Managing your own dental practice comes with a dual set of responsibilities. Not only do you have to be a good dentist and provide superior care to patients but you also have to manage the business aspects of the practice. That means dealing with employees, expenses, payroll, purchasing and maintaining equipment and so on.
Unfortunately, dental training does not equip graduating students for the realities of practice ownership. Years of learning and hard work made you a dental care professional but you are left to learn practice management on your own. As such, it is easy to overlook certain practices because you don’t have the time or no one told you about it.
One such issue is tracking your employees’ timesheets. Most practice owners are aware of the big picture when comes to employees. You need to hire good workers, pay them well, train them etc. But what about the little things? It is unsurprising that in the midst of a busy dental office, a small task like tracking employee working hours falls by the wayside.
Check Timesheet Logging
Most good practice management software has built-in time tracking tools. It means you don’t have to monitor when your employees clock in and clock out. You also don’t need an old-fashioned punch card machine in the break room. For the most part, time logging is automatic.
As long as your employees don’t forget to enter their times, there is not much hope for mistakes. Even if someone does forget, it’s always possible to go back and edit the hours. However, this does open up the possibility of cheating. Are you sure that no employee is fudging their hours? It is a good practice to check the time reports on a weekly or monthly basis to catch anomalies.
In an office with half a dozen employees, it’s not uncommon to find a few instances where employees have gone back to edit hours because they forgot to clock in. It’s normal, it happens. But if you find that a particular person edits their hours every so often, it is a red flag. Even if the action is not malicious or deliberate, you might want to investigate why this person has difficulty clocking in or out. Are they coming in late to the office or overworked to the point where they don’t have time to record hours? Whatever the reason, it warrants investigation.
Keep an Eye on Payroll Records
Once you’re sure that everyone has recorded their hours accurately, you need to report it to the payroll company. In a busy office, you might not have time to do it yourself. It often falls to the office manager to report employee hours. This is another area with the potential for mistakes or malicious actions.
As a practice owner, you should check if the hours are being reported to the payroll company on time. These numbers should also be accurate as your employees get paid according to the hours worked. Make sure that your office is reporting normal work hours and overtime separately and that the pay is calculated accordingly.
The crux of the matter is that most employees are honest and do not engage in dishonest behavior. Inaccuracies are – nine times out of ten – mistakes, errors, and oversight. But if you don’t check the records often, you can’t catch the one time when someone cheats or otherwise mismanages payroll.
Overpaying is time theft, you are paying your employee for hours they didn’t work. Underpayment or wrong payments could result in a lawsuit for your practice. So make sure employees record hours and report them to payroll correctly.