Best Practices for Accounts Payable

CPE Credits
NASBA Category

There are no prerequisites.



Course Description

Best practices for the accounts payable function are critical for those organizations concerned about profitability. Poor practices result in excess cost, duplicate payments, increased processing expenses, potential fraud, and frayed vendor relationships. And, of course there is the growing issue of regulatory compliance as the federal and state governments look for their fair share. This course presents information you can use to identify best practice problems as well as regulatory concerns. Industry expert Mary S. Schaeffer explains the issues related to the accounts payable function to auditors, controllers, and managers. She then reveals the best practices for myriad issues and identifies almost best practices for those cases where it is not possible to use the best practice.

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 Vendor Issues in 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 …

Mary S. Schaeffer, MBA Read More »

Course Specifics

Course ID
Revision Date
May 12, 2020
Number of Pages
Advanced Preparation


Compliance Information

NASBA Provider Number: 103220

Learning Objectives

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

Chapter 1

  • Identify how to implement a best practice policy.
  • Cite how you can utilize a policy and procedures manual effectively.

Chapter 2

  • Identify the importance of establishing strong master vendor file practices.
  • Cite why the segregation of duties is important.
  • Identify master vendor file cleanup practices.

Chapter 3

  • Identify effective invoice receipt practices.
  • List effective data entry rules for invoice processors.
  • Cite best practice invoice handling routines.

Chapter 4

  • Define effective practices for short-paying invoices, handling unidentified invoices, and managing discrepant invoices.

Chapter 5

  • Identify effective processes for printing and signing checks and storing check stock.

Chapter 6

  • Cite the benefits of paying electronically.

Chapter 7

  • Identify benefits and controls associated with a strong p-card program.

Chapter 8

  • Cite best practices for payments made outside accounts payable.
  • Identify ways to pay small dollar invoices without issuing a check.

Chapter 9

  • Identify the importance of creating and maintaining a policy and procedures manual.

Chapter 10

  • List strategies to eliminate duplicate payments when original invoices are missing.
  • Identify lost funds through an effective supplier statement review policy.

Chapter 11

  • Identify routines that help avoid making duplicate payments.
  • Identify the importance of creating an effective policy for requiring backup for rush payments.

Chapter 12

  • Identify the importance of segregation of duties.
  • List issues that need to be addressed when an employee leaves the organization.

Chapter 13

  • Cite the importance of a mandatory vacation policy as well as a job rotation policy.

Chapter 14

  • Understand the importance of using positive pay
  • Implement strong controls around pre-printed check stock
  • Integrate check fraud prevention practices into the accounts payable process
Chapter 15
  • Cite the importance of a strong travel and entertainment policy.

Chapter 16

  • List reasons why cash advances are difficult for the accounts payable function.
  • Identify an efficient and effective policy for reimbursing employee for travel expenses.

Chapter 17

  • Identify what is required for information reporting to the IRS.
  • Cite how to integrate IRS TIN Matching into the new vendor setup function.

Chapter 18

  • Identify a policy that will enable the organization to report and remit unclaimed property.

Chapter 19

  • Identify a policy that includes accruing and reporting use tax for all the organization’s sales tax obligations.
  • Identify how to incorporate regular OFAC checking into the payment process to ensure payments are not made to terrorists.
  • Identify potential situations where a payment may actually be a bribe to a foreign official in conflict with FCPA regulations.

Chapter 20

  • Identify a process to effectively deal with invoices.
  • Identify a policy to address issues related to the use mobile devices in accounts payable.

Chapter 21

  • Identify methodologies for communicating relevant payment information to vendors before problems arise.

Chapter 22

  • Identify how payment timing can help or hurt an organization.
  • Cite strategies for sharing critical payment status information with vendors.