I did a quick stop in the Boston area to do training for Harvard Vanguard (now merged with Atrius Health). The session was pretty full with about 35 people. About half of the group was MD’s from all different specialties. I like training with doctors, they don’t know much about finance and ask lots of good questions.
I also get to visit John Case and his wife Quaker when I visit Boston. John is a great writer who assisted me with my two books Financial Intelligence and Project Management for Profit. We had a great dinner catching up and we ate at one of my favorite places in the Boston area, Legal Seafood. I’m a bit of a foodie and I have my favorite places in each city I visit. This blog could quickly become a restaurant review but I think that category is well covered by others.
In the Atrius session there was a lot of talk about the declining margins in the health care industry. One might ask the question “why worry so much about margins when you are working with a not for profit organization?” I often hear from attendees ‘isn’t it the goal just to break even every year?’ I’ve said this before but I think the ‘not for profit’ designation is good for PR by marketing an organization as a charity but it does not help with understanding the finances.
Internally these organizations should be called ‘not taxed’. Because every organization is for profit or it won’t survive. Certainly a medical group like Atrius needs profitability to reinvest in new technologies and facilities. Without profit that will never happen. Every organization needs to be profitable or it will not survive from the start-up company to General Motors to Atrius Health to Greece. If you spend more than you take in the laws of economics will eventually take hold and your organization will fail. So the message for you ‘not for profits’ is use this term carefully.