A Small Business Success Story Feature - From the Dec. 2012 Issue.
Heidi Blodgett didn’t get a nursing degree so that she could run the business and process payroll for a medical practice, but that’s where her life, career and family took her. Since she and her dermatologist husband Tom opened Blodgett Dermatology in Gallipolis, Ohio, more and more of Heidi’s time has been spent doing business administrative work, particularly bookkeeping and payroll.
The couple initially opened the medical practice in 2005 Chillicothe, Ohio, then moved to Gallipolis in 2007. They are the only dermatology specialists within about 60 miles, so there is a strong need for their services. Heidi noted that the southern Ohio region has a lot of elderly residents, many of them former farmers or laborers who had long-term overexposure to the sun during their lives.
As such, the medical staff at Blodgett Dermatology treats many skin cancers, as well as other issues ranging from eczema and acne, to psoriasis. Prior to opening the medical office, her husband had worked at a large, multi-specialty practice.
For the first several years, Heidi processed payroll once per month for their staff of eight, including her husband and herself, a nurse and other mid-level practitioners. One of the staff recently received certification as a nurse practitioner, which Heidi says has eased much of the burden on her husband and allowed them to grow the practice by accepting more patients.
“Doing the payroll once a month was more manageable and it worked for me and my husband, but many of the other staff wanted to be paid more frequently,” Heidi said. “I really didn’t want to have to do it every two weeks, plus I’m not in the office all the time, so I needed something convenient.” She also didn’t look forward to having processing the quarterly reporting and payroll taxes.
So she turned to her accountant, Shayna Chapman, for advice. Although she doesn’t offer payroll services, as the managing member of Chapman & Burris CPAs (www.chapmanburris.com), she has helped many area businesses overcome similar challenges. She said she looked at the issues Heidi was facing as part of a larger one – freeing up Heidi’s time and reducing stress by helping her find a solution to payroll that would be as easy and hands-free as possible.
“Payroll can be a complex issue for small businesses, especially with all of the new tax laws and reporting for employees in more than one state,” Shayna said. One of the staff members lives across the Ohio River in West Virginia. “Heidi is a dermatological nurse, not a bookkeeper or a payroll expert, so we had to find a way to simplify the payroll process for her, while also making sure that all of the compliance factors are handled correctly and on time.”
They ultimately chose a payroll system that automates almost everything. All Heidi needs to do is enter employee time data into a website interface, and then the payroll checks are processed by the payroll company they chose. They even handle all payroll tax, third party and benefits payments, then provide Heidi with reports so that she can see the overall details of payroll runs.
Also, since it is a web-based, cloud solution, Heidi can enter data, verify and authorize payroll runs from wherever she may be. Since the couple is active with several community groups and also travels frequently, this anywhere/anytime access turned out to be a major benefit. She’s also trained one of her staff members to do basic entry functions, allowing Heidi more freedom to be away from the practice, or to help with patients.
The web-based system also offers benefits to Shayna, the CPA. “I can log into the program to check on things if I need to, and we’ve authorized the payroll company and me to discuss her payroll functions. As her accountant, the biggest benefit is that a professional service is managing the back-end compliance work. So, I know it’s being done correctly, and I can count on the books being right.”