Recommended Books
Proceedings Notes

Books Dealing with Practice Management

 Ackerman, L: Five-Minute Veterinary Practice Management Consult, Blackwell Publishing, 2006

Ackerman, L: Business Basics for Veterinarians, ASJA Press, New York, 2002

Ackerman, L: Management Basics for Veterinarians. ASJA Press, New York, 2003

Boss, N: Educating your clients from A… to Z. AAHA Press, Lakewood, Colorado, 1999.

Bower, J; Gripper, J; Gripper, P: Gunn, D: Veterinary Practice Management, 3rd Edition, Blackwell Science, London, England, 2001

Catanzaro, TE: Building the Successful Veterinary Practice, Volume 2- Programs & Procedures. Iowa State University press, Ames Iowa, 1998

Catanzaro, TE; Seibert, P: Veterinary Practice Management Secrets. Hanley & Belfus, Inc., Philadelphia, 2000.

Heinke, ML; McCarthy, JB: Practice Made Perfect. AAHA Press, Lakewood Colorado, 2001

Opperman, M: The Art of Veterinary Practice Management. Veterinary Medicine Publishing Group, Lenexa Kansas, 1999

Stowe, JD; Ackerman, LJ: The Effective Veterinary Practice. Lifelearn, Guelph Ontario, 2004

Wilson, JF; Nemoy, JD; Fishman, AJ: Contracts, Benefits, and Practice Management for the Veterinary Profession. Priority Press, Ltd., Yardley Pennsylvania, 2000.

Books Dealing with Business Administration

Beckwith, H: Selling the Invisible: A field guide to modern marketing. Warner Books, New York, NY 1997

Belasco, J; Stayer, RC: Flight of the Buffalo. Warner Books Inc., New York, New York, 1993

Bhide, AV: The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses. Oxford University Press, 2000

Blanchard, K; Johnson, S: The One-Minute Manager. Berkeley Books, New York, NY, 1981

Collins, J: Good to Great. Why some companies make the leap… and others don’t. HarperBusiness 2001

Covey, SR: The 7 Habits of highly effective people. Free Press, 1990

Fulgum, R: All I really needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten. Ivy Books, New York, 1988

Goleman, D: Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books, New York, 1995

Nalebuff, B; Ayres, I: Why Not? How to use everyday ingenuity to solve problems big and small. Harvard Business School Press, 2003

Zaltman, G: How Customers Think. Harvard Business School Press, 2003


The following are some useful acronyms that are used in practice management, with some specific to veterinary medicine


American Animal Hospital Association


American Association of Retired Persons


American Academy of Veterinary Disaster Medicine


American Association of Veterinary State Boards


Activity-based Costing


American Boarding Kennel Association.


Automated Clearing House


Average Client Transaction


Average Transaction Charge


Average Transaction Fee


Americans with Disabilities Act


Advantages, Disadvantages, Distinction, Story Telling


Adverse Drug Event


Age Discrimination in Employment Act


Adjusted Gross Income


American Institute of Architects


American Institute of Certified Public Accountants


 As Low as Reasonably Achievable


Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act


Alternative Minimum Tax


American National Standards Institute.


Average Patient Charge


Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA)


American Pet Products Manufacturers Association


Annual Percentage Rate


Accounts Receivable


Average Rate of Return


American Society for Testing and Materials.


Automatic Teller Machine


American Veterinary Medical Association


Association of Veterinary Practice Management Consultants and Advisors


Business Assessment Report Kardsm


Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement


Blind Carbon Copy


 Biological, nuclear, incendiary, chemical and explosive


Biological Safety Cabinet.


Chartered Accountant


Companion Animal Parasite Council


County Animal Response Team


Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive


Chemotherapeutic Drug.


Compact Disk


Centers for Disease Control


Continuing Education


Community Emergency Response Team (Citizen Corps)


Cubic Feet per Minute


Code of Federal Regulations

  Cost of Goods Sold


Continuity of Operations Planning


Cost of Professional Services


Cash Payback


Computerized Physician Order Entry


Central Processing Unit.


Controlled Substances Act


Curriculum vita (e)


Certified Public Accountant.


Continuous Quality Improvement


Carbon Copy


Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


Contract Documents


Compact Disc Re-Writable.


Chief Executive Officer


Cubic Feet per Minute


Central Processing Unit


Continuous Quality Improvement


Client (or Customer) Relationship Management


Computed Tomography


Certified Veterinary Technician






Dependent Care Assistance Program


Drug Enforcement Agency


Department of Homeland Security


Department of Labor


Denial of Service


Digital Subscriber Line.


Digital Video Disk.


Digital Video Disc Re-Writable.


Errors & Omissions


Employee Assistance Personnel


Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation & Amortization


Evidence-based Medicine


Equal Employment Opportunity


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


Electronic Funds Transfer


Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety.


Emotional Intelligence


Employer Identification Number


Employee Manual


Emergency Management Assistance Compact


Electronic Medical Record


Emergency Medical Technician


Emergency Operations Center


Economic Order Quantity


Environmental Protection Agency


Employment Practices Liability Insurance


Emotional (Intelligence) Quotient


Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.


