Roleof Healthcare Accountant
The research focused on the roles of healthcare accountants and theirimpact on the internal environment of the organization. The researchentailed a description of the job description of a health careaccountant, the academic qualifications, the effects of AffordableCare Act on the accountant and the challenges that frequently facethe accountants. The study showed that the minimum requirement for ahealthcare accountant is a bachelor`s degree in either accounting orfinance. They are also required to undertake professional coursesthat will enable them to execute their duties professionally. Theeffectiveness of the internal environment is determined by theoperations of the accountants. Thus, the accountants need to beresponsible while carrying out their duties.
Roleof Health Care Accountant
Every health care organization has a health care accountant. A healthcare accountant needs to be well prepared before he or she starts onthe occupation. There are some positions that are related to healthcare accounting. The places include financial management,bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing. Each position has differentrequirements. The job description for each position is different too.The research paper is going to tackle the roles of an accountant andthe impact it has to the intimate surrounding of a health care firm.
The form of education that an accountant in Medicare organization isexpected to obtain should match with the duties and responsibilitiesto be assigned. A health care Accountant is expected to have at leastobtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. Someorganizations will prefer to have employees with master’s degree(Schneider, 2014). Such firms feel that the people with master’sdegree have realized the area of specialization and that is thereason they went for their master’s program. They tend to be moreknowledgeable and have a better experience than the starters. Eventhough one needs to possess a master’s degree, they are supposed tobe conversant with the field of health care. The professionalaccountants who would wish to work with health care further theirstudies by taking a master’s degree in healthcare administration.The field of health care administration helps them to familiarizewith the terms and operations that are used in the health caresector. For the new starters in the area of health care accountancy,they are taken for a job practice in organizations. The practice ismeant to familiarize them with what they expect in the job marketonce they are employed. Efforts are too put on to make sure that thereal professionals are taken for seminars to be updated on thealterations that might have been made in their field ofspecialization. The Accreditation Health Care Management isresponsible for offering the updates to the professionals. Theupdates are done through conferences and yards.
The accountants are also required to take the professional coursesuch as a certified public accountant. The CPA polishes theprofessional requirements of an accountant, and they are prepared towork according to the professional requirements.
Healthcare accountants are imperative in any organizational set up inthe health care. They are liable for maintaining all the financialreports in the organization. The firms operating in the health careindustry include hospitals, insurance firms, and nursing homes amongothers. Some of the duties that the health care accountant will doare, filing taxes and preparing budgets to be used in a health careorganization (Lorig, Mazonson & Holman, 2014). They are alsoentitled to making payrolls and bill paying. They are also heldaccountable for custody the patient`s bill account. The management ofthe patient`s accounts relies on the nature of the organization. Theform of the organization will determine if the bill will be chargeddirectly or indirectly. The core obligation of the financial managersin Medicare firms is to run daily financial attributes to ensure thatthe foundation has stabilized regarding finance. It is theresponsibility of the accountant to make sure that the organizationcomplies with the tax and finance law.
Despite the professional roles, the accountants are expected to keepthe information that concerns the patients with maximumconfidentiality. In the long-term goals, the health care accountantis held responsible for managing cash and the investments.
Types of Short-Term Strategic Duties
The health sector is becoming so dynamic than they were in ancienttime. Most of the people have had no health insurance covers, butthey are currently obtaining them. The insurance companies arereceiving new clients every day. The gradual increase in clientsmakes the accountants come up with strategic plans that will assistthem in executing their duties. There is a need for the accountantsto invent short-term obligations. Some of the obligations includemanagement of the expenses, handling information, systems and theadministration of patient care.
It is the aim of every health care organization to provide bestservices to their customers at the least possible charges (Lorig,Mazonson & Holman, 2014) It is the duty of the health careaccountants to look for the bottlenecks in the firm. Identificationof tailbacks is the only way they can identify the unnecessary costs.The elimination of bottlenecks in the organization`s operationeliminates the unplanned costs incurred. For instance, the labor costof an organization can be too high about the operating expense. Theaccountants can invent ways of reducing these costs by eithersuggesting to the organization to reduce the labor force or elseconverting the workforce to a variable cost.
The information that concerns the organization should be madeavailable to the relevant stakeholders. The set-up of a healthorganization calls for the information that concerns the patients tobe treated with confidentiality. The accountants are supposed to planon how the relevant information will get to the respectivestakeholder without any interference. The way the information ispassed and maintained determines the effectiveness of theorganizational operations.
