Accounts Payable Best Practices / Edition 1

Accounts Payable Best Practices / Edition 1

by Mary S. Schaeffer, Institute of Management and Administrati
     
 

The fundamental structure of the accounts payable function reflects a company’s financial integrity, yet so many payable operations in companies aren’t running at peak efficiency. Overlooking only a few weak accounts payable operations can adversely affect a company’s bottom line in a number of ways, from incurring costs to resolve discrepancies

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Overview

The fundamental structure of the accounts payable function reflects a company’s financial integrity, yet so many payable operations in companies aren’t running at peak efficiency. Overlooking only a few weak accounts payable operations can adversely affect a company’s bottom line in a number of ways, from incurring costs to resolve discrepancies and fix errors to receiving fines for failing to comply with escheat or sales and tax rules.

Accounts Payable Best Practices provides businesses and other organizations with a strong sense of where they stand against industry leaders and shows them how to take their services and organizational processes to state-of-the-art levels. Documented strategies and tactics employed by highly admired companies are presented–both successful and unsuccessful–to illustrate the real-world functionality of each process and approach.

Every chapter features a brief explanation of the process or topic being addressed to accompany the discussion of best practices. However, for a variety of reasons, some firms aren’t in a position to employ best practices. To bridge the gap between the latest theory and practice, Accounts Payable Best Practices identifies "Almost Best Practices." These special sections consider that not all practices will work at every company, and they offer successful alternatives to best practices. Also included are discussions on practices that absolutely should not be used, but may be practiced at other companies.

To address the renewed interest in internal audit and controls, such as the Sarbanes-Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the mundane operational aspects of accounts payable are reviewed in a way that focuses attention on issues that are sometimes ignored, such as the master vendor file. Other coverage in Accounts Payable Best Practices includes:

  • Innovative T&E techniques used at successful companies
  • P-cards–an easy-to-understand innovation that is being adopted by companies everywhere
  • 1099 reporting, sales and use tax handling and reporting, and unclaimed property
  • Cash management initiatives that are increasingly falling on the shoulders of the accounts payable departments
  • Case studies demonstrating how best practice helped real-world companies achieve outstanding results

Accounts Payable Best Practices is an essential resource for accounts payable managers, controllers, and CFOs at every size company.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471636953
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
04/26/2004
Series:
Wiley Best Practices Ser.
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,232,810
Product dimensions:
9.21(w) x 6.14(h) x 0.63(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Mary S. Schaeffer is the Editorial Director and Publisher of Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow, a newsletter devoted to payment issues. She also pens, e-News from the AP Front, a complimentary e-zine for the payment community. She's the author of ten books and numerous magazine, newsletter and newspaper articles. Her books have been used in several certification programs. She is a member of the New York Financial Writers Association. She is currently working on two additional books for John Wiley & Sons.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 Invoices 1

Invoice Handling: Approvals 1

Forwarding Invoices 6

Verifying Invoice Data 8

Invoice-Coding Standards 11

Short-Paying Invoices 16

Paying Small-Dollar Invoices 19

Handling Unidentified Invoices 21

Handling Invoices without Invoice Numbers 23

Case Study: How One Pro Took Accounts Payable Out of the Picture when Resolving Customer Discrepancies 25

Chapter 2 Checks 29

Check Printing 29

Check Signing 35

Check Stock Storage 40

Distribution of Checks 42

Check Fraud 45

Rush or Emergency Checks 50

Case Study: Information Sheet: Segregation of Duties 54

Chapter 3 Operational 57

Duplicate Payment Avoidance 57

Paying When the Original Invoice Is Missing 61

Limiting Calls to Accounts Payable 63

Petty Cash 65

Supplier Statements 69

Case Study: Expert Demonstrates How to Put the Web to Work for Accounts Payable 71

Chapter 4 Master Vendor File 77

Master Vendor File Setup 77

Using Naming Conventions 81

Making Changes to the Master Vendor File 85

Master Vendor File Cleanup 87

Case Study: Experienced Accounts Payable Pro Shares Master Vendor File Control Secrets 90

Chapter 5 P-Cards 97

Design of the P-Card Program 97

Establishing Procedures 99

Setting Controls 101

Increasing Usage 105

1099s and P-Cards 106

Terms 108

Rebates 110

Case Study: P-Cards Improve Accounts Payable Process at PETsMART, Rock-Tenn, and Rouse 111

Chapter 6 Travel and Entertainment 119

Formal Policy 119

Cash Advances 123

T&E Report Form 125

Verifying Data 127

Handling Receipts 129

Reservations 130

Reimbursing Employees 132

Unused Tickets 133

Case Study: Making the Most of Direct Deposit 134

Case Study: TransUnion’s Successful Low-Tech, Low-Budget T&E Solution 136

Case Study: Follow IBM’s Lead: 21 Steps to an Award-Winning T&E Process 139

Case Study: How Zurich America Developed Its Own Electronic T&E Report 145

Chapter 7 Regulatory Issues 151

1099s 151

Sales and Use Tax 154

Unclaimed Property 156

Case Study: How to Avoid Sales and Use Tax Audit Disasters 159

Case Study: A Typical Company’s Unclaimed Property Experience 162

Chapter 8 Cash Management 167

Taking Early Payment Discounts 167

Payment Status Information for Vendors 170

Bank Accounts and Fraud 172

Other Cash Management–Related Initiatives 174

Case Study: General Electric’s Approach to Electronic Invoicing and Payment Processing 176

Chapter 9 Technology 181

Imaging and Workflow 181

The Internet 185

E-Invoicing 187

Case Study: PPL Electric Offers Lessons on Setting Up an Accounts Payable Imaging Solution 189

Case Study: An Accounts Payable Web Site 194

Case Study: How the Accounts Payable Manager at Merck Overhauled Department Procedures and Technology 199

Chapter 10 Communications/Customer Relations 209

Payment Status Information for Vendors 209

Communicating Relevant Information to Vendors 211

Communicating with Internal Customers 214

Improving the Procure-to-Pay Cycle 217

Case Study: Interactive Voice Response Frees Accounts Payable from Annoying “Where’s My Money” Calls 219

Case Study: How Automated Accounts Payable and Purchasing Systems Mesh at BNSF 222

Index 229

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