One of the most popular feature requests this year has been the ability to limit invoicing to only what has been received first. For many large companies this is a huge safety net and it’s now available free of charge for all clients of Purchase Control, but beware: As always the devil is in the detail. After trialling this with a number of users we’ve found that you need to look at your own internal procedures as part of implementing this change!
Before you instantly say “Yes! I want to lock out invoicing to be limited to only the goods received” I’ve compiled a short list of three things to consider for using this feature effectively:
1. Notify your staff before the change happens!
There’s nothing worse for the AP staff than to come in on Monday morning and realise they can no longer manually handle any discrepancies. Tell them about the change and ask if they think it will mean adjusting some internal procedures.
For example one of our clients found that the team made allowances for a supplier where they knew the missing goods would be delivered before the end of the month: They processed the invoice regardless of what was on the Purchase Order or goods received report. The new feature caused the AP team to postpone the processing in their invoices until it had all been completed missing a payment schedule for the supplier. Now, that’s as things should be but it did cause friction for a time between the client and the supplier!
2. Make sure your members of staff understand the importance of receiving goods.
If the organisation has only a few issues with goods inwards not matching the invoices it’s pretty easy to switch this feature on, but if it’s going to impact 1 out of 3 invoices you need to look at what to do when IT hasn’t marked the 2 new laptops as being received but you’re pretty sure you’re reconciling the invoices on one of them! Make sure that anyone who is able to receive goods knows how important it is from now on.
3. Think carefully about exceptions.
In some cases it’s not unusual to pay the invoice before the goods have been received. In this case what are you going to do about checking off the goods / services when they do arrive? If this is a regular occurrence consider if switching this feature on will actually cause issues rather than avoid them…
In a large organisation where you’ve got 50 or more users within Purchase Control it’s quite common for more junior staff to be involved with the initial processing of invoices. This is when we need to make sure to lock out invoicing to only the goods received to avoid any mistakes being made. In smaller organisations the finance team has more visibility over the entire process and the level of control is not always needed. The best way to evaluate this is look over the past 3 months and find out where most of the mistakes have been. As always, if you have any questions talk to one of the support team and let them walk you through the options.