Ensuring Accuracy with Collections

Properly recording money collected at a dental office can be complicated, especially if the dental office participates with dental insurance. The more complicated, the more room for human error. One simple way to reduce errors is to verify the deposit slip that goes to the bank matches the record of payments in the dental practice management software. If the two do not match exactly, an error has been made and the person responsible for the deposit should find and correct the error.

Here are a few tips and comments:

  • Deposits should be grouped by full calendar day. For example, checks and cash that are recorded on Monday should be deposited separately from checks that are recorded any other day. This allows for a clean and consistent convention for grouping payments on deposit slips. Further, most dental practice management software can only generate payment reports for full calendar days so partial day deposits would create an unnecessary challenge.
  • Keep copies of the deposit slips that go to the bank AND the payment reports from the practice management software. You can scan these documents if you are a paperless office. The historical records can be valuable if patient account entries are lost or altered in the future.
  • If there is any chance at all of embezzlement, dishonesty, cheating, theft, or whatever you want to call it, consider reconciling the payment records from the practice management software with deposits in the bank on a monthly basis. This reconciliation should include credit card payments, care credit payments, electronic deposits, and patient refunds in addition to cash and check deposits. The person performing the reconciliation should NOT be the person responsible for handling the money stuff on a day to day basis. Even if everyone is honest, this monthly reconciliation can catch occasional (or worse, frequent) innocent but costly errors.
  • This system improves accuracy in recording money received by the office, but it does not address all errors or dishonesty. For example, separate checks and balances are necessary to ensure money paid by patients actually makes it into the practice, that patients are billed accurate amounts, and that writeoffs are recorded accurately.