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Apple Guerin Company

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

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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

CPA Baton Rouge | Common Payroll Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

CPA 70808

CPA Baton RougeHandling payroll for a dental practice is often thought of as a simple task. The truth, however, is that there are many minor errors that can easily lead to major problems. Train your team to catch these small mistakes your practice might be making, so you can be sure to avoid them in the future.

Estimated Recordkeeping – Don’t wait until the day before payroll is due to log shifts worked for the pay period. Days can begin to blend together and it can be challenging to recall who worked which days and times after the fact. Looking through notes and emails to figure out past days’ activities can be stressful and even inaccurate, leading to incorrect pay.

Employee Misclassifications – There are many differences, at both federal and state levels, between an employee and a contractor. Make sure you classify your team members, temporary replacement workers, and anyone else in payroll correctly to ensure an accurate, streamlined process. Depending on the infraction and your area, heavy penalties can occur for misclassified worker pay.

Not Tracking Bonuses or Gifts – Work trips or group outings are no problem, but any sort of bonus or gift that has monetary value needs to be tracked. Gift cards are a common example of this. Make sure to keep a running log of any exchanges like these for year-end purposes.

Paying Employees Wrong Rates – When employees are hired, given a raise, or have their pay otherwise adjusted, make sure this is correctly logged in the system or software you use. Using an hourly wage in a program to pay as salary can have rounding problems, so double-check your work. Manual error or forgetting to process a raise on the books right away can lead to owing back-pay or other issues in the future.

Holidays or Haphazard Payroll – Try to set a fixed schedule for your payroll. When holidays affect the normal cycle, have an established plan to deal with it appropriately. Depending on your area, missing or late payroll can create tax headaches or incur penalties, as well as causing hardship for your team.

Payroll can be a straightforward and mistake-free process at your practice, but it requires proper oversight and attention. Keep an airtight system, follow up on any mistakes, and think ahead. For more information on how to handle payroll or tax concerns, contact our office.

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

Baton Rouge CPA | Data Security Best Practices

CPA Baton Rouge

Though most of the attacks making headlines are those aimed at large organizations or political groups, roughly a third of all data security breaches in the last few years have occurred in the health care industry. Of these, employee error caused three times as many breaches as external attacks. In addition, more than half of the businesses who experience a security breach have fewer than 1,000 employees.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all health care providers to take steps to protect the private information of their patients from hackers, thieves, and staff. While no data security system is foolproof, there are some best practices that can help to decrease your risk of an information breach, especially from employee error. Here are some of the best practices you should be enforcing:

  • All computers should be placed where screens are not visible to patients or visitors.
  • Every computer should have an encrypted password for access.
  • All passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and/or symbols and should be changed regularly.
  • Passwords should never be written down in any place accessible by the public. It is preferable that they not be written down at all.
  • Every staff member must be fully educated about the importance of data security practices, their responsibility to follow these practices, and the potential repercussions for failing to comply.
  • Office computers and internet should not be used to check personal email or visit non-work-related websites.
  • Ensure all firewalls, software, and operating systems are kept up to date.
  • Wireless networks should be shielded from public view.
  • Every computer should have antivirus software installed and kept up to date.
  • Do not access office data remotely from a shared computer or unknown WiFi network.
  • Smartphones, tablets, laptops that have access to any work systems or emails should be password protected in case lost or stolen.
  • All hard copies of patient data should be shredded.
  • All transmitted data should be encrypted.
  • Sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial data, or other private information, should never be sent through email or instant messaging services.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance protection.
  • If a breach does occur, take appropriate action immediately. Contact your legal counsel for advice.

Your first and best defense against the theft of sensitive patient information is the integration of data security best practices into your practice policies. Meet with your team to discuss any changes you need to make and your expectations of compliance. Protect yourself, your team, and your patients by working to protect the integrity of your systems.

For more information, contact our office.

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

(225) 767-1020

70808 CPA | How to Prepare for an Audit

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The prospect for an audit can be daunting. The best way to combat the stress and anxiety induced with this process is to prepare yourself and your company before it happens. Below are a few tips to keep your stress levels low and your preparations high through the process.

