Inside AAHA: May 2021

AAHA’s immediate past president, Guylaine Charette, DMV, discusses the importance of financial awareness. Plus, patient care standards, business continuation policies, and Connexity has a new look.

View from the Board

Keep an Eye on Your Financials

LIKE MOST VETERINARIANS, MY FIRST LOVE IS ANIMAL CARE. It brings me joy when I have an opportunity to make a difference in an animal’s life. When the white eyes of an aging cat look up at me or I get a kiss from a gray-snouted dog, I know I made the right career decision. What sets veterinary professionals apart from other caregiving industries is that we also have to be businesspeople. Every day that we practice medicine, we contribute to our hospital’s financial gain.

A successful and profitable veterinary practice will impact our community, family, and team. We nurture the relationships we create with our clients, and their referrals to friends and family help us grow. This helps us provide better wages and benefits to our team. By creating a work culture of physical wellbeing and building trust, we are in turn planning for financial success.

Successful veterinary practices review their financial information on a routine basis. Recording financial data into specific and detailed categories, such as those in the AAHA/VMG Chart of Accounts, not only benefits individual establishments but, by standardizing financial data across our industry, allows us to compare apples to apples and develop benchmarks that profit all veterinary businesses. The metrics veterinary businesses often use to measure, manage, and communicate results are key performance indicators (KPIs) that act as a fuel gauge in a car to let us know whether the engine is working well or it requires maintenance.

To determine which KPIs are most useful in your practice, ask yourself: What is your objective? What factors will help achieve the objective? For example, in our practice, our main objective is to provide the best care to every patient at every visit. We identified that team satisfaction and client value perception are key factors to achieve our objective. While it’s important to identify company-centric KPIs, such as average client transaction and cost of labor, we should also include customer-centric KPIs, like client retention and number of visits per patient. Customer-centric KPIs shine a light on whether the business strategy is aligned with our clients’ needs and interests. These are valuable metrics for growth.

The dynamics of our industry are constantly changing in response to medical and digital innovation, social media, workplace wellness culture, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As conditions around us evolve, we have to respond by changing our performance measures to better reflect current circumstances. Spending the necessary time to collect and review financial information will help us grow. Creating metrics that can be easily extracted from our practice management software can help facilitate that growth and will improve our financial performance and increase profit. Our team benefits because it increases their wellbeing and builds a workplace culture where they invest in the success of the practice. Practice shareholders will profit by ensuring financial stability when planning retirement.

Most importantly, this type of financial awareness benefits our patients by providing income to invest in better treatment and diagnostic technology. Because behind each financial report we run and the numbers we calculate is a veterinarian who cares deeply about animals.

Guylaine Charette
Guylaine Charette, DMV, is AAHA’s immediate past president. After receiving her Docteur en Médecine Vétérinaire degree from the Universitè de Montrèal in 1984, Charette joined the 2016 AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year, Pembroke Animal Hospital in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, where she still practices as an owner.

How Well Do You Know AAHA’s Patient Care Standards?

Sample Standards

AAHA regularly convenes experts to develop new guidelines and update recommendations based on the latest scientific evidence for small-animal healthcare. AAHA guidelines are meant to benefit not only AAHA members and their patients and clients but the entire veterinary profession.

  • Aggressive handling or restraint that might cause patient injury is prohibited.
  • Animal-holding areas (cages, runs, and exercise areas) are:
    • Secure
    • Escape-proof
    • In good condition
    • Easily cleaned
    • Adequate in relation to the normal caseload
  • The practice utilizes a written protocol and training program that addresses how to identify and report significant abuse of animals and humans. This includes concerns such as starvation, refusal of basic humane care, nonhygienic environments, mishandling, and infliction of injury.

AAHA members: Get a refresher on all the AAHA Standards of Accreditation.

It’s Time to Renew Your AAHA Membership!

Keep your access to the resources you need and the nurturing community you crave. Renew by June 30.


Dear AAHA,

What should be included in a business continuation policy?  

—Curious in Chicago

Dear Curious,

It’s best to contact your Member Experience team for specific details for your situation. Reach out to us at 800-252-2242 or In general, we look for such a policy to include emergency plans for natural disasters/fire, as well as death and incapacitation plans for the practice leadership. Basically, we want to see documented plans for how the practice will function in case of a crisis or sudden change. It’s also a good idea to have this policy reviewed by an attorney.

—AAHA’s Member Experience Team

Have a question you’d like AAHA to answer? Email us at

#AAHADay Is Just 2 Months Away

Last year, teams got creative for AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day. What will your team dream up this year?

Get Ready for July 22!

Download social media posts.

Virtual Connexity Starts This Month!

New Formats Offer CE for Introverts and Extroverts Alike

Connexity 2021 is embracing AAHA nonmembers and throwing out the conference playbook to experiment with the virtual platform and more engaging CE formats. But it’s not just for extroverts, said AAHA’s new CEO, Garth Jordan.

“You like listening? You can do that. You like playing? Jump in. You like catalyzing discussions? Use your voice here. You like sharing? Give us what you’ve got. You like taking it all in? Absorb what your peers have to offer,” Jordan said. “No matter what, it’s not going to be boring.”

Open to everyone in the veterinary profession! Register now!

Save the dates for all 2021 Connexity programs

Virtual Sessions

All times are Eastern Time (ET)

Wednesday, May 26, 10:00 am–1:00 pm

Wednesday, November 10, 11:00 am–2:00 pm

In-Person Conference

Scottsdale, Arizona

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Wednesday, September 22–Saturday, September 25, 2021

AAHA Meetings and Events

AAHA is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and we will continue to follow recommended public health guidelines leading up to all scheduled AAHA events.

Connexity Virtual

May 26

Veterinary Management Institute

July 10

AAHA at VMX Virtual

June 5–9

AAHA-Accredited Hospital Day

July 22

AAHA memberships renew

June 30


Register for a learning program and learn more about AAHA’s upcoming events.

Photo credits: simonkr/E+ via Getty Images, Naked Kingv/iStock via Getty Images Plus, Yuli_ko/iStock via Getty Images Plus, 



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