Six people every doctor should have in their corner

By Dan Brown
Zions Bank

You spend years studying and training in your respective field of medicine. But the capacity to treat a disease won’t prepare you to manage business obligations; neither will the ability to interpret X-rays allow you to understand a financial document.
The business side of running a medical practice is an entirely different ballgame — one that is critical to making the cut as a business owner. That’s why you need a team of business partners to coach you from all sides. Industry-specific professionals will help you form a game plan and achieve your professional goals.
Here are six experts you should have in your corner as you manage your practice:
Practice banker: A banker helps you secure the financing to get your entrepreneurial dreams off the ground. After you launch your practice, a banker remains an important player in finding solutions to meet your ongoing financing needs, from improvement and expansion to relocation. Ideally, select a banker who will serve as a single point of contact to handle all of your loan needs, while offering specialized expertise.
Practice CPA: To stay on the ball with your financial records, enlist a certified public accountant as a trusted member or your team. Your accountant should have a complete understanding of your business since he or she will play an integral role in your company. A good small business accountant analyzes and interprets bookkeeping data to bolster your business strategy. Beyond preparing taxes, an accountant can also prepare documents needed to apply for financing and manage payroll and operational expenses.
Practice attorney: When it comes to legal assistance, you need an experienced attorney who will go to bat for you and your practice. Consider a healthcare attorney to help you identify and apply for the correct type of medical business entity. A legal expert may also assist with organization formation and governance, and obtaining a tax identification number and Medicare provider number.
Practice coach/consultant: A practice management consultant coaches you on best practices and takes a comprehensive look at your business — from office flow to equipment — to make sure no detail is overlooked. A business advisor can also help you build business by developing a marketing plan and creating community outreach opportunities for your practice.
Practice wealth advisor: An investment advisor or wealth manager serves as your financial quarterback to keep your finances on track. A successful planner, like a successful quarterback, takes calculated risks. However, beware of those who promise market-beating performances. Look for a fee-based advisor who has a winning record working with medical practices.
Practice estate planner: Because life often throws curve balls, a comprehensive estate plan is essential to protect your business interests and beneficiaries. An estate planning attorney can help draft an agreement for another medical professional to manage or buy your practice should you die or become disabled. Without such a game plan, the fate of your practice will be left to probate, a costly and time-consuming process.
As a doctor and business owner, it’s critical to assemble the right team of professionals to support your medical practice and ensure long-term success. Once you set goals, establish objectives, gather information and run the numbers for your business, seek out experts to help you realize your entrepreneurial dreams.

Dan Brown is vice president and business banker for Zions Bank in Eastern Idaho and is ZionsMED certified. To contact Dan, call (208) 754-3053 or email