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Michael Praeger, CEO, AvidXchange

Year-End Survival Tips: Maintaining Your Master Vendor File


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Year-End Survival Guide: Master Vendor File

AvidXchange wants to make sure that you not only survive – but thrive – during your year-end closing process. That's why we've created a Year-end Survival Guide for Microsoft Dynamics GP users. This eBook is a compilation of advice from industry thought-leaders, AvidXchange’s AP team, and our customers. As you close out 2017, we want to make sure that you’re armed with tips and tricks to help year-end go as smoothly as possible.

In this guide, you’ll find helpful information on what reports and tools to use, as well as best practices for keeping your team motivated during this stressful season. When December rolls around we want you to be the AP hero and ready to head into the holiday season prepared for festivities instead of frustrations. In today's blog, we'll highlight just one section from AvidXchange's Year-End Survival Guide, with best practices around maintaining and cleaning up your master vendor file. You can download our new eBook for free - keep reading for more information!

Maintaining the Master Vendor File

1)    Consolidate and Validate

Consolidate all your vendor data, standardize company names, addresses, and other vendor information based on global standards. Once your house is in order, verify addresses, banking information, and other critical data with external sources to ensure accuracy. Companies should obtain a W-9 or an equivalent form before setup and payment. TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) validation and vendor name matching should be performed using the IRS TIN matching system.

2)    Remove Duplicates

The leading cause of duplicate payments is from duplicate vendors in an ERP system. When an invoice is entered into the accounting system, a duplicate vendor file is created if a different code is selected. This new file will be attached to the same vendor, which results in a duplicate payment. You should consider adopting a vendor payment policy that requires an official invoice that includes an invoice number that references a contract number to avoid this issue.

Unfortunately, double payments can also happen when unethical employees or vendors take advantage of the system. Per the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2016 Global Fraud Study Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the typical organization loses 5% of annual revenues to fraud. The report indicates that proactive data monitoring and analysis can reduce median losses by half.

3)    Archive Inactive Vendors

If you haven’t used a vendor in the past 15-18 months, then it’s best to remove them from your master vendor list.  If the supplier is archived, then their information can be easily accessed for reinstatement. By removing inactive vendors, your list becomes leaner and your records are easier to access, which increases employee productivity by reducing processing time.

4)    Fill in the Gaps

Make sure all files are complete and accurate by obtaining any missing data from the vendor. Go beyond basic name and address conventions to add missing contact names, phone numbers and email addresses, as well as corporate linkages. Duplicate vendors and double payments can occur as a result of external activities, such as mergers and acquisitions, so be sure to familiarize yourself with parent and subsidiary relationships between suppliers.

5)    Implement a Vendor Portal

Implementing a self-service portal for suppliers is a good idea for many reasons. A self-service portal reduces inbound calls and emails regarding receipt and payment status and frees up your staff to dedicate time to high-level, strategic tasks. Concerning the master vendor file, a portal allows individual vendors to update their information, which improves accuracy and minimizes issues with missing data.

6)    Automate

By utilizing an accounts payable automation solution, you can create a standardized vendor setup process with internal controls that will ensure your organization’s compliance with regulations and 1099 tax legislation. This means fewer duplicate payments and fewer opportunities to become a victim of fraud. You’ll also eliminate IRS B-notices and fines by ensuring business isn’t conducted with companies on federal watch lists.

AvidXchange, a leading fintech provider of AP and payment automation for midsize companies, has a team of over 200 people that create a great experience for suppliers receiving payments through our network. Their Supplier Services team contacts 100% of your vendors to verify and update their information, identify their accepted payment types, and perform due diligence on any outstanding payments to get them resolved quickly.

By automating supplier data management, you can turn your vendor file into an increasingly valuable business asset that you can use to analyze and manage your AP spending and ultimately lead to potential renegotiation with your vendors.

About AvidXchange

AvidXchange revolutionizes the way companies pay their bills.  Serving more than 5,500 clients throughout North America, AvidXchange is an industry leader in automating invoice and payment processes for midmarket companies spanning multiple industries including Real Estate, Financial Services, Energy, and Construction.

To download the End-of-Year Survival Guide, click here.

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