Newsletters

Apple Guerin Company

Protecting Your Practice from Employee Embezzlement

Employee embezzlement is not a rate occurrence in today’s society. More specifically, the healthcare industry, including dentistry, consistently ranks in the top three industries in terms of employee embezzlement cases. The average employee embezzlement amount exceeds $100,000. This is a frightening reality for dentists. Often between treating patients, managing their staff and staying updated on the newest technologies, dentists have limited time for tracking the practice’s finances. Below are suggests tips to help reduce the chances of being a victim to employee embezzlement.

Click here to read the entire article.

Baton Rouge CPA | Toxic Employees

CPA in Baton Rouge

Hiring is time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes costly. In some cases, this causes business owners to avoid firing an employee long after it has become clear that the person is damaging the overall work environment. Finding the right person for your office can be challenging. However, continuing to retain a toxic employee can be far more costly for you and your business.

What is a “toxic employee?”

A toxic employee is easily recognized for exhibiting several, if not all, of the following behaviors:

  • Bad attitude: This includes eye-rolling, muttering, snide comments, complaints, confrontational tone, and passive-aggressive speech or actions.
  • Lack of engagement: This can include work-avoidance, lack of enthusiasm, unwillingness to accept responsibilities, and being inattentive in meetings and huddles.
  • Dishonesty: Whether this involves refusal to accept accountability, blaming others for mistakes, or outright lies and thefts, dishonesty is harmful to your business and your team.
  • Poor work performance: While a new team member may experience a learning curve at first, the toxic employee never rises above the bare minimum of what has been explicitly listed as expected. In many cases, they may not even be fully or properly completing work. They are uninterested in feedback or training and unwilling to work to improve.

Do you recognize anyone in your office from these descriptions? If so, it’s time to pull the plug.

When you continue to keep a toxic employee on your staff, you may avoid the headaches of the hiring process in the short term. However, you are creating a host of other problems for yourself that will cost you a great deal more time, money, and energy to solve in the long term.

One toxic employee in your office can cause:

  • Loss of new customers: If a toxic employee is interacting with potential customers, they are creating a negative image of your business, which can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Loss of existing customers: If your clients are treated poorly even once, they may choose to take their business elsewhere – and they may tell others.
  • Loss of your best team members: Your best people want to work in a positive environment where they feel supported and appreciated. By tolerating the complaints or shoddy work of one toxic person, you risk losing team players to a company that maintains a better atmosphere.

Don’t compromise your business or your best team members by refusing to fire toxic employees. For more strategies to improve your business, contact our office.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

CPA in Baton Rouge | Revitalize Revenues through Increased Investment

Baton Rouge CPA

Every business experiences trends of increasing and decreasing revenues. When new business slows and income begins to dip, many business owners react by cutting back on the item in their budget they think is most expendable: marketing.

The unfortunate reality is that this is almost definitely the wrong step to take. When you cut your marketing budget, you reduce your revenues as well.

Today’s business cannot survive through only word of mouth referrals. Your company needs to attract new clientele on an ongoing basis, not just in the weeks following a postcard blast or mass email. In addition, you need to engage and maintain the loyalty of your existing customers.

Consistent, effective marketing helps you achieve both ends.

One recent study examined the marketing budgets of several publicly-traded companies. The researchers found that businesses that were spending an average of 16.5% of revenue grew up to 15% annually, and those that spent an average of 22% grew 16% – 30% annually.

When your marketing budget increases, your revenue follows suit.

There are several factors that can influence how much your business should be spending on marketing.

  • Are you a new startup company? You may need to invest more until you have established a client base.
  • Is business established and you want to maintain growth? Compare your current rates of new customers to those lost annually to determine how your current budget is doing.
  • Is business stagnant or decreasing? Consider investing an additional 5% or 10% above your current marketing budget, at least until the trend reverses.
  • How competitive is your local market? Higher competition requires greater investment to grow business.

For more advice regarding your marketing budget and business growth, contact our office.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

70808 CPA | 5 Signs You Need an Accountant

CPA Baton Rouge

Have you wondered whether you actually need to have a professional accountant? Here are 5 signs that confirm you do:

1)     You earn over $200,000 per year – Your odds of being audited once you start earning over $200,000 a year increases to nearly 4%. While this may not seem like a large number, it’s actually an increase of over 300%. Having your financials in order in case this does occur is vitally important once you become a high-earner.

2)     You are a business owner or are self-employed – Utilizing the services of an accounting professional is vitally important for any business owner or entrepreneur. Tax laws change annually. The current US tax code has over 7 million words in it. Making sure all of your deductions are included, your assets are depreciating properly, and you are maximizing your tax savings will wind up saving you money in the long run.

3)     You are setting money aside for others – When putting money aside for your children, grandchildren, or anyone you want to take care of, it’s very important to use a financial professional to decide which vehicles to use for tax-deferred or tax-free savings. This includes college savings plans or trusts.

4)     You are incurring large capital gains tax – The key to success in paying big capital gains tax is paying at long-term rates. An accountant can help you with a Qualified Small Business Tax Credit, minimize your taxes, and help you set long-term payment goals.

