Even with the advanced ERP systems that the majority of large companies now utilize for Accounts Payable processing, the challenge of duplicate payments and fraud control in general continue to be an issue for many AP organizations. Considering the tremendous amount of invoices being processed and the corresponding amount of supplier payments being made at most companies, even a duplicate payment percentage of significantly less than 1% can still result in millions of dollars of exposure to loss for the company, regardless of whether it is a consequence of deliberate fraud, a system weakness, or a lack of adequate process design or controls.
During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, a major corporation with global operations and over $10B USD in revenue shared their recent experiences in implementing new controls and technology to address their issue with duplicate payments. A risk assessment indicated a potential of $1.5M in duplicate payments across two legal entities in North America and it became clear that the existing payment recovery process was not efficient due to a lack of visibility to payments across ERP systems, which varied by business and region. In addition, a lack of visibility across businesses and regions also made it difficult to harmonize vendor terms, capture volume discounts, maximize rebates, and gain leverage with vendors.
Their improvement initiative in the duplicate payment area was executed using the Six Sigma methodology and was based upon a one-year implementation and stabilization timeline that was developed at the inception of the project. A project team was formed that included personnel from four satellite Shared Services sites and then an integrated duplicate payment tool was identified that could cut across multiple ERP systems and AP workflow platforms.
The results of the project were as follows:
- The ability to proactively detect and prevent duplicate payments
- Being able to run the duplicate detection report in seconds to identify issues and fix them before payment runs
- The addition of tolerance limits and thresholds that can be revised based on specific requirements or exceptions
- A solution that supports root cause analysis of errors and risks
Utilizing the iPollingTM technology, Peeriosity’s member companies were surveyed regarding the level of duplicate payments they were currently experiencing and the effort they planned to expend in the near future to reduce them. Looking first at the trend in duplicate payments as a percentage of total payments over the past 3 years, 61% of the companies indicated that they have remained steady during that time period. Another 22% indicated that they have experienced a limited decrease, while 17% reported a significant decrease.
The second polling question then asked about the level of focus that companies expect to place on decreasing duplicate payments over the next two years. The results show that a large majority (68%) expect to place either a high or moderate level of focus on this important issue. Of the 32% that are placing just a limited focus on duplicate payment reduction, 26% are satisfied with their performance in this area, while 6% indicated that they have more pressing issues to deal with during that time period.
In summary, the majority of companies participating in this research have either seen their level of duplicate payments remain steady or just decrease slightly. This accounts for the correspondingly significant emphasis that most companies plan on placing in reducing duplicate payments over the next two years.
What level of duplicate payments is your company currently experiencing? Is it time to allocate more resources to this important control issue?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion. Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content. Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.
“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.
Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers. Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted. To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.