22 Sep, 2021

Helping two busy veterinary practices to thrive

Offaly-based vet Donal Lynch is the owner of a large animal practice and co-owner of a small animal practice. Since 2003 he has been steadily growing the businesses despite the major challenges facing the veterinary community.

Making us work on our business rather than in it

I think it’s fair to say that there are a lot of vets out there who are superb at their job – but not so great at being business people. Ifac constantly hammer it home to us that we need to work ON our business as well as IN it, and it’s probably the most important lesson we’ve taken on board from them. I’m effectively M.D. and it falls to me to make the business both sustainable and profitable. There are seven vets in all, working across the two practices, and some of them operate on a self-employed basis. This tends to make the accountancy end of things that bit more complex, but thankfully, ifac take care of all the nuts and bolts of our accounts paperwork.

ifac talk to us constantly about making our business better. They never let us forget that we’re a business first and foremost, and if the business fails, we fail in our vocation of providing care and succour to ‘all creatures great and small’.

ifac free us up to do what we do best

Always being compliant is a real source of peace of mind

We really appreciate the amount of time they free up by letting us do what we do best while they work away in the background for us. They’re also a big source of peace of mind when it comes to things like compliance, and it’s good to know that we’re always up-to-date with various filing and payment obligations. 

Another area where ifac really come into their own is making sure that we go about our business in the most tax-efficient manner, which means that we retain as much income as possible for reinvesting into the business. This is hugely important for us, because with such pressure on our fees, every euro counts.

ifac help us with the big issues like planning for succession and other major events

They reduced our accountancy fees and multiplied our income

It would be terrible to think that the whole operation would gently fade away in future years because we didn’t put a plan in place for someone to take it over – whether from within or without the business. Planning is power, and even though it’s difficult to accurately predict what’s around the corner, any succession plan is better than none!

As a sector, vets struggle to charge the fees necessary to make our businesses viable. This, in turn, makes it very difficult to recruit the next generation of vets and veterinary nurses. When you consider the fact that the typical vet studies for five years, and also carries out a further year’s practical work during those five years, you can see why we need to charge a fee that’s indicative of our expertise and our investment in our knowledge base. 

The biggest compliment I can give to our ifac contact, James in the  Tullamore office, is that he actually managed to reduce our basic accountancy costs – while at the same time, he multiplied our income. That’s not just ‘nice to have’ — it’s actually critical for the long-term success of the business.

Nigel Alexander
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