Would my Practice Management Software Lie??


Many Dentists rely on their staff to pull reports from the Practice Management software in order to acquire information about their practice. They also trust that the information in the reports is accurate. Why wouldn't it be??


Even though you may trust the abilities and integrity of your employees, there are different reasons that the information in your PMS could be inaccurate or false. Two reasons are Employee Error and Fraudulent Activity.


The less damaging of the the two would be Employee Error. Also, usually the easier of the two to correct. Many potential employees may overstate their abilities with your particular practice management software. It is so important for the dentist to be familiar with his own software in order to know if there is an experienced person using the practice software. A lack of knowledge can help create many errors. An employee may just delete mistakes instead adjusting, which can change the numbers of previous months. They may not accomplish all received payments in the mail being scanned for deposit or being recorded in the software. Spending time or money on training of a new employee can insure that your numbers are accurate. Numbers in which you could make those important business decisions on.


The second reason, Fraudulent Activity is a much more complicated subject. There are many ways in which the information in your PMS can be manipulated. Listed next will be some of the most common ones.


  • Employee does not post cash payments and writes off the patient balance

  • Employee submits fictitious insurance claims and pockets the payment

  • Employee creates refunds to fictitious patients

  • Employee creates falsified insurance payments on old accounts to boost collections for a bonus, then later deletes the payments

  • With older systems an employee can crash the computer and install the system with themselves as administrator. They can then turn off any audit trails

As computer programs are becoming more sophisticated, so are the ways of committing fraud. If possible, pick a software program with automatic insurance posting. Electronic payments from the insurance company going directly to the bank is a form of protection as is Remote deposit check capture.


Setting up stronger security that is customized is another important step. Passwords should not be shared, nor should another employee post on someone else's screen. Only the dentist should be an administrator and audit trails should be printed everyday along with a detailed day sheet.


If you hire a consultant to implement more security, make sure they understand the relationship between the PMS and the accounting software. They usually will not match. Especially because of timing differences. It is important to reconcile different reports from the PMS to the accounting because of this. If the ending balance of the AR is changing from what was recorded in previous months, it should be checked. Credit card deposits and EFT insurance payments can also be reconciled.


No one person should handle a transactions from beginning to end. Cross training is helpful so that more than one person is aware of what is going on. Your bookkeeper should also not be handling the money. An outside bookkeeper is usually best.


These are just a few ways that might cause your PMS reports to be inaccurate. Sometimes the dentist is surprised when he sees on his financial reports do not reflect as well as he thought from reading the Practice Management reports. It is important to work with your bookkeeper to see why it is different. Most information in the accounting software these days is automatically fetched. So if the deposits differ from the bank information, time to dig into reports. Your Software, as you know, doesn't really lie. It just tells you the information it has been given.




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