Accounts payable duplication is wide-ranging which covers any part of the AP method that is unnecessarily produced from POs to supplier documents. Critical for companies, it may refer to duplicate invoices and payments that occur often than people even think.
And in such circumstances, duplicate submission takes place before the due date. It generates enormous extra work pressure for the entire AP team.
AP duplication is a multi-faceted issue. It indicates that providers can identify a mistake in the invoice after submitting them and choose to send in the correct invoice without proper cancellation of the first invoice. Plus, at times, they also email the same invoice to an incorrect team. Invoices are also sent electronically with a paper invoice, enclosed with physical goods/service. So, when the invoices are sent to the improper person/department, the supplier relationship will become frayed as the payment gets delayed.
A few suppliers also make subtle modifications to the invoices purposely, hoping to steal the second payment by resubmission. When the business is not keeping a keen watch or not using cloud-based AP solution, employees can be fooled easily.
Key Approaches to Prevent AP Duplication
a. Implementing AP Software
The best way to combat duplication in AP is via automation. The reason is accounts payable automation system is specifically designed with various tools to eradicate duplicate payments. The abilities of cloud technology constantly evolve and are still recognized to have a positive effect with AP duplication. It has been observed that 25% of organizations were getting lesser duplicate invoices after automating accounts payable method.
Moreover, automation comes with in-built checks throughout invoice processing lifecycle which will spot duplicates easily. This can aid in the recovery of the past unnecessary payments made, by offering complete audit history of each invoice and action on specific invoices.
b. Invoice Compliance with Suppliers
A supplier will do whatever they think to the best to generate invoices when left with their own smart devices, and ensure they are paid on time. The supplier may use invoicing system. They can build a custom invoice in email body. Or they can generate a bill via peer-to-peer payment solution that offers fundamental invoice templates. This same principle is relevant with the real invoice format, where it is submitted and the number of times it’s sent. Different providers will work separately.
It does not indicate that organizations cannot strive for vendors to comply with business invoicing preferences. The organization can minimize AP duplication by guiding suppliers towards submitting invoice only once, sending them to certain teams, and leveraging continuous invoice formats.
Plus, it is acceptable to proactively handle suppliers who are known to submit the duplicate invoices. Such suppliers that perform this innocently can appreciate feedback. The ones who keep sending the duplicates can be further instructed on where and how to send the invoice, so it is paid on time.
c. Keep a Watch on Suppliers, Teams, and Transactions
Organizations can be in trouble whenever they have a massive invoice management volume per month and don’t follow adequate process of checking if every invoice is valid or not. A few businesses wind up with the bills where they aren’t sure of what products they are getting. But still, they will keep making the payment.
Some of this fall on the teams who are used to pay to consistent suppliers without stopping to question even who these people are. Businesses are also responsible. It has been observed that 55% of companies need three-way/four-way matching like receipt reports, POs, and invoices in order to prove transactional validation.
Companies can set themselves up for AP success in a better way and reduce duplication when they observe on what occurs with AP teams. Watch the transactions, the suppliers that organizations work with, and even AP members to ensure that they are looking out for duplicate invoices. When you see that the process takes a lot of time when humans do it, AI and ML is more effective to do this work, and that is what you get with robust accounts payable solution.
Use a Robust Supplier Portal for Submitting Invoices
It may be challenging for the suppliers to know when and how to send invoices which can lead to duplicate invoice submission. AP automation eradicates the problem as suppliers can get directed to send the invoices directly to the software that can be configured to enter the solution from an inbox that is intact. Also, a supplier portal where the vendors can check the invoice status is a critical feature so vendors can confirm if an invoice was received, processed, rejected, or approved.
It is a simple method for suppliers and organizations equally. Providers do not have to question on the invoice status. On the other hand, organizations can get a break on the data entry with AP software able to extract the invoice data as it enters the system and enter them into ERP solution.