In my private practice coaching work, I get asked this question often, and I am really pleased that I am asked. It clues me into the steady commitment that private practice owners are making to shift their work from clunky paper-based affairs to more compliant and easier to manage businesses. Having had a practice management software system since approximately 2002 I need no convincing that this is the only way to go. Here are some discussion points you may like to contemplate, even if you already have software.
What are the business problems that you want the software to solve?
The typical problems include managing client data effectively, being privacy compliant, productivity and building a business asset. Yes, your clients and their data are a valuable business asset that will have a commercial value when you wish to exit your business. I discourage you from going for the cheapest option as you may be able to make time, task and team savings when you pay a little more. List the features you think you want the product to have and be prepared to modify this list as you explore the products available.
Should I bill out of the practice management system or out of the accounting software?
I always suggest that you bill out of the practice management software. This keeps all your client-related data in one place, your team can see what they need to see and you retain some financial privacy.
It’s only me in the business and I don’t earn enough to warrant the spend?
Honestly, this question bugs me. I believe that solopreneurs are the ones who probably benefit from practice management software the most. Start as you mean to proceed and build in great business habits from the get-go, ultimately this business thinking will save you loads of time. If you bring in virtual assistance then they will be able to be up and running super fast completing all those admin tasks freeing you up to serve clients.
What software are other people using?
The crowd favourites include:
- Health Kit
- Power Diary
For starts ups and businesses on a budget, Health Kit is a popular option due to the fact that it is free and you only pay for processing payments, beware, this soon adds up. Cliniko is loved for its user friendliness and uncluttered appearance. Coreplus probably leads the way to the future e health market place. Power Diary has grown its range of features as late and Nookal has strong business reporting. None however will do everything on your wish and need list so invest in the free trials and decide from there.
How does the software work with other programs?
Several of the products integrate with XERO, I recommend that you get this set up very carefully as I have seen it go wrong a few too many times. Contact me and I will happily suggest specialist bookkeepers. MailChimp is an email marketing product and super useful, this tool integrates with several systems. Cliniq Apps is a cool newer plugin that works with a growing number of systems, this is one to watch as it automates a stack of tasks and communications. These and many other features may be of great value to you later on when your business grows, great if you can futureproof your software as much as possible.
I am thinking of changing to another software system.
During your due diligence with the products, you investigate ask the question about how the company can help you migrate data from one system to another. What will be compromised, what will have to be done manually what will the costs be? All of the companies should be able to assist with this.
Is cloud-based software safe?
In my honest opinion, cloud-based software is the only way to go. All of the products will have statements about their Australian privacy compliance. For those who have patchy internet don’t let that stop you from progressing and asking about how to use the software offline.
Whilst I don’t have in-depth knowledge about each of the software products I do have strong working knowledge about how they can be used in your private practice to boost efficiency, compliance and general team happiness. Reach out and jump into my diary for a freebie Powercall, I am happy to chat through your specific situation.