Unleash the Power of the Month-End Update

Have you ever been asked a question where, after deliberation, the answer is, “It depends”? There are areas in life where outcomes are controlled or determined by specific factors. They either happen or they don’t. All else follows from there.

In Dentrix, your ability to use and benefit from an entire set of features is conditional on your performing one specific task: the month-end update, otherwise known as closing out the previous month.

Rather than focus on the negative aspects of failing to perform a month-end update—there are several—let’s focus on the benefits you gain from unleashing the power of the month-end update.

  • Update your aged balances. Think of all the places you see aging brackets: the Ledger, the Family File, the Aging Report, the Insurance Claim Aging Report—these and more will all be updated when you run the month end.

  • Focus your collection efforts. Let’s be clear: Everyone’s balance is “current” until you run the month end. Dental consultants recommend that you focus on your oldest past-due balances because the likelihood of getting paid decreases over time. Don’t you want to really know where you stand with accounts receivable?

  • Speed up your reports. Dentrix creates a behind-the-scenes monthly totals record each time a month is closed, for the specific purpose to speed report generation. Wouldn’t you rather get your reports now instead of later?
  • Protect your transactions and notes. Month end moves payments, procedures and clinical notes to history. This means those entries cannot be tampered with or deleted. (Never fear—Dentrix provides ways to correct errors in history.)
  • Reset insurance benefits used. During the month-end update, Dentrix can automatically purge the benefits used for those insurance companies that reset in the coming calendar month. This saves you from having to manually keep track of insurance plans that aren’t synchronized with the calendar year.
  • Keep your Appointment Book cleaned up. This is an optional feature. Appointments that were scheduled before a cutoff date can be deleted from the Appointment Book. An Appointment Book that is not carrying the weight of years of appointments will launch more quickly and run more responsively.

You can close the month any time after the first day of the next month. You do not have to close the month immediately on the first day; you can take a few days to go over your payments, procedures, notes, etc., and make sure everything is correct before you put them in history.

If you are behind in closing your month, you must close out all previous months in sequential order until you catch up to the current month.

To close out the month in Dentrix:

  1. Perform a database backup. This is optional but recommended. (See article #56352 in the Dentrix Resource Center for detailed instructions.)
  2. In the Ledger, select Month End > Month End Update. The Close Out Month dialog box appears and you will see an alert reminding you that a backup is recommended.

    The month listed in the Close Out Month field will be the month that is closed. This date defaults to the month after the last month that was closed. You cannot edit this date.
  3. Select additional options (if desired).
    • Appointment/Event Purge will delete all appointments that are older than the specified Cutoff Date from the Appointment Book.
    • Reset Insurance Benefits will reset all insurance benefits and deductibles according to the benefit renewal month specified in the Family File.
  4. Click OK to close the month.

If you like the benefits gained by closing the month, you’ll love the Month End Wizard. It is an enhanced version of month end that allows you to include monthly finance and late charges, and it generates several month-end reports.

For more information on closing out the month, especially how it figures into closing the year, read Closing the Year the Right Way in the Dentrix articles archive.

Author: Joel Baldwin / Curriculum Development Supervisor
Published: 10/31/2016
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