Automating Three-Way Matching in Accounts Payable

what is 3 way matching in accounting

With delayed payments come additional costs including late fees and penalties. You’re also paying more money for employees to work on processing and checking invoices, which can lead to higher personnel costs. By keeping secure records and checking each payment, you’re making sure you’re not over- or underpaying invoices, missing discounts, or potentially subjecting the company to fraud. You’ll also avoid any potential payment problems that can create costly headaches and time sucks down the line. Even though there are many ways tocheck your accounts payable process, three-way matching is a best practice of all good accounts payable departments.

  • Manual matching allows human error to be introduced to the mix—from misreading an invoice to missing information on a document, you might not get the exact confirmation that you would from an automated process.
  • From there, the order is then verified, via the invoice, to ensure that the product received matches what the buyer is charged.
  • It’s used as a money-saving measure to ensure companies don’t overpay for goods or pay fraudulent invoices.
  • It’s important to mention that businesses may choose not to use three-way matches for small or recurring purchases.
  • Typically with a manual match, a member of the accounts payable team gathers all the relevant paper documents in a transaction in order to satisfy the matching procedures.

Traditionally, the accountant is in charge of matching the invoice, PO, and GRN data. All the relevant paper documents need to be gathered in order to manually verify the goods and price information contained in them. Storing paper documents can be challenging in terms of space and safety. It is challenging to search through stacks of documents to locate those relevant to the current transaction.

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If the three documents match and the order is verified, the invoice is released and payment is accepted. A 3-way matching is an essential account control that companies use to ensure invoices are paid only when the documents are correctly validated. Hermes automates the process by handling invoice variations more effectively and quickly. This process is still seen as an effective business process for both suppliers and buyers.

what is 3 way matching in accounting

If the hospital has a five percent tolerance, then they might accept 2,850 masks or 3,150 masks. This quantitative info (and qualitative, if it’s appropriate) would come from an inspection report. It’s worth noting that, depending on the size or idiosyncrasies of your business, this receipt process can be more complex and involve multiple parties. For instance, if a third party is actually storing the goods ordered, you’ll need confirmation from them that they received the order. The receipt of goods may be delivery of the entire purchase order or a partial shipment if any products are back-ordered for later delivery or shipped from a different location.

A corresponding PO is sent to the supplier based on the order placed. Bring scale and efficiency to your business with fully-automated, end-to-end payables. Confirmation of agreement between purchasing, receipt and invoicing information is accomplished by either a three-way what is 3 way matching in accounting match or a two-way match. With multiple parties involved in this process, it’s critical for all this information to be aligned to ensure accuracy and consistency. Delivery of goods is recorded in Oracle and then manually performed for receipt by end user .

CoreIntegrator systems can automatically compare the three critical PO documents (PO, Receipt/Packing Slip and Invoice) and highlight any discrepancies between them using OCR technology. Mistakes can inevitably slip through when performing a 3-way match manually. No more waiting, no more misplaced work, and no more strong-worded arguments that place blame between departments when some part of the matching goes awry. 3-way matching is integrated in modern AP automation tools, and ERP integrations are also available. There are, you guessed it, three essential documents involved in confirming a three way match. We saved more than $1 million on our spend in the first year and just recently identified an opportunity to save about $10,000 every month on recurring expenses with PLANERGY.

Prone to error

Advanced automation tools like SofCo’s AP automation software allow businesses to mitigate the potential for human error and reduce invoice fraud. 3-way matching is built into the software, automatically recording all vendor data. It also integrates directly with ERPs, allowing decision makers to get real-time data and make informed decisions. By cross-checking POs with GRNs and supplier invoices, accounts payable staff can immediately identify whether the invoice accurately represents the goods or services delivered. This drastically reduces the potential for approving fraudulent invoices. 3-way matching is a process in which purchase orders are matched with goods received notes and the invoice sent by the supplier. The purpose of 3-way matching is to mitigate the potential for fraud, maintain accurate reports, and introduce efficiencies in the invoice approval process.

