Duplicate Payment Controls in SAP

Technology Insight has been identifying duplicate payments for clients since 1999. Throughout this time we have worked with a multitude of systems such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Lawson, BPCS, GEAC, J.D. Edwards and many more recognizable (and unrecognizable) systems. Each system contains controls to stop duplicate payments. Inevitably, we always identify duplicate payments missed by these systems and we can clearly see management is upset that the duplicate payments occurred when they have processes and system controls in place to stop them.

This raises the question: Shouldn”t my accounts payable (A/P) system have stopped this? For many A/P systems the answer is fairly straight forward, meaning if the vendor number, invoice number, invoice amount, and invoice date are all the same, the answer is yes. For SAP users, the answer is not so straight forward. This blog is to aid our SAP users in unwinding the minor complexities of configuring SAP to control or stop duplicate payments.

Many A/P managers that use SAP think that SAP only checks for duplicate payments when the vendor number, invoice number, invoice date, and invoice amount are exactly the same. While at a high level this is correct, there is actually much more to it. There are two configuration points that need to be addressed: the vendor master file and implementation guide (IMG.).

With SAP you determine which vendor master file records you want the duplicate payment controls to apply. This is done by selecting the “Chk double inv” indicator on the Payments in Accounting screen in the vendor master through FK02 transaction. If this indicator is not selected then SAP will not perform a duplicate payment check on any invoices entered for that vendor. (see image 1)

The next item to review is the IMG. Before you start setting the configuration setting you need to understand how SAP performs duplicate payment checks. SAP checks for the following criteria before flagging a duplicate payment:

– Company
– Document Date
– Reference (Invoice Number)
– Currency
– Vendor
– Amount (in Document Currency)

When people first see this list they are surprised to see that Company and Currency are part of SAP’s duplicate payment checks.

The Company check means that you can enter the same exact invoice into two different companies and SAP will not flag it. Many IT groups are reluctant to allow for duplicate payment checks across companies because it can affect SAP’s database performance.

The Currency check means that if you enter one invoice in Euro’s and another invoice as GBP’s with all of the other information the same – company, invoice date, invoice number, vendor, and invoice amount, then SAP will not stop that duplicate invoice.

To configure the SAP duplicate payment controls, go to the IMG in Logistics Invoice Verification > Incoming Invoice > Set Check for Duplicate Invoices, this is where you set the SAP duplicate payment controls.

You will notice that you cannot configure all of the duplicate payment controls, but you are able to control checks on company code, reference number (invoice number) and invoice date. You cannot control currency, vendor, or invoice amount.

Your duplicate payment control settings in SAP should mirror your business processes to provide the best possible controlled environment. For instance, we have a client that enters the ‘date received’, not the true ‘invoice date’, into the invoice date field.. I personally don’t agree with this process, but it is their process. Therefore, this company should not be performing invoice date verification tests as part of its duplicate payment checks.

I would like to point out that without a clean vendor master (only one vendor master file per supplier) the duplicate payment control check within SAP, or any system for that matter, will not work properly.

What do you think? I welcome your thoughts and feedback

-Karl Andersson

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