Tips on Finding the Right Care Home Accountant for Your Business

So you know you need a specialist care home accountant for your business. Now you just need to find that specialist. Not all accountants will be right for you. Here are tips on finding the right care home accountant for your business.

Someone with Experience for Your Particular Business

care home accountantIt’s not just about finding a specialist accountant within the care home industry, but within your specific care home business. Your accountant does more than help with tax returns. Your accountant will help you make business financial decisions and aid in the growing of the company. Finding someone who knows your exact business will be vital to ensure this is done well.

Check for Evidence of Results

Look carefully at the website and other online evidence of success. That will you will discover case studies and evidence of working with care home businesses like yours. Have they testimonials to show credibility and understanding of care home like yours

Find Out about Availability

When you start a care home business, you will usually need to speak to your accountant more often. As your business grows and expands, you gain some experience and can make more decisions yourself. Make sure your care home accountant is available for the amount of time that you need. Find out if the accountant is experienced in dealing with your type of experience in the care home industry.

Do your research into care home accountants to make sure you find the best one for your business. Look out for accredited accountants with experience in your exact industry and availability to suit your needs. You’ll have someone who is invaluable to your business.

Why Choose a Specialist Care Home Accountant to Grow Your Care Home Business

care home accountantsThere are plenty of accountants to choose from and all will offer help with tax returns and financial decisions within your business. However, if you operate a care home, you need to find out if they are a specialist care home accountant. This is essential to grow your care home business, and here are three reasons why.

They Understand the Nature of Your Business

No industry is the same, especially when it comes to finances. A specialist accountant within the care home industry will know just how important certain spending is. They know where you need to put your money and the risks that are worth taking. A general accountant will know the books, but won’t be able to help best with your financial and business growth advice.

They Have Experience Within the Industry

Not only do specialist care home accountants know how important certain spending is, but they have seen other care home businesses grow or fail. They take that experience to make sure they either replicate the growth or avoid the failure with other businesses in the future. Those without specialisation may be playing a guessing game, putting your business at risk.

They Know How to Handle the Business Size

If you’re just starting out, your care home will need a different type of growth compared to those who have been established for decades. Specialist accountants understand this and will know the best steps to take to help your specific business. The focus is on your exact size for your particular industry and not just for a general consensus for a new business.

Make the best decisions for your business by hiring a specialist care home accountant. You will not regret it when your business succeeds and grows as a result.

Why You Need a Specialist Care Home Accountant

Rather than producing your own care home accounts information, you shoulder hire an accountant. Don’t just hire any accountant, but specialist care home accountants. This is the best way to make sure all your accounts are not only correct, but relevant, to allow you to make the right decisions at the right time for your business.

Care Home Accountants OBC

An accountant isn’t just good for your tax return needs. Here are the top reasons you need a specialist care home accountant for your business.

Handle Your Size of Care Home

Some care homes have just a handful of patients. There are others that cover multiple floors and have to handle patients and families. A specialised accountant will know all about the different sizes, different types of businesses, and all types of financial implications that they bring.

The experience from specialised care home accountants will help when it comes to new care home businesses. You’ll get financial advice that works for others within your industry – and others of your size. You step away from the general and focus on the exact details to help your business thrive and expand, while putting your patients first.

Your Financial Paperwork Is Handled

Immerse yourself in the business where your knowledge is. You may be great with the patients but struggle with the paperwork. There’s no need to wear all the hats in the business and leave your patient care suffering because of it. When you hire specialist care home accountants, you get to spend the time in the business where it’s most needed.

There will be some decisions that you need to make, but you can focus more on the patients in your care. You get to make sure families are happy and staff members put the patients first.

At the same time, you can focus on the employees. You make sure they are happy and productive in the workplace, boosting their commitment to caring for the patients.

Handle the Complex Audits

Care home finances tend to be complex. There will be money coming from different elements, various tax rates to remember, and money going in different directions. It’s too much for the care home managers, especially when it comes to audits.

Rather than pulling your hair out, you can let the ones with the expertise handle it. Specialised accountants within the care home industry will already be aware of the various financial implications. They know the paperwork that needs filing and will be ready as soon as an audit comes your way.

It’s time to get your care home business in order. Keep the finances on track and the rest can run smoothly. Rather than try to tackle it yourself, why not outsource or hire specialist care home accountants. You instantly benefit in the ways above. It’s time to focus your time where your business needs you.

Make the Best Pension Planning Decisions

There’s nothing worse than looking into all the different pension provision options available. You have staff who you need to think about too. With a good accountant, you’ll find the best possible pension planning options to keep all the hard decisions to a minimum.

