Elevating dental practices: the essential role of Virtual CFOs
21 November 2023 | Minutes to read: 4

Elevating dental practices: the essential role of Virtual CFOs

By Angela Jeffrey

Running a successful dental practice requires careful planning, excellent patient care and effective management. While the quality of patient care is undeniably important, the financial health and stability of a dental practice are equally critical. This is where the role of a Virtual Chief Financial Officer (CFO) comes into play, to ensure the financial health and sustainability of the practice.

A CFO is traditionally associated with large corporations and established businesses, however, the concept of a Virtual CFO has gained significant traction in recent years, particularly in the healthcare sector, including the dental industry. Virtual CFOs are outsourced professionals who offer high-level financial expertise without the need for full-time, in-house staff. They provide an affordable and flexible solution for dental practices, ensuring they can -navigate complex financial challenges effectively.

Financial management and planning

In the dental industry, one of the Virtual CFO’s primary responsibilities is to oversee financial management and planning. They work closely with dental practice owners and managers to develop strategic financial plans that align with the practice’s long-term goals. This includes budgeting, forecasting and creating financial roadmaps that optimise profitability while ensuring financial stability.

Budgeting: Virtual CFOs play a critical role in developing, implementing and monitoring budgets. By aligning financial planning with business goals, they ensure that resources are allocated efficiently.

Forecasting: Accurate financial forecasting is essential for anticipating future financial needs and enables your Virtual CFO to recognise potential risks and make informed decisions or guide you to make those decisions.

Profitability analysis: Virtual CFOs can analyse financial statements to identify areas where profitability can be improved by analysing expense reduction, revenue growth strategies and pricing adjustments.

Cost analysis and profit maximisation

In a highly competitive field like dentistry, it is crucial to control costs and maximise profits. A Virtual CFO can conduct an in-depth cost analysis to identify areas where expenses can be reduced without compromising the quality of care. They also develop strategies to increase revenue through optimised pricing structures and patient retention initiatives.

Strategic financial decision-making

Virtual CFOs play a vital role in providing the necessary financial insights for successful dental practices to make data-driven decisions. They analyse financial data and offer valuable information to practice owners, enabling them to make informed choices that drive growth and sustainability.

Whether it’s considering new equipment, expanding the practice or upgrading facilities, Virtual CFOs provide financial analysis to support investment decisions. They can also evaluate potential opportunities for additional revenue sources to diversify the practice’s revenue stream and improve its financial stability.

Financial forecasting and scenario planning

Looking ahead and preparing for various scenarios is an essential aspect of effective financial planning. Virtual CFOs can help dental practices anticipate and plan for potential challenges, ensuring that the practice can adapt to changing circumstances effectively.

Crisis management: Virtual CFOs can assist in developing crisis management plans, enabling practices to navigate unexpected challenges, such as natural disasters or public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business continuity: In the event of disruptions, a Virtual CFO can help implement measures to ensure that the practice can continue to operate and serve patients.

Investigative reviews

Investigative reviews are a crucial aspect of a Virtual CFO’s role in the dental industry. These reviews comprehensively examine the financial records and processes of a practice to uncover any irregularities, inefficiencies, or potential issues that may impact the practice’s financial health. This approach proactively detects and addresses problems before they escalate into full-blown crises.

Identifying fraud and embezzlement

To safeguard the practice’s finances and reputation, Virtual CFOs can use their expertise to carefully review financial records and transaction history, searching for discrepancies that could be indicative of fraudulent activities. By identifying and addressing these issues in a timely manner, they can prevent potential financial losses and protect the practice’s reputation.

Process optimisation

As part of investigative reviews, virtual CFOs can evaluate the financial processes and procedures of the practice. They can assess the efficiency of these processes and look for opportunities to streamline operations and reduce costs. This not only improves the practice’s financial health but also enhances overall productivity.

Performance metrics

Virtual CFOs can establish and monitor key performance metrics for the dental practice. By tracking financial performance indicators such as revenue, expenses and profitability, they provide practice owners with valuable insights into their practice’s financial health. If any metrics deviate from expected targets, the CFO can promptly address the underlying issues and recommend corrective actions.

Crisis management

The dental industry, like any other, is not immune to unexpected crises. Whether it’s a global pandemic, natural disaster, or other unforeseen challenges, the ability to navigate such crises effectively is crucial. Virtual CFOs can play an essential role in managing the financial aspects of these crises.

Cash flow management

To maintain a healthy cash flow during a crisis, a dental practice needs to develop and implement strategies. A Virtual CFO can help the practice by negotiating with creditors, optimising the use of credit lines or exploring government assistance programs to ensure that the dental practice has access to the necessary liquidity to cover its operating expenses and obligations.

Risk mitigation

In times of crisis, risk mitigation is crucial. Virtual CFOs can work with dental practices to identify potential financial risks and implement strategies to minimise their impact. Whether it’s insurance coverage, emergency funds or diversifying revenue streams, these professionals ensure that the practice is better prepared to weather the storm.


The dental industry is not immune to the financial challenges and crises that can impact businesses across the board. Having a Virtual CFO on your side can make all the difference in effectively managing your practice’s finances, conducting investigative reviews to proactively address issues and navigating unexpected crises.

Their expertise in financial management, compliance and strategic planning can help ensure your dental practice’s long-term success and financial well-being in an ever-changing landscape. In a world where adaptability and resilience are keys to success, a Virtual CFO is an asset for dental professionals seeking to thrive and prosper in the industry.

To chat to our team about engaging a Virtual CFO to elevate your dental practice, contact your local William Buck health advisor.

Elevating dental practices: the essential role of Virtual CFOs

Angela Jeffrey

Angela is a Partner in our Business Advisory division and specialises in advising small-to-medium sized business across all industries on the most effective tax and business structures to help them achieve maximum results. Angela also works extensively within the medical and dental industries and therefore understands the unique issues faced by practitioners and those with private practice businesses.

Read more >
Related Insights
  • Back to Insights
  • Elevating dental practices: the essential role of Virtual CFOs
  • 4 min read