Unveiling the Critical Role of Financial Statements When Selling Your Dental Practice

To help our readers understand how financial statement play an important role in a dental practice transition, we turned to the dental-specific CPAs at Duckett Ladd. Jared Duckett, partner and CPA at Duckett Ladd, provides a crash course on what dental entrepreneurs need to know when preparing financial statements to make their transition pain free and a success.

In the dynamic world of dentistry, where precision meets patient care, the decision to sell your dental practice is a pivotal moment in your professional journey. Whether you’re transitioning into retirement, pursuing new opportunities, or simply ready for a change, selling your dental practice is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make in your dental career. Amidst this transition, the pivotal role of financial statements cannot be overstated. These documents encapsulate your practice’s financial history, serving as a cornerstone of any sale. Let’s delve into how they can shape the outcome of your practice transition.

Understanding the Landscape: Why Financial Statements Matter

Before diving into the specifics, it’s crucial to grasp the significance of financial statements in the context of selling a dental practice. Essentially, these statements encapsulate your practice’s financial history, summarizing its revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities over a specific period. For potential buyers, examining these documents is akin to peering through a window into the heart of your business, offering a transparent view of its financial standing and operational efficiency. In particular, reliable financial data will be integral in the following areas:

1. Assessment of Value: Financial statements provide crucial insights into your practice’s earning potential and overall worth. Metrics such as EBITDA, revenue trends, and profit margins enhance the perceived value of your practice, attracting potential buyers and maximizing sale opportunities.

2. Negotiation Leverage: Transparent financial statements empower sellers to negotiate from a position of strength. By highlighting the practice’s strengths and growth prospects, sellers can command a higher asking price and negotiate favorable terms, fostering trust and facilitating smoother negotiations.

3. Quality of Earnings/Due Diligence Compliance: Accurate financial records expedite the due diligence process, instilling confidence in buyers and expediting the transaction. Buyers rely on financial statements to validate the practice’s financial claims and uncover any hidden liabilities or risks.

Two Key Financial Statements + One Practice Management Report

Now that we’ve established the importance of financial statements, let’s delve into the key components that comprise these documents and their relevance in the sale of a dental practice.

1. Balance Sheet: The balance sheet provides a snapshot of your practice’s financial position at a specific point in time, detailing its assets, liabilities, and equity. For potential buyers, the balance sheet offers crucial insights into the practice’s financial stability and liquidity. When contemplating an asset sale vs. an interest or stock sale, this document plays a vital role in understanding how much cash you’ll have after all liabilities and debts are settled.

2. Income Statement: Also known as the profit and loss statement, the income statement outlines your practice’s revenues, expenses, and net income over a specified period. This statement offers buyers a comprehensive overview of the practice’s financial performance, including its EBITDA, revenue sources, operating expenses, and profitability. By analyzing trends in revenue growth and expense management, buyers can assess the practice’s earning potential and financial viability.

3. Accounts Receivable Aging Report: In addition to traditional financial statements, the accounts receivable aging report offers buyers insights into the practice’s billing and collection processes. By analyzing the aging of accounts receivable, buyers can assess the effectiveness of the practice’s revenue cycle management and identify any potential issues or inefficiencies. A well-maintained accounts receivable aging report signals operational excellence and financial discipline, bolstering buyer confidence.

Best Practices for Presenting Financial Statements

While financial statements serve as a cornerstone of the sales process, their effectiveness hinges on clarity, accuracy, and presentation. To maximize their impact and facilitate a seamless transaction, consider the following best practices when presenting financial statements to potential buyers:

1. Accuracy and Transparency: Ensure that your financial statements are accurate, up-to-date, and free from errors or discrepancies. Transparency is key to building trust with potential buyers and instilling confidence in the practice’s financial health.

2. Dental-Specific Presentation: Organize financial statements to reflect dental practice overhead, facilitating buyer understanding. Use the six main areas of overhead to summarize financial statements: team member compensation, lab, clinical supplies, marketing, facility, and general and administrative expenses.

3. Classify Multiple Practices: If the sale includes multiple locations, itemize financial data for each practice location to streamline buyer assessment.

4. Normalize Financial Statements: Adjust expenses to provide an accurate picture of the practice’s true operational profitability, enhancing buyer confidence. Examples of these could be family wages, travel, auto, home office deductions, etc. which the buyer is not reasonably expected to incur.

5. Utilize Practice Management Reports: Leverage data from practice management software for additional insights during the sale process. Common reports requested are accounts receivable aging, production by provider, gross production and adjustment reports, and procedure by code reports.

6. Engage Professional Assistance: If your financial statements aren’t hitting the above best practices, consider enlisting accountants or consultants experienced in dental practice sales to optimize financial statement presentation.


In the intricate dance of selling your dental practice, financial statements emerge as a guiding light, illuminating the path to a successful transaction. By offering prospective buyers a transparent view of your practice’s financial health and potential, these documents lay the groundwork for informed decision-making and fruitful negotiations. As you embark on this transformative journey, by adhering to these best practices and leveraging the power of financial transparency, you can position your dental practice for a seamless transition and unlock new opportunities on the horizon.