Lucy Carter, CPA
Member & Practice Leader, Healthcare Industry Team
Lucy Carter specialized in healthcare accounting before such a thing really existed in Nashville.
After graduating from the University of Tennessee, the Hendersonville native returned home to begin her career. "When I became a partner in a small local firm, the managing partner looked at me and said, 'You'll head up our Medical Services Department.' I said, 'Great ... we don't have one,'" Carter recalled with a chuckle. "He recognized my passion for healthcare and the opportunity that existed in developing a specialty area to serve the medical profession."
From the beginning, Carter wanted to develop services that would improve the profession. "Not just accounting and tax," she explained, "but consulting services that would provide a bridge between business knowledge and the practice of healthcare."
The only problem ... there simply weren't many resources available to help her get started. "I came across a two-day seminar on practice management at Vanderbilt for the medical residents offered by the Nashville Academy of Medicine," Carter said. She contacted Raymond Sklar, who was director of NAM at that time, to ask if she could attend.
Her presence at the conference was certainly an anomaly. "It was me in a suit, and everyone else was in white coats. They asked us to give our name and specialty. When I said 'Lucy Carter, CPA,' everyone just froze," she said with a laugh.
The foresight of Sklar to welcome her to the conference - and then to become an ongoing resource regarding the business of medicine - helped lay the groundwork for Carter's success as she has grown into one of the city's most respected and knowledgeable healthcare accountants and consultants.
A founder of Carter Lankford CPAs, which specialized in healthcare accounting, Carter joined KraftCPAs after her former partner retired in 2015. Kraft was already deeply immersed in the industry through the affiliated Kraft Healthcare Consulting led by Scott Mertie, and Carter has only enhanced the firm's expertise by creating a specialized industry group within the main firm.
"It's a cross-discipline team with specialists in healthcare embedded in each of the other areas like tax or audit," Carter explained. She added it's critical to have people who truly understand the intricacies of such a highly regulated, constantly changing industry in place. "Helping our clients navigate changes and assisting them in staying clear of regulatory landmines is a constant challenge," she noted.
However, it's a challenge she and her team are happy to meet so that physicians and industry leaders are free to focus on patients. "I love my clients - the hardworking, dedicated and compassionate providers of healthcare," Carter said. "My job is to reduce frustration and anxiety so that our clients can concentrate on what they love - healing."
Whether undertaking a simple accounting task or redesigning processes and workflow to achieve greater efficiency and profitability, Carter said she is mindful that business decisions ultimately have an impact on patients. "Being part of the healthcare profession is an honor and a privilege that I don't take lightly," she explained. "I am passionate about providing solutions to make a positive difference in the business side of medicine. I am also passionate about client service and responsiveness. Fortunately, I'm blessed to work with a great team that shares my passion and values."
Outside of work, Carter noted simply, "My family is my heart." Between she and husband Kirk, who is battling a progressive illness, the couple has four grown children and three grandsons. "We really like to be together cooking, eating, playing games," she said, adding the whole family loves sports, as well.
Carter is also actively involved in the community. She sits on the boards of Junior Achievement and the Nashville Medical Group Management Association, is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville, and sings in her church choir. No matter how busy the workday, she makes sure there is always time for the friends, family and outside interests that round out a fulfilling life.
"As I tell the younger team members, don't miss important moments. You don't get do-overs in life. Love lavishly."