Practices need a change fund plus petty cash

June 10, 2012

With more patients paying for service in cash, your practice could benefit from a cash management policy. See what you should keep in mind when setting one up.

Q: Even though the economy seems to be improving, the upsurge in patients paying with cash, which began for us during the recession, hasn't stopped. What are the basics of maintaining a responsible cash management policy?

Next, set aside a small amount, again $50 to $100 for most small practices, as a petty cash fund. Lots of practices make the mistake of trying to pay for petty expenses out of cash collections. It's possible, of course, but it complicates the accounting at the end of the day and lengthens the balancing process. Give responsibility for petty cash to a single person who safeguards the money in a lockbox or drawer. Don't give the job to receptionists-they're already too busy. Require that a receipt or voucher be placed in the box or envelope for all expenditures. A good expense receipt answers the five classic journalists' questions about each purchase: "Who? What? Where? When? Why?"

Answers to readers' questions were provided by Judy Bee, Practice Performance Group, La Jolla, California. She is also an editorial consultant for Medical Economics. Send your practice management questions to medec@advanstar.com Also engage at http://www.twitter.com/MedEconomics and http://www.facebook.com/MedicalEconomics.

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