Accounting firms

Improve Accounts Payable Efficiency: 15 Best Practices

Posted on 30/06/2017

Every organization witnesses a skills gap; 75% CEOs feel their in-house team isn’t adept enough to keep up.Keeping that in mind, it is always helpful to define clear, precise and well-defined workflows and practices in every business process. Here are some tips and best practices to Improve Accounts Payable efficieny. A better Procure to Pay process will not only benefit your working capital, cash flow, and vendor relationships but go the extra mile help you to identify areas of savings and compliance. If you’re looking to strengthen your bottom line performance, what better way than to improve liquidity?

Services for Accounts Payable

So read on, as we enlist 15 best practices to improve accounts payable efficiency (in no particular order), keeping in mind the organizations where the AP function primarily relies on paperwork submissions. We know some companies have already adopted EDI and we’re going to keep this as generic as possible.

  1. Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Assign access rights, or assign specific employees the capacity to add/delete/modify vendors in the vendor master files. Especially in systems that lack the ability to print changes made to the files, this practice can be pivotal in avoiding theft.
  2. Use default settings to your advantage: It is recommended that you default the AP master file configuration to a Vendor Type used most frequently. If your system allows for multiple vendor categories, set access rights in a way that users only above a certain security level are allowed to change the GL code.
  3. Avoid batch entries: Entering each invoice individually, allows for a separate audit trail and that would greatly help in keeping track.
  4. Check the Invoice Dates: Do not let your AP clerks use older invoice dates. Try and understand how your system assigns GL month/year as well. When you generate reports on financial reports for a time period, correct dates will alleviate unexpected results.
  5. Review and reconcile: Compare charges to purchase orders while paying out and perform a monthly reconciliation.
  6. Automation is better: Manual processes such as expense reporting, data entry should be automated for better utilization of your accounting resources. This will also minimize risks and errors.
  7. Try an ERP system: Most of the auditor’s time is consumed in reviewing manual postings owing to an elevated risk factor. This can be eased with the help of an ERP system.
  8. Always compare with original: It is advisable to try and pay against the original invoice but if paying from a copy, compare the invoice number and charges indicated.
  9. Verify W-9: In the year’s end when you organize 1099s, you don’t want to be stuck in a rut. Before initiating payment, verify the vendor has a W-9 file for them.
  10. Invoice number rules: If all your clerks starting entering invoice numbers in the format they please, you’ll be lost for eons; especially if you don’t have an invoice number in hand. Instead, have a policy and educate your clerks on how to enter invoice numbers.
  11. Accountability: Assign and authorize separate people for entering the invoice, approving the invoice and signing the check.
  12. Logging is key: All invoices should compulsorily be addressed to the Accounts Department – this way they can be logged.
  13. Define Budget: It is safer to know your AP team know what the declared budget is, if you are among those who run a lot of cash transactions.
  14. Audit trail is imperative: Even if you don’t plan on paying the entire invoice amount, it would help the audit trail to mark it as billed. At these instances, use credit memos.
  15. Free is good: Discounts and free goods being offered by your vendors is something that could greatly help your accounts. Watch out for these festive promotions and make the best use of them.

Go the extra mile with these best practices, and watch your AP process go above and beyond maintaining operating margins. Velan is a trusted and seasoned Accounts Payable services providers. Velan AP process takes extra care on available free credits, payable days, purchase order mandates, and Accounts Payable cycle efficiency. Accurate Accounts Payable reconciliation plays a vital role in clearing unpaid bills within the stipulated time. Outsourcing your Accounts Payable management to Velan will help you effectively mitigate fines for late bill payments and ensure that you have a streamlined Accounts Payable process flow leading to optimized of profit for your business. Call Joyce @ +1-516-717-2049 to know more.

Topics: Accounting , Accounting firms , Accounts Payables , Financial Reporting , Outsourcing Accounting