One of the most overlooked areas of consideration when starting a home care agency is accounting and payroll. Aside from the quality of care, this aspect of your agency will play a major factor in determining success or failure.
The accounting requirements for home care providers are well known to be vast and complex, but if you want your home care agency to succeed and grow, it is crucial to stay on top of the revenue cycle management. Not having access to electronic tools, accurate financial processes, and reporting will prevent any business from reaching its full potential.
Home care agencies run most effectively when there are systems and processes in place, and a revenue cycle management system is one of the most important systems you need to establish early on. This will help you create and manage your budget, track expenses, income and profit, (key performance indicators KPIs), conduct business with others and file your taxes efficiently and accurately.
While you can set up an accounting system yourself, or hire an accountant to do it for you, by far the best choice is to invest in a home care agency platform that lets you manage multiple aspects of your business including revenue cycle management, accounting, financial management, operations, payroll and sales.
The most complete home care platforms have all this built-in along with allowing integration to external systems like QuickBooks used by many accountants.
QuickBooks provides a solid first package of accounting tools for most home care agencies. Still, it is limited in the customization you can add to it to make it suitable for some of the unique home care industry billing and accounting needs.
Over time, it is also likely that your business will outgrow its basic setup and need tools that empower you to manage your agency more effectively. This is where complete home care platforms with industry specialization and abilities to handle the complexities of home care operations easily, invoicing, ebilling, payroll and accounting really help an agency thrive.
Choosing the right revenue cycle management software when setting up your home care agency, will save you a lot of time and money in the long run and enable you to focus on what you do best; running and growing your agency.
We’ve put together a list of the key considerations when it comes to managing your agency’s finances – with recommendations on how a complete home care software system can make this much easier for you – so you can focus on delivering remarkable and compliant services to both your clients and your staff.
1. Streamline payroll processing
Home care agencies have special challenges when it comes to payroll processing.
You will likely have multiple caregivers working remotely, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and across multiple locations. They will all need to enter their work hours at different locations, and the type of work and pay rates typically vary from place to place and visits.
In addition to these non-standard payroll processes, you need to keep track of vacation and sick time, bonus or wage increases, milage, reimbursable expenses, and much more. Keeping track of all these entries can be a nightmare on paper or a disconnected system but is absolutely essential to the smooth running of your new business.
First and foremost, it is important to develop a streamlined process early on that ensures you process payroll on time, every time. In order for your caregivers to get paid, you’ll need to process your payroll information quickly and send this off to your payroll processing company.
Completing this task every week, semi-monthly, or monthly can be time-consuming and tedious without an efficient system in place. You need to find a smart accounting solution that can easily integrate with your payroll-processing provider.
A good example is SMARTcare software, which is specifically designed for home care agencies and is fully configurable for payroll calculations that fit your agency.
Its payroll system manages employee hours, wages, reimbursable mileage and expenses, rules, alerts, and calculates payroll. It also enables unlimited pay rates per employee and can track overtime, travel time, expenses, vacation, holidays, in-servicing, and more – all within one easy-to-use system.
Replacing manual tasks with just a few clicks on your dashboard – accessible on your browser, laptop, tablet or cell phone – you can also run payroll analytics and reports, to give you insights into staffing costs and help you make those all-important decisions to support the future growth of your business.
Having efficient, error-free payroll management and processing makes payroll administration easier, quicker, more accurate and secure, and fully compliant. It will also save your business money, make your life easier and ensure you pay all your valued caregivers and staff accurately and on time.
Providers using SMARTcare typically see over 63% reductions in payroll admin time. That’s hours saved on back-office activities, giving you more time to interact with your caregivers, retain staff, and win new business.
2. Streamline billing and payments
On top of payroll and scheduling, you also need to consider how your agency bills clients. Many home care agencies invoice right from their home care software, keeping everything in one place for easy tracking. A few others bill directly from QuickBooks, while still others follow a more manual process. Agencies typically improve revenue receivables 3x faster when working and invoicing directly within their home care software platform, saving time and money.
To ensure this process is as efficient as possible,it’s important to evaluate how you want to manage invoicing and how easily your billing solution supports your revenue capture.
Agencies can make this process easy, saving time, money and headaches by automating their billing process within a home care platform like SMARTcare’s secure, cloud-based, electronic billing and payment processing.
SMARTcare software gives you a fast, efficient, easy-to-use online platform to make billing and collecting payments a breeze and can reduce your billing workload by up to 80%.