Energy Recovery Ventilator


Economic value-added


Foreign Animal Disease


Frequently-asked Questions


Financial Accounting Standards Board


Food and Drug Administration


Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine


Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act


Federal Emergency Management Agency


Federal Insurance Contributions Act


Fair Isaac Credit Organization


Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act


Family Limited Partnership


Fair Labor Standards Act


Family and Medical Leave Act


Full time


Full time equivalent


Family Limited Partnership


File Transfer Protocol


Federal Unemployment Tax Act

G & A

General and Administrative


Generally Accepted Accounting Principles




General Partnership


Hold, Encourage, Limits, Praise


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act


Hazard Materials Identification Guide.


Health Maintenance Organization


Human Resources


Human Resources Information Systems


Health Reimbursement Plan


Hazard Ranking System (EPA)


Health Savings Account


Hospital Safety Manual.


Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning


Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers


Incremental Cash Flow


Incident Command System


Internet Protocol


Investment Policy Statement


Individual Retirement Account


Internal Revenue Code


Internal Rate of Return


Internal Revenue Service


Internet Service Provider


Information Technology


Invitation, Validation and Persuasion


Keep it Simple, Stupid!


Key Performance Indicators


Limited Liability Company


Limited Liability Partnership


Limited Partnership


Long-term Care


Licensed Veterinary Technician


Media Access Control


Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System


Master of Business Administration


Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


Master of Healthcare Administration


Master of Public Administration


Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Medical Reserve Corps (a Citizen Corps program)


Material Safety Data Sheets.


New Animal Drug Application


National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps (USDA)


National Animal Health Emergency Management System


National Career Development Association


Net Cash Flow


Nation Center for Infectious Diseases


National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues


National Disaster Medical System


National Emergency Managers Association


National Fire Protection Association DHS


Non-Governmental Organization


National Incident Management System


National Labor Relations Act


Net Profit


Net Present Value


Noise Reduction Coefficient


 National Response Plan


Opportunity Cost


Organizational Development


Office of Domestic Preparedness


Occupational Safety & Health Administration


Over the Counter


Performance Appraisal


Picture Archival & Compression Software


Personal Computer.


Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance


Profit & Loss


Picture Archival & Compression Software


Practice Management System


Premium-only policy


Point of Sale


Personal Protective Equipment.


Principal Investigator


Public Relations


Public Relations Society of America


Part time


Quality Assurance


Qualified Intermediary


Random Access Memory


Regulated Medical Waste.


Return on Investment


Roof Top Unit


Registered Veterinary Technician


State Animal (or Agricultural) Response Team


Small Business Administration


Search Engine Optimization


Simplified Employee Pension


Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees


Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Related to Mission and Time limited


Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan


Service Corps of Retired Executives


Standards of Performance


Standard Operating Procedures


Safety Supervisor.


Sound Transmission Coefficient


Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats


Trade Area




Total Quality Management


Universal Serial Bus.


United States Code


United States Department of Agriculture


United States Pharmacopoeia


Uniform Resource Locator


Veterinary Hospital Managers Association


Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (FEMA)


Veterinary Time Equivalents


United States Department of Agriculture


Wireless Access Point

The following are some useful terms in the understanding of veterinary practice management. They come from a variety of sources and, where necessary, the meaning has been tweaked to be more specific to the practice of very medicine.

1099-MISC Form

The form a company issues to its independent contractors, citing all money paid to the individual on an un-taxed basis. It is then the responsibility of the independent contractor to file and pay all appropriate Federal, State and local taxes.


Acid-Test Ratio

Sum of cash, receivables, and marketable securities divided by current liabilities. The acid test provides a quick measure of the practice’s ability to pay its near-term liabilities out of liquid assets.


Accounts Payable

Amounts owed to suppliers that are payable in the future.


Accounts Receivable

Money owned to a practice for services rendered or products sold that is not paid at the time of service or when the product is dispensed.


Accounts Receivable Turnover

The relationship between sales made through credit and accounts receivable, computed by dividing sales on account by average net accounts receivable. The higher the A/R turnover number, the quicker collections occur (and the higher the probability of successful collection).


Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

The total of an individual's income (wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc.) on a tax return after all allowable deductions have been subtracted



Paid communication using various forms of media to influence or persuade an audience




A periodic expense attributed to the decline in usefulness of an intangible asset over its estimated useful life.


Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

A percentage calculation that reflects the total cost of a loan (interest plus all fees) on an annual basis.



Things of value on a balance sheet, such as cash, equipment, inventory, buildings, etc.


Average Client Transaction (ACT)

Revenue per client visit, calculated by dividing the income by the number of clients or patients seen. Also called per-patient transaction.


Average Patient Charge (APC)

This is the total practice revenue divided by the number of patients seen. It is an economic indicator of services provided based on the patients seen rather than the invoices written. 


Average Transaction Charge (ATC)

The total revenue for a time period divided by the total number of transactions during that period.


Average Transaction Fee (ATF)

This is an economic measure of the average dollar amount of services provided on each invoice in a practice.  It is the total practice revenue divided by the total number of invoices.  


