Accounts Payable Audit Software- Recovering Lost Income

Back in the good times it was easy to be a little lax about accounting and cash flow. Confidence was high, credit was cheap, business was easy. But then everything changed and even those companies that were strong on paper found it hard to get a loan, and as the climate changed many found themselves running too close to the wire for comfort. Now, scrupulous accounting isn’t a luxury: it’s a necessity. The problem is that mistakes still happen; they are almost unavoidable. The good news is that they are not completely unavoidable. An accounts payable audit will tell you where you have lost money in the past – thereby giving you a chance to claw it back. Recovery audit software uncovers the vulnerabilities of your systems, allowing you to pre-empt errors in the future that have already cost you money. One of the chief accounting errors that cost businesses money is duplicate payments. These occur when, for one reason or another, you end up paying a supplier or client twice. It can be due to honest error; invoices typically have a dozen or so fields of data and it is quite possible to make mistakes and have two sent through unnoticed. However, there are the cases in which unscrupulous individuals exploit holes in your accounting systems and submit two identical invoices, knowing that you probably won’t notice the duplicate.

Duplicate payments are just one common form of many different accounting errors. These all add up and can drain the resources of a company – especially at a time when there is very little room for manoeuvre. Real problems can occur if your business is reliant on a large number of small transactions and has a high turnover but comparatively modest profit; in those cases, there is far more room for minor errors to aggregate unnoticed, killing your profit margin.

This is why recovery audit software can pay for itself the first time you use it. For a small or medium-sized company an accounts payable audit can turn up a five-figure discrepancy – and obviously, the larger your company and the longer the problem has been going on for, the bigger the sum of wasted money is going to be. Duplicate payments are just one of the types of overpayment, but they are very common and you will certainly want to put a stop to them.

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Duplicate Payments within your AP systems

Accounts payable audits are utilized by many companies to cut back on unnecessary costs which may slip between the cracks within a busy organization. If a company suspects it is paying too much, efficient recovery audit software can isolate duplicate payments and disparities between payments negotiated and payments received. Normally, this software is installed alongside existing accounting software, and can be run on a regular basis to search for and analyse unnecessary payments or over-payments. Over time, these recovered claims often add up to millions of pounds. The software works across different departments, making sure that system disparities between accounting or data entry are identified and either eradicated or accounted for by those dealing with finance.

A full-scale accounts payable audit will also involve accounts payable consultants coming in to the organization to talk with staff, inspect systems, and give recommendations for doing things in a different way in order to prevent losses and overpayments before they ensue. However, such an audit is not needed frequently. Reliable recovery audit software can run on its own once it is installed, showing results to workers in a clear and readable way, and automatically implementing necessary changes. Companies are generally encouraged to make corrective claims as soon as possible after the incorrect payment is made: during a delay, a vendor may go out of business, become hard to contact, or simply spend the duplicate payments or overpayments made to them.

Often savings are made byfinding duplicate claims and incorrect statement claims by vendors. These are not necessarily deliberate attempts at fraud or incorrect payments: busy people, on both the supply and payments side, can make blunders. Especially in a large organization, changes in complex invoicing systems, staff turnover and the structure of the company can mean that many payments slip through the net. Meanwhile unclaimed cheques, errors with inaccurate currency conversion, application of taxes, VAT and discount offers, all cause problems.

Computers, however, have no margin of human error, which is why many companies opt for the forensic proficiency of recovery audit software. Forensic data analysis is a sophisticated way to investigate and correct historical overpayments, and to make recommendations for avoiding error in the future. And if there is fraud going on at some stage, in the company or with a supplier, the sooner it’s found out the better. The larger the organization, the more money they inevitably save by doing an accounts payable audit.

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Bacs payments used by companies who most value their partners and staff

When we hear mention of business we often think in very narrow terms of people working in tidy office set-ups, wearing tidy clothes and making a tidy profit. But we you think just a little longer about what the term business actually means we soon realise that the category is much wider than that and can include everything from law firms to travelling circuses and more. But while it’s important to think in terms of diversity, it is also important to think what all businesses have in common: namely a need to make and receive payments of some form as part of a steady cash flow that will hopefully keep an activity afloat for as long as required. This may sound obvious but keeping on top of one’s accounts frequently proves a headache for even the simplest of enterprises. So that’s where bacs software comes in: allowing you to streamline your income and your outgoings, bacs is perfect for making regular automated payments to loyal customers. Originally standing for Bankers Automated Clearing Services, bacs payments can be used by anyone in need of a reliable service.

If you’ve decided against making automatic online transfers your habitual mode of payment you need to know that the alternative is up to scratch. And there are many good reasons for finding such an alternative. One would be the inefficiency of logging into an online account every single time you need to process a payment: just think how long that would take to do as soon as you have a body of freelance employees on your books, all in need of payment at round about the same time. Another reason to streamline your payments using bacs software could be rooted in a need to avoid human error.

Indeed, it’s crucial to remember that as a business you have just as much responsibility towards your employees as you do towards your customers. So using bacs payments for your staff is a really good idea. In our current climate of recession we need to remember that a late payment can result in an employee being out of pocket. And this is something businesses absolutely need to prevent because your staff may see late or erroneous payment as disrespectful of their hard work. Bacs and bacs software can therefore reinforce your company’s strength from within. These great payment technologies can simultaneously afford you time and peace of mind enough to look outwards and upwards to ways of growing your business.

