Dental Embezzlement News
Issue #10 -- April 2013
Did you miss a previous newsletter?  We archive them here.
Upcoming Presentations
Here are some of the places you can hear us speak soon.
American Association of Orthodontists webinar April 4 and 9
Denver Profitable Dentists April 12
Dentaltown Townie Meeting, Las Vegas NV April 18
Speaking and Consulting Network, Loveland CO June 8
Savannah Dental Society, Savannah GA Sept 20
Star Of The North meeting, St. Paul MN April 2014
Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting, Atlanta GA March 27, 2014
To book a fantastic speaker for your meeting, please call us at 888-398-2327 or send email to
Read about us...
We have some new articles and interviews available online.  Check out a few:
How To Tell If Someone Is Stealing From You Today:
Did you know that according to a 2007 ADA survey, more than two thirds of embezzlement is uncovered by behavioral (as opposed to financial) clues?
Here are some things you can do:
  • Be aware that, regardless of the embezzlement methodology or methodologies used by a thief, the way thieves act is predictable and consistent
  • Complete Prosperident's Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire every six months, paying particular attention to changes since the last completion.  You can get this questionnaire by emailing us at
  • Act decisively when embezzlement symptoms appear.  Unfortunately, we have seen far too many situations where had strong suspicions but made their problems much bigger by not acting when symptoms appeared.
If you think you might be a victim, you can call us at 888-398-2327 , or send email to our embezzlement hotline (checked daily by our on-duty investigator at ).  We will normally respond within 24 hours.
Visit our Website
Investigator Profile --Pat Little
Dr. Pat Little is a Senior Fraud Investigator with Prosperident. 
Prior to working with Prosperident, Pat owned several dental practices.  When neck issues forced him to hang up his handpiece, Pat returned to college to study accounting.  Mutual acquaintance and consulting legend Linda Miles put him in touch with Prosperident, and the rest is history. 
Pat's work has allowed him to nicely blend his accounting and dental backgrounds.  We are also pleased to report that he has recently completed his Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation, which is the "gold standard" of investigative credentials.  In addition to his investigation work, Pat is a renowned speaker.   He was recently confirmed as a speaker for Hinman 2014.
You can reach Pat here.
A Note From Our CEO:
Part of my role as Prosperident's CEO is to raise awareness on the part of dentists and those who advise dentists on the dangers of embezzlement.
In this context, the rest of Prosperident's team and I perform 30 or more speaking engagements annually.  I am also interviewed a dozen or more times by dental publications on the subject of embezzlement.  In a typical month, we reach tens of thousands of dentists and advisors. 
While I am heartened that what I have to say interests so many, I am also burdened by the possibility that, in our enthusiasm to make dentists aware of the dangers facing them, we inadvertently also end up educating the wrong people about embezzlement.  I have a recurring nightmare about accidentally helping dental office embezzlers perfect their craft.
For this reason we rigidly enforce our corporate disclosure policy.  This policy states that, in any "uncontrolled" forum (which, by the way includes this newsletter), we can discuss the causes and probability of embezzlement, and what it looks like when staff are stealing.  However, we will not discuss methodologies or techniques used to embezzle except in a "closed" environment (where we know exactly who is in the audience).
I'm sure this is a source of frustration to some of the people who interview us only to find that certain topics are "out of bounds", but we can't countenance our knowledge being used against the dental community we are privileged to serve.  I want you to know how seriously we take this issue and the lengths to which we go to protect you.
In many parts of the country, Spring-like weather is tentatively emerging.  This means many things -- the start of baseball season, and time to clean out that garage where junk has been piling all winter.  It's also a good time to do some Spring Cleaning at your practice, and one item on the list should be completion of our Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire.  If you haven't done this recently, please get an updated version from us at
I've said it before -- investing 10 minutes in completing this questionnaire could save you a bundle.
Thanks for reading,

David Harris
Chief Executive Officer
Guest Column
In the course of our work, we have the privilege of working with some truly outstanding consultants.  We welcome the chance to use this column to introduce you to some of them.
This issue's guest column is by Steve Steinbrunner. Steve is VP Business Development for Four Quadrants Advisory Companies, a national accounting and financial planning firm with only dentists as clients.
I Deserve a Raise!:   Why Custom Dental Accounting Really Matters
            Would you like to avoid another year-end tax surprise with lumpy cash flow? Do you wonder if you are taking too much salary or not enough?  Have you ever had to delay your paycheck a couple weeks because cash was tight at the dental practice and you think a large insurance deposit will drop soon? Are you hoarding cash for fear of a tax surprise? You might pay yourself with random distribution withdrawals at a whim, clumsy and unpredictable, like the tax snafus that often trail behind them. I suggest an “inside out” approach to smooth cash flow and income and boost retirement savings along the way.
            Rather than throw a number at a dartboard or guess at income based on what your buddies are doing, take a balanced approach to maintaining practice cash and still keep a fair amount of money going home.  First, figure out how much overhead is necessary to fund 45-60 days of payables in the practice.  That range will vary for each practice a little bit, based on the business model and certain trends.  Let’s say you determined that overhead for 45 days is approximately $65,000.  Great, you just figured out how much cash you want in the practice at all times - your minimum practice cash reserve.  This balance will float up and down against the ideal, as overhead fluctuates, so pay attention to the monthly averages on your bank statement and how they relate to monthly overhead. Now, you can identify trends in this reserve balance, allowing you and your advisors to take action on the spot. You can take additional distribution income withdrawals in a predictable manner, putting taxes and savings in the right buckets, or make an adjustment to W2 salary if a cash-building trend is identified. Smooth . . .
            Most tax advisors for dentists don’t understand the ebbs & flows of a dental practice well enough and base too much on the prior year; however, it’s really a “double whammy” because they reconcile practice numbers quarterly - at best - instead of monthly with proactive advice. As a result, they might suggest you take home most of the cash reserve or stab in the dark at where income should be set.  Another mistake is advice based purely on compliance or negligible tax savings. Heavily weighted distribution income can mitigate Medicare tax a bit but it’s often in lieu of a generous W-2 to benefit your practice retirement plan savings. Tax advice can’t be in a vacuum and must take ALL financial aspects of your life in consideration.
            If your cash balance is significantly lower than what your own, unique practice reserve should be, here are a few options: 1) decrease your salary if your personal expenses at home can handle it or 2) start strategically cutting overhead within the practice or 3) a combination of both.  Overhead changes will not happen quickly and you can’t typically can’t “produce your way out of it.” With a highly custom, dental Chart of Accounts in your bookkeeping software, you can begin a forensic examination of expenses and develop strategies to chip away. Also use clouding technology so that both you (the dentist) and your CPA can access bookkeeping software simultaneously in a secure environment. This way, you can work on the overhead together and discuss all the subcategories of your expenses to determine where to start chipping away - half percentage point here, another half point there. The key to predictable dental cash flow and ultimately, great savings for retirement, starts with a embracing a new era in dental accounting.
Steve can be reached at 877-720-6213 or by email at
Prosperident -- The world's largest dental investigation embezzlement firm