The Association for Financial Professionals finds accounts payable systems at risk

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) has called for all businesses to improve their accounts payable systems as payment fraud attacks become more sophisticated.

In a survey of just under 700 treasury and finance professionals, it found that 78 per cent have were hit by fraud in 2017. Checks were the payment form which were most at risk.

Accu-Image a document and information management company has stressed the importance of digitising accounts payable systems, and other key points within a business to help counter fraud.

An example of this type of fraud would be an invoice being issued to a contractor from an accounts payable team; however, the bank details being falsified and deposited into another account. This can be caused by human error or by members of the team not verifying the bank details of the contractor.

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the median loss per business due to fraud was $150,000, of which, most came from financial statement loss.

AFT has outlined some changes organisations can do to prevent these types of incidents. These include establishing a clear, digital audit trail, monitor requests for duplicate payments and invoices, and implementing measures which mean staff only have authorities they need for their role.

Other recommendations include building strong process integration between procurement and accounts payable and utilising data to uncover trends in supplier invoices and identify any overpayments.

Accu-Image CEO Larry Bennett said, “There are many ways to scam accounts payable,”, “everything from creating false invoices to check fraud. But it’s also important to remember that a tremendous loss of revenue can come from unintentional bookkeeping errors, or exceptions, due to outdated or inferior accounts payable methods.

“A secure digitized accounts payable system will help reduce fraud as well as all payable interaction errors and inconsistencies.”

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