January 2024

Volume 16, Issue 1

How To Master The Budget Process

It's time to paw-sitively master your budget! A well-structured budget provides a roadmap for financial stability, ensuring that revenues align with expenses and empowers you to make strategic business decisions that align with your practice’s goals. As you navigate the financial landscape of your veterinary practice this year, understanding the budgeting process is crucial! Let's break it down into simple steps:

  • Income Projection: Identify your main sources of income – exams, surgeries, medications, lab, etc. Estimate the expected revenue based on past performance and industry trends. Your practice management software has several reports to show you the areas that were highest volume and highest fees for last year. Focus on those!

  • Expense Categories: Utilizing the AAHA standard chart of accounts, be sure to categorize your expenses into the main areas that you want to measure. These include your top two expenses: compensation and cost of goods sold (pharmaceuticals, in-house lab costs, reference lab costs, surgery costs, etc.). This helps hone in on the expenses that make the most impact on your profitability.

  • Budget Allocation: Set realistic budget targets for each expense category. Prioritize critical areas like COGS, compensation, staff continuing education and training, and equipment maintenance.

  • Track Your Expenses: Implement a system to monitor daily, weekly, and monthly expenses. But remember, just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean you should. For example, you need to keep a close pulse on how much inventory you purchase, it’s your second largest expense (next to compensation)! But tracking paper clips or post-it notes isn’t worth your time since office supplies usually make up less than 2% of your gross revenue.

  • Emergency Fund: Don’t forget to allocate a portion of your budget to an emergency fund or create a “cushion” for those rainy days. This ensures you're prepared for unexpected events, such as equipment breakdowns, closings due to staff shortages, or top producers being unable to produce. We recommend slightly underestimating your projected revenues and slightly overestimating your projected expenses. This can naturally create a contingency or cushion for the unexpected.

  • Regular Reviews: Schedule regular reviews to evaluate your budget's performance. QuickBooks Online has a great budgeting and reporting tool to measure each month’s actual amounts versus budgeted amounts. Don’t be afraid to adjust as needed based on changing circumstances.

  • Staff Involvement: Encourage your team to contribute ideas for cost-saving measures! They're on the front lines and can provide valuable insights. That will also help them feel included and invested in the success of the practice.

  • Invest in Technology: Consider investing in technology that enhances efficiency. This could be updating practice management software or additional apps or software for appointment scheduling, billing, dictating medical records or inventory management.

  • Continual Learning: Stay updated on industry trends and financial best practices. Attending veterinary conferences, workshops, or webinars to gain insights into optimizing your budget, send your management teams, or reach out to a veterinary specific business consultant.

  • Celebrate Success: Acknowledge and celebrate financial milestones! Recognizing achievements motivates the entire team and fosters a positive financial culture!

By mastering the budgeting process, you’re not just ensuring the financial health of your practice but also providing a wonderful working environment for your team while strengthening your ability to provide top-notch care to our furry friends.

Here's to a financially thriving and paw-some 2024!



Summit Proudly Supports

Summit is a proud supporter of the Christian Veterinary Mission. We invite you to check out all the amazing things this organization is doing, sharing the love of Christ through veterinary medicine. 


1099 Season is Here!

Form 1099 is used to report various types of income, other than salaries, wages, and tips, to the IRS. Businesses that make certain types of payments during the tax year are required to file 1099 forms to report those payments to the IRS and the recipients.

To avoid any IRS penalties, be sure and ask your accountant if they'll be filing your 1099's,

Dr. Michael Hargrove to speak @

WVC in Vegas, February 18, 2024

Will you be attending this year's WVC Annual Conference in Las Vegas? If so, we hope you will stop by and hear Dr. Hargrove as he dives into topics important to every practice owner.

  • Financial & Operational Benefits of Fear Free Hospital Certification

  • Veterinary Practice Sales: Partial vs. Total Sale & the Impact on Value

  • Veterinary Management Benchmarks: Guidelines, Goals or Garbage

  • Truth Behind the Multiple: What is a Capitalization Rate, Anyways

WVC Conference Link

Michael Hargrove, DMV, MBA,CVA

Summit Veterinary Advisors


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