Duplicates in invoices
Line-level invoice duplicates
Besides duplicate invoices, many invoices have line-level duplicates. If your AP automation system doesn’t extract line details or your analysts only key in a single line when they receive invoices, you won’t be able to suss them out. Even if you do happen to track line-level spend, it is still hard to separate duplicates from intended purchases of the same item. By contrast, AI knows the difference because it learns your organization’s purchasing trends for every product over time. If it sees an anomaly, its duplicate payment detection is likely accurate for that item.
Overlapping or cumulative payments
Sometimes suppliers send individual invoices followed by a larger, cumulative one. You could be billed monthly and then receive a quarterly invoice, or receive invoices for a down payment and then a total, but where the supplier hasn’t backed out the down payment from the total. As long as the totals for all of the invoices remain under the PO limit (if there is a PO), many AP automation systems won’t recognize the duplicate. AI, however, aggregates spend and remembers everything, so it flags these cumulative payments if they are duplicates.
Duplicate payments from manual entry errors
When an invoice process relies on manual data entry, there will be errors. What if your analyst enters an extra “1,” a “0” instead of “O,” accidentally fat-fingers a “.” or “-” in the middle of a number, or adds “SEP” instead of “SEPT” to represent your organization’s convention of adding the month to your invoice number? These types of duplicate payments are silly and common, but AP automation systems still miss them because there are few static rules that can catch all of the errors. AI, on the other hand, triangulates information from business systems, unstructured documents, and online sources, so it sees the duplicates that others can’t.
Duplicate payments in different AP automation systems
Despite your best efforts to streamline operations, you may have multiple AP automation systems. This comes with the territory and is the result of company mergers, staged upgrades, and simply organic growth. So, when these duplicate invoices hit two or more different systems, your organization may never know it. But AI integrates with multiple AP automation systems and flags duplicates regardless of which system they’re in.
Duplicate “crossover” spend between AP, p-card, and expense systems
As hard as it is to see across multiple AP automation systems, you have even less visibility between AP, p-card, and expenses. Any supplier with which you have a corporate account but also takes credit card payments is fair game when it comes to duplicate payments. AI, on the other hand, integrates with expense, p-card, and AP systems and has duplicate payment detection between them.
Duplicate payments from different supplier divisions
If you do business with multiple divisions of the same supplier, you don’t expect to be billed for the same purchase by each division! Even if you perform a robust duplicate payment audit, it’s easy to miss these. This is common if you do business with your supplier’s international division. You may have “Acme Corp” or “Acme, Inc.” in your supplier master, but not “Acme GmbH,” so if you receive duplicate invoices from two of those entities, your AP automation system may not pick it up. AI does, however, because it triangulates multiple data points and flags payments that are likely to be duplicates.
Duplicate invoices to different divisions in your company
Similar to how multiple supplier divisions create confusion, your own company’s divisions can add to the chaos. You may have two or more divisions in your enterprise that do business with the same supplier, so when each receives an invoice from that supplier, it’s entirely possible it could be the same invoice (they may even show up as two different companies in your supplier’s billing system, depending on how organized their supplier master is). AI addresses this because it triangulates data points and sees across multiple AP automation systems.