Duplicate payments are one of AP’s trickiest problems

In the complex world of enterprise finance, the issue of duplicate payments and fraudulent transactions is a significant concern for Accounts Payable (AP) departments. Identifying and managing these financial anomalies not only drains resources but also poses a threat to financial stability, operational efficiency, and supplier relationships.

To counter this hidden threat, increasing numbers of enterprises are introducing AP automation technology that performs duplicate matching. For enterprises adopting APMatching as their AP automation platform, Duplicate-Matching is one of three complementary tools that transform the efficiency of AP departments.

The challenge of duplicate payments

Duplicate payments generally result from invoice duplication, where multiple copies of the same invoice are submitted for payment. For many businesses, incidences of this may seem like a relatively rare occurrence.

However, to put some hard numbers on it, a research study commissioned by SAP Concur suggests a duplication rate of around 1.3%. At enterprise scale, where as many as 80,000 to 1.5 million+ invoices may be processed in a single financial year, invoice duplication and the resulting duplicate payments are a significant and costly issue.

Inadvertently generated duplicate invoices

Duplicate invoices are often generated inadvertently and for a variety of reasons. Supplier invoice system errors are a common culprit, where a glitch in the supplier’s system may lead to the submission of multiple copies of the same invoice. These errors typically result from technical hiccups rather than ill intentions.

Manual invoicing errors, while diminishing in the digital age, still occur due to human mistakes. An employee might inadvertently resubmit an invoice, thinking it wasn’t processed previously. These may be honest errors, but they still contribute to the duplication issue.

E-invoicing, despite its efficiency, isn’t foolproof. Technical problems, such as data transmission issues or software glitches, can lead to the unintentional generation of duplicate e-invoices.

Furthermore, miscommunication between departments or insufficient coordination can lead to duplicate invoices when different personnel submit the same invoices from various angles. While the intent is not to defraud, the resulting duplicate payments are an unintended financial burden.

Deliberate invoice duplication to solicit duplicate payments

Deliberate invoice duplication may, of course, be motivated by less-than-honest intentions. One of the primary reasons for such actions is invoice fraud. In this fraud, unscrupulous individuals or entities intentionally generate multiple copies of the same invoice with the aim of receiving duplicate payments. It may involve submitting fake invoices or duplicating legitimate ones to exploit weaknesses in the payment processing system.

Some deliberate invoice duplication frauds may seek to exploit loopholes or weaknesses in an enterprise’s internal control systems, taking advantage of a lack of oversight, or simply profiting from a chaotic or disorganized AP department. Invoice fraud can be solely an insider crime or result from the collusion of employees with vendors or third parties.

Whether it’s inconsistent processes, human errors, or even instances of invoice fraud, duplicate payments have a far-reaching impact. In addition to the obvious financial strains caused by the extra demand placed on cash flow and working capital management, duplicate payments corrode profitability and disrupt operational efficiency. Furthermore, enterprise’s risk when suppliers view them as unreliable.

How automated Duplicate-Matching works

To combat these challenges, APMatching’s automated Duplicate-Matching solution provides robust measures to detect duplicate invoices and prevent duplicate payments. Duplicate-Matching is a highly efficient process driven by advanced software technologies.

This solution complements APMatching’s Statement-Matching and Invoice-Matching systems by meticulously comparing invoices, payment data, and related information. It excels at swiftly identifying potential duplicate payments by extracting invoice data and applying intelligent algorithms to detect patterns, anomalies, and similarities. In the round, the three systems work together to close the loop in accounts payable.

By deploying automated duplicate matching, enterprises stand to gain not only in terms of time and resource savings but also in reducing the risk of financial losses and upholding the integrity of payment processes. This technology contributes to enhanced accuracy, streamlined operations, and a shield against the negative consequences of duplicate payments.

The advantages of automated duplicate matching

Automated duplicate matching holds significant value for enterprise AP departments, delivering an array of advantages:

  • Mitigated financial losses: Research underscores the cost-saving potential of duplicate matching, offering substantial savings to enterprises.
  • Enhanced efficiency: The labour-intensive and time-consuming manual processes of identifying and preventing duplicate payments are replaced by automated duplicate matching, freeing up personnel to focus on other essential tasks. These might be strategic or otherwise add more value, helping to drive the business forward.
  • Compliance assurance: Financial regulations such as Sabox and MiFID emphasize the importance of preventing duplication. Automated duplicate matching empowers enterprises to adhere to these principles within their invoice processing procedures, mitigating one of the most costly financial challenges.
  • Stronger supplier relationships: Duplicate payments can severely undermine supplier relationships. The implementation of automated duplicate matching eradicates this risk and promotes robust partnerships.
  • Reduced administrative overhead: Manual processing and identification of duplicate invoices often result in time-consuming processes and the possibility of errors. Automated duplicate matching streamlines this procedure, reducing administrative overhead.

Protect your bottom line by duplicate matching with APMatching

The risks associated with duplicate payments that result from duplicate invoices are significant. See how Duplicate-Matching preserves financial stability and supports operational efficiency, and strengthens supplier relationships and compliance.

Take a personalised demo with one of our representatives, and we’ll show you how the software eliminates tedious, time-consuming manual invoice processing and automates duplicate invoice detection.

If you like what you see, we’ll give you full support so that you can more fully evaluate APMatching with a Proof of Concept (PoC), demonstrating how effective it is using your own data.