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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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3–13. Have Suppliers Include Their Supplier Numbers on Invoices

The typical vendor database includes listings for thousands of suppliers. Every time an invoice arrives from a supplier, the accounts payable staff must scroll through the list to determine the vendor code for each one. If there are similar names for different suppliers, or multiple locations for the same one, it is quite likely that the resulting check payments will go astray, leading to lots of extra time to sort through who should have been paid. This basic problem can be partially resolved by having suppliers include the supplier number, as created by the company’s accounting system, on their invoices. The easiest way to do so is to mail out a change-of-address form to all suppliers, listing the same company address, but also noting as part of the address an “accounts payable code” that includes the supplier number. Suppliers will gladly add this line to the mailing address to which they send their invoices, since they think it is a routing code that will expedite payment to them (which, in a way, it will). Some follow-up may be necessary to ensure that all suppliers adopt this extra address line. Even if not all of the suppliers elect to make the change, there will still be an increase in efficiency caused by those that have done so.

There are two problems with this approach. One is that the change of address mailing cannot be a bulk mailing of the same letter, since each letter must include the supplier code ...

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