SMARTcare’s configurable scheduling, billing and payment software gives you a one-stop platform to fast track your agency to success. Quick, easy, accurate ebilling ensures that your business can:
- Bill family & multi-payers electronically, with print and mail options
- Receive electronic payments
- Automate repeat invoices and statements
- Customize invoices with your agency’s logo and branding
- Integrate seamlessly with Quickbooks
- Receive payments faster, directly to your bank account
- Access financial data anywhere, via cell phone, tablet, and computer
- Automate billing edit checks.
The system is also:
- Secure, encrypted, and easily auditable
- Compliant with IDC 9, IDC10 codes, UB-4 and CMS 1500.
Every aspect of SMARTcare’s software is based on an in-depth understanding of practical workflow, designed to optimize convenience, streamline operations and meet your agency’s needs. The system’s advanced functionality supports multiple rates, rules, and payers for private and public third-party payers (Medicaid, VA, and Medicare).
Automating tedious manual tasks means you can have more time to focus on your staff and your clients, and ultimately grow your business.
3. Effectively manage your Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)
In addition to payroll processing challenges, the home care industry is rife with compliance pitfalls, including heavy government regulation, specialized billing, non-centralized labor structure, and pay-by-service date.
Electronic Visit Verification is a system for tracking work performed, hours, notes, accurate location information and much more about the client-caregiver interaction.
Most payers today require EVV of some sort for payment. If you are setting up as a home care provider with State Medicaid payer mix, you will need effective EVV solutions as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. The EVV mandate is being approved and introduced on a state-by-state basis and, eventually, all home care agencies (that provide Medicaid care to people in their own homes) will be required to operate EVV tracking.
Agencies who utilize EVV see significant increases in efficiency and productivity because it reduces the amount of time spent completing paperwork for patient care, mileage reimbursement and tallying hours worked by each caregiver.
For EVV to be successful, your agency will need a software solution that not only tracks payroll and accounting but also keeps track of scheduling and shift allocation.
Home care agencies across the US are using SMARTcare’s intelligent EVV tools and SMARTcare eVerified to make the whole process simple, improving workflow and ensuring the recording of essential information about each care visit is straightforward and efficient. This helps keep clients and caregivers safe from fraud and provides a modern digital solution for staying compliant while running a successful home care business.
Using SMARTcare’s EVV system not only reduces administrative errors but also improves accountability, giving agency owners complete visibility of care visits in real-time. The system:
- Picks up no shows and late visits immediately
- Monitors client visits with ease
- Eliminates the costly errors that come with paper-based timesheets
- Stamps out fraud
- Records billable hours in real-time
- Meets state compliance requirements
- Optimizes operations
- Improves staff safety monitoring
- Reduces payroll expenses
- Improves productivity
- Improves client care.
SMARTcare’s eVerified EVV also gives you instant access to the data and reports you need for resource planning. It is designed and built to be a state-compliant EVV solution and is used across the US by thousands of caregivers every day.
4. Improve financial reporting
Being able to pull financial and operational reports quickly and easily is a great way to gain confidence in the quality of information and procedures performed throughout your home care agency. It can also give valuable insights, highlighting ways to improve workflows and services, to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency in operational outcomes.
This is all possible with an integrated accounting solution and home care software reporting tools, like SMARTcare – empowering you to make smart business decisions to move your agency forward. Monitoring your key performance indicators through a dynamic real-time dashboard on your home care platform will give you deep insights into the areas of focus for your agency. These graphical dashboards, like SMARTcare’s Agency Insights, give you and your entire team the information they need on one screen to make better business decisions that help your agency succeed.
- Family and Client Portals
In addition, SMARTcare’s family portal helps your clients and their families instantly access details and information about their care, schedules, invoices, and important updates. By sharing relevant information with your clients and their families in this way, you can be seen to be transparent and build their confidence in your business.
Benefits for your clients and their families include:
- Reviewing schedules
- Communicating directly with the care team
- Adding and reviewing documentation
- Tracking spending
- Viewing billing, invoicing
- Making payments
- Accessing additional or augmented services.
Home care agencies operate most effectively when they have the right systems in place early on, and accounting is no exception.
A robust, integrated system, like SMARTcare, will enable your agency to spend less time focusing on keeping track of every little financial detail, on a day-to-day basis, and spend more time on growing your business and seeing an increase in profit.
It will allow data to flow seamlessly through your agency, creating one organized operation. This can greatly reduce accounting struggles and frustrations when starting a home care agency, and make the tedious and time-consuming processes into a more structured source of operational insights.
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