5)     You are experiencing rapid growth in your business – Not only is keeping your finances up to date time-consuming, it’s also complicated. When you’re experiencing rapid growth, it’s time to call in an accounting professional. Having more customers, employees, and vendors is going to require more paperwork and number crunching and can rapidly become impossible for you to manage.

For more information, contact our office.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

Baton Rouge CPA | Why You Should Join (or Start) a Study Club

CPA Baton Rouge

Science is a field where the only true constant is change. Business is no different. With advances in techniques and new technologies every year, it can be challenging to stay current, especially without breaking your budget.

Study clubs can be an ideal solution to this inevitable problem. There are many reasons why you should be gaining the benefits of membership in a study club. Here are some of the most valuable advantages you stand to gain:

Continuing Education

By pooling the resources of a group of professionals, you can attend continuing education lectures and hands-on training in your local area, without all the time and expense of travel. This added source of training and education can be invaluable for staying current with new techniques and new technological advances. If you have a desire to focus on one or more specific areas of business, a targeted study group can help you find and attend the courses you need to develop the skills and qualifications to reach your goal.

Peer Support

With a study club, you are interacting with other businesses and specialists in your area. Group discussions have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to share experiences, techniques, challenges, and new ideas with like-minded individuals for the benefit of everyone involved. This informal venue can allow you to explore new ways of approaching a problem and allows you to benefit from what another has already tried.

Networking

While it is not the primary reason to join a study club, you should not overlook the importance of networking. Making other business contacts in your area can be highly beneficial. Specialists, in particular, depend on referrals from other businesses. It can be much easier to refer a client or gain a referral when you have developed a relationship with other professionals and know how they treat their clients, what technologies they use, and other such information.

Whether you join a local study club or decide to create one of your own, the benefits of membership far outweigh the costs. For more information, contact our office today.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

CPA in Baton Rouge | 4 Ways to Grow Your Confidence as a Business Leader

CPA Near Me

The up and down nature of confidence can be exemplified as a business leader because of the stressful nature of maintaining a high-ranking position. Confidence can grow with practice and effort. Here are four ways to grow confidence as a business leader.

Consistency is Key

Rapidly changing methods and ideas can prevent a business leader from feeling confident. The business should work for the business leader, not the other way around. Gaining a sense of consistency and stability with schedules, rules, and realistic expectations can lead to an increase in confidence that the business will run smoothly. Know and understand the key parts of the business, important dates, and the function of each role. You can only become confident in your business operations when you fully grasp the nature of the entire business.

Be Yourself

Being afraid to say what you think can be viewed as a lack of confidence. Speaking your mind, while still having a professional filter, can build confidence as it shows you are part of a team and contributing. Being yourself will also dispel any notion coworkers might have that you are not being a genuine person. Openness and authenticity will not only strengthen your bond with your employees, but are also essential traits for effective leadership.

Be Open to Criticism

Change cannot come from one person alone, and not all criticism should be seen as a slight against you. Listen to feedback from coworkers and customers and tailor that feedback into something positive. Do not let the criticism fester and destroy your confidence, take it and use it to grow as a person. Accepting constructive criticism and negative comments can help increase your confidence.

Know What You Are Talking About

Fully understanding what you are talking about can help improve your confidence. If you are a business leader, strive to know everything you can about the business and its operations. If you are speaking about a topic, research everything you can about that topic. Become the expert. You will be better positioned to demonstrate confidence when it is clear that you are invested in what you are discussing.

Confidence can not only make or break your career, it can impact the business as a whole. You can take your confidence to the next level, while learning how to prevent situations from arising that can be detrimental to your confidence.

For a consultation, contact our team.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

70808 CPA | The Bright Side of Customer Complaints

Baton Rouge CPA

No matter how fantastic you and your team are, you will occasionally have a customer complain about something. When this happens, you and your team may feel discouraged, frustrated, or even annoyed, depending on the specific complaint and how it was shared. It can be easy to brush the complaint aside and tell yourself that the client was just having a bad day. However, changing the way you think about customer complaints can be highly beneficial to your business.

Client complaints may involve anything from office décor or other customers to the time, cost, or outcome of a business transaction. Even concerns that feel trivial or unfair to you should be handled with respect and appreciation. Like any consumer, your client wants to feel like you care about their experience and their feelings. A complaint is an opportunity for you to win back a customer’s trust.

If you thank your customer for bringing their concerns to you, commit to taking action to correct the situation, and follow through on your commitment, you will earn loyalty from that client. This loyalty can translate into additional business from the client, and even referrals to friends, family, and social media connections. Over time, handing one complaint as an opportunity to improve can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue.

However, if customers leave your office feeling that their concerns are unimportant to you, they will likely look elsewhere for business in the future. Unhappy clients do not stay with your business. They do not refer others to you. They may even tell others about their unpleasant experience with your office, which can cost you potential customers and revenue.

Every customer complaint you receive is a gift. Your team or business may have a weakness that you were unaware was an issue. If one client voices a complaint, it is likely that others have noticed the problem as well. Consider asking customers for feedback after a visit. Let them know proactively that you appreciate their input and are ready and willing to provide the best experience possible. When your customers feel valued, they will be more loyal to you, your team, and your company.