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Duplicate payments can be errors consigned to yesteryear

For any business not specifically working in finance, the job of making and receiving payments effectively can be nerve-wracking to say the least. In all likelihood, employees will have been chosen because their skills match the creative aims and objectives of the business, not because they make great accountants. As such, many companies without the resources to employ an additional economically-minded member of staff can be left in the lurch; ill equipped to deal with the precisions and lengthy processes sometimes involved in carrying out successful transactions. Help is on offer, however, and the answer doesn’t have to lie in hiring more people: accounts payable audit and recovery audit software can be acquired instead so that much of the hard work involved in tracking duplicate payments, or protecting a business against fraud, for example, can actually be shouldered by a computer system using fiscal technology software.

And fear not, this is not an instance where we need worry about technology overtaking us: far from undermining the capabilities of the staff, the above kind of software actually allows employees to be more focused on the kind of challenges with which only humans can properly deal. Once financial matters are under control, businesses can focus on the kind of strategies they wish to make themselves known for; those involving press and learning work, for instance, can be developed to the highest of standards using thorough research and testing. In any case, the cost of letting the company’s payments fall by the wayside is far too great for it to be worth struggling on without the assistance now on offer from this software. Many business people fail to realise just how much money they could be saving if they just ensured that double payments, invoicing mistakes, compliance issues and supplier fraud were avoided once and for all. And beyond the matter of cost effectiveness, there is the crucial matter of business reputation to bear in mind.

Indeed, strong business reputations are arguably more important than ever in our current post-deficit financial climate: more and more now we are hearing public calls for companies to be more transparent, responsible and open. And this responsibility can begin with businesses ensuring outgoing and incoming sums are being made and received fairly. Accounts payable audit technologies will help everyone keep on top of this sort of thing while a stop can be put to duplicate payments through the use of recovery audit software.

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Advice on incorporating bacs into your systems

Bacs, or Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services, is a British scheme for the electronic processing of financial transactions.  Taking a normally fairly long-winded process and making it fail-safe, reliable and very efficient, the bacs software revolution has proved highly useful for many organisations.  Making use of bacs payments takes much of the hassle out of dealing with debits and credits, meaning that staff can devote more time to more important, skill-based tasks.

Bacs payments are particularly useful on account of their guaranteed efficiency in terms of speed.  A payment made through this method will take three working days to clear.  According to the method, they are entered into the system on the first day, processed on the second day, and cleared on the third.  Developed as far back as 1968, the technology was intended to allow for the electronic transfer of funds between banks, and abolish the need for paper documents as part of the money transfer process.  The first company that set up the service was called ‘Bankers Automated Clearing Services Limited’.  This system was developed in 1983 by the introduction of a telephone service, BACSTEL, which reduced the need for magnetic tapes.  The popularity of the system increased during the 1980s, and more banks and building societies joined in 1985, when the company shortened its name to ‘Bacs limited’.  Bacs Payment Schemes Limited split from Bacs Limited in 2003, creating a separate not-for-profit body with members from the banking industry which promoted the use of automated payment schemes and governs the rules of the scheme.

Since 2003, Bacs has been moving from the telephone dial-up service to an internet-based service, which is quicker and more secure.  All bacs users were at this point required to move to the internet service by 2005, or return to using cheques.  At the moment, it is only possible to make a connection with software from the list of bacs-approved solution suppliers.  While it may sound like there are stringent requirements for the use of this technology, it is actually fairly straightforward to set up.  Once it is in place, the payments system is so straightforward that the installation effort is likely to be seen as worthwhile.

In fact, bacs is so efficient that many businesses will assume that any monetary transfer will be done using bacs software.  Once you become accustomed to using bacs payments, your payments systems will be so efficient that you should never have to be concerned about a delayed money transfer ever again.

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Recovery audit software should improve your margins

The organic way in which many businesses evolve means that growing companies do not always have the processes in place that they need to minimise error and waste. One common area for problems is in the accounts department, where duplicate payments and other mistakes – and even fraud – can chip away at your bottom line, decreasing profit margins. Whereas the accounts may be easy to keep track of for a new company, as your business grows you may find that the systems you put in place are no longer suitable, and that inefficiencies result – often with unfortunately serious consequences. An accounts payable audit can show you just how serious; if the error rate is as high as even two percent, then using recovery audit software could mean the difference between turning a healthy profit and getting into real difficulties – or worse. Either way, it’s a good way of making sure you’re only paying what you should, and that people are paying you properly, too.

Discrepancies and mistakes are a fact of life, of course, and it’s all but impossible to eliminate these entirely without help. This becomes more serious when the errors are due not to honest mistake but deliberate fraud, when individuals give you incorrect invoices and expense slips with the intention of making money at your expense; this is plainly unacceptable, from a legal, moral or business point of view. Fortunately, such events can be vastly reduced or even eliminated by the use of the right kind of software and controls, which check your accounts for likely problems and implement procedures to stop this kind of issue from occurring in the first place. Some experts suggest that most companies are likely to have an error rate of 0.1 percent, with other believing the rate is much larger. Needless to say, the bigger the company, the greater the absolute sum of money this represents.

recovery audit software will help demonstrate where the problems are, including pinpointing duplicate payments – one common area of overpayment. This is really the only sensible way of ensuring that your accounts are accurate and that your systems are making the most of your company, since simple human error – and dishonesty – and the sheer time cost of checking through all the accounts would otherwise be prohibitive. If you don’t already have such software and systems in place, then an accounts payable audit is likely to highlight just how beneficial this could be.

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