Accounts Payable Best Practices


Praise for Accounts Payable Best Practices

"Given the rapidly changing responsibilities of accounts payable operations, it’s critical to have a resource to keep you up to date–Accounts Payable Best Practices is that resource. Each chapter covers one area, identifying and explaining best practices and pinpointing worst practices that you should avoid. By implementing the recommended systems and processes, you can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your department."
—Jon Casher, Chairman, RECAP, Inc.

"Mary Schaeffer is the leading author on accounts payable practices. This book provides a complete compilation of practical advice on how an accounts payable department can improve the bottom line. You can pay thousands of dollars to consulting firms to learn the latest buzzwords about business processes, or you can buy this book and get practical tips for implementation."
—Dr. Will Yancey, CPA, Independent Consultant

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.

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 Picture when 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 for Accounts 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 Master Vendor 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 at PETsMART, 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-Budget T&E Solution.

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

Case Study: How Zurich America Developed Its Own Electronic T&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 Property Experience.

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 Electronic Invoicing and Payment Processing.

Chapter 9: Technology.

Imaging and Workflow.

The Internet.


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

Case Study: An Accounts Payable Web Site.

Case Study: How the Accounts Payable Manager at Merck Overhauled Department 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 Payable from Annoying “Where’s My Money” Calls.

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