Feeling financial pressures? CVC panel says you're not alone
Here are three takeaways from “dvm360 Leadership Challenge: Bridging the financial and generational gaps in veterinary medicine.” At the CVC Kansas City experts John Volk, Jim Kramer, DVM, CVPM, Shawn Finch, DVM, and Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP, delved into data and audience comments concerning finance, gender and generational issues.
Loving your job doesn’t mean you don’t have pressures: 90 percent of veterinarians surveyed in the VPI-Veterinary Economics Financial Health Study said they like the freedom of doing what they do and they live within their means, however a third of respondents classified themselves as poor. This is a profession where it can be extremely difficult to earn a larger salary, Volk says. If you’re in a larger practice, you have more flexibility of scheduling, but there are more people taking a piece of the profits. Finch, who is in an associate role, says that the strain can be felt even more so for associates, who may have to make sacrifices like being a one car family
, to be able to save money to send children to college or pay off loans.
Perceptions can be a challenge: When surveyed, 42 percent of women said their practice was not doing well, compared to 22 percent of men, however, when the actual financial statements were examined the practices were doing about the same. Women just perceived their practices were doing worse. While the economy is doing better than it had been during the recession, Volk says that the mean income in the United States is trending downward; practices need to be cognizant of this and find ways to offer services to people who have declining income and keep them coming back to their practice.
Future generations will have trouble too: Is the situation for current students harder than it was for older veterinarians? The 2013 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) workforce study used maps to show areas of excess capacity, and every single state was on the list in some way. Students are leaving school with debt two, three or four times the amount of their starting salary, says Wood. Something to keep in mind is that negation is a strong tool in salary discussions. Kramer pointed out that people don’t necessarily get paid what they deserve; they get paid what they negotiate.