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All about veterinary practice managers

The role of a veterinary practice manager is an exciting and rewarding one, combining business acumen and working with animals. Many practice managers thrive on the variety provided by the profession and the fact that it involves making a real difference to the lives of animals and their owners.

Practice managers look after the business affairs of a veterinary clinic, allowing the veterinarians to concentrate on the clinical and technical aspects of the profession. Working in a veterinary clinic is a team environment, where all people provide mutual respect and support. 

Because of the diversity and complexity of most veterinary practices, successful managers need to be good at multi-tasking and managing multiple stakeholders, from veterinarians and nurses to suppliers, as well as animals and their owners.

It is a senior role within most practices and they also need an understanding of financial matters and possess basic accounting skills. Leadership skills are also a great advantage.

Veterinary practice managers may work in any veterinary environment, including general practices, emergency clinics, animal hospitals, specialty clinics, university teaching clinics, and veterinary laboratories.

Some work in one-veterinarian general practices, while others are employed by large specialty clinics with many practitioners. Practice managers work in both rural and urban settings.

Here are some of the duties that practice managers perform:

  • Administration:  correspondence with suppliers, managing stock levels, medical supplies, stationery and consumables
  • Book-keeping: organising payments of invoices, managing budgets and expenses
  • Financial records: dealing with the ATO, producing financial reports and managing the profit and loss and balance sheet reports
  • Staffing: rostering, payroll, leave entitlements, recruitment, training and HR processes and procedures
  • Record keeping: filing, managing patient records, referrals and written communication
  • Technology: managing IT issues, selecting equipment and training on information systems
  • Occupational work and safety: ensuring correct procedures are followed throughout the practice and maintaining best-practice within the clinic or facility on all safety issues

The Veterinary Business Group, which is part of the AVA, offers information, support and resources to foster leadership, future proof businesses, and create sustainable practice models for people within veterinary industries, including: veterinarians, practice managers, nurses and receptionists. More information on this group can be found at: http://www.ava.com.au/practice-management/.