Author Archives: annelencioni

Keeping your team on track

If you missed our web masterclass on keeping your team on track with Nancy Slessenger from the UK then you can view a recording here https://vetbusinessuniversity.com/checkout/?product_id=8208

Your viewing of a recording of the event will allow something very special to happen! Firstly we will ask you for a small fee of $5 to access the recording. And then ALL of that fee will be given to a human or animal in need. It costs as little as $1 to treat a child for malaria in Africa or $9 to get a tree planted for Orangutan habitat – this is the sort of difference you will make.  

This masterclass gives really clear insight on how to engage your team and keep your business on the path you want.

APL Accountants Latest News December 2019

APL Accountants Latest News December 2019


Most Vet Practices are not using email securely

Email has been around for a very long time, and how it gets used has changed significantly. The correct practices for email use today are vastly different from what would have been appropriate 10 years ago. However, most practices have not kept up to date, and we are still very surprised to find the following problems when we communicate with our clients:

  1. Your team still use private addresses
    This is probably the most common offence. Your team should all have their own email address set with the domain of your business. For example, if your website is at xyzvets.com then all your team should have their own @xyzvets email address.
    It is still very common for us to find that practice employees are using a ‘hotmail’ or ‘gmail’ email address for work communications
    Why is this so important?
    Firstly, all work communications are property of the veterinary practice. Imagine a legal dispute over an email communication that was sent to a private email address. What happens if that person no longer works for you?

  2. Your team all use a single shared email address
    Whilst this in itself is commonly done in a lot of businesses and does have some uses, it does not preclude each team member having their own email address as well. The communal email address should only be used for communications from your website and general enquiries, nothing else. If anything more was done with a communal email communication, then it would once again be impossible to establish which employee sent a communication that caused some problems.
    Why else is this so important? It’s a matter of security. You may or may not have noticed that a lot of cloud software systems such as facebook, mailchimp, trello, slack etc require an email address to log in and perform password recovery or password change. Essentially anyone who has access to that email address can recover and change the password. So imagine you have 10 employees and one of them leaves. If all 10 of these employees used this single email address to do jobs like log into your mailchimp system, or posting on your facebook business page, then you would have to remember to change the password on all these systems as soon as each employee left. Not doing so would mean the exiting employee would still have access to your data and the ability to change the password and lock the remaining  team out.
    What’s more, if for example the access is to the facebook business page, a malicious employee could post profanities on your facebook site and there would be no way of tracing back who did it –  yes, this has happened more than once.
    If on the other hand each employee had their own email @xyzvets.com, then simply disabling that email address would prevent malicious access and changing passwords that could lock the rest of your team out.
    You would still have to remove their access from the various sites like Facebook, however any malicious posts would clearly be tagged with the offenders name.

  3. Your practice still uses a generic email address:
    Although most practices how have a meaningful email address that is the same as their domain name. Probably about 20-30% do not. So if you still use xyzvets@hotmail.com, then you are long overdue a change.
    To get a professional email address is very easy these days. Personally we love Google Mail’s corporate offerings which allow you to link your website domain to your email and also manage email addresses for all your team. It’s very affordable and has a host of tools that are easy to use for security, backups and managing multiple email addresses.



           Christmas Closure

Our office will be closed over Christmas:

Business Advisory closed 20 December – 2 January, 8 – 14 January

Tax closed 20 December – 6 January

Bookkeeping closed 25 December – 6 January

Happy holidays!

Dog Tales!

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I’m feeling pretty smart today! I overheard a conversation in the office and even me the lowly sausage can dispense some knowledge here after more than 3 years pretending to sleep in the corner but actually being super alert.

The question was – does it matter if the buying group I am part of is owned by a competitor (eg. a corporate) as the only thing they will know is what I buy from the wholesaler? My floppy ears pricked up and I thought I bet it does matter as this is what I would know about your business after 3 years hanging around this office:

  • You do approximately x number of vaccinations
  • You have approximately y number of active clients
  • Your turnover is approximately z
  • Your clients buy a lot or a little of their preventatives and food from you

Then I stopped thinking about all the things I would know about your business and instead thought hmm I would like to open a clinic in that area, or I already have a clinic in that area and this is what special offers I will advertise to attract your clients.

