Drs Laura Lum and Tom Hogan affectionately refer to themselves as the gas and the pedal of their successful healthcare business on Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches. They first opened the doors for Elanora Heights Medical Practice October 17th 2015. The husband and wife duo, passionate about open-minded whole-person healthcare wanted to ensure the practice offers the community reliable evidence-based treatments as well as preventative and integrative health solutions with a combination of healthcare modalities from medical doctors and paediatric care to their digestive health clinic, psychology, chiropractic and reflexology treatments.
Their passion for genuine health and wellbeing meant that their service offerings are different to mainstream medical practices and as a result, taking the plunge and running their own business with these health values entailed extra considerations.
Though Laura has a professional background in start-up companies and small business management, the couple acknowledge that as healthcare professionals they had certainly not done their 10,000 hours to consider themselves seasoned medical centre owners. This meant they were in for a stimulating journey of constantly learning and trying new things. The success of the business relied heavily on this attitude to continue learning, seeking opportunities for excellence and connecting with people who shared their common purpose. Beyond managing the day-to-day requirements of the business, there was careful consideration for the healthcare practitioners they welcomed to their close-knit team, communications and marketing and of course, financial and administrative aspects of operation that would need to be taken care of as part of the steep learning curve of how to run the business.
During the businesses’ infancy, Tom and Laura had engaged the services of a large accounting firm however they felt it was crucial to consider the value of continuity of support and fostering long-term relationships with outsourced professionals. They also knew that it was important to work with a team that could provide professional advice as the business evolved. At that time, Tom and Laura were managing all aspects of the business between each other as well as working within the business as healthcare professionals.
Laura and Leah connected on LinkedIn in 2017 and soon after, at a beach cafe in Manly. Not long after this, the decision was made to outsource 100% of their accounting to Minnik Chartered Accountants.The practice, like the majority of medical businesses, uses Best Practice management software. This software is incompatible with Xero meaning time intensive manual manipulation of data. The result was excessive bookkeeping and accounting fees. Leah introduced Tom & Laura to Surgical Partners, which acts as the “go between” streaming data from Best Practice to Xero without the manual effort.
Minnik Chartered Accountants manage everything financial including the bookkeeping from the ground up, supplier maintenance through HubDoc as well as payments, reconciliations and payroll. There is no double work or correction of errors that would otherwise occur if these tasks were handled in-house. Tom and Laura have the peace of mind that their books are up to date on a weekly basis, and can rely on the numbers at all times for crucial business decision making. Their accounting solution is automated, streamlined for the business. It was quite a milestone when Tom and Laura declared that they no longer worked Saturdays and Sundays and were able to have Fridays off to take much needed quality time out together!
Beyond the business, the couple have a personal accounting file which reflects their financial position and enables them to understand with great clarity their income streams, cost of living, and how well they are servicing their financial commitments at all times. What’s more, the file makes tax preparation at year end a breeze, and ensures they are not overlooking any unexpected liabilities!
Laura and Tom now look back at their once 60-hour work weeks and the blur of their first 3 years in business and today describe themselves as happy with what they have built so far. Laura describes the feeling like being on a hike and reaching a mountain peak. “While there may be surrounding peaks of varying levels of intriguing adventure, it’s so important from time to time to be able to pause, to fully take in the view and thoroughly absorb the experience”. “The business has been growing consistently for 5 years and we are long overdue to welcome a Practice Manager to the team: now that we know the business from the ground up, the support with the day-to-day running tasks will free us to better focus on overseeing the operation as a whole”.
COVID-19 meant that for the first time in 5 years, Tom and Laura had more space to work on all aspects of their business. The changes they have made are ensuring the business operates to a very high standard as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They have just moved into their lovely new home and have an exciting future ahead of them.