The VHMA Files: Sharing: A vital life skill--really!


What team members dont know about finances can hurt your practice.

Let's hear it for the team. And let's hear it for team leaders who understand the importance of delegating and sharing information that allows members to put their training, skills and credentials to the highest and best use. Veterinary practice managers need access to financial information so they can successfully address financial issues within the practice. The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) surveyed practice management professionals to determine if owners are forthcoming with fiscal information.

According to 66% of respondents, owners share income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, doctor payroll and benefits, staff payroll and benefits and key performance indicators. About 2% say their owner shares no financial data. 

The results reveal that owners have internalized the lessons of childhood and have learned to share very well. Respondents with limited access to financial data identified income statements and key performance indicators as the information that is most likely to land on their desk. Balance sheets and cash flow statements seem to be privileged information, which owners maintain for their eyes only.

If your practice owners are considering taking a the leap and sharing financial information but are not yet comfortable making the information available, encourage them to review the recommendations of practice managers who identified the financial information that's critical to their job (see the figure below). 

Managers can assume a number of vital roles in the practice, and financial manager falls within the practice manager's job domain. But a manager's success in this role depends on the practice owner's willingness to share essential-and sometimes sensitive-financial details.

Christine Shupe, CAE, is the executive director of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. The association is dedicated to serving professionals in veterinary management through education, certification and networking. 

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