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An Attitude of Gratitude

It’s exciting to start the DVM Office blog post. It is all possible because of an amazing team. Kale Flaspohler, thanks for taking this vision and turning it into a reality. Your hard work, harder work, and more work is the reason we get to write a blog about bookkeeping for veterinarians that own their own practices. James Michael, thank you for believing in the vision. Your innovative ideas have allowed us to not only have a blog, (it is your idea!-), it has allowed us to scale our operations, through programming, automation, and always looking for the best way to deliver accounting and bookkeeping solutions to veterinarians. Anna Buchanan - your dedication, enthusiasm, and thoroughness have been such an essential part of delivering the finished monthly books, and the profit and loss statements to veterinary clients. Isaish Spellman - your flexibility and dedication to the process keeps things flowing for the team.

Most importantly - to the veterinarians out there who own their own practice, to our current independently owned veterinary business clients, who truly champion the whole veterinary community - it is an honor to work with and provide a service of bookkeeping and accounting. At DVM Office, we believe in independent business ownership, we believe veterinarians are a bedrock of the community, and you are the spark of possibility for a profession that is independent and can stay independent - we are here to help that belief stay strong. So thank you for the opportunity to provide DVM Office - an accounting and bookkeeping business dedicated to the veterinary profession. We are honored!

DVM Office’s Roots

I turned 44 in April. What does this have to do with bookkeeping? Well, great bookkeeping is like fine wine, it only gets better with time - someone just offered me some cheese… and now that I have had the chance to look back and evaluate three decades in bookkeeping - (the first decade, during the ’90s, not knowing I was in bookkeeping, as all I thought I was doing was developing the process to accurately track and count down cash registers at a supermarket and report the sales/paid-outs to management so they could then do the bookkeeping. Note it was the '90s - Microsoft Excel was on the rise, and dial-up internet was a big deal - and how you used Excel in the '90s changed a lot.

The '90s - one of the best decades ever!

We started using Excel in the '90s as a template to print out so the opening manager of the day could hand write on that piece of paper the sales and paid-outs from the register receipt, (I’ll explain this* in the footer) and then once a week, type it into excel! Yep, write then type… Why write then type? Well using/training Excel back in the '90s was a pretty foreign concept to a lot of people. We were running Windows 3.0 - which for those that remember booted up on DOS, for those that don’t know DOS, well booting a computer up in the '90s could be a chore! You didn’t just open up the laptop screen and get to work like you do today. In the'90s, you had time to get coffee waiting for the computer to “Boot”!! So there was generally only one person who could actually input the data into the Excel sheet and not delete the formulas! And these numbers had to be right, a lot was dependent on them.

We did it this way until 1997. In 1997 I was at the University of Missouri and took a class in C++. This taught me how to write programming for Visual Basic, which is the backbone of Excel - where programming is written in what is known as “macros”. It became apparent that we could eliminate the duplication of efforts in getting the numbers into Excel by programming the inputs for the person doing the morning books, where it would put the number exactly where it goes and no chance for deleting or putting the numbers in the wrong space. This accomplished two things - better books, labor savings, and reduced the opportunity for fraudulent behaviors; theft, cooking the books, etc.

The Accounting/Bookkeeping/Operations Gap

After the morning books were completed each week, we had to send them to the accountant and we had to put them into our weekly operational reports that would tell us if we had profit, if we had a good labor rate, and if we had good sales. We kept our own books and the accountant/CPA was doing their version of the books, this was because our books told us an operational picture, which was important to keep up with purchases, with labor, and with sales. We did this because we found there was a “gap” between the accountant’s need for numbers and our need for numbers.

The accountant’s books were concerned more with “financial” statements - numbers that would translate to the tax return. The accountant's bookkeeping needs were backward-looking, and lagging. Our bookkeeping needs for Operations were for the day-to-day needs of the business and to project the future. Another way to look at the “gap” is a tax return happens once a year, generally months after the close of the previous year, which isn’t very proactive, but is very important. (as the IRS is a stickler!-)

There was more to the gap, the duplication of efforts with the bookkeeping, the two sets of books, the labor involved, having to understand two sets of numbers, who understands the first set, unless you have a finance or accounting degree... As you can see, eliminating two sets of books with one set of books that can work for the accountant and for the operations/owner would minimize taxes and labor, and maximize operations, gross profit, and profitability of the business. Plus everyone can be looking at the same set of numbers/books and have great conversations around what the health of the business is and what the future could hold.

This was a big win for the business and a great way to close the '90s. I did mention this was the best decade, maybe that’s just my nostalgia, but it was a great time for innovation and who knew what was gonna happen with Y2K. Well, nothing did happen as you all know and the 2000s were shaping up to be an even more interesting decade, which I can’t wait to write about in my next blog post.

How about explaining the *

* The register receipt of the early'90s - the grocery store had a “master register” that sat in the office. This register is where you would key in sales, functions, and other needs to allow the cashiers to do their job and check the customer out. Now check out that keyboard and the manual off to the side. In order to get the daily “sales journal”, you had to learn a sequence of keys to get the report on that slim piece of register “tape” that then you would write onto that “paper excel template” that then would be typed into excel, that then would be typed into the books, that then would be given to the accountant… Glad we don’t have to do that anymore!!!


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