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Monitor Your Financial Vital Signs with the Income Statement

October 16, 20233 min read

If you're in healthcare, you know the value of continuous vital sign monitoring to assess the well-being of a patient. In much the same way, an income statement—also commonly referred to as a Profit and Loss statement or P&L—monitors the financial "vital signs" of your practice over a specific period. It could be a month, a quarter, or a year, and it's an indispensable tool to ensure the fiscal health of your healthcare practice. Let's explore five reasons why this document is crucial for your financial viability and success.

A Financial Heart Rate

Like an EKG measures the electrical activity of the heart, an income statement measures the financial activity of your practice. It shows you how much money is coming in from patient consultations, treatments, or insurance claims, and how much is going out for staff salaries, equipment, utilities, and other operational costs. This document allows you to understand if the financial "heartbeat" of your practice is steady, racing, or sluggish.

Forecasting and Planning

Have you ever used a patient's history and current vitals to forecast their recovery or future medical needs? An income statement does something similar for your practice's finances. By showing you the historical record of your earnings and spending, it helps you make educated predictions and decisions about future financial activities. Want to introduce a new treatment method or buy new medical equipment? Consult your P&L to see if that's a financially healthy move.

Monitoring Profitability

Just as you need to maintain a patient's blood pressure within a healthy range, your practice needs to keep its profitability in the 'green zone.' An income statement helps you pinpoint your net income, which is basically what you have left after the bills are paid (there’s more to it than that, but this is a good start). If you notice that your practice isn’t as profitable as you'd like it to be, that's a cue to reevaluate your expenses or look for ways to increase revenue.

Making Informed Decisions

Suppose you notice that during flu season, your practice sees a spike in patient visits, but your income statement shows that offering flu shots isn't generating much profit. Should you continue to offer this service as is, alter how you provide the shots to be more efficient, or stop giving them altogether to make room for more profitable services? The answer will be different from practice to practice. Just as a vital sign monitor helps you make immediate medical decisions, a well-maintained P&L enables you to make smart, evidence-based decisions specific to your practice.

Identifying Financial Trends

When treating chronic conditions, doctors look for patterns and trends in vital signs and symptoms. Similarly, reviewing your income statement can reveal financial trends that are crucial for planning. Is there a dip in revenue every summer? Are supply costs creeping up each quarter? Recognizing these patterns enables you to adjust your financial strategies accordingly.

To Sum It Up

Consider your income statement (or Profit and Loss statement) as equally essential for assessing the financial health of your healthcare practice as routine labs. It gives you an ongoing overview of your earnings and expenses, helps you plan for the future, keeps your profits in check, and allows you to make informed decisions to ensure your practice not only survives but thrives.

So, just as you wouldn't ignore your patients' vital signs, don't neglect the financial vital signs of your practice. Being financially robust enables you to offer the best patient care—because when your practice is healthy, it’s easier to keep your patients healthy too.

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Sarah Binger

Sarah Binger is a bookkeeping professional and business advisor who works with growing naturopathic, integrative, and functional health practices, med spas, and health and wellness centers. She specializes in helping practitioners grow sustainably. Sarah excels in nurturing businesses to diversify their revenue streams and scale up services. Her passion is to help the healers to have a healthy, thriving business so they can truly live their best dream life.

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