Balance Sheet

A financial report detailing a practice’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity (Net Assets in a nonprofit) at a specific point in time.



This is a process by which a practice compares itself to others (especially those known for outstanding performance) in an attempt to improve performance.


Book Value

The dollar amount at which assets and liabilities are recorded in financial statements.


Bottom line

A colloquial term for profits after all expenses and taxes have been considered.



An identifying symbol, words, or mark that distinguishes a product or company from its competitors. The brand value reflects how a product's name, or company name, is perceived by the marketplace.



Brand Identity

A unique set of associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or maintain


Brand Promise

The spoken or unspoken expression of the continuing, important and specific benefits clients connect with a firm, service or product.


Breakeven Point

The point at which the initial money spent is recovered through cash inflows. The level of sales that will just cover all costs, both fixed and variable.



An estimate of income and expenses for a specified period.



Physical or emotional exhaustion, especially as a result of long-term stress or dissipation. An expression used to describe what might be better defined as depression for those who are simply disenchanted with practice or extreme exhaustion for those who have not taken reasonable time off.


Business Assessment Report Kard (BARKsm)

A strategic planning process designed to evaluate veterinary practices


Business Plan

A written document that details a proposed or existing venture. It seeks to define the objective, vision, current status, expected needs, strategies, defined markets, and projected results of the business.



The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act requires unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to be labeled and to include opt-out instructions and the sender's physical address. It prohibits the use of deceptive subject lines and false headers in such messages.  




The rights (equity) of the owners in a business enterprise.


Capital Asset

An asset that has utility over more than one accounting period, such as a surgical table.


Capital Budgeting

This involves the analysis of all the financial plans associated with the acquisition of all capital assets for a business.


Capital Gains

The increase in value of a property above investment costs. The difference between an asset's purchase price and selling price, when the selling price is greater


Capital Lease

A lease which includes contract provisions that result in treating the leased asset as a purchased asset. It generally covers the economically useful life of the property in question which is typically longer than the period of time an operating lease covers.


Capital Reinvestment

The periodic capital outlay required to maintain operations at existing levels; also referred to as sustaining capital reinvestment


Capitalization rate

The rate of return needed to attract capital to the practice.  This is essentially the rate of return a buyer would expect for investing in the practice.  The rate is a reflection of the risks associated with the business with emphasis on the practice’s ability to maintain its net income.


Cash flow statement

A financial report on the sources of cash (like profit, increased debt, and collections on client accounts) and uses of cash (like reducing debt or buying more drug and supply inventory) during a period of time


Cash Payback (CP)

The amount of time necessary between the capital expenditure and the complete recovery in cash (net after expenses) of the amount invested.


Cash Payback Period

 The estimated period of time that will elapse between the date of a capital expenditure and the complete recovery of the amount invested.


Catchment Area

Also known as Trade Area. The area from which a business draws its clientele.


Chart of Accounts

A systematic listing of all account names and numbers used by a company.


Charitable Corporation

A corporation that has been organized under state law as a nonprofit corporation and meets the criteria under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) to have its income exempted from federal income taxes and its donations tax deductible by the donors.



An individual or group who engages in a professional working relationship with a veterinarian or veterinary practice for the delivery of veterinary services



Client satisfaction

Meeting and/or exceeding client expectations by the customer’s standards or perception.



Client service

Refers to meeting the needs of individuals with whom the doctor or practice hopes to maintain a long-standing relationship. 



An item that is considered interchangeable, and whose price is a reflection of supply and demand.


Compassion fatigue

A progressive loss of idealism, energy, and purpose experienced by people in the helping professions




All income due to employees for their work during a given period. In addition to wages, salaries, bonuses, and stock options, compensation includes fringe benefits and employers' share of contributions to social insurance programs, such as Social Security.


Compensatory Time

 Time off given to an employee to compensate for extra time worked in a single workweek.




The measure of whether pets actually receive the care that has been recommended by their veterinarians.


Community Relations

Continuing, planned and active participation with and within a community to maintain and enhance its environment to the benefit of both an organization and the community.



Conflict Resolution

A process of resolving a dispute or disagreement



Consumer report

A report of a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living


Continuous quality improvement (CQI)

An  ongoing process of seeking small improvements in processes that have an overall effect of improving efficiency and productivity while reducing waste within an organization


Cost Driver

A quantifiable measure that is used to assign costs to activities; reflects the consumption of costs by activities, such as labor, supplies, equipment and associated depreciation, etc.



Cost Object

Any activity for which a separate measurement of costs is desired, such as services, service lines, products, product lines, processes and responsibility centers (surgery, pharmacy, etc.).


Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

The expense incurred to purchase merchandise sold during a period. 


Cost of Professional Services (COPS)

The direct costs associated with producing a product or service. It reflects the direct costs of patient care and product retailing, including drug and pharmacy costs, professional and hospital supplies costs, laboratory supplies and reference laboratory fees, radiology and imaging supply costs, surgery and anesthesia supply costs, dietary product costs, mortuary costs, etc.. 


