The challenges of invoice duplication

In today’s data-driven world, organizations are constantly grappling with the challenge of managing large volumes of information. This is especially true in the realm of finance, where invoices account for a significant proportion of B2B transactions.

However, invoice duplication is a particularly challenging issue because it may lead to overpayment. This leaves holes in accounting, impacts cash flow and working capital management, and may constitute a serious failure under financial regulatory codes.

The reasons behind duplicate invoices

Duplicate invoices may be generated inadvertently. There are a variety of reasons, most commonly due to supplier system errors, manual invoicing mistakes, glitches in e-invoicing systems, or miscommunication between departments. These can lead to duplicate payments. Such extra outgoings may well be the result of honest errors, but that does little to lessen the impact should a business find that its finances have become strained.

Invoice duplication is also sometimes motivated by fraud. This involves criminal activity, where multiple copies of the same invoice are deliberately submitted to elicit duplicate payments. This fraud may exploit weaknesses in payment processing systems or internal controls. Whether they result from honest mistakes or wilful fraud, duplicate payments put pressure on cash flow, reduce profitability, disrupt efficiency, and damage supplier relationships.

The scale of the invoice duplication problem and its effects

The sheer volume of invoices seen at enterprise scale, where as many as 1.5 million invoices may be processed in a single financial year, means some duplicates have a good chance of slipping through, whatever safeguards are in place to detect them manually. A research study commissioned by SAP Concur suggests a duplication rate of around 1.3% or about 13 in every thousand.

Duplicate invoices tend to cause some highly undesirable effects, including:

  • Increased costs: Managing duplicated invoices creates manual labor overheads that increase costs. Servicing debt, where overpayments mean outgoings exceed expected cash requirements, also puts a strain on an organization’s finances.
  • Reduced operational ability: Duplicate invoice and cash flow problems may cause a loss of confidence on the part of vendors or impact their ability to settle invoices. Ultimately, these create supply-side problems that could impact the delivery of products and services to customers.
  • Reduced efficiency: Duplicate invoices often clog up the payment process, slowing down the reconciliation of invoices to ERP and S2P systems, and possibly delaying payments to vendors.
  • Financial loss: Duplicate invoices, either as honest mistakes or deliberate fraud, that go undetected and lead to overpayments that cannot be recovered, resulting in financial losses for the organization.

The benefits: The compelling case for duplicate matching software

Duplicate matching software is a powerful tool that helps enterprises to address these challenges. The technology uses sophisticated algorithms to identify and flag duplicate invoices. Increasing numbers of AP team managers find the case for adopting cloud-based duplicate matching services compelling. The primary benefits of duplicate matching software are:

  • Reducing costs: Duplicate matching software helps to prevent the problems that are associated with duplicate invoices. They save enterprises money by significantly reducing the risk of overpayment and interest charges.
  • Boosting efficiency: Cloud-based duplicate matching software automates the process of identifying and eliminating duplicate invoices, as well as enabling recovery, when duplicates have slipped through. The time saved frees up staff to focus on other tasks.
  • Improving accuracy:  Cloud-based duplicate matching services are capable of achieving a high degree of accuracy. The software helps ensure that invoices are paid accurately and on time.

The features: AP Duplicate-Matching software and services

In addition to the general benefits of cloud-based duplicate matching services, there are many specific features that make them a compelling choice for organizations. For example, cloud-based duplicate matching services typically offer:

  • Real-time matching: Once invoice data has been captured and presented to the system, cloud-based duplicate matching should possess the capability to identify duplicate invoices in real-time, halting their progression through to payment processing.
  • Scalability: Cloud-based duplicate matching should be highly scalable to meet the needs of large, enterprise-size organizations that need to process vast numbers of invoices annually.
  • Security: Cloud-based duplicate matching systems should be backed by robust security measures to meet industry standards for information security, such as ISO 27001, international financial regulatory compliance requirements, and prevent exposure of sensitive financial data.

Automated duplicate matching with APMatching

Enterprise AP departments do a better job of managing the risk of overpayment and fraud due to invoice duplication with APMatching. Our cloud-based duplicate matching service is a compelling choice for large businesses. Enterprises reduce the costs, improve efficiency and increase the accuracy of their invoice processing.

Duplicate-Matching is one of the complementary APMatching solutions that lets enterprises automate invoice processing to close the loop in AP. Consider the benefits also of:

Take a personalized 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.