Catching and Stopping Duplicate Invoice Payments


Catching and Stopping Duplicate Invoice Payments

One of the most common blunders in business today is paying a supplier twice because you entered their invoice twice.

This is what happened to one of my customers. He got an invoice and paid it, then got a receipt a few days later, so he paid that. He then got a credit notice, so he paid that. Then on the statement, it showed, and only then was the error noticed. He is good at accounting, but this slipped through and caused this idiotic error.

Most suppliers will inform you of the error, as this one did but not always. So it would be best if you were careful.

There are many causes why this happens.
-Bad keying of invoices into their systems, if 99% correct in your keying, that is a few errors a year.
-Misreadings of invoices as in the above example.
-Changes in the invoices.
-Many invoices come more than once, commonly by email and then with the goods.

Here are some tips to help you prevent these sorts of errors.

1) Enter the supplier reference number, do not use your number. Our POS system often warns you if a reference number is entered twice in data entry.

Also, in your POS Software, see the green arrow above; you can quickly see a duplicate. If you have any doubts, look at the amounts. Generally but not always, duplicate invoices have identical amounts. See the red arrow above.

2) Make a budget for a supplier. Something is unusual if a figure is a way off for that supplier and should be investigated.

3) Make one person responsible for entering the invoices in a systematic method. This will give a manual check.

4) This will involve more work, but I am a purist in my accounting and like it a lot. Have one system where people work daily and another to which only my accountant and you have access. Everything is checked before going into the accounting system.

Duplicate or erroneous payments can add to substantial monetary losses. At the very least, cash flow problems. Probably also a lot of time trying to get it sorted out too.

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