Know what it will entail

If you are unaware of what an audit entails, it is a good idea to do your research and learn about the process. Knowing what questions the IRS examiner might ask or what documents they will want to see can help control your anxiety and show you are well prepared.

Document thoroughly

Get in the habit of keeping up with your primary and secondary tax records year-round to be better prepared for when an audit happens. Staying organized using a personal filing system will help you know where everything is. Be sure to have a digital and paper trail as well incase anything happens to either filing system.

Gather the Information

Before the audit happens, make sure you have all the necessary documentation that will be asked of you to present. If you believe something is missing, you can try to recreate the records as accurately as possible or contact the place where you submitted it to for their records. Since you will have all your documents in one place, lay out the information and label it for the auditor for an efficient process.

Pre-audit compliance report

If you feel overwhelmed or disorganized, get on track with a thorough examination of your financial data to prepare and compile your documents. Our experienced team will help you set up a system and provide you with confidence if facing an audit.

For more information on audits, or addition accounting advice, contact us today.

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

(225) 767-1020

CPA Baton Rouge | Manage Your Calendar to Balance Your Life

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Appointments and continuing education consume most of your time. How do you manage to live a happy, well-adjusted, balanced life when you simply don’t have time? The key is in planning. Do you use a calendar to manage your time or do you simply make agreements and arrangements as they come up? Here is how you can balance your schedule by managing your calendar.

Set Clear Boundaries

The first step to achieving a work-life balance is to consider your basic responsibilities and obligations. Set aside blocks of time in your calendar to meet with patients, hold team meetings, and attend organizational group meetings. Your calendar should be your primary time-management tool.

Time Off Means Time Off

You need to set aside time for activities unrelated to work. When you decide to take a day off, make sure it’s in your calendar. If it’s not in there, your time off is likely to be consumed by an emergency patient appointment, unexpected meeting, or other business-related expense. Make your scheduling priorities clear with your office team so they are not left with the burden of how to handle unexpected situations while you are away.

It’s Not Just for Work

Your calendar doesn’t need to be exclusive to work. In fact, it may be beneficial for you to regularly include your other commitments. From your children’s school activities to anniversaries and birthdays, seeing these events alongside your work schedule can help you make better scheduling choices. You’ll be more reluctant to accept an invitation to a meeting or convention when you know it will conflict with another occasion. By including other events on your calendar, you minimize the risk of dealing with a stressful schedule conflict between your work life and your personal life.

Never let your calendar run your day. You have the ability to schedule your day by using your calendar as a tool for time management. Start by setting clear scheduling boundaries by blocking the time you need for your main responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to take time off, but always make sure it is a part of your schedule.  Also, consider including other life events and activities in your calendar to better manage your schedule.

For more tips on effectively managing your work schedule, contact our team today.

 

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020

CPAs Baton Rouge | Are You Setting the Right Goals?

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No matter how effective you are at vision casting, dreams require hard work and strategic planning to become a reality. Highly successful business owners know the benefits of setting realistic and measurable goals. Rethink the way you are setting goals for your business. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. By mastering the art of setting incremental, measurable goals, you’ll be able to more effectively to reach them. For more tips on managing your practice, contact our firm today.

Plan out the steps, not just the big picture.

Start small by establishing smaller goals on a quarterly, monthly, or even daily basis. It can be easy to let ambition take over and lose track of the work required to reach your ultimate objective. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to celebrate the small victories along the journey and reassess early if something isn’t working.

Measure your success.

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps you want to see 5 more new patients each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50%. Set specific goals that are easy to track. This will help you to definitively know whether or not you’ve reached them and, if not, have a tangible metric of how much you still need to accomplish.

Make your goals visible.

The more visible your goals are, the greater pressure you’ll feel to meet them. Make sure everyone in your practice is aware of what you’re trying to achieve. This will not only ensure that they’re actively helping you reach your goals, but will also provide a source of accountability to hold you to your word. Putting up visual reminders can also be a simple way to accomplish a similar effect. The more you’re reminded of your goal, the more likely you are to work towards it.

Real growth doesn’t happen passively. In order to take your practice to the next level, you need to set goals to help you get there. Whether these goals are financial, patient-oriented, or focused on personal development, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more!

Apple Guerin Company LLC
6421 Perkins Road, Bldg. A, Ste. 1B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
(255) 767-1020