For more tips on providing a better customer experience, contact our office.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

Baton Rouge CPA | Making Informed Acquisitions

Purchasing an existing business can be an exciting prospect. Whether it’s your first business or you’re an established owner, the process can be lengthy as you weigh all the pros and cons of the potential investment. Making sure you know everything you need to about a business before considering an acquisition will help protect you from making a poor choice that could end up costing you in the long run. Below are some considerations to keep in mind when looking to purchase a business.

Acquisition is Just the Beginning

Even the most aesthetically modern and technologically advanced business will require some renovations to make it match your branding and culture. This is especially true for older businesses or ones that simply aren’t up to the standards you hold. A great deal on a building might not seem so great if you’ll have to pay twice as much to get it customer-ready.

Assess the Assets

Before you commit to purchasing a business, a professional appraisal of assets is highly recommended. This can include everything from the soundness of the construction to the usability of the existing furniture or the functionality of the existing equipment. It’s essential to know exactly what is included in your potential purchase and to make sure it’s worth the amount you will be paying for it.

Reputation Matters

When looking to purchase a business, figure out what reputation the current owners have built in the community. If it has particularly poor reviews or has a hard time retaining customers, those are important potential hurdles to keep in mind. While it’s not impossible to build a new reputation for your new business, it will require more effort on your part to establish your separation from the previous ownership.

These tips may help you think more comprehensively about business acquisition. If you need advice on a potential acquisition you’re considering or are simply looking for additional guidance in running your business well, contact our firm today!

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

Baton Rouge CPA | Why You Should Join (or Start) a Study Club

Science is a field where the only true constant is change. Business is no different. With advances in techniques and new technologies every year, it can be challenging to stay current, especially without breaking your budget.

Study clubs can be an ideal solution to this inevitable problem. There are many reasons why you should be gaining the benefits of membership in a study club. Here are some of the most valuable advantages you stand to gain:

Continuing Education

By pooling the resources of a group of professionals, you can attend continuing education lectures and clinical hands-on training in your local area, without all the time and expense of travel. This added source of training and education can be invaluable for staying current with new techniques and new technological advances. If you have a desire to focus your practice on one or more specific areas of study, a targeted study group can help you find and attend the courses you need to develop the skills and qualifications to reach your goal.

Peer Support

With a dental study club, you are interacting with other dentists and specialists in your area. Group discussions have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to share experiences, techniques, challenges, and new ideas with like-minded individuals for the benefit of everyone involved. This informal venue can allow you to explore new ways of approaching a problem or a treatment and allows you to benefit from what another has already tried.

Networking

While it is not the primary reason to join a study club, you should not overlook the importance of networking. Making other business contacts in your area can be highly beneficial. Specialists, in particular, depend on referrals from other businesses. It can be much easier to refer a patient or gain a referral when you have developed a relationship with other professionals and know how they treat their customers, what technologies they use, and other such information.

Whether you join a local study club or decide to create one of your own, the benefits of membership far outweigh the costs. For more information, contact us today.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020

70808 CPA | Why Your Business Needs Effective Team Meetings

CPA in Baton Rouge

Regular effective team meetings can play a crucial role in the health of your business. That one simple-sounding factor can impact every aspect of your business. Your people, your customers, and your business all benefit from regular effective team meetings.

Your people need team meetings. The core of your business is your vision, your goals, and your strategy for achieving your goals. Each member of your team needs to understand all of these things and, just as importantly, needs to understand their part in your plan. Without that understanding, your team is working blindly and is unable to actively contribute toward reaching your goals for your business.

A team meeting is an ideal format for open discussion about your vision, goals, and strategy. Not only can you use this discussion to ensure every member is clear on your expectations, but you may find that their unique perspective creates an exchange of ideas on more effective ways to reach your goals and how each person can best contribute.

While not every team meeting needs to include high-level discussion of vision, goals, and strategy, it is a good idea to include this at least once or twice a year and when bringing a new employee into the team. Additionally, many successful employers find that it is highly useful to touch on how the strategies are being implemented and to discuss any measurable progress toward goals on at least a monthly basis. This helps to keep your team engaged and motivated toward achievement.

Your customers need team meetings. One of the most common components of an effective team meeting is education. Your team needs to know what the policies are, what is on the agenda for the day, if there are any specials being offered, if anyone is sick or on vacation. Any new ideas, training, or techniques that can be shared should be. Your customers need to know they will be given correct and consistent information from any member of your team. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Your business needs team meetings. Teach your team how to ask customers for referrals. Word of mouth can have a huge impact on your new customer base. Even happy, satisfied customers rarely refer anyone unless asked to do so, according to a recent study.  Your team members should be engaging your customers in every interaction to ensure a positive experience and should be able to ask for referrals when customers are pleased.

Only you can review your business, your time, and your schedules to determine when and how frequently you should hold team meetings. Whether you meet daily, weekly, or on some other timeline, make your meetings regular and effective. You will see benefits to your team, your patient experience, and your business.

Call our office to schedule a consultation.

6421 Perkins Rd.
Bldg. A, Ste 1B
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

(225) 767-1020