Those who are specialised in care home finances will have experience in dealing with different religions, cultures, and more. They can look into your current finances and find the appropriate advisors to explain any of the pension provisions you’re interested in.

Rolling Forecasts and Management Accounts

It is amazing how few Care Homes have forecasts let alone up to date “rolling forecasts for the next twelve months” or even up to date  management accounts.

That is fine when all is going well, but as soon as you have a few empty beds or any significant unplanned expenditure, you will need your bank’s support and that will only happen if you can show you are totally on top of the relevant management information.

Specialist Care Home Accountants know what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial for car homes , and will have the software to produce the information, promptly, reliably, and relatively effortlessly to pin point the decisions that need to be made for the ongoing success of your care home.

5 tips to improving care business profitability

Care Homes are enduring an increasingly tough battle for survival, whether it is inconsistent CQC inspections, the cost of minimum living wage, or hard up local authorities, so it might seem strange to read an article about profit improvement.

However, in my opinion, Profit is a choice, as is the level of the profit.

Briefly – Profits are simple – in theory! – to have a profitable business, you need to be able to charge the “right price” necessary to cover your costs to leave appropriate levels of profit over for you to invest, to repay loans and to reward you with the lifestyle you deserve.

Alas we do not have a “pure market” as such, and a large number of care homes rely on state funded clients for their income. 

However, the same principle applies to these care homes, but only if they can find relatives who are able to contribute additional “top up” funding.

So for my five tips for financial success I have to assume you are ready to take the necessary measures to attract clients who can afford to pay extra or who have relatives who are prepared to contribute extra 

1 – Strong Leadership is vital – and employ the right team members to allow you to create “the right culture” in your home 

2 – Identify small inexpensive ways to stand out from the crowd, and make your residents say “wow” about you and your team

3 – Think menus – give your clients more choice of services for which they might be prepared to pay

4 – Use the power of social media to allow the benefits of your home to be shared “live” with prospects 

And last, but not least, 

5 – Always be proud of your prices – never make the suicidal mistake of trying to compete with competitors on price 

Care Home Resident shares her experience of saving Canton Library from a bomb in WW2

Another fabulous initiative from Hallmark Healthcare. Thanks Avnish Goyal for sharing – this sort of thing makes Care Homes less institutional and more like little communities – I love Hallmark and the way they continue to set higher standards for their homes

Edith Spackman, 93, who lives at Regency House, our care home in Cardiff, South Wales has shared her experience of saving Canton Library from a bomb in WW2.

I started working in Canton Library in Cardiff when I was just sixteen years old. When I applied for the Library Assistant job, they took three people straight away and five went on a waiting list. I was really upset when I was one of the five, but after two short months I got the job! During the war we were always worried about bombs coming down and would have to take extra care walking to and from work. About a year after I had started working in the library, during the Cardiff Blitz in 1941, one of the air raid sirens went off and we had to evacuate everyone from the library. In times such as this, customers would leave but the staff would stay until the library was ready to be re-opened to the public.

I was doing some filing in the back room when an incendiary bomb was dropped through the roof and landed on the filing cabinet. I was in shock, but I can’t say I was scared really as at this point I was used to the raids. The incendiary bombs spat out chemicals designed to start a fire, so my first instinct was to put it out and save myself and the library. I grabbed a bucket from the store room, filled it with water and used the foot pump to squirt water onto the bomb. The library’s caretaker came running to help me and brought a bag full of sand, which he poured over it and the flames soon went out.

Once the fire was completely out and the library’s closing time had passed, I left and walked home to Ely, just as I did every evening. There were a lot of bombs going off that night, especially around the docks and Canton High School had been reduced to a shell.

When I got home, I noticed that there were lots of little holes in my dress, but at the time I didn’t think anything of it. The next morning, I got up for work and got dressed, only to see that I was covered in little red dots. I thought I had chicken pox, so I went straight to the doctors on my way to work to get some cream to sooth it and it turned out they were burns from the chemicals. From the doctors I went straight to work but I was so worried about being late, we didn’t have telephones in those days, so they may have thought I wasn’t coming in. I loved my job working at the library and I didn’t want anything to jeopardise it.

Despite the bombing the library was open as usual the next day. I used the cream the doctor gave me and the burns healed in just a week. I worked in the library until I was called upon to repair aeroplane engines in the war, but I soon returned to the library once the war had finished.

Care home with something to shout about


Alison and her team

The 40-bed family owned home run by Alison Lee and her husband Gabriel celebrated its top rating in November (see EXCLUSIVE: Hampshire care home is ‘outstanding’) along with its 40th anniversary.

“We were celebrating our 40th when we got news of the outstanding so it’s been party after party,” Alison said.

