With a constant influx of invoices, an average of 50% of companies find themselves working with duplicate transactions on a regular basis.
Even with in place protocols, such duplications may lead to wasted resources, funding and time, setting back the efficiency of organizations and risking client relations.
Knowing the basics of AP duplication and implementing strategies that can mitigate its impacts are the first steps to a neater, stress-free undertaking, that with the addition of Artsyl’s document process automation can make payments less of an overhead. Read on to learn more.
AP Duplication refers to the unnecessary reproduction of invoices and payments, as a result of errors on both client and business ends. Creating a hassle for accounts payable departments, it is an inevitable part of transactions that is often overlooked, and as mentioned, can lead to major setbacks.
The main causes of AP duplication can be summarized into two categories: Human and technology errors.
One of the most common human errors in AP duplication includes re-submitting invoices without canceling originals, a mistake that creates delays and frustration, and is at times a challenge to counter. Submitting invoices to incorrect departments and sending two copies (both paper and digital) are also human errors that ultimately result in AP duplication.
In terms of technology errors, duplicate invoices being incorrectly flagged as unique copies are a major cause for AP duplication. Oftentimes, software won’t pick up on duplicate invoices because only minor changes were made, such as an altered date or amount, as a result, getting the duplicate marked as unique.
Whether done intentionally or not, such errors, especially when occurring on a regular basis, can result in severe losses that all companies should strive to avoid.
Unfortunately, with average companies processing over 6000 invoices a year, roughly 90 of those paid happen to be duplicates. Such loss, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, can be devastating for companies of any size, and can even be the downfall to some.
In addition to financial setbacks, AP duplication results in significant delays, added stress on staff, and even risks damaging client relations, all when put together make payments more of an inconvenience than ever.
Fortunately, there are strategies and mechanisms designed to counter AP duplication.
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Although AP duplication can be a tedious setback, there are three strategies that companies can implement to counter its influence.
1. Enforce Invoicing Standards with Vendors
Without a set system in place, vendors will often resort to whichever method they believe is most effective when creating invoices. Whether they rely on payment software, such as PayPal, or create a custom template in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, the varying, unfamiliar results may lead to AP duplication.
To avoid further setbacks as a result of differing invoices, set guidelines for your company’s invoicing preferences. This could mean specifying a file type, such as PDF, or invoice format, instructing which department the invoice must be sent to, and more. Do
not hesitate to share your company standards and encourage vendors to abide by them to create a more flawless system for everyone involved.
It’s important to note that this solution will allow you to deal with the vendors who proactively send duplicates in a friendly, feedback manner, and resolve AP duplication while maintaining positive company relations.
2. Regularly Monitor Staff, Vendors and Transactions
Companies receiving large influxes of invoices are more likely to skim through each transaction, worrying less about what they are paying for, and more about getting the transaction out of the way.
Anything from AP staff blindly paying regular vendors without checking invoice details, to failure on the company’s behalf to confirm invoice validity, can cause AP duplication that, if not caught quickly, can lead to major complications later on. To counter such errors, proper process management and team supervision are the most effective actions.
Supervise transactions, staff and vendors, keeping an eye out for invoice duplicates. Stay up to date with your payables department and make sure everyone on your team knows how to identify and deal with AP duplication.
With proper control, you’ll soon find that your efforts and keeping everyone on one page can make a significant difference in lessening the amount of duplicate invoices processed every month.
3. Rely on AP Automation
The final yet most effective strategy for combating AP duplication is AP automation. Saving time and money, AP automation software, with their array of tools designed to eliminate duplicates, are capable of flagging even the most unnoticeable duplicate invoices.
One of such tools, for example, are built-in-checks that throughout invoice processing will search for and identify duplicates. This tool removes the need for additional supervision and staff effort, and is less likely to make an error once properly applied.
The reliability of AP automation continues to grow, as reported in 2021, 23% of companies have begun to receive fewer duplicate invoices as a result of it. Efficient, effective and simple? AP automation is any controller’s dream.
With over a decade’s worth of experience in dozens of workfields, Artsyl is well familiarized with the frustrations caused by AP duplication, and is an expert at combating it via AP automation. Streamline your AP documents processing and avoid costly mistakes and duplicates with the use of Artsyl’s InvoiceAction solution!