What do you do when your client’s pet needs immediate attention, but they are unable to pay right away? How can you make sure you don’t fall behind on payments you owe to external suppliers?
As a vet, providing life-saving care is critical, however maintaining a healthy cash flow for your practice is equally important so you can be there for your clients for the long-term. Cash flow is the lifeblood of every business. It ensures you can pay suppliers and staff, and cover costs that may arise (marketing, overhead, repairs, etc.). Access to cashflow allows you to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.
- Pre-book preventative care & follow-up appointments
By having office staff pre-book the client appointment for seasonal tick and flea medications, heartworm tests and other preventative care appointments every spring, you will increase revenue and improve cash flow for your practice. Annual vaccinations if kept on a schedule along with follow-up appointments for treatments will ensure you are not missing any revenue opportunities that could otherwise be missed or skipped.
- Provide easy payment options
Be sure to make it easy for your clients to pay with a credit or debit card. This ensures you will receive next-day payment for your services without the need to handle cheques or make cash deposits. You can learn more about setting up debit and credit card processing through Scotiabank’s partner, Chase Merchant Services.
For clients with pet insurance, check into whether their insurance provider offers a direct payment plan rather than require their customers to pay up-front and then file a claim. This can help you create a better experience for your customers and help you optimize your cash flow at the same time.
- Use a business credit card
Manage your business expenses and take advantage of potential rewards or cash-back features by making purchases and paying suppliers with a business credit card. This can help maximize your cash flow by providing you with a limited grace period between the time you make the purchase and the time you make the payment without incurring interest charges.
Consolidate all your payments on one business credit card that best meets your needs, be it rewards offerings or cashback. Keeping your business credit card expenses separate can make it easier to track and record expenses and file your taxes at end of the year.
- Put your cash to use
If your practice has extra cash on hand, don’t let your funds sit in a no-interest bank account. Use it to pay down any outstanding debts or lines of credit or take advantage of a business account that earns interest based on your account balance. Depending on when you anticipate you may need the funds, you can also opt to invest in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).
A cashable GIC pays more interest than a standard business account while still providing you with access to your funds. A redeemable GIC allows the flexibility to redeem before maturity for a reduced rate or hold to maturity for a higher rate. A non-redeemable GIC pays the highest rate of all but locks in your funds for a set period of time. For more information, speak to your Advisor or Healthcare & Professional Specialist.
- Invest in technology
A small investment in technology can often help you reap tremendous cash flow advantages. It can enable you to consistently track and analyze your cash flow to more accurately predict shortages and plan for the future. With new systems becoming easier to use than ever before, along with more accurate reporting, it can help save you hours of admin time.
An accounting software and invoice management system can help you stay on top of receivables and customer payments. Plus, customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you track and manage your client account information and interactions.
For more information and customized advice and solutions to help you grow your practice and optimize your cash flow, contact us today.