Costs, Fixed

Fixed costs are those that do not fluctuate with revenue.  For example, the rent paid to lease the building in which the veterinary practice is located is a fixed cost.  Even if no clients come in the door and no revenue is generated by the practice, the business still has to pay rent.


Costs, Semi-variable

Expenses that don’t fluctuate directly with revenue but still don’t stay fixed in the sense that rent does.  They encompass some fixed and some variable expense components. For example, telephone service is typically a semi-variable expense in that there is typically a base cost (fixed expense) and then an additional cost (variable expense) depending on the amount of telephone service features used (e.g., long distance costs).


Costs, Variable

Those costs that fluctuate directly with revenue.  For example, variable costs in a veterinary practice would include anesthesia, drugs and supplies.  If no patients are seen, none of these items is used and there is no procedure-associated cost (other than the original cost of the existing supplies). 


Credit Policy

Written guidelines to assist in deciding to extend credit to a customer. Formulating a standard credit policy helps to avoid extending credit to pet owners who are unable to pay their accounts. A good credit policy should help retain good relationships, without jeopardizing cash flow.


Credit Report

A listing of all the outstanding debt and history of payments on that debt. 


Credit Terms

Time limits set for customers' promise to pay for merchandise or services purchased from a practice.



The personality of the practice.  It tells the history and beliefs of the practice and sets the tone for giving the practice a competitive advantage.


Current Assets

Cash or another assets that may reasonably be expected to be realized in cash, sold, or consumed, within a year or less, through normal practice operations.


Current Liability

Amounts owed to outside parties that are due and must be paid within the next twelve months.


Current Ratio

Current assets divided by current liabilities. It indicates how much there is in assets, cash, and items of value, versus how much is owed on those assets.


Curriculum vitae

A special type of resume traditionally used within the academic community that includes earned degrees, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and related activities.



Someone who pays for goods or services


Customer service

 Refers to assistance to individuals who are purchasing a product or service.    




Description of the vital statistics or objective and quantifiable characteristics of an audience or population. A few of the demographic designators include age, marital status, income, family size, occupation, and personal or household characteristics such as age, sex, income, or educational level.




A systematic allocation of the cost of a tangible asset (i.e. radiographic unit) over time. It is the monetary amount of estimated annual normal wear and tear on property improvements.


Direct expense (cost)

An expense (cost) that can be directly traced to a client, to a profit center, or to some specific entity.



Direct Labor

Direct labor or hard labor includes any actions that directly contribute to the delivery of patient care or customer service


Direct labor hours

The costs associated with providing staffing for a service.



A reduction in price for services and/or products.  This can be a partial or total reduction of fees.


Discount Plans

This is a service by which pet owners pay a fee to receive discounted services from participating veterinarians. It is not, by definition, insurance.


Doctor’s Manual

A Manual that helps ensure that all doctors in a multi-doctor practice are following the same basic protocols so as to avoid client confusion that will undermine client trust in the practice. In addition to outlining such routine protocols as vaccination guidelines, these manuals also include narrative on how to interpret the practice’s fee structure. For example, if a practice offers a Level One, Level Two and Level Three Nursing Care fee, the manual will outline the criteria used to define each level (this type of information may also be included in the Reception Manual)


Due Diligence

The process by which persons conduct inquiries for the purposes of timely, sufficient and accurate disclosure of all material statements/information or documents which may influence the outcome of the transaction.


Economic Life

The number of years over which cash is expected to be returned from an investment in property.


Economic Order Quantity

The most economical quantity of a product to order, factoring in both holding and ordering costs


Economic value-added

The monetary value of an entity at the end of a time period minus the monetary value of that same entity at the beginning of that time period. The after-tax earnings minus the opportunity cost of capital.


Economy of Scale

The reduction in cost per unit that results when operational efficiencies allow increased production. There is thus savings because as production increases, the cost of producing each additional unit decreases.


Economy of Scope

The reduction in costs of operations when a company enters two or more markets where the operations in one market can be used to make operations in another market more efficient.


Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

A kind of intelligence or skill that involves the ability to perceive, assess and positively influence one's own and other people's emotions.




The common law definition of "employee" is anyone who performs services subject to an employer’s will and control as to what shall be done and how.  Veterinary employees are workers contracted by practice owners to perform specified job tasks during delineated time periods, subject to the authority and control of their employers.



Employee Manuals

These are manuals explaining the terms and conditions employees must operate under while working for a given business.




A person or firm that employs workers and pays wages.




A fund, usually in the form of an income-generating investment, established to provide long-term support for an organization.



The owner(s)’ claim on the practice’s assets (i.e., the portion of the practice’s assets that belongs to the owner, not the creditors).


Excess Earnings

The amount of earnings expected over and above the return on tangible assets; includes earnings as a result of intangible assets such as goodwill



A measured outflow of services and/or goods, matched to the revenue generated for that outflow.


Expense, Fixed

An expense that stays the same regardless of the amount of work the practice performs, such as rent.


