New Book Describes How Good Controllers—More Than Occasionally—Unintentionally Sabotage Effective Payment Processes and Offers Strategies to Put an End to the Unintended Chaos that Ensues

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The Controllers & CFOs' Guide to Accounts Payable provides a clear explanation to the sometimes rigid processes needed for appropriate internal controls over the payment process as well as to prevent duplicate payments and fraud.

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Without a doubt, most Controllers and CFOs do not intend to introduce practices that permit duplicate payments, fraud and non-compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley's internal control strictures. But, that's precisely what many unwittingly do, without even realizing it.

"Any time a Controller permits a Rush check, allows the processing of invoices without purchase order numbers or a purchaser's name, allows unrestricted access to the master vendor file, endorses a payment program that allows payments to be made by several different departments," says Mary Schaeffer, a nationally recognized accounts payable expert. "They are inadvertently exposing their organization to fraud, duplicate payments and non-compliance with S-Ox."

While it is never possible to completely eliminate the risks for these issues, she says, there are practical steps organizations can take to mitigate them. By understanding the implications of these sometimes simple actions, Controllers, CFOs and other managers can instill the proper processes. Schaeffer gives a simple example to explain how things can go very wrong, when the proper internal controls are overridden.

Take the example of the proverbial Rush check. These are usually demanded because an invoice is past due and the vendor is screaming for payment. The invoice may have sat waiting too long for approval, been sent to the wrong place or some other reason. When the Rush check is demanded, normal processes in accounts payable are typically put aside and someone manually produces the check. While this is time consuming and inefficient for accounts payable that is just the beginning of the problems.

Inevitably, that lost original invoice shows up in accounts payable—approved for payment, often by the manager who demanded the Rush check mentioned above—and is paid a second time. While the occasional vendor will return the funds, most won't. Double paying invoices is not good for anyone's bottom line.

This is just one of the many examples examined in the recently published Controllers & CFOs' Guide to Accounts Payable. Published by John Wiley & Sons the book provides a definite guide for executives tasked with running an efficient accounts payable function. The guide identifies poor practices and explains how they can negatively impact and organization. It also provides a clear explanation of Best Practices that any organization can use to run a first rate accounts payable function.

Has just published the definitive guide for Controllers and CFOs for addressing their accounts payable concerns. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has raised the awareness of the way organizations (both public and private) handle their accounts payable operations. Internal controls are now a serious concern.

This work provides the definitive explanation as to what is reasonable and what can be done away with. A streamlined efficient accounts payable process can add to an organizations bottom line. This book demonstrates how this can be done—not only by keeping expenses under control, but by utilizing best practices to automate and by adopting cash management practices that produce revenue.

The book not only addresses the basic invoice handling and payment process inherent in every accounts payable organization, but also a number of the specialty functions that have become associated with and are often handled in accounts payable. Specifically, it also looks at vendor relations, travel and entertainment, unclaimed property, reporting of income to independent contractors, sales and use tax, fraud, new technology initiatives, cash management initiatives related to the payment function and implications of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

About Mary Schaeffer:

Mary S. Schaeffer is a nationally recognized accounts payable expert. The author of a dozen business other books, including several on accounts payable, she is the editorial director of Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow, a monthly fee-based print newsletter and e-News from the AP Front, a weekly e-zine for the payer community. A frequent speaker at conferences and online webcasts, Ms. Schaeffer also runs a boutique consultancy, CRYSTALLUS, Inc. that assists organizations looking to revamp their accounts payable departments.

Members of the press can receive a copy by sending a note by email and we will see that you receive one. If you are interested in an article related to one of the issues, please contact Mary Schaeffer at by email. She will handle these personally.

Title:     Controller & CFO's Guide to Accounts Payable

Author:     Mary S. Schaeffer

ISBN:        047178589

Pub. Date    October 13, 2006

Price:        $45 (hard cover)

Pages:        238

Contact: Mary Schaeffer

516 767 0540

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