Do you rely on a key employee?

Gary NialsUncategorized

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Do you rely on a key employee?

Is your practice at risk from key person dependency? Many are. Gary Nials reports

For all the financial benefits of running your own business as a doctor in private practice, there is one big potential risk that you could be exposed to.
And that is the business’s dependence on you or another member of staff like a practice manager or secretary as the main cog in the wheel.
You may have started small, but as your practice evolves and grows, this key person dependency may begin to hold you back and it can especially become a problem when it comes to cash flow.
To determine if your business has ‘key person dependency’, ask yourself these two questions:
1. Is there one person solely responsible for any or every task/decision-making process in my practice?
2. If I were to take a couple of weeks – or more – out of my business, will it run as efficiently as it does with me or another person there?
 
What is ‘key person dependency’?
Key person dependency is when you or one of your team members is solely responsible for something as well as the very important job of managing patients, even if there is a job-sharing arrangement in place.
So although it is good to train staff in the various skills required that they can cover, another solution is to identify outsourcers who are specifically trained in your key-person area.
This is becoming increasingly common with dictation, answering the phones or managing your billing and collection.
and there is no back-up plan for their absence. This could mean the techie stuff, the accounts or something else and there is no one in the business to call upon to do the same skills. So, if that key person disappears, your business would struggle, to say the least. We have consultants join us where their practice and the billing and collection is in various states of distress. A common problem is the practice has grown and the admin support has not kept up with the growth. Problems have also arisen where the secretary has become ill and no one was put in place to cover the billing and collection. The consultant managed to handle the day-to-day correspondence on his own for a period of time, but this still did not remove the problem.
Here are three risk management strategies to combat key person dependency in your practice:

1. Systems and training
Teach someone else in your business how to carry out the same tasks and, at the same time, create a systems manual detailing each step of the process.
The manual will be useful for holiday leave or any other cover requirement or if your key person suddenly disappears.
This is also known as succession planning.
Succession planning is basically making sure you have a contingency plan if you or one of your key people should get run over by a bus tomorrow.

2. Identify outsourcers
Depending on the size of your practice, you might not want to employ more than one or two members of staff to manage the admin side of the practice.
And often the secretary(ies) will have many different roles to fulfill as well as the very important job of managing patients, even if there is a job-sharing arrangement in place. So although it is good to train staff in the various skills required that they can cover, another solution is to identify outsourcers who are specifically trained in your key-person area.
This is becoming increasingly common with dictation, answering the phones or managing your billing and collection.
3. Systematise affairs
One of the best risk management tools is also the simplest. It is called having a system.
So this means getting your key person to systematise as they go along. Whatever they are doing, get them to make notes along the way and then record these notes in a central systems manual where everyone can access it.
If you are a sole practitioner, then it makes good sense to start compiling this systems manual immediately.
Start by making a list of tasks you do in your practice this week, then make some time to go back and compose a ‘How To’ guide for each task – clearly stating where it fits into each process. Then repeat this list on a weekly basis until you have recorded the details of every process and related task in your practice.
Store your systems manual where it can be accessed easily by a couple of trusted people around you – for example, your partner or parents. Then, if the situation ever does arise that requires you to take time out, any necessary handover process can be carried out efficiently.
Risk management is one of those processes a practice tends to ignore until it’s too late. So to avoid risk in your practice, make time this week to implement the above strategies to minimise your key person dependency.
And remember, outsourcing is an option. Especially for the all important cash flow which is crucial to any business so it might be an idea to start there.


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    info@medbc.co.uk
  • Medical Billing & Collection
    Connery House
    Repton Place
    Amersham
    Buckinghamshire HP7 9LP


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