Issue 14 - Health Newsletter
Thank you for making 2017 a fantastic year.
As we launch into 2018, our Health Team is looking forward to assisting our clients to achieve their business goals throughout the year ahead. The strength of our team is their collective experience and depth of industry knowledge. Introducing the Brentnalls Health Team:
(Left to Right) - Vanessa Willans (Administration), Stefan Sapio (Accounting & Advisory), Matthew Holden (Partner), Danny Haydon (Associate, Health Division), Christina Gulliver (Associate), Shali Manolev (Partner), Rick Albertini (Managing Partner) and Caitlin Smith (Accounting & Advisory) Absent: Craig Farrow (Chairman and Partner).
Cloud Accounting is not a new concept and many businesses are currently utilising the cloud for many of their business functions. However we do see a number of businesses, particularly in the Medical profession, who are still using traditional "desktop" accounting systems.
What is the "Cloud"?
Simply, "cloud" is just another name for the internet. With the cloud, you are using an online service or facility to run business software and perform business functions that would otherwise be done on computers or servers based within your premises.
It is likely you are using the cloud in some capacity already, including:
- Banking data – using on-line banking to access transaction information and perform business transactions.
- Smart phone use – using iCloud or similar to back up your phone data, including photos, messages, contacts, music and files.
- Social media – if you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform, your data on those platforms is stored on the cloud.
So why are businesses moving their accounting systems to the cloud?
With your accounting software on the cloud, it means that it can be accessed by authorised users from any device. This means that you can process or review your accounts using your computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Also, it means that other users who need to access such as your accountant, practice manager and other employees can do so without being set up on your server. You can limit users to only certain functions to ensure privacy and security of information – for example you may give staff access to their employee records only and restrict them from the rest of the data.
Data links between the software and your bank can allow for bank feeds, which is where your bank pushes transaction data into your accounting file on a daily basis. This saves time on manually entering this information, and eliminates many errors around reconciling the accounts.
Further, for repetitive transactions, rules can be established so the software recognises a transaction and prepares the correct entry automatically for your approval.
Your cloud accounting file will attract a monthly subscription which may be a new cost to your practice. You should however, compare this to other costs such as computer hardware and server costs and staff costs associated with manual processing of entries, which may be reduced or eliminated. If you do your own processing, consider the time saved in processing transactions and how that time could be better spent on the business, consulting with patients or having much needed time off.
As mentioned above, your accountant should have access to your cloud accounting software. Should you have any processing queries, or want to have a discussion regarding your accounts, your accountant can access the file as you talk on the phone. This can help keep your file accurate and up to date, and allows for more informed discussions with your accountant about your business performance.
Enhanced Payroll Processing
With Single-Touch Payroll on the way, reporting your payroll data to the ATO will be required as you do pay runs. You are already required to report greater information when making contributions to your employees' superannuation funds. A cloud-based accounting and payroll system allows these reporting requirements to be met automatically through the software as opposed to using a separate facility, such as the ATO's Small Business Super Clearing House.
Further, cloud software allows your employees to get restricted access to their payroll details meaning the process of providing wage information, accessing and updating leave details and updating contact or banking information becomes much simpler.
It is not only accounting systems which are becoming cloud-based. Medical practice management software, employee management and rostering and receipt and invoice processing applications are also becoming cloud-based.
Importantly, many of these cloud-based applications are integrating with each other and able to share data to eliminate double processing from the user end and provide an all round management system for your business on the cloud.
Which Cloud Accounting Software is right for me?
There are many cloud accounting software options out there, but the three main providers which we see our clients using are MYOB, Xero and Quickbooks Online. Each provider then has a range of software plans that are tailored to the needs of different businesses.
There is no one provider that is suitable for every business. If you would like to discuss moving your practice accounting to the cloud, which cloud accounting software is right for you, or if you are already on the cloud and want to learn about how to maximise your benefits or how you can integrate to other business functions, please call your Brentnalls SA manager to discuss.
The initial trial of Health Care Homes from selection PHNs was rolled out on 2 October 2017. The second tranche of Health Care Homes began enrolling patients and providing services from 1 December 2017. The 190 practices which include Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) are participating in stage one and will run until November 2019.
A full list of participating practices by PHN region can be viewed here: https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-care-homes-professional
One of the concerns that has created some angst about the bundled payments is whether these payments change the nature of the contractual relationship between the practice and the provider. The ATO now have released their position on the tax implications of HCH bundled payments to address the following questions:
- Does this change the withholding obligations for medical practices?
- Is there an employment relationship between health practitioners and medical practices?
You can view the full fact sheet here: https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/document?DocID=AFS/HealthCareHome
On 19 April 2017, the Australian Government announced there would be changes made around Medicare eligibility for greater access to mental health treatment services for people in rural, remote and very remote locations (Modified Monash Model – MMM), the changes were implemented on 1 November 2017.
What this means is that there are new Medicare items that allow people in rural communities to access up to seven of ten consultations via video conferencing. However, one of the first four sessions will be delivered face-to-face to facilitate a personal connection. The Medicare rebates are available for up to 10 individual allied mental health services in a calendar year.
For more information head to: https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-ba-telehealth
In July 2017, HotDoc surveyed 1,140 Australian patients to obtain their thoughts on the standard of patient engagement in General Practices across Australia. The aim of the report is to provide GPs with further insight around the evolving wants and values that patients are seeking, with particular focus on technology and how it plays a part through patient outcomes.
The survey's focus was centred on how well General Practices communicate and engage patients through the use of technology.
The key seven findings:
- Patients are turning to friends and family for recommendations (word of mouth).
- Human relationship is still a number one incentive for continued engagement.
- SMS continues to grow in popularity as the most popular way to communicate information between practices and patients.
- Online booking allowing full view of their GPs calendar are popular.
- Patients are frustrated with not knowing the wait time.
- Patients still prefer the human element when checking-in, however there has been an increase in patients preferring to turn to technology such as kiosks and mobile apps.
- Patients prefer to order repeat prescriptions online.
The key message from the survey is that the overall experience of a patient is rapidly changing with the introduction of technology. We're certainly not surprised that building relationships still dominates as a number one incentive, however it's important that practices continually innovate especially as patients are calling for more autonomy over the way they manage their health and more transparency over the way General Practices communicate, highlighted by SMS as a popular way to communicate.