In order to run a small business effectively you must be in financial control and this means that you have to be aware how the business is performing. If you wait until your accountant has got out the annual accounts valuable time has been wasted in making necessary decisions and corrections to poor trends in your business so monthly/quarterly records are required. Decisions as to whether you can afford to take another assistant, set up a branch surgery, the level of your fee increases, whether to buy or lease your cars; are all dependent on having available up to date financial knowledge of your business. If you have a microcomputer in the practice you can use spreadsheets which will allow the accurate prediction of cash flow or profitability. You can also ask the question 'what happens if...?' and get the answer in seconds. But even without a computer, financial control can be easily maintained if you are prepared to spend a couple of hours each month with your practice figures.