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Beating the recession blues


Karen Felsted offers advice for veterinary practices struggling with decreasing revenue and increasing costs.

There's no question that the aftermath of the recession is still impacting some areas of the country, but the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study and others indicate that a fair number of practices—even those in areas hard hit—are still managing to grow, says Dr. Karen Felsted CPA, MS, CVPM, president of Felsted Veterinary Consultants in Dallas, Texas.

"First of all, you need to look closely at what's going on in your practice the past few years," Felsted says. "What is the trend in critical operational metrics?"

Felsted suggests looking at:

> Revenue per doctor

> Number of transactions in total and per doctor

> Average transaction charge

> Number of new clients

> Number of active clients

> Number of feline patients

> Cost of support staff, drugs and medical supplies, lab costs and food costs.

Compare these figures to what goes on in a typical practice. This helps you identify the areas you want to focus on, Felsted says. If new-client figures are low, then marketing may need attention. Do you have a Facebook page? Are you tracking online reviews about your practice?

"If your drugs and medical supply costs are high, then inventory control may not be as strong as it needs to be," Felsted says. "Do you have the right team member in charge of this critical area? Do you count high-dollar products (food and flea, tick and heartworm preventives) regularly and compare those figures to what the computer says you have?"

There are many things practices can do to get back on track—the key is identifying what will have the most impact on your practice.

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