Then I thought, why would any business owner want to give all this potential information to their competitor?

Tired out I went for a power nap in the sun…..

APL Accountants November 2019 News

APL ACCOUNTANTS LATEST NEWS


Do you know which of your vets brings the business profit up and which ones bring it down?

Register for our web event on a new way of reporting on individual veterinarian unitshttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7WrURkctT7Cc9P4DeG-l4Q 

20 November

Let’s face it, if you have more than one veterinarian working then chances are one runs their work/day at a higher profit than the other, but until now, this has been impossible to measure accurately. 

You currently know how your business performs as a whole, but it’s made up of different vets and some will be bringing the business profit up (those that run at a higher profit than the business as a whole) and some will be bringing the business profit down – but by how much?! Each vet is actually a smaller business unit within the larger one. Now you can report financially on each of these small units to identify strengths, weaknesses and exactly how much profit each one is contributing.

Do you really want to ignore that vet that runs ‘their unit’ at a LOSS whilst you have others running at 20% profit? And yes, this is actually happening in a lot of veterinary clinics. If only you knew who they were and where they needed help. 

If you would like to find out more about ‘vet business unit’ reporting then register here for our live web event 20 November https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7WrURkctT7Cc9P4DeG-l4Q

Joined B1G1 yet? Add ‘purpose’ to your business.


We will be running our first Veterinary hive web event for all veterinary B1G1 members on 13 November midday Qld time. If you have signed up to B1G1 and haven’t become part of our hive yet, please let us know so that we can add you to our list of invitees. If you are already part of our hive then look out for the link to register for this free event.

If you are interested in joining B1G1 then you can do so here https://b1g1.com/connect/APLACCTS If you sign up via this link then we know to automatically add you to our hive where we will set up a chat group and run regular web events to assist with implementation, share ideas on using giving to motivate your team and engage your clients.

Dog Tales!

Hackers are like dogs with a bone! Watch out for this text message.

I can’t believe how persistent hackers are! Just like me when I have a squeaky toy in my mouth, I won’t stop until I get all the squeakers. A hacker is similar to me and they will just stick to the task at hand as long as they get the occasional squeaky reward.

Last week we received a text message on one of the APL mobile phones:

“Westpac Alert – we have detected a potential issue and blocked your internet banking. Visit https://westpac.com.au.defaultxx-device.services to confirm your device”

Note that I have changed the address above slightly to prevent any of you accidentally placing your paws on it (I just added ‘xx’ after the word ‘default’). But if you were to go to that site, you would be asked to enter your username and password for your bank account. And that’s the squeaky toy that the hacker is looking for.

So some quick lessons in what to look for:

  • Firstly this is a text message not an email which indicates a higher level of sophistication, but the same hack can be achieved with both emails and text messages. Just because it came by text does not mean that it is safe
  • Then there is the sophistication of the actual address. Just because the address contains the words westpac.com.au does not make it safe! A legitimate domain name ENDS with the company name, in this case the company name is in the beginning. The true domain here is “defaultxx-device.services” – and a name like this can belong to anyone. So don’t just look for words in the link that make you recognise your bank name. And also note that this hacker can do the same for every bank in Australia.
  • Lastly, NEVER assume that your bank will send you a text or email that asks you for a username and password. They very rarely do this, usually they use 2 factor authentication which asks for a revolving PIN number or code. If you are in doubt, call your bank but never enter a username and password via a link in an email or text message.

So don’t let the hackers get the squeakers out of the toys, that’s a job for me!

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the informations applicability to their particular circumstances. In particular, please note that the APL dogs who often prepare this newsletter do not have opposable thumbs so have to type with their noses.

APL Accounting News October 2019

APL ACCOUNTANTS LATEST NEWS


A new service that will revolutionise the way you manage your practice!

