Accounts payable management
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Payable Invoice Management Policies, Procedures and Best Practices


If you are on the management team of a company, you continually challenge your department managers and employees to reduce spending and get the most value for every dollar spent. One aspect of company spending that affects your bottom line is accounts payable.

Accounts payable management includes the policies, procedures, and practices that a company uses in order to manage its purchases. Generally speaking, this includes seeking lines of credits, and acquiring the most favorable terms for purchasing, as well as managing the flow and timing of purchases in conjunction with the company’s working capital.

Many small to mid-sized businesses do not have a formal purchase order process in place, so management and employees use corporate credit cards to buy goods and services. Because many employees are ordering from multiple vendors, this can lead to overspending or duplicate spending, and even missed payments. The only time management sees what is really going on is when the invoices or monthly credit card bills arrive and by then control is impossible.

Some ways to enhance your accounts payable management is by paying bills on time, which leads to stronger relationships with your suppliers. A good relationship can result in discounts that will save your company money over time. It is also important to facilitate payable invoice processing with minimum staff and paperwork. Payable invoice management can increase your profitability by decreasing staff hours that are currently being spent on managing paperwork.

In larger companies, the accounts payable department is often responsible for entering invoices and also managing purchase agreements with the suppliers. This department also has the responsibility of fulfilling any established payment obligations. Because of the, the AP department is often communicating with suppliers, as well as updating and performing adjusting journal entries along with all the other payable management activities. This sometimes includes the expense reimbursement for the company’s own employees and business expenses such as travel and entertainment, employee business meals, and other related costs of doing business.

ExpenseWatch’s Payable Invoice module provides our customers with the ability to transform their paper-based payable invoice processes into an automated system, resulting in lower processing costs, improved controls, and better service levels.

It’s easy to turn vendor invoices into a comprehensive payable invoice management system. At every step of the way employees have access to the tools that they need to efficiently and effectively create, approve and pay vendors.

Invoice submitters have the ability to create a payable invoice using credit card feeds, POs, packing lists (receiving reconciliation to ensure you only pay for the products received) and even product catalogs for items not yet formally ordered/approved. Invoices created using POs and packing lists will not require re-approval unless the actual expense is higher than the amount originally approved. Attaching vendor invoices can be easily done via fax, if no scanner is available, or by attaching a file from your computer. The submitter also has the choice to allocate the expense, all the while knowing the status of the invoice as it is routed through the system.

Approvers will be notified via email that an invoice is awaiting approval and be able to view the information they find most valuable on their Approval screen in order for them to approve/reject in the most efficient manner. Approvers can easily monitor Budget vs. Actual spending, add additional approvers on the fly, review historical purchases and “quick approve” invoices. Routing the invoice can be done based upon which department(s)/location(s) the user has chosen, the dollar amount and whether or not the department/location is over budget.

When the invoice is routed to the accounting department, they can set up electronic payment services in order to reimburse and adjust the invoice to reflect the correct GL account. All the while, company executives can keep their eyes on spending at the company, department/location, G/L and individual level.

Benefits to Your Company’s Cash Flow

Here are some of the ways that improving payable invoice management can help your company succeed:

    • Helps reduce overspending by providing transparency
    • Reduces credit card over limit fees because invoices are entered immediately for approval
    • Eradicates paying for products or services not rendered by requiring matching or re-approval
    • Enables overall better control of expenses since payments cannot be made until approved
    • Reduces the need for paper
    • Enables review of historical orders avoiding duplicate orders
    • Provides a real time window into what departments are spending
    • Enables management to plan better since budget vs actuals are provided for departments and GL accounts

Electronic payable invoice management can give you in-depth visibility into spending, eliminating time-consuming paper based processes, and saving employee’s time. If you want to take control of your company’s spending, fill in the form on the right and one of our experts will reach out to you shortly.

(Posted 4-7-15)

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