Pharmacy Finance: Being Prepared

With the current economic conditions and the increase in regulations due to the changing healthcare laws many pharmacy owners are contemplating what to do. Sales may increase but profits are on a downward projection. This has lead some pharmacy owners to exiting the pharmacy industry while others are digging in and trying to find ways to increase their slumping profits.For those digging in, many are looking at finance options that would allow them to either expand their inventory, or open an additional location. To increase profits, pharmacy owners will need the ability to get more physical traffic into their current drug store, or increase sales by having a second pharmacy in another neighborhood.When a pharmacy owner gets to the point they are serious about looking at the finance options they will need to provide financial data. Unfortunately, as a small business owner who is seeing slumping profits, many owners of drug stores all across the U.S. have not prepared themselves for the amount of financial data they will need to provide.Three years of the businesses Tax Returns will be required by a lender. However, many pharmacy owners have filed extensions and the most recent tax return is not ready when they start the funding process.Lenders like to see the month to month financial statements and the month to month prescription reports. This allows a lender to see if the business is experiencing a trend upwards or downwards. Yes, there are always cycles in a year due to flu season, etc., but overall the pharmacy needs to have data that supports they are within industry standards.However, when pharmacy owners are asked to provide copies of the month to month Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Statement many owners only have their accountants do the end of the year statement. The month to month prescription report is a report that their store’s inventory software should be able to print. Most software that pharmacy owner’s use have the capability to easily run a number of different reports, but many pharmacy owners have never run monthly reports.Having an accountant prepare month to month financial statements will have a small cost for the business owner. The script reports takes 12 pieces of paper and only a few minutes of time to run. If obtaining financing will allow the business to grow, increase profits, and maybe pay off more expensive debts then the small amount of time and money preparing the financial package should not be a consideration.This information is to help inform pharmacy owners. Whether the pharmacy is an independent, located in a grocery store, is a regional drug store chain, whether it is retail, closed door, compounding, or a specialty store having a complete package of financial data is important in obtaining financing.Unfortunately many pharmacy owners ask if they can cut corners and only supply the end of the year data. When this is done pharmacy owners remove the lenders ability to analyze the month to month trends.When they don’t have a complete package, Lenders will not assume the best. If a business owner doesn’t provide all the required information then they must realize the chance for receiving a loan is dramatically reduced. Lenders will take the position there is additional risk being hidden, or that the business is not being properly managed. Lenders will make their loan decision based on that negative impression.People who look for ways around the financing hurdles wonder why they never got the loan. In real estate you always hear “location, location, location.” When you are pursuing a business loan that is going to help the family and the business – borrowers need to think, “details, details, details.” Leaving out details and thinking the lender will be lazy and not want to analyze the details is thinking that won’t lead to a successful closing.When it comes to financing a pharmacy, everybody always wants to hope for the best, but short cuts won’t get the pharmacy owner the financing they need to expand their business and improve their profits.

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