Why we decided to open the books to our veterinary team
Whole team involvement leads to smarter financial decisions.
This was written by one of 10 finalists for the Veterinary Economics Practice Manager of the Year award, sponsored by VPI. For more from each finalist and a slideshow of the nominees, visit dvm360.com/PMOY.
I am a huge believer in running the business like it's mine. I take every decision I make into account as if I owned our practice. I wanted to find a way for my team to feel that invested. One of our owners, Dr. Parva, and I enrolled in Purdue's/American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Veterinary Management Program. We had discussed sharing our books with our team but there was a lot of hesitance. It wasn't until we attended the Human Relations module of this program that it really hit home for both of us. It was at that time that we decided we were committed to opening the books to the team and we would sell the importance of this idea to the other practice owner.
It wasn't a piece of cake. It took almost two years to put the foundation in place to move forward. We started with team meetings talking about trusting our team to take a more active role in the financial health of the business, starting with pieces of data to start and working our way up to sharing everything. I truly believe if your team is committed to the practice, and your vision, why wouldn't you empower them to take a more active role? Our team is just getting used to the data, tracking and expenses that make up a business. It was definitely an eye opener for them.
One of the challenges was trying to not overwhelm the team with the data. It's easy to say, “Here's what we made and what things cost.” But it's insane to expect your team to know what to do with all that information. I've been a practice manager for 12 years and I still learn every single day. We had to find a format of sharing the data in an easy, non-threatening way. It's still a work in progress. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that I look at financial statements weekly and this may be the first time they have ever seen anything like it.
It is so nice to see my team say, “We should turn up the air conditioning, didn't you see what we paid for electricity last month?” or “The COGS for hospital supplies was out of control how can we conserve and be smarter about what we use?” I absolutely love that they're all taking responsibility for the outcome of things.
Aan Gonsalves is practice manager at Arizona Animal Wellness Center in? Gilbert, Ariz.