The printer, which gladly accepted this lucrative assignment, receives the hotel’s PO along with the digital files needed for printing the brochures. It completes the job in the agreed time frame and delivers the brochures to the receiving address. When this invoice is received, the hotel’s AP team sets about to verify its authenticity by using three-way matching. Here are three key tips to apply in order to simplify your three-way matching process so you can process accounts payable faster, without sacrificing security and transparency. Three-way matching helps businesses track the origin of invoices and confirm their legitimacy to avoid fraud. Here a breakdown of how three-way matching can benefit your business. Knowing what the company needs and how the company can improve, especially in the financial aspect, can be a starting point for an organization to grow and gain traction in the long run.

This purchasing information, such as itemized invoices, shipping and delivery confirmations, and confirmation of receival is vital to maintaining accurate records and properly managing business spend. The first step is gathering purchase orders, goods received notes and invoice information. This number is uniform across all three documents pertaining to purchase. Once the PO, GRN, and invoice are gathered, the information they contain is verified. The information on the number of goods, unit price, discounts/rebates, delivery date, etc. are matched across all three documents. Before we go into the working of the 3-way matching process, let us first understand the procure to pay process.

What is Three-Way Matching?

The fraudster in question simply sent falsified invoices to Facebook and Google, requesting payment for services that were never delivered or even requested. Manual data processing and checking is laborious and may be prone to errors and misinterpretation since everything is done by hand. Physical copies may also be misplaced, lost, or damaged due to mishandling or storage problems. After ordering the items from the supplier, the agency’s purchasing department receives a $10,000 invoice or billing information.

In the world of accounts payable, there are a slew of steps and checks to ensure that a company pays its bills quickly and accurately. An automated digital-first approach ensures that all records are consistent and provide a single source of truth. When data is readily accessible at all times, businesses can access clear audit trails and pinpoint financial inconsistencies quickly. An automated system can handle the approval process, saving AP staff time and effort left best to investigating unmatched details. The information on the supplier invoice to a copy of the related purchase order that has been forwarded to it by the purchasing department. The purchase order states the quantity and price at which the company agrees to buy the goods or services stated on the supplier’s invoice. The average manual processing costs around $12-$30 per piece, which may blow up around five to six digits per month.

For others, ordering from multiple vendors on different sites and completing several checkout processes causes a lot of trouble. All of these issues are easily addressed with the right automation software and a platform designed to streamline workflow. It is very labor intensive, and it can be difficult to accumulate the required information, which can result in delayed payments while the accounts payable staff searches for missing information. Delays can annoy suppliers, and also prevent a company from taking early payment discounts. You can make three-way matching more efficient by excluding small-dollar and recurring invoices from the matching requirement. One benefit of a three-way match is to help the company save time and money. Consistency and accuracy of data are essential in any payment process.

What is the 3 way match process in accounts payable?

Three-way match is the process of comparing the purchase order, invoice and goods receipt to make sure they match before approving the invoice for payment. If they match, the supplier's invoice will be approved for payment. A 3-way match helps decide if an invoice should be paid partly or in full.

The main point of implementing a 3-way match process in the purchasing department is to cut costs. It’s used as a money-saving measure to ensure companies don’t overpay for goods or pay fraudulent invoices. It has the added benefit of making bookkeeping and audits easier to deal with as well. Many businesses have instituted this practice to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent invoices, embezzlement, computer glitches, or human error resulting in an unauthorized payment of any kind. However, in practice, the process often used to implement it has some glaring flaws. By leveraging 3 way matching accounting departments can streamline payment processes, mitigate the risk of human error, and exchange business documents digitally. Savvy finance departments know there are plenty of vulnerabilities that come with manual invoice matching and processing.

In this way, 3 way match and 2 way match save businesses from overspending or paying for an item that they did not receive. It’s also a critical element in protecting your business from invoice fraud. With DocuPhase, you can enable automatic 3-way matching and free your accounts payable team for more valuable work.

Components of a three-way match

With Kofax AP Automation solutions, you can not only fully automate the invoice capture process but also create custom validation rules and make matches smoothly up to a four-way match. Ensures optimal vendor relationships – Professional vendors respect the importance of purchase orders, invoices, and receipts to the accounts payable process. Frequent mistakes on receipts and invoices can be a sign of a broader business issue, and may indicate that it’s time to begin shopping around. Keeping such close tabs on finances also helps decrease the possibility of fraud. It’s important to mention that businesses may choose not to use three-way matches for small or recurring purchases. In the accounting and bookkeeping area of accounts payable, the three-way match refers to a procedure used when processing an invoice received from a vendor or supplier.

