The role of a Practice Manager
A practice manager is responsible for the business aspects of a veterinary practice. This includes the organisation of:
- Human Resources
- Finance and Accounting
- Managing client relations
- Developing and maintaining a practice’s ‘ethos’
Practice managers usually hold a qualification or have a professional background in business or accounting. They are not usually clinical members of staff, although some may have previously held clinical roles. In very small practices a Veterinary Surgeon or Nurse may double up as a practice manager.
As the member of staff responsible for human resources, the practice manager’s role involves the hiring and management of staff. This includes running the staff rota, coordinating performance reviews, reviewing salaries and benefits and helping staff to develop professionally including by ensuring they are able to maintain an up to date Continuing Professional Development (CPD) record. Their role also includes resolving any staff issues and providing any necessary support.
A considerable portion of time dedicated to finance and accounting on behalf of the practice includes the preparation of budgets and financial statements and reviewing previous statements. In some cases, the practice manager will have the necessary skills to carry this out independently, whereas others may do so with the assistance of a qualified chartered accountant. They may also set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess the function or development of the business. This information is fed back to business owners in the case of an independent practice or corporate managers where a practice forms a part of a corporation. This allows goals to be set to improve the practices future performance.
Other aspects of the role relating to finance and accounting include monitoring client accounts and managing debt, controlling the stock inventory, negotiation of any purchases on behalf of the practice and planning for any requisite audits.
Client relations plays a central part in the role of practice manager. The practice manager is responsible for ensuring the practice maintains a client focus, retains existing. This involves resolving any client issues which do not relate to clinical matters and including those related to finance and debt. In many cases practice managers are able to agree ‘payment plans’ when clients are unable to afford payment as a lump sum.
Practice managers also aim to attract new clients through targeted marketing campaigns. These may also be aimed at increasing the footfall of existing clients through the practice.
Maintaining the practice ‘ethos’ involves communicating plans to staff members, ensuring that standards are maintained, promoting a cooperative working environment and promoting improvement.
Other roles include arranging building, equipment and vehicle maintenance, supervision of the ordering and storage of stock, ensuring compliance with legislation and practice standards schemes and health and safety directives.
© University of Nottingham