07 November 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Administrator

Tips for Identifying and Reducing Accounts Payable Invoicing Errors

There’s no time in most Canadian companies for invoicing errors of any kind, and that includes accounts payable. Accounts payable errors can cause breakdowns in essential vendor relationships, unnecessary expenses, and general inefficiency.

Unfortunately, too many businesses in Canada and around the world still manage their accounts payable department the old fashioned way, which includes manual invoice processing. The result can be errors and a lack of efficiency, and it’s also expensive to do things this way.

The following are some key things to know about spotting and eliminate errors and problems in your accounts payable department and invoice processing.

Manual Handling of Invoices

One of the biggest issues most businesses face when it comes to invoice handling, in general, is that they’re still doing it manually, which was touched on above.

This is incredibly expensive, with the handling of each invoice often estimated to be more than $20. This is one of the biggest sources of errors. Simply by automating invoice processes, it’s possible to eliminate the majority of the errors that are occurring.

Overpayments

While manual handling of invoices is one of the biggest general errors, within that there are specific problems that arise. One example is overpayments.

Overpayments can be the result of things like having only one person handling the invoice. It can be better to have one person processing and one person checking, but even better than that would be automation to avoid overpayments by setting parameters and creating more visibility.

Approvals

In large organizations, approvals can become problematic. You often need multiple people to sign off on various aspects of procurement and purchasing, and if these signatures or approvals aren’t there, it can cause delays.

In some cases, not having the necessary approvals can be the result not of miscommunication, but of fraud, so it’s important businesses make sure they have automated channels and visibility in place here as well. It’s critical to have advanced permissions that allow businesses to set up detailed and specific approval control.

Vendor-Side Errors

It’s not just the business that’s making the purchases that makes errors. Many errors come from the side of the vendor as well, but if your business isn’t equipped to spot those errors, it can cost you time and money. In fact, many overpayment scenarios may be the result of an error on the side of the vendor that went undetected by your AP department.

For example, duplicate invoices are a common error that stems from the vendor but can result in paying twice without even recognizing it. Another frequently seen error occurs when a vendor doesn’t recognize a discount owed to your business.

Just as with errors happening on your end, if you have a robust expense management system in place, you can more easily spot these vendor-side errors or inconsistencies.

A few other errors related to AP departments include relying on Excel instead of a true invoice processing system. Excel has valuable features, but it’s not intended to be a complete expense and AP management system.

Finally, while this problem is related to the others above, a lack of visibility is probably one of the primary issues experienced by most AP departments. It’s important to have full visibility to spot problems, but also places where money can be saved.

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