It’s no secret that duplicate invoice payments are the Achilles’ heel of the Accounts Payable process. Clerks who are trying to accelerate invoice processing can make mistakes, or miscommunication between employees can results in duplicate entries. However they happen, they can be costly for companies. In one report, “on average, approximately 0.1% to 0.05% of invoices paid are typically duplicate payments.” Depending on the size of the business, this can mean hundreds, thousands, even millions, of dollars lost in duplicate payments.
Causes of duplicate invoices include:
- Different options for receipt and payment of invoices, including accounts payable outsourcing.
- Mergers, acquisitions, or siloed business processes that allow professionals in multiple Accounts Payable departments to make payments without controls in place that are designed to avoid duplicates.
- Data entry errors.
- Duplicate vendors stored in an AP ERP.
- Paying from multiple source documents.
When duplicate invoices are detected the blame usually falls on the Accounts Payable department. Because of this, it is always in Accounts Payable’s best interest to reduce the likelihood of such occurrences.
There are many recommended best practices for reducing the risk of duplicates even before the invoice is scanned. Having vendors send all invoices to one digital location, and house cleaning the Vendor Master File are great ways for AP to reduce the chance of duplicates landing on their desks. However, a few will always slip through these checks. Then what?
In the United States, there is no regulation dictating that an invoice number must be unique. So, the invoice number field matching that most AP solutions rely on to catch duplicates is not bullet-proof. How can AP improve their process to reduce the number of duplicate payments?
Accounts Payable: Ask More Questions, Get Better Answers
This is not true of all things in life, but it certainly is when it comes to verifying that a particular invoice is not being paid twice. Advances in Accounts Payable technology can drastically reduce the number of duplicates. The new matching algorithm examines the invoice thoroughly to find a similar invoices and present them for review. The suspected duplicate invoice is displayed alongside the original entry so AP can easily make the right call. This matching algorithm greatly reduces the chances of a duplicate entry happening in the first place.
The bottom line: Accounts Payable can take advantage of better duplicate-catching technologies to save their department time, money, and embarrassment. Learn more.
If you’re concerned about identifying potential duplicate invoice entries, schedule a free demo to see how Stampli utilizes thorough field matching to eliminate this concern.