Unlike some other homes we have spoken to, Alison and her team did not prepare for their CQC inspection.

“Nothing is just a tick box exercise it’s all about having a positive outcome and impact on our residents.

“I get really cross when people say you need to do this for the CQC,” Alison added.

“We don’t do anything just for the CQC, we do it for our residents’ benefit and care. It’s us as we are. We couldn’t prepare because we didn’t know they were coming.

“Sometimes we don’t communicate well enough to the CQC what we are doing. I think that’s probably what our biggest weakness has been in the past.”

General manager Jo Grinyer added: “What we are doing is so natural to us that sometimes we can forget that what we are doing really is special.”

Manager Vicky Ayling, who has been with the home for 17 years, said “really good team work” and listening to the residents was the home’s winning formula.

Alison and her team spend a lot of time getting to know the life histories of their residents so their care is as personalised as possible.

“We get to know their life histories,” Jo said. “We use that to shape everything we do from the activities to the care.”

Staff training is key for Woodlands and Hill Brow, which achieved Investors in People Gold status in 2013.

“When we are recruiting we are looking for a spark in people and a desire to do this,” Alison said.

“All of our staff from the laundry man to the manager are trained very heavily.”

Staff turnover is low for the group at just under 20% with no agency staff at the homes. The group has signed up to the Living Wage which offers a minimum rate of £8.45 an hour.

Annual bonuses are also provided and staff are further incentivised through a “staff achiever” award with staff nominated each month by residents for a £25 prize.

When hiring, the group looks for the right attitude rather than qualifications.

“We can teach anyone without the qualifications,” Alison said. “All of our senior staff are qualified assessors so they all teach NVQ.”

Jo added: “Sometimes it is easy when people don’t have previous experience so we can train them in our ways.”

The home offers dementia forums to help relatives on what to do when they come in to see their loved ones. It also has a dementia specialist who works alongside the staff.

“While we have a nursing home where we can move people if necessary we are aware that moving people living with dementia can be very distressing. After all this is their home so we support the staff to make sure people can stay here for as long as possible,” Jo said.

“We are trying to lead and shape the future for all care homes by sharing our experiences and knowledge.”

Through her nursing background and experience as a community matron Jo has led the way in minimising hospital admissions for Woodlands’ residents through training staff to recognise the signs of infection and preventing falls.

“Our hospital admissions across our three homes have halved thanks to Jo’s training,” Alison said.

With weekly rates of £840-£1,090 for residential care the group is predominantly made up of private, fee-paying residents.

“We have to make a profit to make sure that we are still running next year as it enables us to invest for the future and in our staff.”

LITTLE THINGS MATTER

When touring Woodlands, Care Home Professional was struck by the little thoughtful touches that make the home special. A quiet area in one of the home’s corridors is a favourite spot of one resident who simply likes to watch the passing traffic. A TV camera has been set up on a bird box in the home’s garden so residents can watch birds as they feed. In the dining room, a calendar of events provides information on a packed weekly itinerary of activities which include visits from a ‘pat dog’.

Chef Becky Collier offers a  different menu each day catering to the tastes of the residents. Becky’s  ‘booze trolley’ is a big favourite. She also runs a popular cooking club on a Thursday afternoon where residents can cook their own tea.

Students living in nursing homes – a solution to our ageing populations?

In today’s society both young and old increasingly find themselves living in a bubble of like-minded and similar-aged peers. This is especially true of university students who leave home at 18 to live with people of the same age – who have quite often had similar life experiences.

Given this, the report that a Dutch nursing home has established a programme providing free rent to university students in exchange for 30 hours a month of their time “acting as neighbours” with their aged residents is unusual.

The programme has seen students in their early twenties sharing lives with residents in their eighties and nineties. As part of their volunteer agreement, the students also spend time teaching residents new skills – like how to email, use social media, Skype, and even graffiti art.

Reducing loneliness

The incentive behind Humanitas Deventer’s “exchange” programme is the research basethat shows that reducing loneliness and social isolation improves well-being and extends life expectancy in the elderly.

And though research on the impact on students seems yet to be explored, from my own experience of running a similar project at the University of Exeter, I know that it is overwhelmingly positive – giving young people a sense of connection with older generations, and significantly increasing the likelihood that they will continue to volunteer after university.

Since 2011 student volunteers from the university’s Department of English and Film donate their time to bring conversation, literature, and friendship to the residents of over ten residential care homes across the city. And since the project’s inception it is estimated that around 250 active volunteers have reached over 500 elderly residents – at least half of whom have dementia.

