The Accounts Payable Function:
Does Yours Have a Solid Foundation?
Mary S. Schaeffer
Accounts Payable Now &
Tomorrow
Agenda
O Introduction
O The 25 questions
O Closing comments
(c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 2
Introduction
(c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 3
A Solid Foundation
O Basis for everything else
O Problems creep in elsewhere
O Inefficiencies
O Fraud and duplicate paymen...
The Accounts Payable
Foundation
OBasics
OStrong Internal Controls
OCurrent Best Practices
ORegulatory Issues
OEfficiency
(...
The Checklist
O List of 25 questions
focusing on the foundation
issues
OSeparate document for you
to use later
(c) 2013 CR...
The 25 Foundation
Questions
(c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 7
Question #1: Does Your Staff
Understand the Basics?
ODocuments
OThree-way match
OHandling of both PO and
non-PO invoices
(...
Invoices: Types
(c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 9
O PO invoices
O Non-PO
O Check request
O Expense
reimbur...
Question #2: Has there been adequate
training provided for the staff?
ONew hires
O Until they are comfortable
ONew procedu...
Question #3: Has there been re-training
to brush up and make sure every one is
on the same page for existing processes?
O ...
Question #4: Has there been
training for any new processes
or changes you have made?
O Not just “here’s the new process”
O...
Question #5: Do you periodically sit &
watch the processors handle invoices to
make sure they are doing it correctly?
O Th...
Question #6: Have appropriate internal
controls been fully addressed within the
department?
O Weak controls = more opportu...
Question #7: Do you have no more than
one person handling each leg of the P2P
process?
O Segregation of duties: appropriat...
Question #8: Does your segregation of
duties workflow include the necessary
provisions for backup when someone
is out of t...
Question #9: Have you checked to
make sure old accesses to your system
were turned off in cases of promotions
or terminati...
Question #10: Does your staff
understand the importance of
not sharing passwords?
O Negates segregation of duties issues
O...
Question #11: Do you have a policy and
procedures manual for your accounts
payable function?
O Documents what’s done
O Key...
Question #12: Does your policy and
procedures manual accurately reflect
the work being done in the department?
O Usefulnes...
Question #13: Is your policy and
procedures manual updated every
time a change is made to your process?
O If not, not as u...
Question #14: If there have been no
changes to your process in a year, do you
review the manual at least annually?
O Witho...
Question #15: From time to time, do
you evaluate (either formally or
informally) new information related to
the AP procedu...
Question #16: Do you periodically
evaluate (either formally or informally)
new information related to technology
affecting...
Question #17: When evaluating the
integration of a new practice, do you
analyze not only how it would affect your
AP opera...
Question #18: Does your process include
steps that will enable you to meet all
regulatory issues accurately and timely?
O ...
Question #19: Do you keep up-
to-date on all regulatory issues
affecting accounts payable?
O Frequent changes
O Especially...
Question #20: Do you keep your eyes
open for new regulatory issues the AP
team needs to understand?
O Pharmaceutical compa...
Question #21: Do you continually look
for ways to make your accounts
payable process more efficient?
O Continued pressure
...
Question #22: Do you regularly ask
processors for process improvement
suggestions & evaluate them to see if
they are effec...
Question #23: Do you keep your eyes
open for new technology that might
help your organization’s AP process?
O Only get so ...
Question #24: Do you know what
new technology your competitors
and peers are using?
O Hard to know where to start
O Piggy ...
Question #25: Do you attend vendor’s
webinars, watch online demos to learn
what features are available and might
enhance y...
Concluding Thoughts
(c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 34
Conclusion
O Strong foundation is critical
O What you build today won’t last forever
O Periodic tweaks necessary
O And don...
Question #26: Have you requested a
product demo from Anybill yet?
OWhat are you waiting for?
OCall 877 426 9245
OE-mail in...
Questions/Comments
Share your thoughts and insights with
Mary Schaeffer by writing her at
marys@ap-now.com
 Sign up for h...
About Mary Schaeffer
Editorial Director & Publisher
CRYSTALLUS, Inc. publisher Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow
newsletter
...
