Accounts Payable Book Excerpts

March 15th, 2014 by Mary_Schaeffer

A lot has changed in accounts payable in the last few years. Huge technology innovations have not only helped organizations become more efficient, they’ve enabled new types of payment fraud. And of course, regulatory pressures continue to increase. That’s why it’s more important than ever that you and your accounts payable staff stay on top of the latest innovations.

Listed below are the books AP Now has published with the last 15 months. The links in each will take you to a page with additional information about each book and at least one excerpt from it.

Electronic Payment Fraud Prevention and Detection

January 29th, 2014 by Mary_Schaeffer

Electronic payment fraud is nasty, insidious and strikes at those who are least prepared. That’s part of the reason AP Now recommends that professionals stay current on new and emerging payment frauds and techniques to stop them.

Complicating the issue is the fact that the crooks involved in this arena are smart and continually find ways to create new frauds. This is exactly what happened recently. Several companies in the Pacific Northwest were hit with this new type of fraud costing them close to $2 million. It is expected this fraud will spread.

For some time AP Now has been recommending that every organization beef up its contact information held in its master vendor file. So, we were gratified to see the FBI concur and recommend communication channels other than e-mail be used to verify significant transactions. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to guarding against this type of fraud.

To help professionals concerned about this issue, AP Now will run the What Every Professional Needs to Know about Electronic Payment Fraud (including ACH Fraud) webinar on February 6th explaining the six different types of electronic payment (ACH) fraud, along with ways to guard your organization against each one. CDs of the event are also available .

We’ll also address other electronic payment fraud concerns, including BYOD. The session will conclude with a list of best practices every organization should be using to help protect against losses due to electronic payment fraud.

Additional information is available here.

Social Media and New Technology in Accounts Payable

August 1st, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

I thought when Twitter emerged with its 140 character limitation, I had seen everything. Then I went to a conference focused on accounts payable issues and one of the attendees explained how he was using Facebook to track down former employees who had un-cashed checks outstanding. This helped reduce the amounts that had to be turned over to the states as Unclaimed Property.

As I followed the Microsoft launch of its Surface tablet on a live blog feed while the event was going on, I realized that social media had impacted the way I work. And clearly it has changed the way my savvy readers work. To that end, we’ve created a relatively short survey and would ask that you take it to help us discern what our readers are doing. Even if you think you don’t use any of the new technologies, we ask that you take the survey. That information is just as valuable to us as we plan for the future. And, of course, we will share an Executive Summary of the results with all respondents.

Please take the Social Media and New Technology in Accounts Payable Survey.

(c) 2012 Mary S. Schaeffer and Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow

Early Payment Discounts

June 30th, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

We believe early payment discounts represent the best “investment” opportunity for virtually any organization. This is one place accounts payable can make a real difference. Without going through the math which most of our readers have probably already seen, 2/10 net 30 translates into a 36% rate of return. In this market, it’s hard to beat those numbers unless you are into loan sharking - and we hope that’s not a road our readers have gone down.

We think this is so important, we’ve written an article for the June issue of our Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow newsletter explaining how not to lose discounts and how to find new “opportunities” Here’s a look at one way you might uncover additional discounts.

Often, suppliers in the same industry offer very similar terms. If you have one vendor in a given industry offering early payment discounts, check with your other vendors in the same industry to see if they currently offer them or would be willing to give them. Don’t rely on finding the information on an invoice, ask the vendor directly. This is one area where if you don’t ask, no one is going to volunteer the information.

(c) 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and Mary S. Schaeffer

Old Fraud: They’re at it Again

June 6th, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

“Hi, I’m Gary,” said the friendly voice on the other end of the phone. “I’m with customer service for the copier you have in the office,” he continued. I couldn’t believe it. This old chestnut, yet again.

“Oh, really,” I responded ready for the con and anxious to see if I could get some information out of him. “What company are you with?” I asked innocently.

You guessed it; he very quickly hung up the phone. I guess he knew he wasn’t getting the copier make and model number from me and I was a waste of time. This was the second fraudulent call I’d gotten in an hour. Shortly before Gary darkened my phone, a very pleasant woman called to inquire if I wanted help with my IRS debt (which I don’t have). I’m actually more offended by that fraud than by Gary and his copier scam. In the IRS instance they are targeting people already down on their luck.

These petty frauds are at the top of my A list of pet peeves. We’ve produced a white paper here entitled Don’t Get Taken by the Copier Supply Scam. We give it to everyone who signs up for this ezine. In fact, we are happy to give it to anyone who asks for it at no charge – even if they don’t sign up. If for whatever reason you don’t have a copy and would like one, simply email with the words Copier Supply Scam in the subject line and we’ll send it to you or anyone else who asks. Please feel free to share it with others who might be interested in the issue and post it online as well.

