Since 1987 two former GPs, Dr Neil Maclean and Dr Ian McNicoll, have been providing a comprehensive accounting package for GP practices.
Their Windows-based software is now used by over 3,000 client practices.
My practice, the Lambert Medical Centre in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, has used it for over nine years. One of our partners, Dr Simon Pooley, says: 'This is an extremely easy-to-understand programme and would be of significant benefit to any GP contemplating a new accounts system.'
The software includes several options for entry of credit and debit items, including a multiple lodgement facility that allows several different items to be logged within one entry, which is particularly useful if you are registered or need to register for VAT. An option to enter any notes to supplement a specific entry is also available.
There are template entry options which can be really helpful when you are entering NHS month-end payments. A more recent development allows you to download and directly import NHS payment statements into the package.
Now that all dispensing GPs must be VAT-registered by 1 April 2006, of particular relevance is the VAT facility which, providing entered items are coded correctly, at the push of a button prints out all the necessary information and a copy of the return, which then just has to be copied on to the official HM Revenue and Customs form. The software even takes into account any excess of the monthly de-minimus figure.
VAT entry codings include standard rate, exempt, zero rate, mixed rate and outwith of VAT. While similar codes apply to debit entries, options to categorise payments as drug expense, fully dispensing expense, partial dispensing expense or non-dispensing expense are available. I find the VAT element in particular is a big time-saver.
The package also allows standing orders and direct debits to be set up and maintained, together with a simple bank reconciliation system requiring only entry of the date and balance from the latest bank statement. A back-up can be made to floppy disk and hard drive.
Upgrades are available via download from the website and also by a CD often provided on payment of the annual maintenance fee, presently £95 plus VAT. The current cost of the programme is £199 plus VAT, which covers support and upgrades for the first year.
Technical support is excellent, with use of a telephone helpline three afternoons a week, and fax and email support outside of these hours.
All in all, it is an easy-to-use package that can save time and be of huge benefit to GPs.
MACLEAN MCNICOLL SOFTWARE
- Compatible with Windows'98, 2000 & XP on a PC and requires 30MB hard drive space.
- A free four-month trial is available for any practice.