39
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[Webinar] AP Function: Does Yours Have a Strong Foundation?

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All the high technology and hifalutin best practices don’t mean much, if your accounts payable does not have a strong foundation. This means setting up your invoice processing to incorporate strong controls, best practices as well as regulatory compliant practices. Does your accounts payable function have a strong foundation?

Mary Schaeffer covers a checklist of strong foundation practices every organization should use. Layer by layer, she’ll show you how to build a best practice accounts payable organization.

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[Webinar] AP Function: Does Yours Have a Strong Foundation?

  1. 1. The Accounts Payable Function: Does Yours Have a Solid Foundation? Mary S. Schaeffer Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow
  2. 2. Agenda O Introduction O The 25 questions O Closing comments (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 2
  3. 3. Introduction (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 3
  4. 4. A Solid Foundation O Basis for everything else O Problems creep in elsewhere O Inefficiencies O Fraud and duplicate payments O Regulatory issues (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 4
  5. 5. The Accounts Payable Foundation OBasics OStrong Internal Controls OCurrent Best Practices ORegulatory Issues OEfficiency (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 5
  6. 6. The Checklist O List of 25 questions focusing on the foundation issues OSeparate document for you to use later (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 6
  7. 7. The 25 Foundation Questions (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 7
  8. 8. Question #1: Does Your Staff Understand the Basics? ODocuments OThree-way match OHandling of both PO and non-PO invoices (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 8
  9. 9. Invoices: Types (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 9 O PO invoices O Non-PO O Check request O Expense reimbursement Invoice Types PO Non-Po
  10. 10. Question #2: Has there been adequate training provided for the staff? ONew hires O Until they are comfortable ONew procedures OPolicy and procedures manual (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 10
  11. 11. Question #3: Has there been re-training to brush up and make sure every one is on the same page for existing processes? O Standardization O No creativity O Rigid coding standards O Duplicate invoices weeded out and not paid (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 11
  12. 12. Question #4: Has there been training for any new processes or changes you have made? O Not just “here’s the new process” O Make sure everyone understands O Official start date – after training O Expect a lot of changes in coming months/years as technology makes inroads O Changing best practices(c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 12
  13. 13. Question #5: Do you periodically sit & watch the processors handle invoices to make sure they are doing it correctly? O The way others are doing it O No shortcuts O What’s in the manual (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 13
  14. 14. Question #6: Have appropriate internal controls been fully addressed within the department? O Weak controls = more opportunities for mistakes and fraud O Employees typically know where weaknesses are O Sarbanes-Oxley O Usually equate to best practices O Not necessarily the fastest way (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 14
  15. 15. Question #7: Do you have no more than one person handling each leg of the P2P process? O Segregation of duties: appropriate O Includes the purchasing leg O Means collusion is necessary O Makes internal fraud harder to commit (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 15
  16. 16. Question #8: Does your segregation of duties workflow include the necessary provisions for backup when someone is out of the office? O Often over-looked O Makes segregation of duties more difficult O No sharing of passwords O Bigger issue in coming years as AP departments get smaller (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 16
  17. 17. Question #9: Have you checked to make sure old accesses to your system were turned off in cases of promotions or terminations? O Often forgotten O Run a report O Make this part of standard procedures O Terminations too!!!! (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 17
  18. 18. Question #10: Does your staff understand the importance of not sharing passwords? O Negates segregation of duties issues O No audit trail O A firing offense in some companies (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 18
  19. 19. Question #11: Do you have a policy and procedures manual for your accounts payable function? O Documents what’s done O Key to a standardized process O Can be used as a training manual O Reference guide O Critical for tasks not performed regularly (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 19
  20. 20. Question #12: Does your policy and procedures manual accurately reflect the work being done in the department? O Usefulness O Effectiveness O Can it be used for training O Not just given to someone O Can it be used as a reference guide (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 20
