Dental finances are fighting fit despite more cautious lending

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Leading dental accountants Alan Suggett and Nick Ledingham tell Adrian O’Dowd what access to borrowing and loans is like now within the dental sector, how that might have changed due to the Covid pandemic and post Brexit, and their predictions for the market in 2022.

Interview panel:

Alan Suggett, Partner and Head of the Dental Business Unit at chartered accountancy firm UNW LLP
Nick Ledingham, Chartered Accountant, Senior Partner of Morris & Co, Specialist Dental Accountants, and Chairman of the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL)

Key insights:

• Many dental practices are currently in good financial health and have come through the Covid-19 lockdowns reasonably well

• The majority of practices that borrowed Covid-19 related loans to help survive lockdowns did not need to use that money in the final event and some have already paid them back

• Many practices are changing hands at slightly reduced values and it is taking longer to buy and sell a practice

• Banks are more cautious now about lending money to practices, demanding more information and taking longer to approve loans, but they are still willing to lend

• There is a lack of new financial products in the sector

• Private practices have picked up many new patients as there has been a switch away from some NHS practices due to reduced activity there

• Patients appear to be more willing to spend on private treatment now having been denied the opportunity to spend their disposable income during the Covid lockdowns

• Some dentists, having survived the past 18 months to two years of the pandemic, are now keen to have a rest and are keen to sell their practices

• There is still demand from dentists wanting to buy practices particularly young associates with an appetite for their own practice.


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