My column today is not the first one regarding your Accounts Payable department, nor will it be the last.
If you are a new controller unfamiliar with managing an A/P department, you need to get educated as quickly as possible.
Several years ago I was faced with the same challenge and through a stroke of luck, I found Mary S. Schaeffer. To say that Mary is a leading expert in the U.S. on Accounts Payable is an understatement. I have almost all of her books and several of her writings. I couldn’t have managed a multi-million dollar A/P department without her.
Mary has just published a new book ‘Internal Controls in Accounts Payable’ which I would describe as everything you needed to know about A/P but were afraid to ask!
I know it’s an old joke but it cannot be repeated often enough……….when Willie Sutton, a famous bank robber of the 20’s and 30’s, was asked why he robbed banks…………..he replied ‘because that’s where the money is’.
As controller, it is your job to manage and eliminate as much risk of theft in A/P as you possibly can. As I have said before, A/P is not about cutting checks and making payments. It’s also about fending off all would-be crooks inside and outside your company.
If you want to preserve your career and your reputation, don’t let yourself and your company become a victim of A/P fraud…..AND don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security believing that no one in your A/P department is smart enough to pull it off. I’m giving you a stern warning that first…….it doesn’t take a genius to pull it off and second……some A/P fraud is committed by top management.
We often hear Controllers and others say that they cannot maintain necessary Internal Controls because of segregation of duties, probably because A/P might be a one person department. In Mary’s book she offers practical solutions to segregation of duties and other Internal Control practices.
You can order her book now at http://www.amazon.com.
Below is an image of her newsletter you can subscribe to in order to stay abreast of all the new developments happening in this corner of the world.