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How to choose an accountant for your private medical practice

Healthcare Accountants - Private Medical Practice - Designated Medical

A good accountant can be your most powerful supporter. Like a co-pilot, your accountant can help you drive your practice forward by assessing your plans when you start your practice and reviewing your ongoing performance.

Much too often we speak to doctors who only speak to their accountant at year-end which is such a missed opportunity.

So how do you choose the right accountant and gain the maximum from this important partnership?

Specialist knowledge of the private medical sector

Your accountant’s knowledge and experience must extend to your particular area of business. Ideally, a prospective accountant will have dealt with many different industries to gain a broad base of knowledge before specialising in the private medical sector. This enables them to hit the ground running without researching the sector and draw on their experience to assist you.


Now that so many people are working remotely, location isn’t so much of an issue, meaning you can work with the most talented people, wherever they are located. Location is no longer a barrier so don’t pay premium prices to engage an accountant with expensive city offices!

Using the best technology

You need to be certain that your accountant uses the best technology available and has a deep understanding of how to gain maximum benefit from the technology. Systems such as Xero eliminate most manual work, reducing errors and saving time and therefore reducing your bookkeeping and accountancy costs.

Designated is a Xero partner and members of our finance team are all Xero certified advisors, trained by Xero, to deliver you the best financial support in the most efficient way. Xero is the perfect finance solution for most businesses, including those in private healthcare, providing a fully integrated suite of services. Xero integrates with most bank accounts reducing manual uploading of transactions and also with most modern practice management systems.

Clear separation of bookkeeping and accounting

Bookkeeping and accounting are different and the rate you pay for bookkeeping should be significantly lower than the accountancy rate. Bookkeepers and accountants share common goals, but they support your business in different stages of the financial cycle.

Bookkeeping is more administrative with the main focus being on recording financial transactions. Accounting is more subjective, giving you insights into your business’s financial health based on the information provided by bookkeepers.

Check that your accountant has a bookkeeping team to handle the more administrative aspects. If your accountant does the bookkeeping themselves, check you are charged lower rates for this aspect of the work. This is definitely an activity where you can reduce your costs significantly.

Highly Organised

Accountants have a very busy role, with several important deadlines throughout the year, and they need to be totally on top of these key dates. Any data or information must be collected in good time to avoid any last-minute scrambles. Make sure your accountant is organised, punctual and has a good support team. From your side don’t leave your responsibilities for submitting information until the last minute.

Attention to detail

Your accountant should be analytical, paying close attention to detail with the ability to spot anomalies quickly and efficiently. Your accountant should have the skills to be able to review and identify inconsistencies in information. Attention to detail is necessary to ensure consistency and accuracy in financial reporting. The information your accountant provides will be used to help make crucial business decisions so it must be correct.

Trustworthy and flexible

Your accountant needs to have a strong sense of ethics and integrity must be a valued characteristic. Your accountant must know right from wrong and always display integrity in their accounting and bookkeeping work. You need to be able to trust your accountant, you also need to know that if something goes wrong, or if they make an error, they will be confident and honest enough to discuss this with you so that the mistake can be rectified.

Your accountant may be analytical and structured, but it is also important that they have a sense of flexibility in their work. Not everything will go to plan and the information they need may be delayed or imperfect at times. A high level of agility is also necessary for a quick response to regulatory changes in the industry.

Up to date with ongoing training and certifications

Your accountant must maintain the proper certifications and continue their training and development within their specialist sector. As well as keeping up to date with accountancy practices, your accountant should keep up to date with developments in digital systems. Systems are changing all the time, and their capabilities are being enhanced. Your accountant should ensure you are using the available systems to improve efficiency and reduce your costs.

And possibly most importantly, your accountant must be up to date with tax regulations and advise you on your obligations. Your accountant should be able to predict your tax payments well in advance to avoid any surprises.

Collaboration and Communication

Our first point was that a good accountant can be your greatest supporter and co-pilot. To do this effectively they need to collaborate closely with you, regularly reviewing the performance of your practice and discussing your business strategy with you. They should be able to advise you on the correct activities to focus your energies to increase patient income and how to maximise the profitability of your practice.

To collaborate effectively, your accountant needs to possess excellent communication skills. They must be able to inform you of updates and changes in clear and easy to understand language. Accountants can impact critical business decision making, so they must offer advice that is heard and understood. They may also need to collaborate with your employees, who may have little financial experience, so the ability to explain things in a way that will be understood is vital.

Being able to offer a wide range of skills can only come with many years of experience. Your new accountant should be able to offer a selection of testimonials and references backing up their work.

At Designated, we believe that a good accountant is needed throughout the year and not just at year-end to prepare your annual accounts and self-assessment. Your dedicated Designated accountant will do this and so much more.

  • Bookkeeping, managed by specialist bookkeepers
  • Accountancy, managed by qualified, experienced accountants
  • Patient invoicing, managed by our invoicing team
  • Xero-based practices integrating with your PMS
  • Strategic financial support
  • Monthly/ quarterly management reports
  • Monthly/ quarterly review meetings
  • Payroll

If you would like to know more about working with Designated’s accountancy team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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