The invoice entry process is a critical part of accounts payable (AP) management, but it’s also one of the most error-prone. Even a small mistake can lead to incorrect payments, which can be costly and time-consuming to fix At Cogent Consulting, we’ve compiled a list of common AP data entry errors and how to avoid them.
1) Entering Items In The Wrong Account
Entering items in the wrong account can happen for several reasons, all of which are the result of human error and poor controls if the coding process is manual. Regardless of the cause, entering items into the wrong account requires manual intervention to fix and more time away from value added tasks
To avoid this error, it is important to be careful to have controls in place and better still use software to automate the coding of invoices based on vendor and other variables that might be on the document. double-check all account information before entering it into the system. In addition, it is helpful to have a system or software in place for catching and correcting errors.
2) Transposing Numbers
Processing high volumes of invoices, it’s easy to see how AP clerks can mistakenly enter the digits in the wrong order or mistakes 3 for 8 for for example This error can have serious consequences, since it can result in incorrect payments being made. To avoid transposing numbers, users have to carefully double-check all digits before posting their document. Alternatively, implementing einvoicing and/or data capture solutions ensures data is captured accurately as it removes the human error element.
3) Leaving Out or Adding a Digit or a Decimal Place
Leaving out or adding a digit or decimal place is a common mistake when someone is manually inputting data into an accounts payable system. This can result in large overpayments or underpayments (think of the different payment amounts that could be made from the digits 10000, depending on where the decimal point is placed). If possible, use a system that includes built-in safeguards against errors, such as checksums or validation rules.
4) Omitting or Duplicating an Entry
Omitting or duplicating an entry can happen in both a manual and automated process. This is due to suppliers often sending their invoices multiple times eg. Send it to the site as well as central AP and they will send copies if payment is late. In a manual process, the ERP systems have basic checks in place and Accounts Payable typically have further duplicate checks before payment runs. If using einvoicing or OCR data capture solutions then additional checks can be done prior to the ERP system and they often include additional duplicate checks that are more advanced and flexible than the standard ERP checks. duplicate checks at multiple points in the process ie. OCR data capture point and in the ERP system.
5) Entering Credits as Invoices or Vice Versa
Manually entering invoices needs to be done quickly to get through daily volumes. Accounts Payable clerks are at times on auto-pilot, which can lead to credits being entered as debits or vice versa. This means supplier liabilities are inaccurate and incorrect payments are made, which cost time and money to resolve. einvoicing and OCR solutions can eliminate this error altogether as can reconciling the supplier statement, but the former options are optimal as it stops it happening upfront.
Find Out More
At Cogent Consulting, we provide a range of AP automation services to help departments reduce errors and boost productivity. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help streamline your accounts payable management process.
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