Expense, Step

An expense that increases or decreases in distinctive amounts, rather than in a linear fashion. Any staff member with a guaranteed work schedule is a step expense


Expense, Variable

An expense that increases as the amount of work the practice performs increases. For example, the busier a practice becomes, the more drugs and supplies it requires



External marketing

Written or verbal communication that is aimed at attracting new clients.  Examples include exterior appearance of the hospital, yellow page ads, mailings, PR events, speaking engagements, signage, web site, and phone conversations.



Fair Market Value

The price at which an asset would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, both having the means to complete the transaction and neither acting under duress.


FICO Score

A score calculated using a computer model that compares the information in a credit report to what is on the credit report of thousands of other customers.  This assesses a number of factors such as past payment history, amount of outstanding debt, age of the credit, types of credit and changes in amount of outstanding credit.  The higher the credit score, the lower the credit risk.


Finance Charges

Money charged for payments that extend beyond an agreed upon time limit.  The amount charged is governed by the usury laws in the State within which you practice.  The amount of finance fee charged must be clearly reflected on the invoices rendered.



In advertising, the number of times an individual is exposed to an advertisement


Full-time Equivalent

A method of comparing practices based on a full-time schedule of 40 hours a week. If a practice has two veterinarians, one working 50 hours a week and one working 20 hours a week, that practice has 1.75 full time equivalent veterinary positions [i.e., (50 + 20)/40]


Future Value

The monetary value of some defined investment at some point in the future, given a specified rate of return


General and Administrative Expenses

All executive, organizational, and clerical expenses associated with the general management and operation of a practice, rather than with delivery of patient care, ancillary services such as pet boarding and grooming, or product/pharmacy sales.



General Ledger

The collection of all Asset, Liability, Equity, Revenue, and expense accounts from which the financial statements are derived. 


General Liability

 Insurance that protects against accidents and injury that might happen on its premises, as well as exposures related to its products


Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

 A philosophy that broadly includes the body of principles that governs the accounting for financial transactions underlying the preparation of a set of financial statements. GAAP are derived from such sources as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).



Going Concern Assumption

The assumption that the business will remain in operation for the foreseeable future (as opposed to a liquidation assumption)



An intangible asset resulting from a business’s reputation, name, location, products, services, customer base, etc.


Gross Income

Income resulting from all veterinary operations before any cost/expense deductions and excluding interest income, service charge income, rebates, sales tax collected, or any other income resulting from other than veterinary professional services and pharmacy/product retail income.


Gross Profit

A monetary amount, computed by subtracting total Cost of Professional Services from Gross Income.


Gross Profit Percentage

The ratio percentage resulting from Gross Profit divided by Gross Income.


Hazardous Waste

 Byproducts of society that can pose a substantial or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed. Possesses at lease one of four characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity) or appears on EPA lists. It requires special handling for detoxification or safe disposal.



Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  (HIPAA)

The federal privacy standards that protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.


Holding costs

All of the costs associated with maintaining inventory on the premises.


Hospital Safety Manual (HSM)

A collection of all the safety rules, regulations, and policies of the facility. It should have the set training schedule for the staff, a written safety plan, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and evacuation plans for emergencies. It must be stored in an easily accessible location.


Human Resources

Also known as human capital, the skills that people can use to produce goods and services. The four main areas of human resources as a discipline include: Employment Practices; Organizational Development; Compensation and Benefits, and; Employee Relations.



Immigration Naturalization form to confirm employment eligibility in the United States.


Income Statement

Also known as a profit and loss statement, a report on financial performance that covers a period of time and reports income and expenses during that period.


Indemnity Insurance

A system of health insurance in which the insurance carrier reimburses the insured indiviudal for medical expenses after care has been provided.


Independent Contractor

An individual hired to do a specific job and paid a fee or a lump sum at its conclusion. Workers who are contracted by veterinary practice owners (called clients) to perform certain jobs independent of control by their clients.



Indirect Labor

Indirect labor or soft labor includes all work-related actions that do not directly result in patient care or customer service. This includes attending staff meetings, participating in continuing education, training new staff members, bookkeeping, inventory management, creating client education or marketing materials, computer maintenance, etc.


Industry Norms

Values derived from the analysis of a large number of practices. Most of the national groups that represent organized veterinary medicine publish some variety of industry norms.


Incremental Cash Flow (ICF)

The change in the practice’s net cash flow attributable to capital investment.


Informed Consent

Person's agreement to allow something to happen, such as a medical procedure that is based on full disclosure of the facts necessary to make an intelligent decision



The cost of borrowing money, assessed by the lender over time, usually expressed as a percentage of the principal amount of borrowing. The percentage is expressed as a rate over a time period, and can change (variable rate) or stay the same over the term of the loan (fixed rate).


Intellectual Capital

Value of know-how accumulated within the organization. 


Internal Accounting Controls

Processes in place to provide management reasonable assurance that no practice resources are being lost, that financial reporting is reasonably accurate and that profitability targets are achieved.