Set up touchless AP workflows and streamline the Accounts Payable process in seconds. Although physical records may be traditional and always accessible, there are far more disadvantages to it compared to automated solutions.

Managing three-way matching manually can be tiring—use an automated system.

An integrated AP automation is an innovative and efficient solution for companies that want to minimize workload and maximize employees’ productivity. An advertising agency needs 20 new laptops for their employees to use. The specific products, quantities, and prices of each item ordered are called line items. Line items may also include additional information, such as comments or charges. Many CFOs believe that at least 25% of their time is spent improperly on manual tasks. Agreement between these three sources of information is a prerequisite for the Finance Office to pay the invoice.

  • When documents are not organized properly, retrieval for reference becomes a headache.
  • By automating your three-way matching process, your company will need less manpower to maintain the process, freeing up your team to work on more complex tasks.
  • The purchase order contains the quantity of items requested by the business and the contractually agreed-upon price that the business will pay.
  • Thus, the “three-way match” concept refers to matching three documents – the invoice, the purchase order, and the receiving report – to ensure that a payment should be made.
  • If an accounts payable employee encounters a one-off matching error, they will need to investigate the problem to solve it.

Let’s use the example of a construction company that is building 20 homes for a new community. The company issues a PO to a siding supplier for 12,000 square feet of vinyl siding, at $10 per square foot, to be used throughout the development. Two weeks later, the supplier delivers the siding and sends its invoice to the construction company.

The procurement department verifies the purchase order and sends it to the supplier. They detail their requirements, the quantity and quality of goods required, and the amount they intend to pay for it. A PO is a document that confirms an order from procurement to a vendor. Typically this document will include the purchasing company’s name and address, date, product/service description and quantity, price, and PO number. Once all of these steps are completed, it is confirmed that the order according to the invoice has been fulfilled, and the business requesting those goods has in fact received them.

what is 3 way matching in accounting

The invoice and purchase order are stored away for future reference and audits. A budget manager approves the purchase order request from the employee. Attract top AP talent to the company by supporting remote workers and implementing the latest technology. Visit our “Solutions” page to see the areas of your business we can help improve to see if we’re a good fit for each other.

How can three-way matching benefit your business?

Account payable makes payments to the suppliers according to the company’s terms and policies on taking early payment discounts. If discounts aren’t provided by the vendor or received by the customer, the accounts payable department pays the full invoice amount by the deadline. Most businesses currently run their invoicing with two-way matching. Rather than verifying three different pieces of information, the company would only check the invoice against the purchase order. However, an issue arises if the purchase order doesn’t accurately reflect what was delivered and recorded on the packing slip. Technology integrated AP automation is an innovative and efficient solution for an organization that wishes to minimize workload and maximize employee productivity. Hermes is a simple, powerful solution to automate the 3-way matching accounts payable process.

First and foremost, ensuring accurate information helps your team avoid overpaying for a product or service, paying for items you didn’t receive, or paying the same bill more than once. The chances of fraudulent activities are also significantly reduced with so many checks and balances in place. This ensures no extra charges are incurred without your business knowing about it. You send the invoice for payment only if the information on the documents match. And if you discover a discrepancy between the PO, PO invoice, or packing slip/receipt in the match process?

Accounts payable teams don’t always need to reference physical documents. They can refer to the company’s enterprise resource planning system and check that the receiving team has marked the order as delivered.

What is a purchase order vs invoice?

The difference between a purchase order and an invoice is that a purchase order is issued by the buyer and is to be fulfilled by the vendor, where an invoice is issued by the vendor after fulfilling a purchase order and must be paid by the buyer.

This slow pace often applies to processes such as three-way matching in accounts payable departments. In most instances, 3-way matching is preferred to ensure the organization https://www.bookstime.com/ does not pay invoices until everything matches. The 3-way match saves companies from overspending, paying for something not received, and helping detect potential fraud.

Naturally, managing stacks of paperwork and invoices is an arduous task that is bound to incur its share of difficulties. Human error and inefficiencies can be avoided simply by migrating to automated three way match best practices. Then, in the event of an audit, you can rest assured knowing that all of your approved files and documents are organized and secured in one centralized, accessible location. For companies attempting to scale operations, automating accounts payableis a necessary step in enabling future growth.

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