Before you start a practice you will need to get an attorney and an accountant. They both have unique roles in your business and many a times work synergistically. The attorney is responsible for setting up your business structure. He is also responsible to make sure that you are compliant with all rules and regulations related to employment law and those of health care industry.
The accountant on the other hand will set up your account books. He will recommend to you what business structure to use to give you the maximum tax advantage over the years to come. Not to mention the quarterly tax filing and preparation of filing of other documents.
Here is how to search for these henchmen:
What to look for in an attorney?
Area of Practice: The attorney should focus his practice on Business Law and Employment Law. Business Law deals with setting up a corporate structure, finalizing contracts between your practice and the vendors, advertising related risk management etc. Employment Law refers to regulations you have to keep up with just because you have employees. Also it applies to interaction of the employees with your practice, such as employment contracts; discrimination during employment etc.
Experience: the attorney should have experience in handling the legal aspects of a medical practice. More the number of medical practices handled by the attorney, the better it is. Also look for the number of years he has been handling such medical practice.
Rate: Just because now you have a business does not mean that you cannot shop around. Cost cutting is of prime importance in running a small business. You can either chose an attorney with a balance of good experience and a reasonable hourly rate or you can try to negotiate the rate with the attorney you would like to have.
References: always try to get references from other physicians in the area regarding the attorneys you choose. Although physicians from your own specialty may consider it a trade secret and will not share it with you but the other specialist will.
Demeanor: Get someone you feel is knowledgeable and easy to talk with. You being able to call him or her without hesitation is important.
What to look for in an accountant?
Area of Practice: Make sure the accountant focuses his practice on small business accounting. Just because you have a personal accountant who did your individual tax return is not enough.
Experience: the accountant should have dealt with doctors for several years. This is because we physicians have our own unique needs when it comes to taxes. An experienced accountant can dig up lot of deductions which others may not be aware of. (Hmmm…that goes for your personal taxes as well!!)
Rate: Accountants also charge by hourly rate and try to get one with a reasonable rate or negotiate it down. Some accountants may offer fixed monthly rate. Some charge both and I think that is not right.
References: Just like the attorneys, good accountants in your area are found by references. Talk to other doctors and you will be surprised how easy it is to fish information on their performance.