Internal marketing

In veterinary medicine, this usually refers to efforts to increase utilization of services by existing clients.  Internal marketing also refers to efforts by the practice to train and motivate staff to work together as a team to better meet client needs


Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

The calculated rate of return, given the cost and future value of an investment



Inappropriate benefit of a private person or company from a charitable corporation.



Extra merchandise or supplies the practice keeps on hand to meet the demands of customers. Goods ready to be sold.



Inventory Turnover

The relationship between expense of total items sold and inventory value, computed by dividing the cost of drugs and dispensed items by the average inventory value. The higher the number, the more often inventory turns over, resulting in less outdating, less damage, and less inventory on hand at any one time. 


Job Enlargement

The assignment of additional similar tasks that the employee is already trained to accomplish. For example, asking an employee who is trained to do call backs for one doctor to begin doing call backs for all of the doctors


Job Enrichment

Training an employee to be able to complete new tasks in addition to his/her regular responsibilities. Cross training technicians and receptionists so they are able to cover for each other is an example of job enrichment It is a method of making work more satisfying by expanding the tasks to increase not only their variety but also the employee’s responsibility and accountability.


Just-in-Time Inventory

Receiving product as it is needed, rather than storing product as inventory.


Key Performance Indicators

Statistics that can be generated from client transaction data that have predictive value for success, from a practice management standpoint


Labor Ratio

The ratio that defines the relationship between direct labor and indirect labor in the workplace. In veterinary medicine, the rule of thumb is a one-to-one (1: 1) ratio.  One hour of direct labor is expended, for each hour of indirect labor



The art of guiding people in a manner that commands their respect, confidence and wholehearted cooperation.



A contractual agreement granting the use of some capital asset for a specified time in exchange for an agreed upon payment amount.



The party to a lease agreement who is obligated to pay the rentals to the lessor and is entitled to use and possess the leased equipment during the lease term.



The person or company who owns the property that is the subject of the lease or rental agreement.



Using creditor funds to purchase assets, based on the prediction that the rates of return on purchased assets will exceed the costs of borrowing.



The practice’s debts, (i.e., money owed to creditors)


Liquidation Value

The value of individual business assets if they were to be sold.



A sum of borrowed money (principal) that is generally repaid with interest.


Loan Terms

Exact requirements of how a loan will be made to and repaid by the borrower.



A unique symbol or design that represents a company.



Long Term Portion of Loan

The principal portion of a loan that is due to be repaid in greater than twelve months.


Managed Care

A health care system under which health care professionals are organized into a group or “network” in order to manage the cost, quality and access to health care.



The potential customers for a particular product or service



A business discipline that studies the demographics and psychographics of target consumers, as well as the development of positioning strategy and messages. Marketing strategy affects everything that touches customers, prospects, employees, investors, vendors, and essential business processes.



Market Development

Promoting existing products to new markets


Market Penetration

The extent of sales of existing products and services to existing clients


Market Plan

The course of action that creates a decision plan as to how a business is to proceed to best compete in the market it elects to serve.


Market Research

Determining attitudes and behaviors of publics and their causes in order to plan, implement and measure activities to influence or change the attitudes and behavior.



Marketing Communications

Combination of activities designed to sell a product, service or idea, including advertising, collateral (printed) materials, publicity, promotion, packaging, point-of-sale display, trade shows and special events.



Marketing Mix

The unique blend of product, pricing, promotion, and place (distribution channel) designed to reach a specific group of consumers


Marketing planning

Establishing marketing objectives, defining target markets and deciding on the marketing mix.


Market Segment

A group of consumers who respond in a similar way to a given set of marketing efforts.



Market Segmentation

The process of dividing the total market for a product or service into smaller, more manageable subsets or groups of customers. Market segmentation.  Dividing markets into specific groups based on specific criteria.


Market value

The highest price that a buyer would pay and the lowest price the seller would accept on a property. 


Market Viability

Determination of the probable success of a business venture based on an evaluation of demand, price, and quality of goods or services.



Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

Detailed explanations about each drug or chemical providing all important information regarding use of the substance. It is the facility’s responsibility to maintain a current MSDS for each chemical.




The costs associated with providing products used for a service, including both direct and indirect costs.


Media Relations

Relating with news media in seeking publicity or responding to their interest in an organization.




An informal relationship where, on an ongoing basis, a more experienced individual offers guidance and/or career advice to a less experienced colleague




The act of several practices combining operations to create an economy of scale (reducing expenses) and improving the growth potential of the new entity.



Pieces of HTML code that are imbedded in a web site, but not visible with web browsers. The Meta-Tags contain information about the site, its description, keywords, and creator, and are used by search engines and directories.



The presence a product or service occupies in the mind of a client or potential client


Minimum Order Point

The level below which stock should be re-ordered. 


Mission Statement

A statement of the role, or purpose, by which a practice intends to serve its stakeholders. It clarifies the way the organization plans on achieving its goals.


Money Factor

A term used in leasing that is similar to but not the same as interest on a loan.  It determines how much is paid in finance charges over the life of the lease. To convert the money factor amount into an equivalent interest rate, simply multiply the Money Factor number by 2400.



Debt associated with the purchase of real property. A type of loan made on real property (real estate) in which the collateral for the loan is the real property.


Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

An assessment tool to help understand behavior preferences. The MBTI enjoys widespread use in business as a screening tool for potential employees. 



Mystery shoppers

Individuals unknown to the staff who call or visit the practice and report back about their experience.



National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Their guide uses colored diamonds to identify the nature of possible hazards.




The act of discussing an issue between two or more parties with competing interests with an aim of coming to an agreement


Net book value

The historical asset cost less accumulated depreciation since the purchase date



Net Cash Flow (NCF)

Revenues less expenses plus non-cash expenditures (i.e. depreciation and amortization expenses).


Net Present Value

The net return on a project, given all costs and revenues, in terms of current monetary value


Net Profit

 The funds available to an owner after all expense obligations are met.


Niche market

 A narrowly defined group within your market.



Non-Operating Assets

Assets not necessary to ongoing operations of the business enterprise; if the assets were eliminated from the business, the resulting earnings would be unchanged. Also referred to as redundant assets



An entity that is not conceived for the purposes of earning a profit, but rather to serve a public good.



Any activity that is conducted without purposes of earning a profit. Often used interchangeably with nonprofit.



A promise to pay a debt.  The debt can be secured, which means there is property used as collateral against which a lien has been filed. If there is no collateral, the note/loan is unsecured and is the equivalent of a “handshake” loan.



Operating Budget

An operating budget typically includes those operating items found on a profit and loss statement. It does not usually include items found on a balance sheet or cash-flow statement. The most common budget format encompasses a 12-month period of operations.


Operating lease

A true lease.  Generally for a short term and ownership of the asset (the object being leased) remains with the lessor at the end of the lease.


Operating expenses

The expenses of a business not directly associated with the making of a product or providing of a service, such as administrative, technical or selling expenses.  


Operational revenues

Revenue realized from the day-to-day operations of the entity, such as veterinary professional activities and sales.


Opportunity Cost (OC)

The amount of income forgone from a next-best alternative project in favor of the currently proposed use of cash or its equivalent.


Ordering costs

The costs associated with employee time shopping for, ordering, receiving and documenting purchased products.


Organizational Chart

An overview of who reports to whom within an organization



Work that can be done more effectively by individuals or services outside the organization




The situation in which there is capacity available to perform services, but inadequate demand to perform those services at capacity.



The costs of operating a business, even if no clients avail themselves of any service.



An association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners of a business for profit.


Pay Period

The length of time covered by each payroll session.



The financial record of employees' salaries, wages, bonuses, net pay, and deductions


Performance Appraisal

A system of determining how well an individual employee has performed during a period of time.


Perquisite (Perk)

An incidental or “fringe” benefit


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Item(s) that can and must be worn to protect the individual from direct or indirect contact with hazardous substances. Examples include eyewash stations, safety goggles, and lead aprons for radiology.




Scams involving posing as legitimate businesses to acquire sensitive client information


Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS)

A system that allows operators to store radiology, ultrasonic and CT images in the central data system and enables authorized members to retrieve the images at different locations simultaneously.


Present Value

The current monetary value of some defined investment return, given a specified rate of return.



A term that refers to those employees that wish to work a large number of hours each workweek, or those employees that refuse to take sick or personal time when they are ill.



Borrowed amount of money, excluding any interest on the outstanding amount.


Private Foundation

All Charitable Corporations are deemed to be Private Foundations unless they meet the requirements of one of the statutory exceptions.


Pro Forma

A projection or estimate of what may result in the future, given current assumptions and predictions. This is the financial estimate of how the business will do if certain assumptions are achieved.


Pro-Forma Budget

This budget charts a course of future action for the practice by outlining and defining the plans of the practice in financial terms.


Product Development

The process of creating new products or services for sale to existing clients


Professional Liability

Insurance that protects against claims arising from acts, errors or omissions in rendering services of a professional nature


Profit and Loss Statement

Summary of practice income, expenses, and resulting profit or loss for a specified period. Also known as the income statement.


Profit center

A section of a practice that can be assessed in terms of its revenues and expenses (e.g., surgery, imaging, laboratory).


Profit Margin

In cost-plus pricing, the profit margin is the difference between the total costs to the practice of delivering a product or service, and the final cost to the client.


Projected Value

An estimate of anticipated future performance.


Public Relations

The art of developing reciprocal understanding and good will between a business and the public.




The act of delivering information of news value as a means of gaining public attention or support.



Rate of Return

Often expressed as a decimal (e.g., 0.06) or a percentage (6%), the amount an investment appreciates or depreciates over time.



The size of an audience that will be exposed to the advertisement




All monies received for time worked in a pay period, whether deemed wages, commissions, non-discretionary bonuses, tips or any other form of compensation for services rendered.


Reorder point

The inventory level at which additional product is ordered



Residual value (salvage)

The estimated value of an asset at the end of its useful (fully depreciated) life.


Return on Equity (ROE)

Net income after all expenses and taxes divided by stockholders' equity (book value). This is an indication of how well the firm used reinvested earnings to generate additional earnings.


