Insights From Our Editors

Identifying & Securing Your Practice’s Most Critical Documents

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

July 20, 2022

There are documents, such as your practice partner contracts, office lease and tax information, that are important to review yearly and know where to find. Here is how to secure your most essential documents to keep them up to date and ensure business continuity.

A good friend of ours passed away on Sunday. In addition to teaching at University of Houston College of Optometry, he was in private practice with his daughter. His passing caused us to think about all of the things that we want to do that we often put off. This is not just limited to our personal world, but also to our practice world. One very important area that is often overlooked, or put off, are the business documents that need to be protected and accessible. These important business documents need to be kept in a place where they are accessible when needed and safe.

LET’S FIRST LOOK AT WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT
1. Business License

2. Tax and Financial Records
a) Employer identification numbers
b) Promissory notes
c) Capital contributions
d) Withdrawals
e) IRS documents and supporting documents
f) Accounting documents
g) List of account numbers with usernames and passwords

3. Insurance Documents
a) Malpractice
b) Slips and Falls
c) Fire
d) Business
e) Life (when used to cover partners)

4. Legal Documents
a) Partner contracts
b) How to value the practice agreements
c) Buy-in/buy-out agreements
d) Practice operating agreement
e) Articles of incorporation
f) Original contracts
g) Employee contracts
h) Real estate deeds
i) Leasing agreements
j) Power of attorney

5. Your Business Model, Mission/Vision Statement & Goals

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
There are many ways to protect your important documents in today’s world. Here are the top four that fulfill the requirements of safe and accessible.

1. Fireproof safe
2. Safety deposit box
3. Digital copies: portable hard drive, flash drive
4. Cloud storage

Consider creating an emergency grab bag containing all your must-have information, such as account numbers, where to find important documents and contact info for your attorney and CPA.

It is a good idea to review your business documents contents at least annually. When you keep them all in one place it makes it easier to complete this action.

Organizing and keeping your important business documents up-to-date, accessible and safe is one of those “must do” tasks. Don’t put this off. Take this week to make sure it gets done.

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