Success in cutting waste, boosting profit starts at top - DVM
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Success in cutting waste, boosting profit starts at top


The bookkeeper will police effectiveness of new policy compliance – she or he must ensure that all source-supporting documents exist at check processing or at credit-card payment, before the designated, responsible owner can sign the check for vendor payment.

The bookkeeper will provide a complete listing (possibly by highlighting a detailed transaction report from QuickBooks or a check-writing program) of all transactions lacking support documentation and the total in dollars.

The bookkeeper will reconcile each credit-card statement at month's end and highlight all charges for which receipts are missing. This information will be submitted to the operating committee for its sign-off.

The punishment phase

The operating committee will determine appropriate punishments for doctors who do not turn in supply requisitions or their receipts. Perhaps they:

  • Will not be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Will have the amounts withheld from their paychecks.
  • Will lose the right to carry a corporate credit card.
  • Will be required personally to contact vendors and track down missing documents.

Such punishments must be agreed to and enforced by the operating committee and all owners though mutual accountability, not by the practice manager, bookkeeper, or any other compliance nag.

Resources readily available

Don't recreate the wheel. Plenty of forms can be found in practice-management literature and through AAHA.

Establish a requisition-order system leading to purchase orders and greater accountability by all employees. Forms should include:

  • Expense forms to be submitted by employees for out-of-pocket expenses. (General rule: Thou shall not be reimbursed unless you complete an expense form and submit it with all supporting receipts.)
  • Equipment and special supply requisition form
  • Maintenance and repair requisition
  • Simple purchase-order form

Bottom line: profit and value

In theory, all practice owners should fully support operating policy compliance. Corporate America uses policy structure to safeguard assets and increase shareholder value. Private veterinary practice should embrace the same concepts. They are proven to optimize one's investment in practice ownership.

Marsha L. Heinke DVM, EA, CPA, CVPM
Owners who conduct business this way are rewarded for their stewardship and are not financially hurt (or, perhaps, angered) by those who do not comply.

Expect higher income streams, and to achieve practice and individual objectives. Establish and nurture systems that sustain profitability over many years. These, in and of themselves, are an important component of practice value when partners decide to sell, merge or buy.

For more help with internal controls and inventory management, use the desk reference coauthored by Dr. Marsha Heinke and Dr. John McCarthy: Practice Made Perfect: A Guide to Veterinary Hospital Management, AAHA Press.

Dr. Heinke is owner of Marsha L. Heinke, CPA, Inc. and can be reached at (440) 926-3800 or via e-mail at


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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