There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

Understanding the fundamentals of the accounts payable function is critical for any organization that wants to run an effective and efficient accounts payable function. Without this understanding, weak processes are permitted making fraud easier to commit. Duplicate payments increase and the function is not cost-effective. This course presents information the professional can use to create a strong process and implement effective function.  Industry expert Mary Schaeffer shows auditors, controllers, and managers how proper processes in the accounts payable function strengthen controls and lead to an efficient and effective accounts payable function.


Mary S. Schaeffer, MBA

Mary S. Schaeffer, MBA, has the inimitable ability to find accounts-payable-related solutions that really work—without making a major dent in the bottom line. Armed with a degree in math and a graduate degree in finance, she takes a “roll up your sleeves and dig into the details” approach to finding solutions to those problems that cause migraines for CFOs, controllers, and managers.

Fifteen years spent researching and writing about payment issues gives Mary a unique vantage point. Combine that with an almost equal amount of time spent in the corporate trenches of several large finance and treasury departments, and you’ll understand why she’s become known as America’s leading accounts payable expert.

A wide variety of institutions have taken advantage of her unique expertise: John Wiley & Sons has published over a dozen of her books; CRYSTALLUS, Inc. relies on her know-how to direct its professional publication, training, and consulting business; and the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO) turned to her to serve as its editor-in-chief, steering cutting-edge commentary into its Financial Ops magazine. She also developed the IFO’s Innovating Accounts Payable certificate program.

Mary shares her expertise in a variety of venues, giving 1-day seminars, as a guest speaker at regional and national events, and online in 25–30 webinars each year. For Western CPE, she produces self-study courses and webcasts.

She has a BS in mathematics from York College (CUNY) and an MBA in finance from New York University.

Course Specifics

May 14, 2019
There are no prerequisites.

Compliance Information

Qualifies for CA Fraud: No

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand why setting up the accounts payable function correctly is important.
  • Detect potential problems when payments are made outside accounts payable.
  • Build an effective naming convention.
  • Delineate an effective process for entering data in the master vendor file.
  • Establish effective controls around the master vendor file.
  • Create an effective process for the receipt of invoices.
  • Identify duplicate invoices.
  • Construct new procedures for emailed invoices.
  • Understand and identify the problems associated with paper checks.
  • Reduce the number of paper checks.
  • Build programs that will eliminate (or partially eliminate) paper checks.
  • Create an effective p-card policy.
  • Identify and eliminate common p-card complications.
  • Craft an employee responsibility agreement for use of p-cards.
  • Craft an electronic payment expansion program.
  • Produce procedures for dealing with discrepant invoices.
  • Identify duplicate invoices.
  • Craft an effective process for dealing with invoices without a PO number or name of requisitioner.
  • Construct strong processes to avoid returning checks to requisitioners and issuing rush checks.
  • Eliminate all late fees.
  • Execute best practices when hiring a recovery firm.
  • Implement a travel policy that conforms to IRS guidelines.
  • Assemble a spot-checking policy for expense receipts.
  • Set reasonable reimbursement practices.
  • Use positive pay correctly.
  • Implement policies that deter p-card fraud.
  • Pinpoint misconceptions that deter proper fraud protection.
  • Employ best practices to prevent ACH and wire fraud.
  • Create a policy to deal with the BYOD issue.
  • Create an effective policy and procedures manual.
  • Establish a policy for updating the accounts payable policy and procedures manual on a regular basis.
  • Develop effective procedures for handling information reporting requirements related to accounts payable (1099).
  • Establish procedures for checking for bribery violations.
  • Integrate low-cost technology to create a more efficient accounts payable process.
  • Incorporate appropriate segregation of duties into your accounts payable process.
  • Pinpoint potential internal control breakdowns and craft procedures to fix them.
  • Improve productivity without spending a fortune.
  • Create an electronic payments program.
  • Identify and eliminate common problems associated with electronic payments.
  • Build a program to recover open vendor credits.
  • Earn all early payment discounts.
  • Create best practice supplier onboarding processes.
  • Delineate procedures for handling vendor inquiries.
  • Identify changes impacting accounts payable in the near future.

Choose Your Preferred Format

Online Access

Get immediate access to a robust collection of learning and reference materials, allowing you to dive deep into the information you need. Our self-study materials are authored by top-quality, industry experts who focus on helping you grasp concepts quickly using real-life examples. Download your CPE to any device, and take it with you so you can learn when and wherever you want. Complete your CPE with an online exam, and enjoy instant grading with the option to print your certificate immediately upon passing.

online access
Hard Copy

Our self-study materials are authored by top-quality, industry experts. You’ll receive a bound notebook of all the course materials, shipped to you within one business day. In addition, you’ll also have full online access. Each self-study package includes a robust collection of learning and reference materials to help you cover the information efficiently and put it into practice immediately.

hard copy
Self-Study Video

Experience high-quality instruction with our Self-Study Videos, available to you 24/7. With more than 80+ videos currently in the Western CPE Self-Study Video library, you can see and hear our expert instructors deliver the information you need in a dynamic way that allows you to immediately apply your learning. Unlike a live course or webcast, you can complete the course on your own time, playing and pausing as needed. Self-Study Videos allow you to complete your CPE requirements on your own time.

hard copy

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