Any organization that hasn't successfully addressed problems with duplicate payments is likely to find numerous other challenges piling up. When transactions with vendors aren't being handled accurately, the impacts can be devastating, including being unable to properly settle other charges and pay bills due to cash flow issues.
According to the Natchez Democrat, a recent audit found that the City of Natchez, Miss., has been suffering from inadequate financial controls. Among those deficiencies was the fact that duplicate payments were regularly slipping through the cracks.
"There were some instances where vendors were paid twice, and we did see where some of the vendors did send the money back or applied it to a subsequent payment," an accountant who worked on the city's audit said, as quoted by the source. "The other issue that came up [was] part of the reason we found duplicate payments issued – manual checks would be issued online slots pokies and then a computer payment would be issued."
The news provider reported that in order to fix this problem, it's been recommended that Natchez adopt a more standardized method for entering invoices. This way, it's less likely that employees will find themselves unable to find necessary payment records, which raises the risk that vendors will receive more than one check. This tactic may also have a positive effect on the city when it comes to eliminating other inaccuracies, such as the fact that subledgers sometimes didn't match up to general ones. With more consistent recordkeeping, staff members are better able to ensure all financial documentation is up to date and correct.
Conducting an accounts payable audit is an excellent way for any organization to identify and rectify any issues with duplicate payments. Once these problems are on the radar, leaders can devise effective strategies for reducing the likelihood of such errors in the future.