“We’re over budget.
Spend a day going through the previous year's paid invoices. You may just be surprised by what you find.
This is the essence of "The double-payment challenge", an article posted at realbusiness.co.uk that draws attention to the fact that many businesses – when they examine their expenses closely – discover all sorts of errors in their accounting, duplicate payments included.
Is it worth spending an entire day sifting through old financial records? Will you really find an invoice that was double paid?
Chances are, you probably will.
You may be wondering how such a thing could happen, but consider this: While most automated accounting systems include invoice tracking to detect if an invoice has already been paid, not all of those systems require you to enter the invoice number when processing the payment. And even when they do require an invoice number, it's possible (likely, in fact) that the invoice number may be entered incorrectly. We are all human, after all, and we do make the occasional mistake.
So how do you avoid duplicate payments? Here are a few tips:
- Conspicuously mark invoices as paid (both hard copy and electronic versions)
- Eliminate extra copies of invoices
- Never process payments based on a supplier's statement – use only the official invoice.
It's worth double checking whether you're paying your invoices twice. Even if you find that everything is in order, you'll achieve some peace of mind.
Do you have ideas, suggestions on how to avoid double payment of invoices?