Every vet working for you is essentially a micro business within your organisation – maybe we should be reporting on each one as a stand alone business.

As you may know, we meet up with many of our clients very regularly (every month or every quarter for most of you) to discuss your past few months business performance, look at whether you are successfully implementing strategies and project your next few months. 

However we have noticed that there is an essential ingredient missing – you see, most of our meetings eventually come down to the question of whether certain team members in multi-vet practices are struggling to succeed and apply the strategies, principles and vision of the business owner.

So for a long time we have envisioned the possibility of producing a completely objective financial report (essentially a profit and loss statement) for each individual vet working for you instead of just a single report for the entire business. This would make it possible to see whether certain individuals are actually losing money for the business whilst others are generating a profit. We call this ‘Business Unit Reporting’ – breaking down the business into units of production which then allows us to identify the problems in specific units. 

This is nothing new in the world of management accounting as most businesses can be broken down into a consistent unit of production, but until now nobody has been able to apply this successfully to the veterinary industry where a ‘business unit’ is a veterinary surgeon assisted by a component of support, reception and administrative staff.

Because we have the ability to get daily information from your practice management and bookkeeping systems (using Profitdiagnostix), we can now apply a consistent formula across all employed veterinarians and produce a profit and loss statement for each veterinarian. What’s more, we can do this for you without you having to complete any arduous questionnaires.

The results are astounding! We can see that many multi-vet practices have some ‘business units’ that are losing money whilst others in the same practice are generating health profits! And now we can pro-actively help these ‘business units’ do better – not only does this new reporting method show the financial aspects, it also shows all the key services that a veterinary surgeon performs and helps identify where the problem actually is:

Maybe it’s a billing problem, or a problem with service promotion, or a problem with consulting room technique? 

Once the problem is known and there is complete objectivity on the financial implications, you will be able to apply very specific training to the correct individuals who need it.

Business Unit Reporting is a new service that we will preview to many of our clients over the next quarter. If you meet with us quarterly, part of your next quarterly meeting will be a free taste of what this has to offer and then you can decide if you want to add this service to your current package.

For those of you who do not meet with us on a regular basis, if this is of interest to you please contact us now. It will revolutionise how you run your business.

Contact us now: admin@aplaccountants for your expression of interest.

Missed our B1G1 webevent?


Don’t worry, we have a recording here for you https://vimeo.com/360730758/3694e766a9

Listen in if you’re keen to make an impact on the world, engage your team and differentiate your business to clients. All B1G1 members that are part of the veterinary industry also get free membership to the APL hive, where we share ideas on implementation and team engagement using B1G1. All hive members also get a 50% discount for 12 months on veterinary business university https://vetbusinessuniversity.com/

Listen to the recording and then request a joining form by emailing admin@aplaccountants.com.au

Dog Tales!

Another year gone so time for our annual dental. We decided it’s better to go in together to keep each other safe and warm, and I just love tucking my butt right up against my bestie. Mom said I had to have dental xrays due to my poor mouth conformation and past history, but fortunately Dr Sam said Chica would have them too – standard procedure even for Grade 1. Look what they found!

A retained baby premolar which needed to be removed. Thanks Dr Sam for looking after my friend, my mouth was perfect just needed a clean (that makes a change!) So for those of you that don’t bother to xray the grade 1 dentals – please do, my bestie is happy she had a good work up and best care so please make sure you look after all our friends as well as what we get looked after as we rely on you to tell our parents what to do.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the informations applicability to their particular circumstances. In particular, please note that the APL dogs who often prepare this newsletter do not have opposable thumbs so have to type with their noses.