According to Polaine (2016), the primary purpose of any health carefirm is to render quality services to its customers at the lowestprice possible. The technology used in providing services in thehealth care organization is advancing, and this implies that the costgoes up. The increase in cost poses a challenge to the accountants asit makes them think beyond on hoe to reduce these expenses. Most ofthe funding will come from the patient`s funds, and so they shouldput the issue into consideration.
The accountants are also involved in strategic planning of thesystems management. The systems that are operating the organizationneed to be well monitored. The accountants should ensure that all theinformation if protected from leakage or alteration by fraudulentusers.
Problem Encountered in Routine Basis
The main problem that is facing the accountant is that of expenses inthe organizations. The expenses in the health care sector areincreasing every day (Lapsley, 2016). The population is maturing, andthe technology, on the other hand, is improving. The two attributesaffect each other. The more the population is aging, the more itneeds medical attention. The problems related to health get morecomplicated as the year`s increase. Increased complication calls foradvanced technology and thus high cost. The level of technology isgradually developing. Thus, it needs to have the budget reviewed(Elkington, 2014). As much as people want to stay alive for thelonger period, they are also expected to spend much on their lives.The cost of health is an insoluble problem as the relationship thatexists between the hygienic surroundings, and the demographic change,technological improvements, and health expenditure are too resilient(Elkington, 2014)
The cost of health has become a major concern for both theaccountants in the health care organizations and the society. Thecost of health has been raising each day, and once the accountantsare questioned about it, they justify the high cost by referring tothe technological improvements.
When it comes to health care organizations, the expenses incurred inthe accounting practices can be evaluated through acceptableaccounting laws. Some principles such as going concern need to beevaluated using other principles. There are complicated connectionsinvolved in this, but they need to be rectified and justified usingother forms of accounting principles.
There is a body known as the National Health Service that requiresall the health organizations to provide reports pertaining theirexpenditures. The expenses are expected to be within the range of theestimated budget. The body is mainly concerned with helping theorganizations to solve the menace of cost. The program helped thepeople in understanding that the health care is only funded from asingle channel, state (Gapenski & Pink, 2015)
The other problem that the accountants are facing is that they dooperate in highly restricted and inspected environment and they areexpected to deliver the best to their customers. The high inspectioncalls for a secure storage of data so that it can be obtained whenrequired. The team in the health care facilities has been looking forways of keeping the information intact, but the advocated system isthe cloud-based financial system. The system assists the accountantsand the other financial professionals to obtain the data at the righttime.
Impact of Affordable Care Act on Health Care Account Profession
The affordable care act mainly targets the protection of theindividual and the organizational tax returns. The requirements forthis body calls for the accountants in the health care sector tounderstand them. The people are required by the act to verify theirhealth care coverage and to regard taxes, and failure to do so willattract fine (Schneider, 2014).
The affordable care unit affects the health care accountantprofession in different areas such as medical billing, reporting ontax among others (Charmel, & Frampton, 2016). Any accountantworking in a healthcare organization is required to make taxdocuments for each employee in the organization. Contributions madeby either major medical coverage of domestic partner should berecognized, and the coverage is accounted for as per the AffordableCare Act.
On matters pertaining tax reporting, all the certified publicaccountants, operating in the tax department are usually using thetax reports provided by the auditors. The report is used while theyare at the employee`s premises. Due to the nature of the profession,the health care accountants are required by the Affordable care actto ensure that all the material information that should be includedin the report. The customer’s tax returns need to be involved inthe report, and this calls the health care accountants to be sure, onwhere every detail should be indicated.
On the side of medical billing, the personnel in the health careorganization dealing with medical billing will be required by theaffordable care act to answer questions that concern the insurancehealth cover. The accountants in these firms are experiencing aperiod of increased workload since the number of patients that theyare serving is gradually increasing.
The introduction of affordable care unit has led to increasing inbonuses to the health care personnel (Bartlett, 2014). The increasein premium has led to improved service delivery. Even though the ideabrought about is good, it has a cost implication. An increase inincentive will mean that the operating expense of the health careorganizations will lead to increase in operating cost. The effect ofthe stimulus remains as a burden to the accountants as they arefighting to reduce the operating cost, but the affordable care actmakes it compulsory.
