Principals should be more open and transparent with associates about practice financials, Alun Rees says
Principals should be more open and transparent with associates about practice financials, Alun Rees says

Associates should have an understanding of how a practice runs financially, Alun Rees says.

I had an interesting, but familiar, conversation with Susie (not her real name) an associate in a private dental practice recently.

She is five years post qualification, is committed to developing her skills and working with patients for their long-term benefit.

She has no desire to be a practice owner but hopes to have a career where her dedication is returned both financially and in job satisfaction.

In my opinion she could be an ideal associate.

The ideal associate

Since the Uber decision I have been giving a lot of thought to the status of associates and what makes the ideal self-employed associate.

I want to only talk about one element here and that is money.

Susie turns up, is diligent, talks openly with patients about the fees that they will be charged and is happy to take her percentage on a sliding scale.

She feels she is adequately rewarded for what she does and is enjoying building her patient base.

Yet she has little or no idea how the practice functions financially.

I believe that it is important, especially if their self-employed status is to remain, that associates know the costs of running a practice.

They must understand where the money goes on a day to day basis, how much it costs to run their individual surgery and what investment the owner has made in purchasing or founding the business.

Culture change

In my experience the more information that is shared, the more the associate takes responsibility in behaving with a self-employed mind-set.

Currently, there are faults on both sides with many owners not wanting to share information and associates feeling they are interfering or being nosey when they ask.

Perhaps if there were to be a culture change then associates would not face the massive shock if they become practice principals.