The build-up to Christmas can often be a busy time. Many GPs and other medical professionals will receive plenty of calls saying, 'Can I see you before Christmas?' Squeezing in everybody who needs to see you can make for a hectic period, and most medicos and their staff look forward to the chance to take a well-earned break.
But before you close your practice and take time to rest and rejuvenate, it's important to put plans in place to avoid any unnecessary disruption of patient services.A little planning will deliver a more restful break, efficient business and hiccup-free return to work.
Follow these steps to prepare for the holiday period.1) Communicate your shutdown period
Make sure your referral partners also know about your shutdown period. Send key contacts a box of chocolates and a short note with your closing and reopening dates on it. If it's the type of place where informed secretaries are a brilliant ally, make sure there's a treat in there for them and their own laminated note they can stick up on their computer.
2) Get ahead with your bills
Usually, one individual in the office is responsible for normal supplier bills, and when people are away and normal routines changed, some bills may be missed.
As painful as it is to some, it may be worth pre-paying key suppliers before you leave to avoid disruptions. Check your bank statements from the previous year. Who was paid? Pay particular attention to equipment hire and medical consumables. Make a note and get them paid. You don't want your January marred by important suppliers chasing you for payment.
3) Payment of staff wages and super
The due date for payment of staff super is no later than 28 days after the end of each quarter. Set up automatic payments on your internet banking so the payments are made.
4) Know your numbers and do some business planning
This is one for the smart operators. It may not be imperative, but it's a good time to 'take stock' and review your practice software. Let the figures speak! What has been generating income and what have you been spending time on that hasn't?
Knowing where your revenue has come from is the primary basis for the strategic planning for the coming year. Give yourself some time off, but take a little time to think about how will do things differently in the future, because being a business owner means you have more control of your own destiny.
Use your financial software to do some interrogation. Take a standard set of reports and drill down into the data to properly analyse it. For example, work out what services are making you the most money and what it costs in staff time to provide certain services (even though you may be generating revenue, some things are quick and easy to do and not an impost on admin to process, while others are time-consuming and take admin resources away from more lucrative activities). Think about what these figures mean and, if necessary, how you might plan differently for the coming year.
With a little effort, you can head into the Christmas break well prepared, on top of your financial planning, and able to really relax over your holidays.
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