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Making collaboration work

Faye Armstrong explains how practices can work together successfully

First published in Practice Management, April 2013

At its best, collaborative working can be a dynamic, efficient and cost effective way of providing a new service, or a way of improving how an existing activity is done.

Read more: Making collaboration work

Internal financial controls

Pauline Hogg provides a checklist of the key areas to monitor in a GP practice

First published by Practice Management, March 2013

Internal financial controls are systematic measures (such as reviews, checks and balances, methods and procedures) necessary to….

Read more: Internal financial controls

Engaging a locum

Luke Bennett considers the tax and superannuation issues

First published in Practice Management, February 2013

Should locums be hired as employees or should they be self-employed? Unfortunately there is no black and white answer since each case will depend on its own facts.

Read more: Engaging a locum

Deadlines for the year ahead

Sue Beatons explains the key financial deadlines for the year ahead

First published by Practice Management, January 2013

Planning ahead is key to ensuring 2013 deadlines for tax, National Insurance and pensions are met. There are some significant changes afoot; not least the disappearance of primary care trusts on March 31 as CCGs start operating.

Read more: Accounting deadlines for 2013

Recruiting a GP partner

Ann Tudor explains how to avoid the pitfalls

First published by Practice Management, November/December 2012

There are many areas where care needs to be taken when recruiting a GP partner. Here are some of the key issues for consideration.

Read more: Recruiting a GP partner

Preparing for a practice merger

Bob Senior has a checklist for practice managers

First published by Practice Management, October 2012

Merging with another practice may be an option smaller practices are considering in the face of increased costs and decreasing profits.

Read more: Preparing for a practice merger

Surviving the changes to enhanced services

Accountant Melanie Thomas explains how the transition to GP commissioning will affect enhanced services – and outlines action practices can take now to prepare for the change

First published by Pulse, 8th October 2012

These are anxious times for GP practices affected by cuts in services. But while there is a potential risk to income when CCGs take the reins in April, there may also be opportunities.

Read more: Surviving the changes to enhanced services

Ten top tips for maximising your non-NHS income

Medical accountant Luke Bennett advises practices on how to generate a better stream of income from non-NHS services

First published by Pulse, 25th September 2012

As the funds available for GMS and PMS work are squeezed ever tighter, practices should ensure they are running non-NHS services as efficiently as possible in order to maximise profits.

Read more: Ten tips for maximising your non-NHS income

Four ways to cut your tax bill

Nick Holmes offers some advice to GPs who regularly pay too much tax

First published by Pulse, 25th September 2012

GPs are working longer and harder than ever before but for less income. Tax allowances have been cut and tax and superannuation rates have increased. Without careful management your take-home pay could be on a downward spiral.

Read more: Four ways to cut your tax bill

How will commissioning affect my income?

Sally Sidaway answers key questions about the impact of working for a CCG on both personal and practice income

First published by Pulse, 10th September 2012

From April 2013, CCGs will be firmly established, with many GPs holding active commissioning roles – from officer posts to ad hoc work.

Read more: How will commissioning affect my income?

VAT facts explained

Alison McDowall explains partial exemption rules for dispensing practices

First published in Practice Management, September 2012

The VAT partial exemption rules that apply to all dispensing practices can be a headache.

Read more: VAT facts explained

The PAYE revolution

Margaret Merrifield outlines some important developments

First published in Practice Management, July/August 2012

The PAYE reporting regime is about to undergo the most fundamental change since it was established in 1944.

Read more: The PAYE revolution

Prepare a drawings forecast

Chris Howe explains the importance of forecasting partners’ drawings

First published in Practice Management, June 2012

With practice profits under pressure and partners’ net income reducing due to tax and superannuation increases, it would be wise to prepare a partner drawings forecast for the year ahead.

Read more: Prepare a drawings forecast

Why property capital accounts count

Chris Howe describes how one practice discovered the importance of property capital accounts

First published in Practice Management, May 2012

My firm was recently appointed to look after the accounts of a four-partner dispensing practice that discovered serious flaws in the property capital accounts following the retirement of one of the GPs.

Read more: Why property capital accounts count

Retiring partners – Part 2

Liz Densley explains why it is essential to plan ahead and consider the financial issues

First published in Practice Management April, 2012

When a partner retires there are many financial issues for a practice to consider. Here is an outline of what needs to be thought through on tax, pensions and seniority payments.

Read more: Retiring partners – Part 2

Retiring partners – Part 1

Liz Densley explains why planning ahead is essential for both the retiring GP and the practice

First published in Practice Management, March 2012

With thousands of GPs predicted to retire over the next few years, practice managers should take stock of the financial implications of a partner retiring from the practice so that any adverse impact on cash flow can be mitigated.