APL Accounting News September 2019

APL ACCOUNTANTS LATEST NEWS


Keeping your team onboard

A number of you will have attended one of our workshops already with only one more to go in Melbourne. You should be focusing on your first strategy. Remember that you probably need to do something a bit different to get and keep your team onboard for the quarter, which is why we suggested using B1G1 – www.b1g1.com 

By using small charitable giving and linking it to your key strategy for the quarter it keeps the strategy in focus and remains on everyone’s mind for the quarter. It also differentiates your business to your clients. B1G1 makes this easy to do as you can set up your giving related to your strategy, have a ‘giving story’ you can add to newsletters and your website, tracks your giving (which also means tracking your strategy) and has some great add ons like a counting widget to put on your website.

Remember to let us know if you’re joining B1G1 as APL Accountants has started a ‘hive’ for all the veterinary businesses in Australia. As part of our hive you have a forum to communicate with other similar veterinary business owners that are linking their strategies directly to giving. Here you can discuss your implementations and other burning topics. We will also run web events for hive members to discuss their strategic implementation. Email us at admin@aplaccountants.com.au if you want further information.

Wages are increasing!

Having just completed this year’s round of annual reports we have now looked at the KPI’s for 2019. One of the most obvious changes is the increase in wages as a percent of turnover which for the first time ever has exceeded 40% (exclusive of superannuation payments).

This single metric has been steadily increasing over the last 3 years so the trend can no longer be ignored.

The wages increase is also accompanied with a drop in production pet veterinary unit – revenue generated by the average veterinary unit has dropped slightly.

We are pretty sure that this is not a problem exclusive to the veterinary industry – it seems quite obvious how many commercial properties are standing empty and how other small businesses are working shorter hours (or any extended hours are being performed by the business owner instead of salaried employees).

In the veterinary context, particularly for the independently owned practice, it’s not all doom and gloom because the average profitability of veterinary practices has not changed. It seems that most practices have been able to save money in other areas. It also means that it is exponentially harder for large corporates to operate in Australia where we feel wages alone without superannuation are higher than any other country where we have collected data. Add superannuation to the mix and you can see how tight the ship has to be run to maintain profitability.


Dog Tales!

We are slowly recovering from an overdose of poor staff engagement! Mom and dad have been travelling for client workshops and had some nights away from home. They know better than to leave us on our own all night – we have to have dinner, snuggles on the couch, toilet time, snuggles on the bed, breakfast, toilet time……so they paid our usual pet sitting company to have somebody stay over with from 6pm to 7am. Yes, a pet sitting company they have used for 8 years that has a policy of having the house occupied all night and sleeping on the bed with the dogs and dinner and breakfast for the dogs.

A newly employed pet sitter was going to look after us. She came for a visit a few days before and we decided she looked right for the job. She said and did all the right things so we didn’t complain, she seemed nice enough, did we get it wrong!

On the required date, she arrived, gave us dinner and took us for toilet time. 

However at 11pm she walked out in her party clothes and never returned. We cried a lot, barked a bit and crossed our legs thinking she would return, but we never saw her again. We were very lucky that she locked us in the office when she left us. Nurten and Joy on the bookkeeping team arrived for work in the morning, let us out, fed us and apologised on her behalf otherwise we would have been left locked up and hungry for 20 hours.

Suddenly we realised why everyone at work goes on about ‘staff engagement’ – clearly she was disengaged. She lied about her performance but the security cameras caught her out! We hope you are having better luck with your team, but remember things aren’t always what they seem!

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the informations applicability to their particular circumstances. In particular, please note that the APL dogs who often prepare this newsletter do not have opposable thumbs so have to type with their noses.

APL Accounting News August 2019

APL ACCOUNTANTS LATEST NEWS

PreWorkshop Webevent

Remember to register for our web event  here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xmh2JvuHT0eHvVbIorJ2lw

This is for all of you attending an annual workshop this year that has not attended at least two workshops before. In this web event we will explain your annual reports and it is essential to understand these before attending a workshop! If you can’t make the event live then register so you receive a recording.

Date Wed 21 August

Time Midday Qld 

Registration – https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xmh2JvuHT0eHvVbIorJ2lw

Your Price list vs ‘True Pricing’

Traditionally, veterinary prices have been benchmarked by looking at a list of individual fees and deciding whether they are high or low compared to national averages

For example you could look at your consult fee and if it’s $5 below the national average then you could assume that increasing it by $5 will improve the financial performance of your business without the risk of customers feeling that you are overcharging.