Return on Investment (ROI)

The income that an investment generates, return on investment is a measure of how effectively a firm uses its capital to generate profit. It is the annual financial benefit of an investment minus the cost of the investment.



All sales of the practice for goods and services.


Safety Manual

This manual is required by OSHA for virtually all veterinary practices. It identifies hazards within the practice and delineates procedures for dealing with them.


Safety stock

The inventory remaining past the reorder point


Safety Supervisor (SS)

Individual entrusted with overseeing the safety plan for the entire facility. The person who is in charge of defining and implementing the safety plan.



Search Engine Optimization

Manipulation of web site content and meta-tags to make the site more likely to be preferentially indexed on search engines.



Section 125

Often referred to as a "Flexible Spending Account", a Section 125 (Cafeteria) Plan, this allows employees to pay certain expenses before taxes are deducted from their paychecks, thus saving on federal and state taxes. These expenses include daycare, insurance premiums and most out-of-pocket medical costs.


Section 179

A part of the tax code that allows immediate expensing of equipment and certain other fixtures (up to a certain limit) rather than depreciating the item over the life of the asset.


Shortage costs

The costs of not maintaining sufficient inventory so that the sale is lost when consumers go elsewhere.



The loss of product from inventory not resulting from sale, including product lost to employee theft, shoplifting, administrative and paperwork errors, and vendor errors/issues.



Short-Term (or Current) Portion of Loan

The amount of a loan’s principal balance that is due within the next 12 months.


Skills-Based Compensation

A system of wages and raises based on achievement in different skill blocks as determined by the individual practice’s needs.



An acronym (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) that identifies the most common data entry format used by veterinary practices. This data is generally located in the progress notes portion of a problem-oriented medical record.



Also known as junk e-mail SPAM is e-mail that is not considered useful, and may be irritating, inconvenient, worthless, or damaging for the user.




Junk internet messaging



An individual or a group with an interest in a particular business; the individual or group has something at risk (at stake).


Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

The preferred methods of doing a procedure or protocol in the practice.


Standards of Care

Statements of what a practice believes in and recommends for its patients for wellness testing, pain management, nutrition, senior pet care and other aspects of patient care. In law, the duty to exercise the care and diligence that is ordinarily exercised by a reasonably competent veterinarian under similar circumstances.


Standards of Performance

Written protocols regarding patient care, customer service, and team professionalism.


Statement of Cash Flows

A financial report on the sources of cash (profit, increased debt, and collections on client accounts, etc.) and uses of cash (like reducing debt or buying more drug and supply inventory) during a period of time.


Strategic Planning

Long-range planning that includes setting goals, strategies, and objectives.



The legal transfer of real estate and/or business entities



SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. For any plan being considered, a SWOT analysis is a basic tool of marketing.



Tactical Planning

A review of opportunities and proposed strategies, typically for a one- to four-year period.


Tangible Assets

Physical assets such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, property, plant and equipment, etc.


Target Audience

The people most likely to buy a product or service, or most interested in the information provided about it. 



Target Market

A specific group of customers to which a business wishes to sell their products or services. The segment of potential buyers available to an enterprise that is the focus of a defined market plan.



Target Marketing

Selecting and developing offerings to meet the needs of a specific market segment The process of pursuing a particular segment of a given market.



Tax bracket

The marginal federal tax rate assessed on taxable income. It is the tax rate applied to each additional dollar of income.




All involuntary fees paid to federal, state and local governments on the profits of the practice.


Third-party Payment

The monetary reimbursement for medical services from someone other than the client/patient.


Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Federal law that prohibits discrimination in the work place based on an employee’s sex, race, religion, color or national origin.


Top Line

Total revenues, literally found at the top of the income statement.


Traditional Lender

Banks, brokerage houses or other sources that lend money.  Collateral for the loan, down payment, and ability to service the debt from cash flow are deciding factors in willingness to loan money for a purchase.


Valuation Approach

An overall theoretical way of approaching the valuation of a business— the three general ways used to determine value for a going concern are the Asset-based, Earnings based and Market based approaches



A quality that is determined by what is important, desirable and useful to clients



The increase in real or perceived value of a product or service is the value to the client after intervention less the value before the intervention.



Value Chain

Work process to enhance the value of the raw material either tangibly or intangibly. The end result is increased value due to the efforts of the staff


Value Disciplines

Three ways businesses deliver superior value to their customers - operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership. 


Value Proposition

A description of the value that a product, service or process will provide to the pet owner, hospital and staff


Veterinary Time Equivalent

A method of assigning labor expenses on the basis of veterinary staffing expense. This allows a practice to calculate labor expenses for procedures using veterinary expense as a standard.


Vision Statement

A statement that defines and clarifies the direction in which an organization needs to move.



IRS form that reports income paid and taxes withheld by an employer for a particular employee during a calendar year.




IRS form for Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements




IRS form which determines the amount of Federal taxes the employer will withhold from a person's paycheck each pay period.



A client may sign a form explaining that they have declined to accept (or waived) the doctor’s recommendations or advice.


Working Capital

Current assets minus current liabilities

Web Hosting