Read more: Retiring partners – Part 1

Trap for remuneration packages

Faye Armstrong warns of VAT rule changes for staff benefits

First published in Practice Management, February 2012

Something rarely a top consideration when thinking about staff pay and benefit packages is VAT. However a recent VAT case which Astra Zeneca fought as far as the European Courts, means that VAT now has to be paid over on some parts of staff remuneration packages.

Read more: Trap for remuneration packages

A financial success

AISMA accountants give ten tips to face the challenges of 2012

First published in Practice Management, January 2012

By all accounts 2012 is going to be a difficult year. With GPs facing yet another pay freeze, and practices in England experiencing falling profits, financial efficiency will be the watchword for practice managers in the months ahead. Members of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants have joined together to offer some timely advice.

Read more: A financial success

Cash flow management

Barry Rigby explains how practices can monitor and manage cash flow

First published in Practice Management, November/December 2011

Downward pressure on practice income in recent years combined with upward pressure on expenses means it is more important than ever for practices to monitor and manage their cash flow.

Read more: Cash flow management

Anomalies in practice accounts – Part 3

The final article in a three-part series by Nick Holmes

First published in Practice Management, October 2011

The first two articles examined typical mistakes made in income and expenditure and drawings. This final article brings together a checklist of anomalies to look out for in the balance sheet.

Read more: Anomalies in practice accounts – Part 3

Anomalies in practice accounts – Part 2

In his second article, Nick Holmes focuses on expenditure and drawings

First published in Practice Management, September 2011

Identifying and resolving an irregularity in the practice accounts can be a time consuming process. Using the following checklist, which focuses on practice expenditure and drawings, should help you find mistakes more easily.

Read more: Anomalies in practice accounts – Part 2

Anomalies in practice accounts – Part 1

Nick Holmes explains how to spot them

First published in Practice Management, July/August 2011

Whether you are looking at your practice’s annual accounts, management accounts or undertaking your normal monthly review of practice income and expenditure, you should be able to identify any irregularities without having to do a full audit of every transaction.

Read more: Anomalies in practice accounts: Part 1

Charging for non-NHS work

David Hubbard has advice on how to keep track of your private income

First published in Practice Management, June 2011

All practices will be in receipt of non-NHS income for services such as insurance company reports, cremation fees, private medical examinations and reports to name just a few. To maximise practice profitability it is important these services are correctly charged for, and that payment is collected.

Read more: Charging for non-NHS work

Petty issue?

Natalie Doughty explains how to set up a petty cash system for your practice

First published in Practice Management, May 2011

To manage the cash coming in and going out of your practice efficiently and safely, two systems are required. The first one is to collect fees paid in cash by patients. This needs to be kept in reception and must not be confused with the petty cash. The second is the petty cash system itself, usually maintained by a responsible person with secure, limited access.

Read more: Petty issue?

Practice accounts – Part 3

Lesley Tooley explains the importance of reading and understanding them

First published in Practice Management, April 2011

The first two articles explained the purpose of practice financial accounts and the layout of the profit and loss account and the allocation of net practice income. This final article explains the balance sheet and the partners’ current accounts.

Read more: Practice accounts: Part 3

Practice accounts – Part 2

Lesley Tooley explains the importance of reading and understanding them

First published in Practice Management, March 2011

The profit and loss account is usually one page long and starts with all of the income of the practice, split into categories. National Health Service contract income is shown separately and the other categories will include outside appointments, non-NHS income and reimbursement of expenses. This should comprise the whole of the income of the practice. Offsetting expenditure against income should not occur. The left hand columns will show the current year and the right hand columns will show the previous year. The categories are important as they assist later in calculating tax and in preparing the annual superannuation certificates.

Read more: Practice accounts: Part 2

Practice accounts – Part 1

Lesley Tooley explains the importance of reading and understanding them

First published in Practice Management, February 2011

For the uninitiated, reading and understanding your practice accounts can be daunting. With the full document running to a dozen pages or more, the columns of figures can be a struggle to navigate. Put simply though, the accounts can be broken down into two main documents; the profit and loss account and the balance sheet. The remaining pages merely break down these figures by way of notes.

Read more: Practice accounts: Part 1

Choosing an accountant

Sue Beaton offers advice on how to find the right one for your practice

First published in Practice Management, January 2011.

Investing time in finding the right accountant for your practice should lead to a successful long-term relationship. First of all, create a shortlist of at least three firms. A good way to approach this is by asking colleagues in other practices for recommendations since it is advisable to choose firms for the shortlist with specialist medical accountancy experience and a proven track record.

Read more: Choosing an accountant

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