Improve Your Business’s Efficiency with Easier Policies

Improve Your Office’s Efficiency with Better Procedures and Policies

 

Efficiency

Efficiency

 

Introduction

In How to Improve Practice Efficiency with Effective Policies and Procedures, Sandra Curd urges medical practices to employ some widely used business and human resources measures to enhance their efficiency. Her advice could probably apply to virtually any professional practice arena.

Motivation for Establishing Personnel Policies

Several of the protocols she recommends help busy offices enhance revenue streams through tighter organization. She maintains that medical practices benefit by adopting these simple ideas, designed to reduce staff confusion and enforce better adherence to rules on a day to day level. Employees will cooperate, learn their duties more quickly, and gain empowerment by understanding the full scope of their individual position responsibilities. Written guidelines also reduce employee litigation involving personnel matters.

 

Essentials

Essentials

Three Essential Personnel Manuals

Ms. Curd strongly recommends that every professional practice spend time preparing three essential types of manuals. First, a clearly written job description manual covering every position in the organization allows employees to comprehend the full scope of their daily responsibilities. Second, a policy manual provides guidance concerning carrying out job duties. Third, a manual delineating office policies and protocols can offer guidance to staff members when questions arise about the way they should handle a recurring issue.

 

Employee manual

Employee manual

Preparing Each Manual

Professional practices can benefit by first creating a template and then delegating the responsibility for manual preparation to those most impacted by the final documents. Insights gained through networking and discussing job-related issues allows the participants to gain a broader perspective concerning the job duties of everyone in the office. A medical practice should accord from six months to a year for the completion of this group assignment.

Formatting

Formatting

Suggested Manual Format

Ideally, every manual should include certain basic material, in addition to its specific subject content. For instance, by specifically numbering and dating every page, members of the drafting committee expedite future revisions. For the sake of clarity, the finished product should include a description of the subject matter, the name of the individual approving the new document, the designation of the impacted department and a manager’s signature conferring approval.

Periodic Review and Revision

It remains vital to include a protocol for periodically reviewing and revising the three personnel manuals. Why? Practice environments do not remain static. As changes occur, the staff members should take steps to keep their manuals up to date and fully current.

 

Updating information

Updating information

Several Benefits of Maintaining Written Manuals

Written manuals reduce administrative stress in nine specific ways. These issues merit some individual attention. Although not all of the benefits will pertain in every single instance, professional practices may encounter each of these advantages at some point.

Benefit Number One: Maximize Training Efficiency
The manuals reduce training time in many ways. For one thing, redundancy during training is eliminated.

Benefit Number Two: Enhance Clarity
Manuals establish clear policies. This step eliminates conflicting verbal directions.

Benefit Number Three: Establish Job Performance Criteria
The presence of written guidelines lets employees know very clearly the specific criteria by which their job performances will be evaluated. This step empowers them.

 

Training employees

Training employees

 

Benefit Number Four: Train New Employees Faster
By giving every employee copies of all three manuals, the professional practice offers new hires an invaluable resource. These guidelines can assist them in learning their jobs faster.

Benefit Number Five: Streamline
Written protocols help promote uniformity. Therefore, they can help streamline operational activities in an office environment.

Benefit Number Six: Promote Fairness
The manuals can eliminate the administrative stress experienced by employees who are asked to perform certain tasks. Managers will not unfairly delegate roles outside of employee job descriptions when duties are set forth clearly in writing. Additionally, the practice will not expect individual employees to perform work for which they are not compensated.

 

Accountability

Accountability

 

Benefit Number Seven: Better Accountability
By outlining a specific role for each position, and enumerating its duties, managers establish a clear chain of command in the organization. This situation often encourages employees to accept greater accountability for their actions; everyone in the office will understand who is responsible for performing a particular task.

Benefit Number Eight: Clarify Position Descriptions
A clear description of every position in the organization lets employees know the specific boundaries of their duties much better. It eliminates management problems that can sometimes arise when one employee endeavors to intrude onto another’s job responsibilities, for instance.

Benefit Number Nine: Resolve Staff Complaints More Easily
A set of clearly written office protocols and procedures allows managers to address staff complaints more easily. An administrator can simply direct the attention of employees to a particular manual provision in order to resolve workplace disputes. Written rules also reduce instances of formal grievances.

 

Progress

Progress

 

Conclusion

Taking the effort to empower employees through the creation of formal written guidelines, professional medical practices can reduce administrative stress and enhance workplace morale. They also massively increase efficiency!

Many thanks for skimming our post. Please share any thoughts in the comments box below. If you need the new cms 1500 form to file insurance claims, head over to Justcms1500forms.com. Personally, I prefer to purchase cms 1500 form 02/12 forms for my practice from a manufacture (like they are), instead of a re-seller who doesn’t guarantee their product. If you staff prefers software filing for claims, they provide software for this too.

