With the never-ending list of prescriptions that need to be filled, patients who need counseling and orders that need to be placed, it’s easy to focus solely on running the pharmacy aspect of your independent community pharmacy, and to forget about the other business elements.
But taking the time to select the right business tools can free you up to spend more time with patients, and less time and energy balancing budgets, analyzing profitability and managing your inventory.
Increase efficiency, boost productivity and grow your overall profitability with these eight financial tools suggested for small businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
1. Accounting software
Disorganized finances make routine transactions, such as payroll, difficult, and if you’re not properly managing your finances throughout the year, tax season will be a tedious and time-consuming nightmare. Organize all of your finances with accounting software, such as Intuit QuickBooks™, so you can keep your finances in order year-round.
2. Business planning software
Business planning software can help you set goals, work toward them and measure your progress. Whether you’re looking to boost profitability, or trying to organize a presentation for possible investors, business software can help you achieve your goals. Check out SBA’s business planning tools to find the right software for your business.
3. Financial analysis tools
Knowing your financial metrics and staying on top of your profits and expenses is key to running a profitable business. Stay up-to-date on your latest profit and loss statement, cash flows and balance sheets in one simple location with financial analysis software, such as the financial statement templates from Score.
4. Inventory management tools
When drugs expire while sitting on your pharmacy’s shelves, your pharmacy loses profits, and those dollars can add up. Minimize this loss with inventory management software that helps you manage front-end and behind-the-counter inventory. Software can make inventory management more efficient, and ensure that you get the right patient the right drug at the right time, with as little waste as possible.
Check with your returns company to see what tools or resources they have available to help you manage inventory more effectively. Some returns companies, such as Return Solutions, offer on-site consultations to identify ways customers can better manage their inventory.
5. Invoicing software
Billing can be time consuming, so consider incorporating invoicing software into your pharmacy’s workflow so you can spend more time helping patients and growing your business, and less time creating and sending invoices. Plus, switching from paper invoicing to digital invoicing will reduce late or missed payments, and other mistakes.
6. Credit card processing
Offering patients an efficient, and secure, payment system is essential. Talk to your point-of-sale vendor to make sure you’re prepared with a chip card reader, so you can process credit and debit cards with EMV chips. Also, consider adding mobile card readers for curbside pickup to make picking up prescriptions simpler for patients.
7. Business credit and debit cards
If you’re using personal credit and debit cards to make purchases for your pharmacy, you could be missing out on the benefits and security of using business debit and credit cards. Using personal credit and debit cards also exposes you to unnecessary financial liability.
If you aren’t using separate cards to mange your personal and business finances, talk to your bank or financial advisor to see how a business credit or debit card can help you keep your personal and business finances organized and separate.
8. Business credit monitoring
All small businesses, including your pharmacy, need to be aware of their credit rating, and keep an eye on any changes that could affect their ability to obtain a line of credit. Because business credit reports and scores are based on a variety of criteria and change frequently, you could consider enrolling your business in a credit monitoring service. A credit monitoring service can help you stay up-to-date on your score, and you won’t be surprised when you need to apply for a line of credit.
Start developing your business by examining these key metrics about your pharmacy.