  21. 21. Question #13: Is your policy and procedures manual updated every time a change is made to your process? O If not, not as useful as it could be O Questionable training/reference tool O Doesn’t have to be printed O Mainly a PDF (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 21
  22. 22. Question #14: If there have been no changes to your process in a year, do you review the manual at least annually? O Without realizing it, outdated O Changes not reflected O Five year old manual probably needs a massive overhaul O E-mailed invoices O Cloud technology O BYOD (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 22
  23. 23. Question #15: From time to time, do you evaluate (either formally or informally) new information related to the AP procedures to see if it would enhance your operations? O Vendors changing the way they do business O New processes O Regulatory pressures (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 23
  24. 24. Question #16: Do you periodically evaluate (either formally or informally) new information related to technology affecting the AP function to see if it would enhance your operations? O Lots of technology enhancements O Costs coming down O Would invoice automation be within the reach of your organization now? (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 24
  25. 25. Question #17: When evaluating the integration of a new practice, do you analyze not only how it would affect your AP operation, but also other depts.? O Accounts payable not an island O Part of a bigger enterprise O Don’t want to create problems elsewhere (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 25
  26. 26. Question #18: Does your process include steps that will enable you to meet all regulatory issues accurately and timely? O May add time to the process O Information Reporting O TIN Matching O Sales and Use Tax O Accruing Use Tax O Unclaimed Property O Keeping careful track of escheatable items (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 26
  27. 27. Question #19: Do you keep up- to-date on all regulatory issues affecting accounts payable? O Frequent changes O Especially 1099s O Feds checking and more persistent O New report on worker classification (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 27
  28. 28. Question #20: Do you keep your eyes open for new regulatory issues the AP team needs to understand? O Pharmaceutical companies O Sunshine Act O New issues O OFAC O FCPA (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 28
  29. 29. Question #21: Do you continually look for ways to make your accounts payable process more efficient? O Continued pressure O Do more with less O New regulatory compliances O Process improvements O Technology can help (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 29
  30. 30. Question #22: Do you regularly ask processors for process improvement suggestions & evaluate them to see if they are effective for the entire staff? O Closest to the process O Good suggestions O Manager’s role: Make sure they don’t create a problem elsewhere (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 30
  31. 31. Question #23: Do you keep your eyes open for new technology that might help your organization’s AP process? O Only get so far with process improvements O Critical to keep up with technology O New advances every year (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 31
  32. 32. Question #24: Do you know what new technology your competitors and peers are using? O Hard to know where to start O Piggy back on others’ successes O Making the case to management O Ask O Chapter meetings O Vendors O LinkedIn (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 32
  33. 33. Question #25: Do you attend vendor’s webinars, watch online demos to learn what features are available and might enhance your own operations? O Finding information easier than ever O Visit websites O Watch online videos O Ask for an online demo (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 33
  34. 34. Concluding Thoughts (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 34
  35. 35. Conclusion O Strong foundation is critical O What you build today won’t last forever O Periodic tweaks necessary O And don’t forget technology O It will play a huge role in the AP department of the future O For organizations of ALL sizes (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 35
  36. 36. Question #26: Have you requested a product demo from Anybill yet? OWhat are you waiting for? OCall 877 426 9245 OE-mail info@anybill.com (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 36
  37. 37. Questions/Comments Share your thoughts and insights with Mary Schaeffer by writing her at marys@ap-now.com  Sign up for her free weekly ezine at www.ap-now.com/ezinesignup.html (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 37
  38. 38. About Mary Schaeffer Editorial Director & Publisher CRYSTALLUS, Inc. publisher Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow newsletter • Creator of Institute of Financial Operations Accounts Payable Innovation Certificate program • Editor-at-Large CFO Publishing’s Learning Pro: AP Edition • Nationally recognized accounts payable expert and consultant • Frequent speaker at seminars, conferences and online events • Regular contributor to the AICPA’s Corporate Finance Insider • Writes a free weekly e-zine, e-AP News • Author 17 business books including the just-published 101 Best Practices for Accounts Payable • M.B.A. Finance, NYU • B.S. Math, York College (c) 2013 CRYSTALLUS, Inc. and Mary S. Schaeffer 38
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