ISSUE 143: Special Section

Know A Good Doctor? We Do.

Outsourcing — The Key to Financial Health

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The growth of healthcare organizations continues to trend upward in the industry as a result of key drivers such as federal mandates, market competition, tighter margins and the increasing need to do more with less.

Regardless of whether healthcare organizations expand because of consolidation or organic growth, the one challenge they all face is trying to gain visibility and transparency of information across the organization in order to better manage costs and link cost to outcomes and industry performance – without negatively impacting revenue and growth. One of the ways healthcare organizations can avoid over-investing in human and IT resources is to cost-effectively scale or outsource their IT systems, including their financial management systems.

As healthcare organizations strive to cost-effectively scale their business, cloud-based accounting solutions are being recognized as viable solutions. Small offices and mid-sized partnerships, practices with hundreds of specialists, plus laboratories, surgical and urgent care centers, and assisted living facilities are all looking for ways to increase revenues through faster and more accurate billing, reduce costs by automating manual processes, and make better, faster business decisions by gaining real-time visibility into operational and financial data. Outsourcing the accounting function can be the key to financial health and an efficient solution for the accounting and administrative cycle that is vital to success.

Outsourced Accounting – Do what you do best and outsource the rest

A good outsourced partner is comprised of experienced professionals that will evaluate your financial processes and controls, implement a secure, cloud-based software, and manage the accounting and reporting functions to provide you real-time results. However, the right partner also brings professionals with a deep understanding of the business of healthcare. Some of the benefits of a strong outsourcing relationship include:

A collaborative environment with improved visibility into an entity’s performance via dimension-based reporting (e.g., by physician, physician’s assistant, office location, service line/revenue stream, or other category);
Key financial information available on dashboards accessible from any device at any time with an internet connection;
Strong internal controls and segregation of duties to minimize the potential of fraud;
Standardized, automated workflows and processes for accounts payable, employee expense reports, credit card transactions, payroll cycles, fixed asset tracking and bank reconciliations;
Integrations with other critical business applications to reduce time and costs involved in accounting operations;
Timely monthly reporting packages with variances to budgets and prior period results; and
An outsourced CFO, who understands the business of healthcare, that interprets financial information, performs profitability analysis, creates cash flow forecasts and adapts business processes to changes in the operations.

Real-Time Business Performance Insight Driving Agility

Owners of medical practices that utilize strong outsourced accounting services experience many of the following benefits that allow them to move away from manual processes and alternatively analyze key metrics instead of spending hours on computing:

More time to focus on operations, patient care, cost control measures, training and retention of employees, compliance with regulatory requirements, and other core processes essential to the success of the practice;
Lower investment in technology, software, and infrastructure;
Safeguarding of assets due to improved internal controls and segregation of duties;
Real-time visibility into key operational metrics and streamlined processes, eliminating manual data entry and Excel-based financial reporting
Predictable monthly cost of accounting services; and
Additional value in the overall business resulting from timely, quality financial information and sound financial practices (e.g., to potential lenders, to new investors or for merger and acquisition opportunities)

Establishing streamlined, embedded processes also allows healthcare organizations to easily comply with auditors’ requirements for complete transparency. If you outsource pieces of your accounting functions with a qualified CPA partner, you should benefit from improved financial controls that are maintained right within the system and be able to centralize everything you are doing offline into one place.

With healthcare organizations required to report to several different stakeholders, including regulatory agencies and investors, visibility and transparency of data is critical.

Adapting your archaic mainframe accounting system to a more flexible system that meets your changing needs, provides better transparency, requires less manual data entry and IT resources, supports paperless workflows, and connects with your payroll and other integrated systems will be a necessity for healthcare organizations to continue growing and thriving in this era of healthcare transformation.

Jason Miller is the director of Business Consulting Services at Dean Dorton. He can be reached at jmiller@ddaftech.com.