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Accounts Payable best practices
Companies should be interested in implementing best practices in their accounts payable (AP) operations for the same reason that Willy Sutton focused on banks—it’s where the money is. The fundamental structure of the AP function is that it is about a company’s ﬁnancial integrity.
The AP function has changed radically over the last years, and it appears that the transformation will continue at least for the foreseeable future. With reduced resources and increased scrutiny, implementing best practices in AP is more crucial than ever. Strictly focusing on cost is apt to get a company into trouble. While keeping costs down is a good idea, it is important not to let that be the only consideration. It is important that sufﬁcient thought also be given to adequate controls, fraud prevention, and good vendor relationships.
The book starts at the beginning, reviewing the way invoices are processed. It identiﬁes a number of potential problem areas and then offers best practice solutions. Some of the items may seem mundane to those not intimately familiar with AP. However, if they are ignored, expect duplicate payments and perhaps even fraud to increase.
Successful AP departments are starting to realize that they have customers—both internal and external. By ﬁnding ways to deal with both, they are also improving vendor relationships. Those that do not make this leap can hurt the vendor relationship and increase costs as poor communications with other departments run up the dispute resolution bill.