November 21, 2019

What Tasks Should Your Accountant Perform?

In our previous blog, my colleague Tom Bodin laid out the important rationale for determining if your accountant is doing a “good job.” Today, I’ll discuss the tasks you might consider delegating to your accountant.

Let’s start by identifying some of them.

Practice Support

- Payroll

- Accounts Payable

- Patient Receivables

- Insurance Filing and Collections

- Bookkeeping

- General Ledger Review

Practice Compliance and Analysis

- Quarterly Payroll Tax Reporting

- Income Tax Strategic Planning

- Practice Income Tax Return Preparation

- Quarterly Practice Performance

Personal Services

- Preparation of Personal Income Tax Returns

- Personal Accounts Payable

- Personal Bookkeeping

Why would you have an accountant perform any of these tasks? Well, as a dental practitioner and small business owner, you should consider delegating some of these services if you lack some or all of the following:

Expertise – You are a trained dentist but not necessarily qualified to prepare your own tax return. A small business owner must navigate numerous complicated and detailed regulatory and operational challenges. It only makes sense to delegate the most difficult of these jobs.

Alternative Resources – Many of the tasks in the preceding list may be more economically and efficiently performed by other resources. For example, a number of payroll processing companies specialize in servicing small business owners.

Time – Your clinical time is valuable! Are you sacrificing revenue-producing dental procedures to spend your afternoon paying practice invoices?

Of course, it would be nice if your accountant could perform all of this work for you, but you likely don’t have that much spare cash. So, how does one go about setting priorities for which specific tasks to assign to your accountant? With these types of business decisions, I like to use the 80/20 rule. In other words, if I could only afford 20% of these services, which ones would give me the opportunity to recover 80% or more of my cost?

In my experience, income tax strategic planning and return preparation services tend to provide the greatest return on investment. A competent tax accountant with dental practice expertise can be a great member of your advisory team and consistently reduce your income tax bill, year after year.

Beyond tax services, you may find it beneficial for your accountant to review your practice general ledger and reconcile your practice bank accounts on a monthly basis. An accountant can detect errors and account misclassifications well before any serious problems develop.

The remaining services I list here might be useful for you, but they may also be difficult for you to justify financially.

Still have questions? Please reach out to any of Buckingham’s Practice Integration Advisors. We are here to help you find the right solutions for your unique situation and goals.

This commentary originally appeared November 20 on

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The opinions expressed by featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of Buckingham Strategic Wealth®. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.

© 2019, Buckingham Strategic Wealth®

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