In the complex world of business, managing accounts payable (AP) efficiently is often easier said than done. Even minor AP mishaps can snowball into significant operational hiccups, affecting everything from vendor relationships to your bottom line.
That’s why it is essential to arm yourself with the know-how to sidestep common pitfalls that can disrupt the AP process.
“By being aware of these common mistakes and implementing proactive strategies to counteract them, you can maintain a healthy cash flow, cultivate good relationships with vendors, and protect themselves from costly errors and potential fraud,” informs Jennifer Scott, founder HireEffect.
Top 10 AP Pitfalls
Discover the top 10 accounts payable pitfalls that business owners encounter—and how you can avoid them to keep your financial operations running smoothly.
- Delayed Invoice Processing: Procrastination can lead to missed discounts or late fees. Regularly set aside time for invoice processing to ensure timely payments.
- Duplicate Payments: A lack of controls can result in paying an invoice twice. Always double-check entries and consider using software that flags potential duplicates.
- Failing to Reconcile Statements: Always reconcile vendor statements with your records. This can identify discrepancies and ensure you’re only paying for what you’ve received.
- Ignoring Vendor Terms: Vendors often offer discounts for early payments or have penalties for late ones. Understand these terms and manage your payments accordingly.
- Lack of Documentation: Every AP transaction should be documented, be it an invoice, purchase order, or delivery slip. This not only helps in resolving disputes but also is essential during audits.
- Manual Data Entry: Manual entry is prone to errors. Automate your AP process where possible, utilizing Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and AP software. This not only reduces errors but also speeds up processing.
- Not Regularly Reviewing AP Aging Reports: Regularly review aging reports to ensure you’re on top of what’s due and can manage your cash flow better.
- Forgetting About Fraud: Establish controls, like segregations of duties and regular account reconciliations, to reduce the risk of both internal and external fraud.
- Lack of Training: Ensure your AP team is well-trained and stays updated on best practices. This can significantly reduce errors and improve efficiency.
- Failing to Establish a Vendor Management System: This system can track vendor credentials, performance, and ensure you’re partnering with credible vendors. It’s an extra layer of protection against fraud and helps in negotiations.
While managing accounts payable might seem straightforward, there are numerous pitfalls that you can fall into. Avoid falling into one of these traps. We offer outsourced, automated bookkeeping services to clients across the country.