I have one further note on this topic. When responding to a reader who had asked for a copy of this paper she noted that she wanted to share it with a new young receptionist her firm had recently hired. That is a great idea since a lot of these calls end up with the receptionist and that person has not been in the workforce for a long time, they might not know of this scam.

(c) 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and Mary S. Schaeffer

Using Social Media - Yes, Facebook - in Accounts Payable

May 23rd, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

To be perfectly honest, other than using LinkedIn for networking, I never saw much use for social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) in accounts payable. I’ve now changed my mind thanks to a nifty tip shared by an attendee at the recent IFO Fusion conference.

Here’s what he does. He uses Facebook as a tool to find owners of uncashed checks before he turns them over to the state as unclaimed property. He says this works really well for companies issuing paper checks for expense reimbursements. If they leave the company and move it is often difficult to find them.  We expect it would work equally well for those issuing paper payroll checks.

Once he finds them on Faceboook he emails them with an innocent email asking them if they’ve ever worked for the company and when. If he admitted he might have money for them in the first email, he’d get a lot of folks claiming to be the former employee when they weren’t.

I asked Tracey Reid, president of Reid Unclaimed Property, what she thought of this. She heartily approves mentioning that people are using LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media resources to track people down without having to use the professional locator resources, which can become quite expensive. She noted that it’s a nice gesture, especially since the law does not require anything more than sending a first-class letter to the person’s last known address!

Accounts Payable Shortcuts

May 17th, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

Most folks working in or managing the accounts payable function have an overloaded plate when it comes to professional responsibilities. Any time they can find a short cut - one that doesn’t weaken internal controls or make more work for another department - they are happy.

So, we asked readers of our free weekly ezine for their best suggestions regarding shortcuts in their daily tasks. And, we were pleasantly surprised with the results. You can read the suggestions here and then if you’d like, vote before the end of May 2012 for the one you think the best.

The link to the voting is on the AP Shortcuts page.

(c) 2012 Mary S. Schaeffer and AP Now

Hope to See You at the IFO’s Fusion

May 11th, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

I’m getting ready to go to the IFO’s (formerly the IAPP) big Fusion conference.  As you may know, this is the big event for those who work in and manage the accounts payable function.

I hope to have the opportunity to meet many attendees and have a chance to talk with them.

I’m giving several talks and will be milling around as follows:

On Monday at 10 AM I’ll be in the Jackson F room to talk about Payment Fraud: What Every Company Needs to Protect Itself. After that, I’ll be in room Lincoln C as follows:

  • Tuesday @ 11 AM discussing Master Vendor File Best Practices: The Sleeper Issue
  • Tuesday @ 3 PM discussing How to Deal with the Five Biggest Emerging Concerns for Accounts Payable in 2012
  • Wednesday @ 2:15 PM discussing T&E Best Practices to Ensure Compliance with IRS Regulations and Prevent Fraud

That’s not all. I’ll also be in room Lincoln C moderating a panel discussion on Monday @ 2:45 PM on the Case of the Disappearing Credits: Why Recoveries Need to Start Now. If you’ve got any questions for me, relating to these or any other issues, I’ll be at the Lavante Booth for half an hour on both Tuesday and Wednesday morning @ 9:45 AM to answer whatever questions you may have.

I am really looking forward to meeting and listening to the accounts payable community. I always learn so much from talking with them.

AP Policy and Procedures Manual

April 24th, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

Every organization, no matter how big or small, should have a policy and procedures manual for its accounts payable operations. While this sounds simple enough, as those involved with accounts payable are painfully aware, that is not the case. The manual should also be updated on a very regular basis. Most reading this probably have heard this instruction before. But like warnings to eat less and exercise more, following that advice is not as easy as it sounds.

While we can’t write or update your manual for you, we can give you information on how to create an effective manual. We’ve found a way to share that intelligence in a quick-read publication. AP Now’s A Short Guide to Creating an Efficient User-Friendly Accounts Payable Policy & Procedures Manual is a 20-page electronic periodical that provides readers with advice on creating and updating their manual.

For additional information or to order AP Now’s A Short Guide to Creating an Efficient User-Friendly Accounts Payable

(c) 2012 Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow and Mary S. Schaeffer

Travel & Entertainment Expense Reimbursement Schemes, Scams and Shenanigans

March 10th, 2012 by Mary_Schaeffer

In accounts payable, life is more than occasionally stranger than fiction. We recently asked our readers to share with us their more harrowing (or entertaining - depending on your outlook) stories. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

You can read the best of the stories submitted on our T&E Schemes, Scams and Shenanigans page. If you’ve got something to share, please send it You’ll notice that we don’t share the names of those reporting the stories or the guilty party.

Most of the time we’re serious - but in this case, we thought we’d have a little fun.

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