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

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10–13. Eliminate Attaching Back-Up Materials to Checks for Signing

A common cause for extra filing work is that many check-signers require back-up documentation to accompany all checks presented to them for signing. They want the extra information so they can tell exactly why a payment is being made. The extra paperwork typically includes the complete packet of accounts payable documents: the supplier’s invoice, the company’s purchase order, and receiving documentation. To fulfill the wishes of the check-signers, the filing staff must extract the accounts payable items from files, attach them to checks, wait for the checks to be signed, and then detach them from the checks and file them away again. All of this movement of paper also raises the risk that documents will be misfiled during the process of taking them out of files and then putting them back in. When this happens, an inordinate amount of time may be required to locate and refile the missing documents. These activities can take up a considerable proportion of the filing staff’s time.

The solution is to stop attaching accounts payable backup information to checks about to be signed. Though this seems like a simple and obvious step, it can be a difficult one to convince the check-signers to agree with. By eliminating the back-up materials, the check-signers have no way of knowing what the company is paying for. The best way to deal with this complaint is to set up control points earlier in the accounts payable process, ...

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