There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

Vendor issues in an accounts payable function are often ignored. This is unfortunate because poor controls around the master vendor file, improper data entry, and the lack of rigid internal controls all can result in fraud and duplicate payments. And addressing these issues is not as easy as you might think. There are numerous details that, if ignored, can negatively impact the bottom line. Industry expert Mary Schaeffer reveals common problems and provides strategies that every organization should implement to minimize, if not eliminate, the impact of vendor issues.

Please note that the information covered in this course is also covered in Creating an Accounts Payable Policy and Procedures Manual, Internal Controls in Accounts Payable, and Best Practices for Accounts Payable.


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

Jan 11, 2018
There are no prerequisites.

Compliance Information

Qualifies for CA Fraud: No

Learning Objectives

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

Chapter 1

  • Identify issues related to vendor activity in accounts payable.
  • Indicate problems that are likely to occur when vendor issues are not addressed in accounts payable.

Chapter 2

  • Cite the impact of current event changes into the ongoing accounts payable practices.
  • Identify problems likely to occur if the potential for fraud is ignored in accounts payable.

Chapter 3

  • Identify issues related to proper and improper segregation of duties as they relate to the master vendor file.
  • Cite issues of ownership related to the master vendor file.
  • Cite controls needed around the master vendor file.

Chapter 4

  • Identify where problems occur when data entry isn't handled using a rigid coding standard.
  • Cite reasons for the necessity of a regular cleansing of the master vendor file.
  • Identify how to use the IRS TIN Matching program in the vendor setup routines.

Chapter 5

  • Cite problems created when vendor contact information is not collected and/or updated.
  • Identify problems created when vendor credits are not identified and recovered on a regular basis.

Chapter 6

  • Identify how to create best practice routines to set up new vendors.
  • Cite problems that may occur if new vendors are not verified before being set up in the master vendor file.

Chapter 7

  • Identify how to create procedures to collect information needed to evaluate critical vendors.
  • Identify where responsibility for evaluating critical vendors should lie.

Chapter 8

  • Identify ways to improve vendor relations.

Chapter 9

  • Identify clues that will help identify potentially fraudulent invoices.
  • Identify how to implement best practices that will help weed out fraudulent invoices.
  • Identify master vendor file issues related to one-time vendors.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Background

Learning Objectives

Scenario #1: The Worst Case

Scenario #2: The Average Case

Scenario #3: The Best Case

Chapter 1 Review Questions

Chapter 2 – Current Events Impact

Learning Objectives

Background: Issues Affecting Vendor Handling

Relevant Statistics

Implications of the Data

Chapter 2 Review Questions

Chapter 3 – The Master Vendor File

Learning Objectives

Responsibility for Master Vendor File

The Ownership Quandary: Three Questions to Ask Before Requesting Ownership

Data in the Master Vendor File

Best Practice Overview

Best Practice: Controls

Chapter 3 Review Questions

Chapter 4 – Data Entry in the Master Vendor File

Learning Objectives

Best Practice: Data Entry

Best Practice: Cleansing the Vendor File

Best Practice: Entering Data

Best Practice: What Data?

Best Practice: Reports

Best Practice: TIN Matching

The Simple Test That Few Do

Best Practice: Departing Employees

Best Practice: Naming Convention

More about the Naming Convention

Vendor Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Issues

What Is TIN Matching

Collecting TINs

Reasons for Using TIN Matching

Misuse of TIN Matching

Using TIN Matching

Tracking TINs

Chapter 4 Review Questions

Chapter 5 – Vendor Contact Information

Learning Objectives

Vendor Contact Information

Change of Bank Account Requests

How Good Is Your Contact Information?

The Vendor Credit Issue: A Bigger Problem Than Most Imagine


How Credits Disappear

Quantifying the Problem: The Financial Impact on Your Bottom Line

A Word about the Unclaimed Property Issue

What You Can Do

Get Professional Help

What Your Vendors Are Doing with Your Money

Approach #1: Never Send a Check

Approach #2: New Orders

Approach #3: Sell Discontinued Products

Approach #4: Apply Open Credits to Disputed Invoices

Approach #5: Send Advising Letters to Purchasing

Concluding Thoughts

Chapter 5 Review Questions

Chapter 6 – Handling New Vendors

Learning Objectives

The Vendor Welcome Letter

The Welcome Kit

The Periodic Update

Chapter 6 Review Questions

Chapter 7 – Critical Vendors: Ensuring They’ll Be There When You Need Them

Learning Objectives

Planning Ahead: Gathering Information

Planning Ahead: Using the Data

Where Should the Responsibility Lie?

Concluding Thoughts

Chapter 7 Review Questions

Chapter 8 – Vendor Relations

Learning Objectives

Vendor Calls into Accounts Payable

Getting Information to Vendors: IVR/IWR

Five Ways to Improve Your Vendor Relations

When a Caller to AP Flips Out: Uncovering the Real Cause

Chapter 8 Review Questions

Chapter 9 – Vendor Fraud

Learning Objectives

Fraudulent Invoices—or Not

Solicitations That Look Like Invoices

Other Common Invoice Frauds

Fraud and Poor Payment Practices

A Word about Collusion

Upfront Vendor Verification

Control Challenge in Real Life

Who Is Confirmed

Why Front-End Verification Is Important

New Vendor Verification Guidelines

One Last Technique

Concluding Thoughts on Vendor Verification

Advice from the Better Business Bureau

Fraud in the Real World

Concluding Thoughts

Fraud through the Master Vendor File

Other Vendor Issues

One-Time Vendors in the Master Vendor File? Yes!

Pitfalls of Not Setting up One-Time Vendors

Side Benefit

Vendors Who Refuse to Mail Invoices: New Best Practices for the Receipt of Invoices

Vendor Charges for Paper Invoices Got You Riled? Try These Five Tactics


Dealing with the Bully

Grin and Bear It

Chapter 9 Review Questions

Review Question Answers and Rationales



Qualified Assessment

Answer Sheet

Course Evaluation


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