Each Wednesday morning, as the CEO prodded his team for business projections and troubleshooting ideas, the midsize company’s top managers would huddle around a white board inside a glass-enclosed office.
For 20-something Ken Kaufman, the management huddle was a silent spectacle—except for the occasional bouts of laughter that burst out from behind the glass.Read More
“The managers would always leave with this positive energy and always have new guidance for how the business could move forward,” explains Kaufman, who says that for him, over time the meeting became not just a source of weekly intrigue but also a career destination.
Years later, Kaufman recalls, when he was invited to join the huddle at a fast-growing middle market company, the gathering generated little energy and was far less productive than what he had expected.
“I finally made it into the room, and then we spent the entire time arguing over why certain numbers were wrong,” remembers Kaufman, who—now with a business degree in hand—then began to dig into the company’s financial statements. Subsequently, he was able to introduce some business modeling approaches that allowed managers to better understand the company’s pain points when it came to growth.
“I ended up sliding into the CFO role and ultimately brought the company into job costing and created the visibility that allowed managers to make decisions to build the business,” reports Kaufman, who says that the company’s rapid growth summoned a new level of leadership where finance could play a strategic role. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Community Dental Partners … what exactly are its offerings?
Kaufman: Community Dental Partners is referred to as a dental support organization, or DSO. This is an industry that’s up-and-coming. Organizations that would identify with this term or “DSO” support dentists and dental practices with everything that they need to be successful, except for the clinical elements—only dentists can diagnose patients and treat patients. …We come in and wrap our services around the business to whatever degree the dentist requires support. We help them to be successful and to build successful dental practices.Read More
Community Dental Partners started out with a focus primarily on supporting a new brand called Smile Magic, which is focused on kids. They had this concept—the main concept that we still support today—of building out an amazing dental experience for kids, so that instead of them being afraid of the dentist, they actually wanted to come to the dentist. Rather than crying or being sad or upset when they leave the dentist, they’re actually happy and saying, “Hey, Mom, when can I come back?” This was very much the focus of how it all got started, and we support many dental practices that fit in underneath this Smile Magic brand. As we’ve continued to grow, we’ve added other brands that we’re starting to support and other clinical leaders with whom we’ve started to partner up and affiliate so that we can support their dental practices as well.
About 10%—maybe 15%—of all licensed dentists who are practicing in the United States work in a dental practice that is supported by or affiliated with an organization like ours. There’s a movement toward more and more consolidation, but the software is way behind, so at the practice level, there is usually a server installed at each practice or each location—a practice management system, or PMS. There are a few of these out there that are relatively popular, but none of them provides a true ERP setting. So, we’ve built out a lot of middleware, an accounting system, BI tech that uses Amazon Web Services, and other pieces that allow us to aggregate data and then slice and dice it how we need to in order to help each practice prosper.
Community Dental Partners | www.communitydentalpartners.com | Denton, TX