Adherence of Health Care Accountants to Generally AcceptedAccounting Principles (GAAP)
Accountants use the financial reports to communicate the financialstanding of a company. The accepted accounting principles are rulesthat are used in writing the financial reports (Georgiades, 2016).The organization of a health care facility fixes the source of GAAP.The GAAP used in a health care organization are crucial on planningfor the operation. All the financial statements made are used for theentire community, and they are supposed to be simple. The health carehas been ensuring that notes explaining the comments accompany thefinancial statements. The investors, the financiers, creditors andthe donors will need to be explained to the financial statements.
The accountings boards such as FASB, GASB, and AICPA are looking haveset the principles that will govern the accountants in making thefinancial reports to be common. The FASB gives principles that governthe healthcare organizations while the GASB will come up withstandards that govern the governmental health care organizations.
The health care accountants ensure that their reports are consistent.The reports are prepared with honesty. The accountants report thereal figures irrespective of whether they are operating under loss orprofit. They disclose any material information to the stakeholders.The accountants are good hen making and presenting the reports to thestakeholders (Fries, et al., 2013). The data and the information thatthey provide are usually from errors, and that means that thestakeholders will not be misled.
Problems confronted by the health care accountants
The analysts in the field of health care sector feel that theaccepted principles are too strict and they need to be modified toform principles that will only govern the health care industry. Theaspect will establish standardized rules for the health careorganizations. The area of profession is kinder challenging aboutother business accounting, and they feel that there should beprofessional courses for the accountants that operate in thehealthcare sector. The medical accountants believe that their fieldis challenging and it has many disciplines to handle. The nature ofthe profession calls the accountants in the industry need to betrained.
Effects on the Internal Environment
The health care accountants play an immense role when it comes tocreating a good environment for an organization is it internally orexternally (Appelbaum & Wohl, 2015). The way the accountants willmanage their operations will determine how good the organization willbe operating. When the accountants make sure that they are makingrealistic budgets for their operations, they ensure that shortagesare eliminated. The elimination of the shortages means that thepeople will operate without shortages.
The accountants also ensure that the internal environment is calm bymaking sure that the organization and the employees comply with therules of taxation (Lorig, 2016). The compliance with the tax willmake sure that the organization is avoiding any unnecessary costssuch as fines as they imply an unplanned cost. If unnecessary costsare incurred in an organization, it will mean that the company isoperating at a loss. The role-played by the accountants matters a lotwhen it comes to the nature of the internal environment.
The dynamic environment in the accounting field is making theorganizations look for professionals with the latest skills (Culyer,2015). The accounting rules and the other rules governing tax andreporting are becoming complicated each day. The accountants are thusrequired to keep on updating their skills.
Thefollowing are sample questions for an interview involving anaccountant.
Have you ever been involved in ant cost-saving wits?
Being an accountant means doing this the same way for the extended period. How will you keep yourself motivated?
What measures can you take to maintain the client relationship with the organization?
What was the most challenging situation in the profession of accounting?
What will be the impact if there was no professional body for the accountants such as certified public accountants?
Have you ever prepared budgets before?
Have you ever calculated or filed taxes before?
How will you support the strategic plan for the organization?
Healthcare accountants are important people in any health careorganization. They are the people determines the stability of thebusiness. For instance, they will ascertain the liquidity of thegroup and look for all possible ways to reduce the operating costs ofthe organization. Being important people in an organization, they areentitled to be academically qualified holding at least a bachelor`sdegree in the accounting of finance. Their job involves bookkeeping,marinating financial reports, making payrolls, running the accountsfor individual patients, ensuring that each employee as complied withthe tax laws and keeping the medical bill. Their job is so engagingcompared to an average business accounting, and it requires healthcare accountants to be conversant with their job requirements and therules governing their field of profession. They ate also entitled inmaking decisions and strategic plans for the organizations to improveits operations. Some of the strategic plans that they make are costmanagement, patient treatment management, information management andsystems management. These types of management can help theorganization improve its operations in the two to three years’time. Despite the efforts that the health care accountants make, theyface many challenges such as the gradual increase in the cost ofoffering their services. The situation calls for them to explain thecause to their clients but they find it cumbersome. The situation isso challenging as all the heath care facilities would wish to provideservices at the lowest cost possible. The operations of the medicalaccountants are governed by the accepted accounting principles whenthey are preparing the financial statements. The roles played by theaccountants will affect both the internal and the externalenvironment. The way the organization will be operating will bedefined by the way the accountants carry out their roles. Forinstance, when it comes to budgeting, if the estimated costs do notdeviate so much from the real expenditure, then it means that theoperations will be okay. Thus, the accountants in the health caresector play a big role when it comes to the operations of theseorganizations.
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