The State of Business in the South African Dental Industry
Boraine Consulting prepared a report on "The State of Business in the South African Dental Industry".
The purpose of the study was to understand how dental practitioners in South Africa are managing the business side of running a dental practice. While practitioners remain optimistic, the dental industry is facing considerable challenges. The report covers the following:
• Dental practitioner sentiment in South Africa • Activity in the South African dental industry • Current challenges in the dental industry • Financial performance and strategic planning
The study included quantitative and qualitative analysis. Data included in this report was gathered from a proprietary survey and interviews conducted with dental practitioners across South Africa. In terms of participation, practitioners from seven of the nine South African provinces participated in the survey, with the Western Cape and Gauteng accounting for 41% and 36% of respondents, respectively. Furthermore, BC interviewed several practitioners to better understand the current market environment and key challenges.
Several practitioners are transitioning from medical aid patients to private patients. This is primarily due to the income potential of working with private patients.
Despite time constraints, practitioners are now being intentional about finding time during the working day to perform administrative tasks. While some dentists spend 100% of their working day seeing patients, several practitioners emphasised the importance of performing administrative tasks during the working day to create better work/ life balance.
The decrease in disposable income of patients is a significant challenge for practitioners in the dental industry. According to BC’s survey, 31% of dentists indicate that a decrease in patients’ disposable income is their most significant challenge (see exhibit below).
BC research suggests that practitioners do not have the right support structures in terms of human expertise and technology tools to enable the successful running of their practices. For instance, practitioners are often making decisions about the financial side of their business without having the necessary expertise or information to do so. Leveraging external accountants can assist with this. Accountants should not only be crunching numbers. Instead, they should also act as a strategic partner and advise on ongoing business challenges and strategic planning.
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