Accounts Payable Best Practices / Edition 1

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

Accounts Payable Best Practices provides businesses and otherorganizations with a strong sense of where they stand againstindustry leaders and shows them how to take their services andorganizational processes to state-of-the-art levels. Documentedstrategies and tactics employed by highly admired companies arepresented–both successful and unsuccessful–to illustratethe real-world functionality of each process and approach.

Every chapter features a brief explanation of the process ortopic being addressed to accompany the discussion of bestpractices. However, for a variety of reasons, some firmsaren’t in a position to employ best practices. To bridge thegap between the latest theory and practice, Accounts Payable BestPractices identifies "Almost Best Practices." These specialsections consider that not all practices will work at everycompany, and they offer successful alternatives to best practices.Also included are discussions on practices that absolutely shouldnot 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 operationalaspects of accounts payable are reviewed in a way that focusesattention on issues that are sometimes ignored, such as the mastervendor file. Other coverage in Accounts Payable Best Practicesincludes:

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

Accounts Payable Best Practices is an essential resource foraccounts payable managers, controllers, and CFOs at every sizecompany.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471636953
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/26/2004
  • Series: Wiley Best Practices Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 512,023
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.63 (d)

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.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Invoices.

Invoice Handling: Approvals.

Forwarding Invoices.

Verifying Invoice Data.

Invoice-Coding Standards.

Short-Paying Invoices.

Paying Small-Dollar Invoices.

Handling Unidentified Invoices.

Handling Invoices without Invoice Numbers.

Case Study: How One Pro Took Accounts Payable Out of the Picturewhen Resolving Customer Discrepancies.

Chapter 2: Checks.

Check Printing.

Check Signing.

Check Stock Storage.

Distribution of Checks.

Check Fraud.

Rush or Emergency Checks.

Case Study: Information Sheet: Segregation of Duties.

Chapter 3: Operational.

Duplicate Payment Avoidance.

Paying When the Original Invoice Is Missing.

Limiting Calls to Accounts Payable.

Petty Cash.

Supplier Statements.

Case Study: Expert Demonstrates How to Put the Web to Work forAccounts Payable.

Chapter 4: Master Vendor File.

Master Vendor File Setup.

Using Naming Conventions.

Making Changes to the Master Vendor File.

Master Vendor File Cleanup.

Case Study: Experienced Accounts Payable Pro Shares MasterVendor File Control Secrets.

Chapter 5: P-Cards.

Design of the P-Card Program.

Establishing Procedures.

Setting Controls.

Increasing Usage.

1099s and P-Cards.



Case Study: P-Cards Improve Accounts Payable Process atPETsMART, Rock-Tenn, and Rouse.

Chapter 6: Travel and Entertainment.

Formal Policy.

Cash Advances.

T&E Report Form.

Verifying Data.

Handling Receipts.


Reimbursing Employees.

Unused Tickets.

Case Study: Making the Most of Direct Deposit.

Case Study: TransUnion’s Successful Low-Tech, Low-BudgetT&E Solution.

Case Study: Follow IBM’s Lead: 21 Steps to anAward-Winning T&E Process.

Case Study: How Zurich America Developed Its Own ElectronicT&E Report.

Chapter 7: Regulatory Issues.


Sales and Use Tax.

Unclaimed Property.

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

Case Study: A Typical Company’s Unclaimed PropertyExperience.

Chapter 8: Cash Management.

Taking Early Payment Discounts.

Payment Status Information for Vendors.

Bank Accounts and Fraud.

Other Cash Management–Related Initiatives.

Case Study: General Electric’s Approach to ElectronicInvoicing and Payment Processing.

Chapter 9: Technology.

Imaging and Workflow.

The Internet.


Case Study: PPL Electric Offers Lessons on Setting Up anAccounts Payable Imaging Solution.

Case Study: An Accounts Payable Web Site.

Case Study: How the Accounts Payable Manager at Merck OverhauledDepartment Procedures and Technology.

Chapter 10: Communications/Customer Relations.

Payment Status Information for Vendors.

Communicating Relevant Information to Vendors.

Communicating with Internal Customers.

Improving the Procure-to-Pay Cycle.

Case Study: Interactive Voice Response Frees Accounts Payablefrom Annoying “Where’s My Money” Calls.

Case Study: How Automated Accounts Payable and PurchasingSystems Mesh at BNSF.


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