Maintaining accurate production and collection numbers is essential for confident dental practice management. By locking your transactions and limiting backdating capabilities, you also reduce the chance of mistakes and lost funds. Each dental practice should make its own decision on the timeline for when to lock their transactions, and Dentrix Ascend allows you to customize this.
As a reference guide for making this decision, we will show the impact on auditing, depending on the date selected.
To configure the transaction lock date, go to Settings > Ledger Options and open the Ledger Rules tab.
If you set this to 30 days, then no one on your team can backdate any transaction more than 30 days in the past. This means they cannot enter a procedure or payment or anything more than 30 days in the past. Some offices choose to set this to 7 or 14 days to create tighter controls for backdating.
Occasionally, it may make sense to backdate beyond your guidelines, for example if you forgot to charge out a procedure. In this case, if a procedure needs to be entered, a Dentrix Ascend administrator with full rights can change the transaction locking rule to a time frame long enough to allow the backdated entry, enter the procedure, and then reset the rule back to 30 days.
Instead of backdating, you may choose to simply use a positive or negative adjustment along with a descriptive note and initials to explain why the transaction was entered.
Limiting your backdating to within 30 days provides a variety of benefits:
- You know that any changes you observe in your applied collections reports earlier than 30 days past are the result of unapplied payments changes—and not due to backdating
- There is no need to audit your day sheet or adjusted production report earlier than 2 months past because transactions are locked
- Your team cannot accidentally make a ‘fat finger error’ and impact past production reports
- You increase the chances of maintaining accurate records
If you choose to extend your ledger rules to allow backdating to a longer period of time, be sure to continue running an auditing procedure for both production and collection each month throughout the transaction lock date.
Auditing Your System to Identify Backdating
Let’s say you decide to set your transaction lock period to 14 days; here is the matching audit recommended.
To audit any changes in production, run a custom ledger report that reflects both the created date and transaction date and if you differences, then look to see why.
To run this custom report:
Go to Power Reporting. Select the Financial tab and choose the Analysis Ledger Report Builder. This will pull up an empty report that you can build.
Now, you’re going to add three fields:
- Created date (local)
- Transaction date (local)
- Procedure code (Proc Code)
Search for each of these in the far left Available Fields column. To add them into your report, double click on each one. If done correctly, your report will look like this:
Now, since the created date cannot be edited, but any additional transactions will be reflected as a transaction date, this provides a quick way to check for any changes made to procedure codes.
So, you will look down this list comparing these two date columns.
If you see any differences between the created date and the transaction date, then you can add patient names to this report and then look into these accounts.
To add patient names to this report, just search in the far left available fields for Patient and double click to add it to the report. Now your report will look like this:
If your ledger rules are set to 14 days, then make sure you are looking back 15 days using this custom report. You can add a filter to make the list more manageable. Drag the transaction date field into the filter area and set the date to the previous 15 days (for this example).
Save this report so you do not have to rebuild it each time you want to run it. Click Save, and name your custom audit report, for example “Production Audit”, and select a destination, either My Reports or Organization Reports. Click OK to finish.
You may find it easier to work with this report if you export it to Excel or PDF.
(Article authored by J. Alldredge, J. Nesbitt 2017)