If you are setting up your own medical practice there are multiple areas to consider. It can all seem very overwhelming when you are getting started. Engaging experienced professionals to assist with the many different facets is essential. Here we provide a list of possible areas to consider.

Structuring your practice

One of the most vital decisions when establishing or buying a medical practice is the choice of business structure. This decision can have long-term implications on taxation, asset protection and future personal and business goals. Whether you operate as a sole trader or use a trust or company structure needs to be carefully assessed.

Insurance and Financial requirements

As a practitioner, you are the business asset that generates the income. As a result, you will need to obtain adequate personal insurances to ensure you maintain the ability to generate income and best protect your financial security. These insurances can include income protection, accident and life insurance, trauma insurance, business insurance, medical indemnity insurance and public liability insurance.

ABN, GST & PAYG Registration

Whilst you may already have a personal ABN, it is likely that your new practice will require its own ABN and tax registrations. You may also require further registrations for employees and workers compensation.

Budgets and Planning

Establishing sound budgets is vital in ensuring the ongoing successful operation of your practice, as many businesses fail due to weak cash flow. For a successful practice, you require careful management surrounding income tax liability, loan and lease repayments, as well as savings and cash flow forecasting. Monitoring and follow up of income receipts from Medicare and the Health Funds is also essential.

Sourcing skilled Professional Advisors in the Medical Industry

Engaging trusted advisors such as accountants and financial planners who have experience working with the medical industry can help you to grow a successful practice, as they will be there alongside you to ensure you are maximising your business opportunities and minimising your risk.

Bookkeeping

To enable you to claim all relevant tax deductions, you will require suitable record keeping systems in the form of bookkeeping. A good medical bookkeeper is essential in complying with BAS requirements, processing and lodging Single Touch Payroll (STP) compliant payroll and reconciling all transactions. Your bookkeeping software must also integrate easily with your medical software program.

Medicare Billings

Certain procedures are subsidised by the Australian government under the Medicare Benefits Schedule. You are legally responsible for services billed to Medicare under your Medicare provider number or in your name and are also responsible for incorrect claims. To ensure accurate billing, you will need to establish a system to ensure correct Medicare billing for procedures is being claimed.

Legal Agreements

Adequate legal agreements need to be established to protect your practice and ensure all parties, including employees, explicitly understand what is required of them. Owner agreements may also be needed if you are forming a practice with numerous doctors.

Practice Management

Building the right team will have a major influence on how your practice operates and patient first impressions. Hiring a practice manager will help you deal with the day-to-day issues surrounding your practice and with sourcing other staff, choosing a medical software program, and developing policies and procedures manuals to help your practice run smoothly. There are also virtual practice manager solutions as an alternative to consider for a new practice.

Marketing

A professional, easy-to-use website is an essential marketing tool. You should consider hiring a web designer to design and compile your site, outfitting it with specific practice branding. Other marketing and networking with hospitals and other doctors who are referral sources also need to be developed and nurtured.

IT Systems

Setting up an efficient IT system with rigorous data security and back-up of patient health records is critical. It is advisable to contract an IT company that has experience supporting other medical practices. As the data held by a medical practice is extremely sensitive, you must ensure your practice is protected against cyber crime.

Fitouts

Creating a well-functioning and welcoming medical practice will take timing and planning, and requires the consideration of both the immediate and future goals of your business. Medical fitout experts can assist in planning, creating and constructing your perfect practice fitout.

Lending Options

Developing a business plan is vital for seeking funding for your practice. You should always compare lenders to understand their base rates, fees and other borrowing costs. Merchant facilities will allow quick and seamless payment receipt and processing. Having specific business accounts for your practice will allow you to easily track and keep record of business payments and receipts.

How Pilot can help

At Pilot we have experience working with a wide range of medical practitioners and are committed to providing specialised services in all areas of accounting, bookkeeping, business advisory, audit and tax services, to help medical practices strategically plan for future events and enhance success.

We also offer a full outsourced practice management service ensuring your business has up to date financial information tailored to your business which is analysed and reported on a monthly basis. Our team of advisors can assist in problem solving by providing practical outcomes that are a complete solution.

To find out more about the above areas and how Pilot can assist in your medical practice set up or purchase, contact Angela Stavropoulos or Kristy Baxter on taxmed@pilotpartners.com.au or (07) 3023 1300.