Edge Advise

Know Your RoleAsking the right people can make all the difference.

A wise man named The Rock once said, “know your role and shut your mouth”. Another wise man named Jeff Vanden Heuvel once observed that “accountants are the glue guy for most practices”.

As a CPA I am oftentimes the “glue-guy” for many of my practices and am often asked for my opinion on topics that are far outside my area of expertise. When I am asked these questions I try and remember what The Rock told me to do and if I can’t offer insight on a topic I refer them to someone who can help.

A good example of this is when clients ask about equipment. Should they buy a crown-milling machine? Should they get a cone beam? While I can help a client look at the return on investment for these items or financing options I really have no idea if clinically it is something that will benefit the dentist. I’m not a dentist or an equipment guy, so that decision needs to be made by the dentist and their equipment rep.

So if it’s a good idea for me to stay out of the clinical decisions of a practice why is it that we’re seeing a rise of dental supply sales people acting as brokers or arbiters of value? Do they have some specialized training in these areas? Will they keep a seller’s best interests at heart?

I ask this because I see an inherent conflict of interest here. If I’m a supply guy bringing a buyer to the table is it in my best financial interest to get the best possible deal for the buyer or the seller? I would argue that they have a vested interest in the buyer’s financial outcome because the buyer will be the one buying supplies and equipment from them over the next 20 years. The seller is no longer useful to them.

“Bowing to the Rock’s wisdom, it’s your supplier’s responsibility to know their place and pass the difficult questions on to the right people. If they aren’t doing this, be sure to ask yourself, is this the right person to answer this question?