NEW EXECUTIVE BRIEFING: Optimising Working Capital Using Technology

Detecting and preventing duplicate payments in accounts payable

In this blog, we share controls to keep your data accurate and eliminate duplicate payments and invoices in accounts payable.
Three lightbulbs sit in a row on a purple background, the middle one is lit with a dollar sign in the middle. This image is to signify duplicate payments in accounts payable.

Finding and avoiding duplicate payments in accounts payable can be a difficult feat, especially if your team are exceptionally busy and don’t have time to make regular checks.

With these controls to keep your data accurate, you can eliminate duplicate payments:

Conduct regular internal audits and checks.

Pay close attention to the accuracy of your transactions before the payment run with regular spot checks and audits. This ensures a lower level of error and duplication.

Use software to detect duplicate payments.

Software that thoroughly analyses your transactions can save an incredible amount of time for your team. Using software also eliminates the level of human error in your checks, ensuring high accuracy. 

Of course, we recommend our own risk detection solution for the job.

Complete three-way matching.

This essential check ensures that your purchase order, invoice and goods-in documents all include the same information.

Be wary that although 3-way matching can find duplicates, it can also miss them entirely. Therefore, secondary measures are necessary to ensure all errors are caught before payment. Discover more about the shortcomings of 3-way matching in our blog.

Create a higher level of oversight.

Sharing information with the whole P2P team enables better collaboration and less confusion. Allowing everyone to see the elements of the process means an elevated level of supervision, which is integral to preventing errors, including duplicate payments.

 

Alongside these pre-payment controls, it’s important to examine your ledger after payments are made. We recommend reconciling supplier statements regularly. In this way, you can find historical overpayments, duplicates, unclaimed credits and more.

How to prevent duplicate invoices.

At the root of a double payment is often a duplicate invoice. Alongside the inspections you make before payment, you should scrutinise your full P2P process to rectify these issues:

Streamline and centralise receiving invoices.

The simplest way to do this is to create a singular entry point like a dedicated email inbox or supplier portal.

Automate your processes.

Unfortunately, data entry errors commonly create issues, including duplicate invoices. The best way to avoid this is to remove that human element and use automation.

Standardise invoices.

Ensuring your invoices have the same format makes it easier for your systems to understand and read it correctly. Thus, invoices are correctly entered into the system in the first instance and not duplicated.

Limit your payment methods.

Cheques can often be delayed or lost in the post, and sometimes more than one cheque can be sent as a result. If you eliminate cheque payments and move to only electronic means, not only do they not get lost, but you’re able to track them easily.

Create visibility.

Much like our earlier point, if you use a collaborative software, you can easily check for duplication and error.

Reduce supplier complexity.

Make it far easier for your and your team to spot errors by cleansing your master supplier file. Limiting the number of vendors you work with will also reduce confusion, and help minimise supplier fraud risks.

Pay invoices promptly.

If a payment is not paid quickly, or within payment terms, suppliers may resend the original invoice, thinking your team did not receive it. To avoid this situation, always confirm receipt of your invoice and check to ensure it is added to your ERP correctly.

Establish a standard workflow and provide training for your team.

Ensuring every team member follows the same process makes checking transaction data far easier and ensures fewer errors.

 

Even when you have plenty of controls and the correct processes in place, some duplicates can slip through your carefully crafted nets. To ensure you catch everything, we recommend that you use duplicate invoice detection software.

How FISCAL helps you detect and prevent duplicate payments.

Our software solution uses forensic tests and artificial intelligence to analyse your transactions. It finds high-risk invoices and allows you to compare them to find duplicates and more. You can then action these risks before the payment run. In turn, you’ll reduce the need for time-consuming, costly recoveries.

FISCAL's risk, duplicate invoice and fraud detection software example, analysing transactional risks in Accounts Payable and prevent overpayments or duplicate payments
FISCAL Technologies software identifies duplicate invoices, so you can prevent duplicate payments and protect working capital.

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