Reading between the lines

The Care Homes Reading Project draws upon the natural skill set of its target volunteer community – which includes a love of reading and an understanding of the power of literature to impact lives positively.

Research shows reading poetry with dementia sufferers – many who learned poetry by heart when they were younger – brings comfort and reassurance through hearing and reciting familiar verses.

 Age breakdown of global population by 2100E

Image: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Global Research

Rhythm and rhyme bring a sense of order and predictability and, as this project has seen first hand, poetry can spark memories previously unknown to carers and even to family members.

Residents regain a sense of themselves as “a whole person, past and present”, as one care home manager put it. And in one brilliant example, a 100-year-old resident found a shared play-reading session with one student volunteer revived long-buried leading-lady speeches once delivered when she was an actress.

Shared passions

Our experience in Exeter has shown that students can help to supplement the quality of care in homes by providing relief for overstretched staff. And residents typically respond with enthusiasm to the novelty of younger visitors and to the creativity students bring to their sessions.

Residents are also encouraged to be creative by writing their own poetry. And English students offer expertise in selecting and discussing appropriate literature, and show sensitivity to the emotional response that language can have.

Many students find the visits often evolve into wider-ranging conversations and discoveries of other activities that bring happiness and interest to the residents. One student now not only visits a care home to read but also to hold ballet classes. And in the same home other residents have made use of students’ language skills, holding French and German conversation sessions.

Volunteer students look forward to their weekly visits. They find it is a space they can share poetry and stories – away from the demands of assessments. And many have said that it reminds them why they chose to study English literature in the first place.

Students also learn how past generations read the very same poems in surprisingly different ways. They see first hand how literature stays with us throughout life. And how the experience of shared reading helps to overcome the social and ideological disconnect between generations that plagues contemporary society.

Breaking boundaries

The moral health of a society is plainly visible in the way it treats its most vulnerable members, especially the aged. The government recently announcedthat universities will be required to demonstrate their commitment to enhancing social mobility by establishing or supporting schools, so why not also mobilise the resources universities offer to enhance opportunity and well-being at the other end of life’s spectrum?

The largest resource universities possess is the student body – a force with time, energy, few domestic responsibilities, and a desire to use their developing skills to make a positive difference in the local community.

Our reading project in care homes shows how both young and old can benefit from this type of arrangement. So just like the Dutch, it would be great if Universities in the UK could also look to reduce the cost of tuition fees or accommodation in exchange for meaningful social investment to get more people young and old spending time together.

Written by
Johanna Harris Senior Lecturer in English, University of Exeter
Published
Wednesday 30 November 2016

Sexual healing? Sex robots should be put in OLD PEOPLE’S homes, says expert

SEX ROBOTS should be put into elderly care homes to help residents who still want to fulfil certain needs, a leading expert has stated.

Sex robots are just around the corner with many believing that the first commercially available ones could be available as early as next year.However the ways in which they are introduced to society is something of a hot topic at the moment, with experts discussing whether their availability should be limited or free for anyone to purchase.

Another talking point is whether they can be used for therapeutic reasons.Kate Devlin, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths University, who organised the recent ‘Love and Sex with Robots’ congress at the university, says that sex robots purpose should extend beyond simply helping people to get their rocks off.

Instead, Dr Devlin proposes that sex robots could be used to help people therapeutically.

She told Express.co.uk: “The thing that interests me is the use of sex tech for the elderly in care homes because when we say to old people ‘we’re going to put you in a care home’, it really infantilises them but these are still grown adults with the same amount of desire for intimacy but it is incredibly taboo to say.“You could be talking about someone who has lost a husband or a wife and they’re feeling alone and perhaps that is one thing that we could offer.”

Dr Devlin also suggests using them to help people with learning difficulties – potentially helping them to normalise the idea of sex or to help cure loneliness.
She added: “We could actually take a different approach from the porn approach and look at it from a therapeutic way for people who have perhaps limited ability, where they have a virtual sex life.
“You could provide one to somebody who, perhaps for one reason or the other, can’t get out into society to meet people and perhaps that is an alternative to them, perhaps they have physical disabilities, perhaps they have learning difficulties, so it gives these people a new way to connect.”One topic that many experts are considering at the moment is the possibility of using the robots to help prevent sex offending.

However, Dr Devlin is unsure whether it would deter sex offenders or encourage them.The computer scientist said: “We have two attitudes towards this and the first is that if a sex offender had access to a sex robot, perhaps that would be enough of a proxy to stop any abuse of humans, the other argument could be that that could be an escalation.

“Would having that kind of access would mean that they are more likely to go out and abuse humans – we don’t know, we haven’t studied it well enough.“Is it something that could be used as an outlet or is it something that would lead to more offending?”