It is month end. Invoices for the current period are still being received and need to be processed into the ERP for the close. Do you process them through the AP Workflow System or post them directly into the ERP?
Most Accounts Payable organizations would most likely post them directly into the ERP system but let’s look at the risks of doing so:
- No checks or balances performed to confirm the invoice has been approved or, if approved, was done based on the Delegation of Authority (DOA)
- If rushing to get costs posted for month-end are required steps being taken to obtain the necessary approvals?
- Were correct account coding details supplied on the invoice?
- Validation may not occur until posting of invoice into ERP. If the incorrect, or incomplete, coding details were supplied, will the AP Processor reach out to the coder or approver for the correct details or will they make a judgement call?
- If invoices have already been loaded into the AP Workflow, and they are cancelled, there will be no audit trail
- Generally, invoices that need to get posted for month-end have a high dollar amount. The higher the invoice total, the more important the audit trail.
- If invoices loaded into the AP Workflow are not cancelled or otherwise managed, there is a potential for duplicate posting of costs
- Invoices may be posted directly into the ERP then an accrual entry may be done for the invoices in the Workflow based on an aging report
Here is one option some companies use to manage the urgent posting of invoices into the ERP but this option also comes with risks.
Assuming the invoice is already in the AP Workflow, process the invoice directly into the ERP but reference the Document ID number assigned by the Workflow within the appropriate field in the ERP. Also, be sure all data entered in the ERP matches what is in the Workflow; i.e. invoice number, date, amounts and PO number if applicable. If the coding is not already in the Workflow, add what has been supplied for the manual posting into the appropriate Workflow fields. Most Workflows will allow the continued processing of an invoice within the Workflow, to obtain coding validation and approvals, but then manual steps will need to be taken by an AP Specialist to stop the invoice from being sent into the ERP.
If all details entered into the ERP match what was applied in the Workflow, ERP posting details can be sent from the ERP and matched to the document record in the Workflow.
What is the risk of performing these steps?
- The invoice number, vendor code and/or amounts entered to the ERP do not match what is in the Workflow. Details sent from the ERP for that invoice will not match up in the Workflow therefore the audit trail will be lost.
- The invoice will remain in a queue waiting for the correct details from the ERP until an audit is performed to see why it is aging out in that bucket.
- There is a risk that the invoice may be sent and processed into the ERP again if incorrect details were manually entered into the ERP.
- Change the details on the invoice in the Workflow to match what was incorrectly processed into the ERP
- Change the posting details in the ERP
- If corrections can’t be made in the ERP, enter notes in the Workflow invoice record then cancel the invoice within the Workflow
Avoid unnecessary risks. Use the AP Workflow to manage all payment documents.
If an invoice has already been loaded into the Workflow and it needs to be posted into the ERP as soon as possible, contact the coder and/or approver so they can take the necessary actions.
Once the invoice has been processed through the Workflow, use the on-demand push functionality offered by most Workflow to send the invoice details into the ERP for immediate posting. The results include a detailed and complete audit trail, Workflow details that match what is in the ERP and the posting and payment details being attached to the invoice record in the Workflow. Additionally, there is little, or no work required to monitor invoice details sent into the ERP that have not received a corresponding response file.
When using a Workflow tool, be consistent. Use it for all types of invoices, credit memos and other payment request. Why manage work manually then worry about how to track or store the paper? Aren’t these some of the reasons a company implements an Automated Accounts Payable Workflow System?
Want to learn more? Contact New England Document Systems. They have the experience, and the resources to assist you; from answering your questions about available solutions to helping you to implement the right tool. Contact us to discuss just how much improvement you want to see in your Accounts Payable Operation.
This article is part of New England Document Systems’ partnership with industry experts. This contribution was written by Anne Wheeler of CS Process Flows, LLC. Anne is a Consultant and Project Manager specializing in Accounts Payable processes and systems.