Running a modern dental practice is challenging, there are stringent regulations to maintain, staff to manage, training to be undertaken. And that’s before you consider the care of your patients.
Modern accounting software can help ease the burden by managing payments and payroll. But with so many accounting solutions available it can be difficult to choose the right one. Modern accounting software plans vary from free to paid plans costing hundreds of dollars a month.
With most dental practices being small private businesses they don’t need all the bells and whistles of an enterprise-grade accounting suite. But can they get away with using a free option? In this blog, we are going to explore free accounting software and explain why it is not necessarily the best solution for your dental practice needs.
7 Reasons why free accounting software is not a good fit for most dental practices
1. No ability to connect bank accounts
Many free accounting packages offer a limited set of features, with the most useful features reserved for paid plans. One such feature is the ability to connect the platform with your bank account. This feature is rarely available on free plans because it is expensive to maintain.
So when selecting a plan, it’s a good idea to check what features are available and choose the platform which offers the features you need at the lowest cost.
2. Limits on the number of users
Most free software accounting packages limit the number of users who can log into the system. This could be an issue for dental practices who use an accountant to manage their finances.
To create more user accounts companies are forced to upgrade to a paid plan which eliminates the benefit of using a free account. So when choosing an accounting package, think about how many people will need to access the software and make sure the platform offers enough user accounts to meet your needs.
3. No ability to manage offline documents
If your practice has been running for a while you likely have many years of historical data kept offline. When transitioning to a digital accounting system you will need to decide on how far back you want to go when digitising accounts.
Once a package has been chosen most practices employ people to help with data entry.
However, there are <a href=”https://wichwon.com/wichwon-concierge-and-onboarding/“>tools and services</a> available which can be used to simplify this process. But for them to be implemented successfully your accounting package must have the required features. Most free plans don’t allow for this type of data entry which can cause problems when inputting legacy data.
4. Limited payroll features
Even the smallest dental practice has a receptionist and hygienist on the payroll. With most free accounting plans offering limited payroll options, this is something you need to think about. In most cases, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan or use an additional payroll service. A lack of payroll features is one of the primary reasons why we don’t recommend free accounting packages for dental practices.
5. No automated invoice reminders
If your dental practice is to be successful, you must put automated systems in place to collect payment. In an ideal world, customers would pay you as soon as they receive your invoice. But in practice, you will have to send out several reminders.
An accounts package which automates this process can help you collect payment more efficiently. Unfortunately, most free plans limit this feature, which will result in you losing track of payments or being forced to upgrade to a paid plan.
6. No ability to manage payment schedules
Dental treatments are expensive. To help combat this some dentists offer payment schedules to help spread the cost of treatment. These are particularly popular for more intensive treatments such as implants, bridges or dentures.
Unfortunately, most free accounting plans do not provide the option to manage this type of payment schedule. This will limit your ability to offer this service which may mean you lose business as a result. We recommend checking the feature set of any accounts package paid or free to ensure it offers the services your practice needs.
7. Pricing in U.S. dollars
Finally, with most of the largest accounting platforms based in North America, Australian users are forced to pay in U.S. Dollars. For free platforms, this is not an issue, but if you have to upgrade, which is highly likely for a dental practice, then you will be exposed to currency fluctuations. So your free accounting package may cost you more than you think.
If you would like help choosing the right accounting software for your dental practice sign-up to Wichwon today. Our platform is free to use and will help you find the best accounting package based on the features your dental practice needs. We also offer concierge and onboarding services to help you get up and running once you have made a decision.