Stop by our Scoop.It page, and post your comments or resource links to debate this matter further.

See you soon.

Are Your Tax Clients Really Prepared for Obamacare?

Are Your Tax Clients Truly Ready for The ACA Rules?

 

Obamacare

Obamacare

As a CPA, you provide your clients with guidance and advice on a wide range of topics that have an impact on their tax liability. For example, you may provide them with knowledge about tax deductions that they could put to use that could help them lower their tax liability. From preparing taxes to offering structured insight on financial planning, you may provide many services to your clients. When it comes to a recent change with regards to healthcare, you may be wondering if you have the knowledge and insight to properly guide and advise your clients in this area. More than that, you may be wondering if your clients are prepared for the changes brought forth by Obamacare.

 

Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act

The Passage of Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Acts were passed in March 2010. These acts included an Individual Mandate that went into effect on January 1, 2014. This means that the tax consequences of those changes will begin to be felt when taxpayers file their returns in the coming year. As a CPA, it is important for you to understand more about Obamacare. This will help you to better serve your clients.

Minimum Essential Coverage

As part of the legislation that was passed, clients are required to purchase a minimum amount of coverage. Many will qualify for this through their government or employer-sponsored plans, but others do not. It is important to note that this is for health insurance, so plans for dental insurance, vision coverage, workers’ compensation and other discount coverage options will not meet this requirement.

Minimum Essential Coverage

Minimum Essential Coverage

Shared Responsibility

When the rule for Minimum Essential Coverage is not met, your clients may be required to pay a penalty for this, known as the Shared Responsibility payment. The fact is that the calculation for the Shared Responsibility payment is actually complicated, and because of this, it can be hard for your clients to estimate it on their own. This may catch some of your clients off-guard, and the penalty for some may equate to hundreds or thousands of dollars. It is important to note that the penalty may apply for them as well as any dependents that they claim on their tax return.

Shared Responsibility Exemptions

There are some exemptions in place for the Shared Responsibility rule, and understanding these exemptions may help your clients to qualify for savings on their tax bill. There is a lengthy list of questions that have been developed to help taxpayers determine if they qualify for an exemption. Some of these include having a low household income or having other documented hardships. Some also include being a part of a group, such as some religions or a federally-recognized Indian tribe. There are special forms that must be completed in order for these individuals to qualify for an exemption, and you may help your clients to fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for an exemption to the Shared Responsibility rule.

Shared Responsibility Rule

Shared Responsibility Rule

Obamacare Tax Credit

Some taxpayers have taken advantage of the opportunity to purchase affordable health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace that was established under the recently passed legislation. Those who have purchased their coverage through the marketplace may qualify for a special tax credit that can be used to lower their tax liability. You should be aware that there are special rule in place for applying and qualifying for the credit. For example, married taxpayers typically must file as married filing jointly in order to qualify, but there are some exceptions in place.

The New Tax Forms

While all CPAs should take time to familiarize themselves with these special tax rules, it is important to also be aware that the Obamacare changes have also resulted in changes to the tax forms. The standard 1040, for example, has additional lines for these credits. There is also a Form 1095-A that must be filled out by taxpayers who bought coverage through the marketplace. These are just a few of the changes in place regarding how compliance with the legislation should be reported to the IRS.

Form 1095-A to be filled out by Marketplace Buyers

Form 1095-A to be filled out by Marketplace Buyers

The Impact on Tax Liability

Many taxpayers will be impacted by the next laws that are in place under the Obamacare legislation. While some taxpayers may qualify for a tax credit, others may be required to pay a penalty for failure to comply with the legislation. Still others who have employer-sponsored coverage in place may not be impacted by the legislation at all. Clearly, there are some considerable ramifications associated with this legislation for taxpayers. Because the legislation has entwined taxes with healthcare, it has fallen onto the shoulders of CPAs to learn more about the healthcare act and to help their clients make affordable decisions about their healthcare and their taxes.

This year, you also need to consider the safety and security of your clients’ data. When filing tax forms like the 1040 and W-2’s, you need to find services that are as safe as possible.  Especially when you want to file 1099 online for contractors, you need to make sure they have a record of having safety measures in place so data breaches aren’t a concern. One site you can review quickly as a standard bearer is eFile4Biz.com. They will efile 1099 forms on your behalf, as well as print and deliver the tax docs to the required recipients.  This alone makes them – or anyone doing this for you – a massive support system for you, especially during heavy tax filing periods.

If you are a CPA, you should be prepared to answer any questions that your clients have about Obamacare and their options, and you may need to help your clients determine if they will be required to pay a penalty or qualify for a credit or an exemption. In some cases, this can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars of difference in tax liability or taxable income, and this means that taxpayers may need to be prepared for this tax change. While some taxpayers may have an unfortunate surprise when filing their taxes this year, you can decrease their stress and can help them to avoid surprises by providing them with guidance and advice in this area.

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