Managing unseen duplicate spend in finance departments

by Uri Kogan August 3, 2021

In this segment of our “Did You Know?” series, we look at the issue of duplicate spend across both invoices and employee expenses. This ongoing series highlights the capabilities and benefits of AppZen Expense Audit, bringing you deeper into what makes it tick and how you can take advantage.

The financial department within any enterprise is full of complicated processes, procedures, and rules. We are all aware of the challenges associated with processing incoming invoices as part of the accounts payable (AP) process. Equally, we know how challenging auditing employee spend via travel and expense (T&E) reports can be. But even when processing both of these areas effectively, there is a third that is even more complex to monitor: duplicate spend across both AP and T&E.

Research from Infor shows that duplicate spend accounts for approximately 0.1% of invoice spend costs. For an organization with $100M in invoice spend, this equates to $300k over three years. This is not a trivial amount, so identifying potential issues quickly is vital.

What is Duplicate Spend?

Duplicate spend is a common issue in finance processing. Whether arising from suppliers sending duplicate invoices that automatically get processed or employees submitting receipts twice in separate expense reports, duplicate spend is difficult to spot and expensive to rectify.   

CFOs are looking for efficiency within their departments. They want to process employee expenses and incoming invoices as quickly as possible. However, while delivering impressive metrics, these efficiency drives need guardrails in the form of duplicate spend checks. Because once a duplicate payment has been issued, it is time-consuming and costly to claw it back. 

The first step is to identify all of the places where duplicate spend can occur.

Identifying Duplicate Invoices

AppZen Expense Audit allows organizations to rapidly detect potential duplicate spend in several ways:

  • Confirming employee expenses based on expense amount, dates, and merchant
  • Confirming invoices based on expense amount, dates, and supplier
  • Comparing employee expenses and invoices based on expense amount, dates, and supplier/merchant
  • Comparing P-card and credit card transactions against employee expenses and incoming invoices

Each of these checks would take numerous employees many hours to perform as part of a manual process, and combining the checks would be practically impossible due to the complexity and volume. But artificial intelligence (AI) for finance can easily handle the workload. 

Automated Duplicate Detection

Powerful AI automation provides a comprehensive level of validation by performing these checks in parallel across 100% of invoices and expense report lines. 

With AppZen Expense Audit, organizations can intelligently identify both duplicate invoice approval and duplicate expense spend. Equally importantly, the system compares data across both, interrogating invoice and receipt images from AP and T&E systems to extract core data from both. It cumulatively cross-references data such as transaction numbers, dates, and values to identify potential duplicates and avoid false positives. 

The Benefits of Identifying Duplicates

Duplicate spend is a hidden and expensive risk to your business that can be avoided by finding it as early as possible. By actively searching out duplicates across all your spend including invoices, P-cards, and T&E, AppZen Expense Audit allows organizations to reclaim control of their spend management.

Achieving best-in-class data accuracy by eliminating duplicates across all financial systems may seem like a lofty goal. But it is entirely achievable, financially prudent, and competitively a must.

Wondering what else AppZen Expense Audit can do? Check out the rest of our “Did You Know?” series, check out AppZen Expense Audit on the web, or reach out!

Uri Kogan

Vice President of Product Marketing