Sir, as the NASDAL member responsible for the statistical exercise of collating and analysing the annual benchmarking statistics, I am very happy to respond to some of your readers' questions about your article in April's edition.1
For those who don't know, the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers - NASDAL - was set up in 1998. It is an association of accountants and lawyers who specialise in acting for and looking after the accounting, tax and legal affairs of dentists.
On an annual basis, the Benchmarking Survey statistics are gathered from the accountant members of NASDAL across the UK who together act for more than a quarter of self-employed dentists. The statistics provide average 'state-of-the-nation' figures so NASDAL accountants can benchmark their clients' earnings and expenditure and help them run their practices more profitably. They provide a detailed picture of dental practice finances, sourced directly from dentists working privately and in the NHS. The figures published by the Public Health England's Information Centre reflect the income of NHS dentists only. NASDAL's designation of practices as either private or NHS reflects that 80% of business income comes from that source. The sample size is 600 practices and 600 associates.
In answer to some of the questions posed:
Are the averages stated mean, median or mode?
The averages given are the mean. The median and mode averages would not be appropriate.
Are these data available in a regional breakdown?
We do collect the data regionally but we reserve the broken down regional data for NASDAL members and their clients.
Do you collect data by gender?
No, we don't.
Do the figures take into account NHS abatement applied in the following tax year?
Yes they do. The data are derived from accounts that are prepared on an accruals basis.
Did the figures take into account those associates who went unpaid during COVID-19?
In regard to UDA rates - are regional data available?
I'm afraid not.
Do these data reflect that associates are tending to work at multiple practices more now rather than one practice full time? Do you have the numbers of hours worked against the £'s earned?
The data are not currently detailed enough to show reports of findings based on hours worked. However, thank you for this and other suggestions from your readers. We continually review the statistics that we collect so we will consider what may be appropriate to add in moving forward.
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Simpson, I. Associate questions: A response. BDJ In Pract 35, 8 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41404-022-1130-3