Invoice exceptions, as Andrew Bartolini and Matthew Delman say in their article for Payable Place/Ardent Partners, are “the bane of the modern AP department.” While the invoice approval workflow is supposed to work smoothly, exceptions can grind the entire process to a halt.
In their article, they examine what can cause these annoying – and expensive – exceptions:
Discrepancies: By far the biggest cause of invoice exception, discrepancies between the purchase order and invoice information were named as a cause of exceptions by 68 percent respondents to the site’s survey. A discrepancy can be something minor and hard to spot, such as the wrong number in a ZIP code, or something more complex, such as incorrect pricing on an invoice.
Lack of purchase order or incorrect purchase order: The wrong purchase order included with an invoice (or the complete lack of a purchase order) can cause time-consuming exceptions for obvious reasons. Errors in purchase orders can include being for the wrong supplier, being an already-approved invoice or even being for an entirely different product.
Bottlenecks: In a manual paper-based process, accounts payable has to physically shepherd the invoice through the workflow process. If an authorized approver is unavailable for some reason, AP must either find a replacement approver or wait for the authorized approver’s return – causing delays and increased expenses.