Burnout occurs when an independent pharmacy owner is trying to take on all the back-office functions in a pharmacy, including payroll and accounting. Delegating these tasks can help alleviate signs of burnout and provide the owner with more time to serve patients, for their family and more opportunities to spend time away from the store. In this video, Bonnie Bond, CPA, and Katie Musorofiti, CPA of Sykes & Company, P.A. discuss some of the signs that a pharmacist is approaching burnout, as well as the effects long-term stress has on an independent pharmacy business and the pharmacist. They also share a cautionary tale and success story about how delegating can help alleviate burnout.
Are you a pharmacist who feels like you are approaching burnout or feel you need help managing your payroll or accounting? Schedule a no-charge consultation with Ollin Sykes or Scotty Sykes, CFP® to learn how you can spend more time at the counter serving your patients.
If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.
What are the signs that a pharmacist may be headed for burnout?
So a lot of clients that come to us that seem to show signs of burnout, usually it stems from the fact that they’re trying to do too much within the pharmacy themselves. When we say that, we mean kind of what we call back-office functions of the pharmacy. They’re trying to run their own payroll, pay their own bills, handle these day-to-day mundane tasks of the pharmacy. What that causes is they’re spending their nights and weekends trying to keep up with this office work when it could be delegated to another staff member there in the pharmacy so they can focus on more important things. What we see is, again, people are missing that time with their families. They’re not home at night or on the weekends. They keep having to miss events at that point in time because they’re trying to catch up on these things that are very important, but they could be delegated to someone else and really alleviate the stress that it’s causing to the owner.
And really trying to do it all versus focusing on what they’re more passionate about, which might be the pharmacy and their patients, losing sight of that and being busy with some of those day-to-day tasks in the office can wear them out and drain their passion and gusto.
What are the consequences of that stress on a pharmacy business over time, as well as on the pharmacist?
So one of the areas that we notice that stress can kind of carryover is in the financial side so when we’re working with the pharmacist, and a lot of times it’s when they first come to us, they’re super stressed out because they’re trying to do all these things themselves, these back-office functions that we’ve mentioned. In order to get real-time accurate information and real-time financials that can help you make decisions in your business, you have to have up-to-date information. What normally happens is the pharmacist is trying to do these things themselves, and because they are so busy with all the other different things they have to do with the pharmacy, they don’t have time to get that information to us in a timely manner. Therefore, the financial statements will fall behind. When they’re behind, they’re not accurate, and they’re not real time, and you can’t make decisions without that real-time information.
So, in addition, if the pharmacist is busy and grumpy and over-stressed, it’ll create an environment that employees may not want to work in and not come to every day. You really want to focus on retaining those employees and making them engaged with the pharmacy success, and the pharmacist should really be out there with the patients and then out in the community seeking new growth opportunities and working with what they’re really passionate about.
Cautionary tales and success stories.
I do. A cautionary tale would definitely be a client that I worked with for years. They were great clients, but they chose to try to handle, again, like we mentioned, a lot on their own, so they kind of came in at month end, and that’s where we helped them try to get financials together, but we were never able to really do that on time, in real time, because they were trying to hand write checks. They were hand writing their own payroll checks. The client was doing this by hand on the weekends. He would literally spend his entire, either all day Saturday or all day Sunday just writing checks. It was a pretty big operation. Then an employee would sit down in QuickBooks and recreate that information later on down the road to get it into QuickBooks. So they were actually doing these tasks double when they could’ve just easily used some other options to handle their payables and their payroll. You can save a lot of time by just letting someone help you do these things electronically. There’s many paperless systems out there to do that, but they just chose to spend so much of their personal time that was precious that they could be spending with their families, but they chose to try to do that on their own.
I have a slightly successful story where a lot of pharmacists that come to us are initially hesitant to outsource their payroll, and, for this particular client, very small, they only have maybe 10 or 12 employees. They didn’t think it was necessary. They thought they could handle it, and down the road, they were filing their own payroll tax returns and monthly payments or biweekly payments, and they got behind. Their returns didn’t match. Things were a mess. That resulted in penalties that could’ve been avoided had they just outsourced the payroll and trusted a payroll service to keep them in compliance. They’re finally convinced, and they’ve transferred over to an outsourced payroll service now, and things are looking great. So hopefully they’ll avoid those penalties going forward.
I think a lot of what happens is people are doing the right thing. They’re trying to keep things very lean, their expenses, so they’re trying not to pay extra to have someone help them with these tasks, but what they don’t realize is they’re actually, in most cases that we see, they end up spending more money doing it themselves because of errors that are made, penalties like Katie mentioned, that they would have been cheaper to have just paid to have, for some of these services, to have someone help them with.