Industry sector:

Acupuncture practice: Cash sales

'Cash sales' means all income from your main business activity which you receive at the end of a course of treatment, whether this is spread over one or several appointments. Many of your patients will pay your fees out of their own pockets, although some may receive treatment under the NHS or be able to reclaim the cost from their health insurance company. While some of your patients may pay you in cash, remember that cash sales also include:

  • debit and credit card payments
  • cheques if you decide to accept them

To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next 12 months, including VAT (if appropriate). To do this you will need to work out how many patients you are likely to treat, how much you will charge them and when you will receive the money. Give some thought also to any other complementary therapies you might offer and what you will charge for them.

There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates:

Your practice

  • where will your clinic be. Maybe you will be able to work from home or rent a room from another therapist or your local GP. You might be engaged to supply acupuncture services to patients of a healthcare organisation such as a cancer charity
  • will you visit patients in their own homes (perhaps including residents in care homes)
  • will you need to employ any members of staff

Your services

  • will you practise traditional Chinese acupuncture or Western (five element) acupuncture
  • will you specialise, for example in microsystems acupuncture for conditions such as stress management or drug rehabilitation, or treat a broad range of complaints
  • will you work with GPs, vets or dentists
  • are there any other therapies that you might offer, such as herbal medicine, massage or homeopathy. Perhaps you will engage other specialists in order to broaden the range of therapies you can offer

Your fees

  • how will you set your fees (don't forget you must be able to cover your costs, overheads and drawings)
  • how often will you review your fee tariff
  • will you offer discounts, for example to people on low incomes or if a very long course of treatment is prescribed

To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.