The same concept can, and has been applied to numerous fees in the veterinary industry through a number of surveys that are conducted periodically. This has been done for fees for vaccinations, repeat consultations, radiography services, dentistry and many other common services in the industry, and at APL Accountants we maintain a list of such fees every year.

However it has been very apparent that for a lot of our customers, looking at a fee on it’s own is not enough. Taking the example of the consultation fee – in many cases a practice will increase their consultation fee but see no tangible improvement in business profitability. At APL Accountants, this year we are ready to address this issue, and we call it ‘True Pricing’. This is a concept that when combined with the traditional benchmarking of single fees will help practices identify significant revenue loss.

So how does ‘True Pricing’ work and what does it mean?

In terms of meaning, simple logic dictates that a single price on a list is irrelevant when compared to the total invoice value consisting of many items that is charged and paid for when a customer leaves the building.

The concept is simple, let’s look at the consultation fee again and not look only at the consultation fee, but what else has been done during the consultation. If we are able to look at the total invoice value of every invoice where a primary consultation was performed (rather than just a single item), then we would have a better idea whether or not the practice is promoting additional wellness products and  preventatives during their consultations. So this would include the consultation price plus preventatives, blood tests, cytology samples and any other diagnostics.

Not surprisingly, a practice with a consultation fee that is below average but that has a higher promotion of diagnostics can easily have the total invoice value higher than a practice that has a higher consultation fee but poor diagnostic service promotion. In this case we would say that the ‘True Price’ of a consultation is higher where more service promotion is consistently applied.

Likewise a practice with very high fees on their price list but a severe missed billing problem will also have a lower total invoice value – a lower ‘True Price’.

So this year, thanks to Profitdiagnostix, we are able to perform this analysis precisely on all our customers AND also have benchmark values for total invoice values as well as single fees.

What’s more, in the future we will likely be performing this analysis on each vet in the practice! Inconsistent billing is a very common problem even within practices where there can be a huge variance between clinicians in their ‘True Pricing’, and it is an issue that costs the industry millions of dollars in lost revenue every year.

In summary, one of the things to look forward to in ‘True Pricing’ is that we will be reporting on:

Primary Consultation fee price, Primary consultation total invoice value and then comparing both of these to a national average.

The same analysis is also currently being applied to:

Repeat consultations, vaccinations, radiography procedures, desexings, dentistry.

As we speak, this analysis is identifying lost revenue in a large number of practices so it will be one of the key topics of discussion at our annual workshops.

Practices that are already clients of APL Accountants and have Profitdiagnsotix will get this for free, but if you are not a customer, you can attend our workshops for a fee:

  • Sydney 27 August
  • Brisbane 6 September – This event will be streamed LIVE for remote practices if you don’t want to travel
  • Melbourne 29 October

If you are interested, reply to this email.

We look forward to seeing you there

Dog Tales!

We have a new friend in the office. A big welcome to Bill Eastgate who has joined us in the office to help with Profitdiagnostix.

Bill who has managed a veterinary practice for a number of years has joined the dogs in the office and has a very similar job description to us doggies: 

  • We crunch doggie treats while Bill crunches numbers in Profitdiagnostix.
  • We come running to customers, tails wagging when they offer us a treat, and Bill runs to web meetings with customers when they offer him a Profitdiagnostix problem to solve.
  • We go to doggie school twice a week to learn tricks, Bill has been going to ‘Vet Business University’ and learnt all the APL Accountants tricks of the trade.

Note also that Vet Business University is available at a very reasonable price for all vets to learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ – go and have a look at www.vetbusinessuniversity.com

I think us doggies (particularly Strudel the sausage dog) are going to enjoy having Bill around.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the informations applicability to their particular circumstances. In particular, please note that the APL dogs who often prepare this newsletter do not have opposable thumbs so have to type with their noses.