have to count the previous week’s sausages and the current week’s sausages. I suspect you get the point.

Most companies have both sausage-stuffing jobs and sausage-counting jobs. However, identifying which is which might not be as simple as it may appear. A common misconception is to equate this distinction with workers and management. For example, a software developer, who is considered a worker-bee at a digital design shop, might still take her work home and be brooding over a menacing software bug all night long. Conversely, a shift supervisor at a construction site might leave his work at the construction site when he goes home. Additionally, two individuals with the same job description might treat their job differently: one as a sausage stuffer and the other as a sausage counter.What does sausage stuffing and counting have to do with entitlement? A lot. Sausage stuffers are committed to doing a very good job of stuffing sausages. They don’t want more responsibility. Sausage stuffers expect that for a job well done, they will receive their negotiated slate of compensation, including their pay, benefit plans, vacation and sick time, etc. If they are due five sick days in a year, and by the end of the year they have not utilized all five, a sausage stuffer is likely to find a way to use the remaining sick days they’re entitled to. After all, they do a good job for the employer and they expect to receive the entire slate of compensation they were promised. You might view that as entitlement, but the sausage stuffer views it as their implicit contract.

Sausage counters view their jobs differently. They’re committed to the success of the business and are willing to do whatever it takes, whenever it needs to be done. They look for increased opportunities to contribute and view their compensation beyond that of monetary and benefit plans. For them, part of the compensation is the challenge in the job, growth of themselves and their career, and the freedom to operate independently rather than be supervised. Sausage counters value the freedom of independence and associated empowerment. They also recognize that with it comes an obligation: the success of the company.To illustrate this, imagine one of the machines in the sausage stuffing plant is leaking sausages. The conscientious sausage stuffer working at that machine might yell out to his supervisor, “Hey, Counting Boss, this machine is leaking sausage grind. You need to do something about this.” After simply reporting his observation, the sausage stuffer feels that he has completely discharged his responsibility. In contrast, the Counting Boss is up all night thinking about whether the machine can be fixed, or if she needs to buy a new machine, how much the new machine would cost, whether there is room in the company’s capital budget for the new machine, and so on. Does the sausage stuffer want to deal with the headache? Absolutely not. Does the sausage counter like the challenge and independence of being able to make that decision? Absolutely.The ownership of the company might want to empower and provide greater autonomy to their sausage counters in terms of how they manage their time, when they take breaks and if they can go to their child’s afternoon soccer game. But, afraid to label people as either sausage stuffers or sausage counters, they might provide that autonomy to their entire staff. Lo and behold: for the sausage stuffer, this is now part of the overall slate of compensation – their ability to manage their own time. A few months later, ownership looks at the behavior of their sausage stuffers and complains that they seem to feel entitled. Of course they are entitled: the owners enabled them.

So how do you solve this distinction? In the old days, manufacturing companies had a clear demarcation – hourly employees and salaried employees. In fact, the U.S. government then defined the concept of non-exempt and exempt employees (other governments have similar concepts). This worked well as long as we had sausage factories where the stuffing jobs were distinctly different from the counting jobs. But with the decrease in manufacturing companies and the increase in automation, most of the employees in your companies are now either service workers or knowledge workers. In other words, they are either serving a customer or using their thinking to create value. Both types of jobs appear to be sausage counting jobs. But are they really? Even if they are, do the individuals behave as sausage counters?

Interestingly, most new-economy companies have taken the position that all jobs are sausage-counting jobs and expect their employees to operate with the associated level of autonomy and obligation.

Now look at it from the employee’s point of view. If you gave them a choice, what do you think they would want to be? Of course, you would have to explain the limited responsibility and authority that comes being a sausage stuffer and the broader privileges and obligations that are associated with a sausage counter. What would likely happen is that everybody would want the privileges of a sausage counter, yet not everybody would sign up for its obligations.

Here is an illustrative example. At Think Shift, we have a simple vacation policy: “Vacation is good, take some. End of policy.” Is this a privilege or an obligation? It’s both. Yes, the employees get to decide when and how much vacation they take. However, their job remains their responsibility even when they are away. So before they go on vacation, every employee makes sure that all of their tasks are either completed ahead of time, or negotiated with a colleague to complete while they are gone. Even after that, do you think they have full peace of mind that they had covered all the bases? No. During their vacation, they worry that they might have missed something. Every employee checks their email when they are on vacation. Management doesn’t ask them to do so. The employees feel a sense of obligation to do so. Is our vacation policy a privilege or an obligation? It’s both. We find that this policy works well as long as all employees view themselves as sausage counters – with the attendant authority and obligations. But if you administer such a vacation policy to a group of employees, some of whom behave like sausage stuffers and others as sausage counters, it might be ill-advised.

At the end of the day, your desire to give people authority and to empower them requires that they rise up and accept certain obligations. Have you communicated those obligations? Have you empowered the right kind of people? Or are you unwilling to distinguish between sausage stuffers and sausage counters, and have thus empowered a few who will never rise up to fulfill their responsibilities? Has empowerment led to entitlement?
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We welcome your comments on our Food for Thought mailings and encourage you to explore the Food for Thought archive. We hope your business is doing well. We’re happy to chat about the content in this article or anything else with which you’d like assistance.

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